Sitting outside an oriental carpet shop in Highgate is a camel. Sami, for that’s the camel’s name is a life-size fibreglass camel who has sat outside the shop for the past 35 years, and is a bit of a local landmark.
The camel also received some tender loving care last year, when the owners of the shop commissioned Iranian artist Farzaneh Yousefi to restore the paintwork.
Poor Sami had been looking pretty dull by then, and she spent a week giving the camel’s coat a groom and redecorating the rugs and tassels, and the railings around Sami’s pen.
The owner of the shop and the camel, Mr Sakhai opened his shop on Highgate Road in 1984, and the camel arrived the following year, a present from a friend who had brought it over from “somewhere in Arabia”.
Sami was fed a diet of concrete to keep him in place and make sure no one camel-napped him one night.
It probably once had a person sitting on top, as there’s a solitary leg hanging out on the far side. But the original rider’s absence means that yes, little people are allowed to ride the camel.