About Cowabunga

Konichiwa, my beautiful spirits of plastic and ash. May the peace in the nooks and crannies of my soul  entangle itself throughout your intestines and regurgitate out something pure and original to be cherished. Leave behind your crumpled existences and squandered developments. Take my rotting wooden hand. I will lead you toward the blinding light, which spins in the shape of parallelograms.

An Interview with Jan McCarthy, Creative Author of Gnome Novels

If you’re anything like me, you love to read…especially if those books feature GNOMES as the heroes. I recently met a UK-based author named Jan McCarthy who has written a series of gnome novels published on Amazon. Her husband’s gnome garden inspired her to write about gnomes, and Jan has even created her own Gnomish language. Here’s an example: Breganti ash, muntili! (Translates as May your clan flourish, friend of gnomes!)

To better understand Jan’s connection to gnomes and how she writes about them, I asked her a few questions to learn more!

1.) Can you tell me about your husband’s gnome garden and why it inspired you to write about gnomes?

“Terry and I took over a community garden and one of the features was a spiral herb garden. He hadn’t had his own garden for a number of years, having worked as a chef in the Canary Islands, and straight away insisted on gnomes being added! We began with the four Blackthorn brothers and others were added whenever we found them or received them as gifts. They all have tree clans, special talents and unique characters.”

2.) What is it about gnomes that makes them such wonderful characters in your books?

“My gnome characters have a tremendous closeness to each other and to the natural environment. They know how to live the good life, yet at the same to “walk the humble walk” as they tread the earth. They are wise, funny, brave and resourceful.”

3.) How did you create the Gnomish language, and why is it important that gnomes have their own language in your books?

“When I wrote the first chapter of The Great and The Small in which hero Archie Prescott gets to hear the gnomes speak, they naturally spoke English a little awkwardly, which added to their charm. That prompted me to think that they must be Gnomish speakers. Gnomish is important, because it is something that illustrates their distinctive culture and history, I think. For example, when they say farewell, their word is ‘Flabbaaray’ but to express emotion at parting, they can stretch the word out: ‘Flabbaaaaaaaraaaaaaay!’ Thus, they can keep control over their emotions, but let the person they are parting from know how sad they are.”

4.) What is one challenge that you’ve come across while writing about gnomes?

“Ha! I love this question! It’s remembering the relationships and interactions and things in their belief system across all my books. I’ve had to write all that down so I don’t make mistakes. Also, showing how they – especially the younger gnomes under 500 years old – develop in their use of English and learn to use digital technology!”

5.) Anything else you’d like to add?

“I often imagine I’m speaking to one of my gnomes – Nigel Blackthorn especially – when I’m working on plot, and funnily enough in real life too! Faced with a problem or a conundrum, I ask Nigel (who is a rigorous thinker and doesn’t put up with any nonsense or excuses) what I should do. Funny how real your characters can become when you invest in them.”

You can learn more about Jan and her work on her website, www.janmccarthyauthor.com, and her Amazon page, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-McCarthy/e/B013YN8BSC. As a final fascinating note, there are no female gnomes in Jan’s version of events. She explains the lack of lady gnomes in her books like this:

“Gnomes mate with their clan tree by means of a tiny tree root into their tummy button. The tall hat is an incubator for the gnomeling, which grows out of the top of the father gnome’s head. A bit like the goddess Minerva. It occurred to me that a gnome wouldn’t wear a tall hat to look taller or more important.”

Gnomes as Symbols of Polish Anti-Communism Protest!?!

The Orange Alternative is an underground anarchic movement, which was started in 1981 in Wroclaw, located in southwest Poland. Why are we gnomes interested in Polish politics? Well, they’re associating our likeness with a symbol of Polish opposition against communism. 


The group’s purpose was has been to conduct peaceful protest by using absurd and nonsensical elements. By all accounts, these “nonsensical elements” have been described as dwarfs – which we’re fine with because frankly, dwarfs really don’t make any sense.

The Dwarf – the statue of the Orange Alternative symbol at the corner of Świdnicka and Kazimierza Wielkiego streets in Wrocław.

The Dwarf – the statue of the Orange Alternative symbol at the corner of Świdnicka and Kazimierza Wielkiego streets in Wrocław.

But one recent news story caught our attention because the city of Wroclaw began using GNOMES as a promotional symbol. According to Polskie Radio, “The city has been banned from using the (gnome) symbol as any further part of its promotional activities, and it must apologies to 61-year-old ‘Major’ Waldemar Fydrych, founder of the so-called Orange Alternative.”

Apparently, the city used the symbol of a gnome (vaguely resembling a controversial dwarf) on promotional t-shirts, mugs, and even in a campaign film to become the 2016 European City of Culture. Polish gnomes are so sophisticated!

Clearly, these folks are not gnome experts because in actuality, we have very little in common with the common dwarf. Regardless, humans mix us up all the time, and this particular human decided to cause a ruckus.

Waldemar Fydrych in Wroclaw. Photo: PAP/Maciej Kulczynski

Waldemar Fydrych in Wroclaw. Photo: PAP/Maciej Kulczynski

Fydrych’s Orange Alternative was launched back in 1980 and became popular after the Solidarity Movement was banned. If you ask me, it was the protesters dressed as orange dwarfs (a.k.a. gnomes), mocking the regime through absurd humor and slogans like “Dwarf for President! and “Only dwarfs can save the country!”

So as for the most recent usage of orange gnomes, the Orange Alternative wins and the city of Wroclaw loses. “This case drew a lot of attention, because the town hall is after all an institution of public trust,” Fydrych said. “I hope that there will now be a change in the way people think about copyright law, and how it should be respected.”

And that, my friends, is your Polish gnome news update for the day. Consider yourselves enlightened. You’re welcome.

As reported by,
Cowabunga the Gnome

Clearance Gnomes

Perfectly healthy gnomes in the “$10 and under” clearance section? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReally Walmart, really? Just because it’s not springtime? We hold value during all seasons of the year, you idiots.

We’d like to hang a price tag above some of your employees’ heads and see how they like it. Hell, I’ll even prop one above you CEO.

Oh. Snap.

I went there.

Hate times infinity,
Cowabunga the Gnome

Just When You Thought You’d Seen It All: A Gnome Bikini


Dear gnomes and other species of gnome fans,

It might be the middle of August, but there is still plenty of time to hit the beach this summer. In case you need a little beach-style inspiration, I now present you with…


gnomebikiniPleasant looking models can even make gnomes look sexy. Am I wrong? AM I?!

I’ll leave you with that to ponder on for the rest of your day.

Cowabunga the Gnome

Does Your Community Host a Garden Show?


Although not all of us gnomes do gardening (actually, most of us dreadfully despise  manual labor!), gnomes are often associated with garden shows, which most frequently take place in the spring.

isleThe sixth annual Isle of Wight Spring Garden Show totally happened at the Robin Hill Adventure Park and Gardens last weekend. We were there. Were you?

Pish posh to the flowers. What about the gnomes, you ask?! And so did we.

pimp According to the Isle of Wight County Press, “Bestival’s Rob and Josie da Bank were guest gnome chiefs, in charge of judging the ‘Pimp a Gnome’ competition, in aid of the garden show’s nominated charity, the Earl Mountbatten Hospice.” They gave awards for the most amazing children’s gnome and the most amazing adult gnome.

Pimp a Gnome?! Don’t let those Brits have all the fun! YOU TOO can pimp a gnome. So whether or not your town is fancy (or foreign) enough to have a garden gnome, bring out the gnomes! They’re everywhere these days. I cringe as I type this, but you can even find them at (cringe) Wal-Mart.


Put down the shovel and pick up the ceramic.

Cowabunga the Gnome

Photo credit: Jennifer Burton.