By quite some margin, the most read and shared post on my blog, year after year, is one I wrote in 2014: 10 Common Misconceptions About Teddy Bears. The very fine bear featured is called Edward Gainsborough. He is a small, jointed bear handmade by the now defunct English Teddy Bear Company. I believe the business was bought by Harrods who promptly closed it down – presumably to remove competition to sales of their own brand of delightful bears. I was saddened to see it go.
I recently received a message from a reader who asked if I still had Edward. Of course I do! And he still accompanies me on all my best adventures, even if these have been somewhat curtailed over the past year. The reader asked for more teddy bear content on the blog which prompted me to consider an occasional series. For my book loving readers who have no interest in bears, these posts will be clearly titled to ensure they may be ignored if desired.
Pictured above is Edward on a rock in Brecon, on the English / Welsh border. When the sun is shining he loves to be out and about (rain plays havoc with joints so is best avoided). Along with many people, he has missed going on his regular adventures. So what has Edward been doing during this time? Read on for the update requested.
When the first COVID lockdown began it became obvious that people who were suddenly confined to their local areas and, perhaps, worried by the ongoing media frenzy, needed something to add cheer to their days. Teddy bears are, of course, ideal for such a task. The village where Edward lives organised a bear hunt – bears placed in street facing windows to wave at passers by as they took their daily exercise. Edward joined some of his Merrythought Bear friends who understood the importance of this enterprise.
Unlike humans, teddy bears do not require exercise to remain healthy. Nevertheless, given the global concerns caused by the pandemic, Edward thought it best to have his heart checked by an expert. It was no surprise to anyone when Dr Snuggles (an upcycled bear from Susie’s Button Bears) declared that Edward has enough love for everyone. Teddy bears are always available to offer comforting hugs and listen to concerns without judgement. They truly are ideal companions.
With few opportunities to travel, Edward has spent much of his time in bed. Naturally, a little sustenance is required from time to time to keep him in tip top condition. He prefers cake to bread, even sourdough. Although missing his visits to tea shops, he has remained cheerfully stoic and provided much solace to his resident bearers.
To help pass the time, Edward has also been reading. He enjoys discussing stories with his friends, even those that do not involve his own exploits. This book is a particular favourite – one of three written by Mawson, an author bear who lives in Australia. As well as providing unconditional love, teddy bears often share wise thoughts if listened to carefully.
In troubled times it is important to look for the positives. Celebrations may have been muted due to imposed restrictions but special occasions have still been enjoyed at home. Edward has joined his friends and adopted family to mark Christmas, birthdays and Easter. A teddy bear’s presence is always an asset, bringing as they do smiles and appreciation of the many simple pleasures available to all when looked for.
Edward is hopeful that travel will again be permitted from later this month that he may venture further and, once again, explore our beautiful world with his bearers. He raises a glass to your good health and hopes you will return to read about wherever he goes next.