Snuffleupagus Naidoo at the Flamjangled Tea Party

The Flamjangled Tea Party once again challenged our creativity – at risk of losing the hotly contested prize for best costume, we thought long and hard about our 2011 design.

During our trip to Rajasthan earlier in the year, over curry and beer, we decided to make an Indian elephant, complete with palaquin, and travel over the fields of the party in royal style. So on our return, with an assortment of conduit piping, irrigation pipe, beautiful brown hessian and hundreds of cable ties, and with some roughly sketched drawings, designed and redesigned, over and over again, we finally came up with a beautiful elephant, who we christened ‘Snuffleupagus Naidoo’.

One challenge was to make the structure light and easy to carry, another was to make the trunk flexible and (almost) prehensile; we had to have space around us to dissipate heat – and storage space for G&Ts. We also wanted to be able to face each other, and be sociable… all in all a tough set of conditions.

We built the elephant in about a week, with very hard work by Jo towards the deadline on the decorative aspects, and finally completed it on the day of the Tea Party. Strapped to the roof of my bakkie, we drew many surprised looks as we drove to Contermanskloof Wine farm, the venue. Although it was way too hot to put on costume when we arrived, soon the temperature dropped enough to put it on and investigate the party.

We wandered around getting photographed quite a lot, as we compared our costume to the many competing outfits. Manoeuvrability was a little tough, although we did participate in the Foxtrot, slowly and clumsily.

When the time for the best costume award was made, we tried our best to wow the crowd, but could not better Little Bo Peep and her Sheep, with whom we tied for first place. Still – a fun project and we have great plans for Snuffleupagus Naidoo – thoughts shared, apparently by the Constantia Waldorf School, who borrowed the costume for their school parade the next weekend!

Next stop: Afrika Burn!

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