I think the new Southsea dinosaur is a great statue | Emma Kay

I was extremely let down by the lacklustre response from locals about the new dinosaur statue in Southsea Common.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 7:26 pm
Artist Heather Peak with the new statue, a trbute to Luna Park, which burned down on Southsea Common in 2010 Picture: Sam Stephenson

Worse, were the unfair comments and criticism that flowed as fast as sewage being dumped into the sea culminating in a torrent of rotten and misdirected hate for such an adorable statue. Why are people so critical?

The 47cm high bronze sculpture that now lives on Southsea Common is a tinier tribute to the original 16m (53ft) tall dinosaur that met its end in flames over 10 years ago.

A campaign was launched last year to raise over £10,000 for a smaller replacement but the cute replacement dinky dinosaur appears to have fallen below expectations. Described as the size of a King Charles spaniel, people have branded it as ‘pathetic’ along with countless scathing comments online.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I still remember when the original dinosaur met its demise. The towering inferno could be seen miles away. I recall seeing the sad looking silver frame on the front page of the papers the next day, a strange twist of metal and mess. It was a sight that flooded the eyes of children and stirred the hearts of the locals in a slew of sadness. More than 12,000 people joined RIP Southsea Dinosaur group on Facebook. There were knitted RIP messages left along with flower tributes. When people thought the fire had been set on purpose there was a passionate response as furious as the fire which took it. It may have just been a statue but it left an obvious impact. People have been quick to forget how much the original statue meant to the community. This is why it is so devastating to see people being so odious about the replacement online.

The Ultrasaurus (or Southsea dinosaur) was one of the largest dinosaur statues recorded at that time. So yes, we are all very aware of the size irony here. But art need not be grand and imposing. Art can be precious and tiny and treasured, no matter what the size. A lot of love and hard work went into that statue, it did not appear by magic. Local businesses and individuals raised £5,290, with £25,000 from the National Lottery. To many of the critics, you are quick to complain but where were you when this project needed donations? Where were you when the rest of your community were working together?

The money was not raised by invisible hands. Real people took time an effort which needs to be acknowledged and celebrated. Small does not mean insignificant. It is not a sight for ‘saur’-eyes but a beautifully modest model that deserves its place on Southsea Common.

Ditch the cards and send an email – or even make a call

Why do so many of us spend so much time writing heaps and heaps of Christmas cards?

Consolidating your cards is just good sense. Writing huge piles of Christmas cards for individuals probably seems kind and complimentary, but really, aren’t so many of them just an afterthought at the end of the day?

Obligation is something our nation feels immensely pressured by. Writing loads of cards for all your colleagues or distant relatives is a tired old tradition that has seen its day. Those of us with the simplest of technology can easily send an email full of jolly gifs filled with festive fancy. It is better for the environment. It is better for time consolidation. It also removes the pressure from everyone else to conform to the same standard.

And for those rarely spoken to distant cousins, why not phone them, far more appreciated by the receiver than a card.

The relief of finally escaping from a tight-fitting outfit...

There’s nothing worse than being in a very hot and itchy outfit that you cannot take off. It is an unfathomable, ungodly experience.

Our beautiful milk snake Snickerdoodle suffered from a skin shedding mishap. She was unhappy and looked like a red, black and yellow badly peeling sausage ready to be removed from her old scales. She was thoroughly in need of assistance.

There was nothing for it but to line a box with warm wet tissues and treat her to a lukewarm squirt of water. As a baby snake she is quite the wriggler and it took bit of coaxing to convince her to wriggle out of her white cocoon.

Finally, she wrestled out like a well-oiled glove with new shiny untouched scales as bright as a jewel, looking prim and happy and glad to be out of her too tight previous attire. A relief for me and her!

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, for 26p a day.