I should have known myself better, given my love of all horse-themed house items.
I thought I had nothing that the bright red horse would go with. And so he'd been camping out in my office, all the better to remind me he was not mine to keep. But I've given in, as it seems I do.
Abi gave me (it reads: "The little drink with a big kick". I have yet to discover where one might taste it...). With its red detailing it goes especially well with the Dala horse. The Sunny Jim stuffed toy – also handily in good colours – is very, very old and came from a 1980s packet of Force Flakes cereal (he was the logo). There's also a flash of red in the excellently named incense (it's called Strong Love) bought in a voodoo sort of a shop in my local market. The black and white photos are of my parents and the building in a frame is a paper bag from the Barbican cafe that I picked up after doing an amazing architectural tour there.
The horse fits in too well, and has even less chance of being gifted now...
They've got a long history, dating back 400-odd years but became prominent more recently. In 1939, a giant version of one of the distinctively carved beasts, painted in bright colours, was displayed at the Swedish Pavillion at New York's World Exhibition. It was popular and the following year, little versions were shipped out to New York to be sold.
Swedish Wooden Horse Company. They sell the brightly painted – more traditional – versions too, but I prefer these muted grey ones. They also come in soft white. Prices start at £16.95.