Jamie’s mother trained as a nurse and then a midwife. In another era she might have been a doctor. Women of her generation didn’t work after they had children so reluctantly she gave up her job. In 1999 she died in Langholm, a small Scottish town divided in two by the River Esk and hemmed in by four hills. After her death Jamie, her son, travelled to Bali, as far as he could from the rain, the slate and the grey stone of his home country. Following the sadness of the funeral Bali was a tonic, as warm and exotic as Dumfriesshire was cold and familiar. Two weeks later Jamie and his wife Jane were travelling through Ubud on their way to the airport. On impulse they pulled into a yard selling statues of deities, the sort ubiquitous across Bali. He’d previously been drawn to Ganesh, the elephant headed god. They bought two and had them packed and shipped to the UK. Months later a crate arrived at their London home. The elephants were in pieces. Jamie slowly put them back together. When he’d bought the pair, he’d not known that Ganesh was the god of wisdom or, more aptly, that he was the god of new beginnings.

02 Dec 2012