Edward Explores: The 12 Days of Christmas

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Winter is the season for hibernation so Edward has spent much of the past month snoozing in bed. He did, however, join his bearers to celebrate Yule – the 12 days of Christmas. To brighten up midwinter, the halls were decked. Edward then hung his stocking under the tree in anticipation of the goodies Santa would bring.

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On Christmas Eve, just before bedtime, Edward watched his favourite film. Much as he loves The Snowman, he ponders why the young boy’s teddy ends up on the floor. Perhaps the bear in the film had been looking out the window and was nearly caught when the boy woke up unexpectedly at midnight.

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As well as many tasty treats, Santa delivered a new friend for Edward. Although dating from 2017, Paddington was first purchased by a financially motivated collector and has spent the intervening years in a box wondering why he was not allowed to meet the residents of what he had assumed would be his new forever home. When he was eventually taken out of his wrapping it was for an all too brief taste of freedom. He was photographed and then repackaged without being given even a single hug!

Thankfully, Edward’s bearers spotted Paddington’s listing on a sale site and quickly mounted a rescue plan. Money boxes were emptied. The postman was eagerly waited for.

Paddington has now received many, long overdue hugs and will not be put inside his box again. Although unsure why he was expected to play hockey on a pool table on Christmas Day, as a bear with a taste for travel and adventure – exciting new experiences – he was happy to oblige.

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Having topped up on the many tasty festive snacks, Edward has now returned to bed to complete his hibernation, but not before he and Paddington saw in the New Year. Edward wishes all his followers and friends a healthy and happy 2022. He hopes that this year may be filled with many more pleasant and revitalising explores.

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Edward Explores: The Dorset Coast

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“Edward is a bear with flair. He looks so effortlessly cosy yet stylish.”

Kathryn Eastman, on Twitter

Being a bear, Edward spends a fair proportion of this time of year enjoying a long winter’s nap. Before he settled down under the duvet, however, he enjoyed a splendid adventure by the seaside. The weather was cold and blustery but dry. Well wrapped up in his woollens, Edward ventured forth on some scenic walks.

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The drive to the coast included a stop at a lovely bookshop to pick up something to read. Daylight hours are limited in England in December so there would be time between walks and dinner to enjoy a good story. Edward prefers books featuring bears but this choice kept his bearer happily occupied while resting each afternoon.

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Dinner on the first night included a delicious sticky toffee pudding – a well deserved treat. Then, having slept well in the big bed provided, it was time to set out on an explore.

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The first walk Edward embarked on was to climb Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast. To get there it was necessary to follow a track that went from sea level to cliff top several times. Being a small (but perfectly formed) teddy bear, Edward was carried.

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Golden Cap was actually climbed twice as sea mist descended during the first ascent. Despite his bearers’ tired legs at the extra effort, the views were well worth the repeated exercise.

Edward also explored the remains of St Gabriel’s Church, a small building that has stood for many centuries. It fell into disrepair when locals moved to less remote locations, to work in the burgeoning industries. Edward enjoyed the peaceful ambience but worried about the lack of roof given how clouds kept rolling in.

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Edward also enjoyed viewing the various artworks he passed on the paths. Being a cultured bear, he paused to consider what the artist wished to convey with each installation. He liked the tree stump spider and the boat stack – even if he was nearly blown off the latter by the prevailing wind. The yellow blob on a rock, however, had him perplexed.

Edward Dorset tree sculpture   edward dorset boats   edward dorset art

Back at the hotel there was good food to appreciate. The vanilla cake was tasty but Edward will always prefer a rich chocolate brownie.

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Much as Edward enjoyed his latest adventure, he was happy to return home where he could be tucked up warm in bed after his sometimes damp exertions.

He wishes you all many hugs from your furry friends and the good dreams they encourage by keeping you safe from the monsters under the bed. Edward plans to snooze now until Christmas, something he highly recommends.

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Edward Explores: Grasmere

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While the Cop26 climate fandango was happening in Glasgow, Edward’s bearers were as confident as they could be that lockdown restrictions would not be tightened for its duration. It seemed unlikely that international bigwigs flying in for photo opportunities would be further inconvenienced. Such a window of opportunity offered the chance for a longed for adventure of which Edward heartily approved. A hotel room was booked in the English Lake District and a five hour car journey embarked on.

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At the half way point some refreshments were required, especially by the driver and his co-pilot. It is a long time since Edward visited a motorway service station. He’s sure he remembers biscuits being made available at previous Costas.

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After such a long journey, Edward was pleased to arrive at what was to be his home for the next few days – the Bridge House hotel in Grasmere. He tested the bed and declared it comfy before phoning his friends back home to reassure them of his safe arrival. He preferred the telephone provided to those he is usually offered – much easier to dial with paws.

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One of the perks offered by his welcoming hosts was complementary afternoon tea. Edward availed himself of this yummy treat on each day of his stay.

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The hotel was also home to some other friendly creatures. Edward enjoys making new friends – such a sociable bear.

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On a walk around the local village he encountered a pumpkin that also looked friendly, telling Edward all about the recent Halloween antics they had witnessed in Grasmere. Edward didn’t understand why tricks would be played on anyone but approved of the widespread sharing of treats.

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Adventurous bears always enjoy the opportunity to try new foods. The Bridge House did not serve hot dinners so a trip up to The Inn nearby was required for these. The set menu did not change over the course of Edward’s stay but the puddings he sampled were declared delicious. Of the cheesecake, lemon posset and sticky toffee pudding, the latter was his favourite.

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After the first day of the trip, weather turned decidedly wet and windy. Edward therefore opted to rest in bed rather than joining his bearers on their mountain and lakeside hikes. This proved a wise choice given the tales they told him afterwards:

  • climbing a mountain for the 360′ panoramic views only to find the top shrouded in cloud;
  • getting lost on the descent and encountering large, scary cattle emerging through the mist;
  • having to cross worryingly boggy fells only to find themselves far from the paths being sought on their maps;
  • getting soaked to the skin in torrential downpours that masked what should have been splendid views.

Somehow the bearers still claimed to have enjoyed their days. Edward pondered if this was the adrenaline rush of human survival.

Edward is convinced that his was the more sensible option although remained concerned about his bearers’ joints. However much they try to convince him that water will not cause damage, he has observed the many times they return from exertions filmed in moisture only to subsequently complain of pains. He remains glad that he only has five joints to look after – and he always takes good care of them.

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It was, however, lovely to travel further afield after such a long period of confinement to his local area. Edward brought home cookies for his friends as an easily shared present. They were all eaten and enjoyed before they could be photographed.

Edward Explores: Fungi

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In last month’s post, Edward explored Autumn, noting the emergence of interesting fungi amongst the undergrowth where he went walking. Always eager to enjoy new experiences, on a recent sunny day he set out to search the grounds of a large estate in his neighbourhood for further specimens.

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There were plenty of pretty leaves but the ground staff were obviously working hard to keep the ‘Capability’ Brown parkland tidy. Edward understands that many visitors like order and cleanliness, but fungi need more wildness to flourish.

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Undaunted, Edward roamed further afield, into the undergrowth beyond the park but still on the estate. Here, at last, he spotted what he was looking for. One specimen was bigger than him! Areas of wildness are so important to our ecosystem. Being a bear, Edward appreciates this.

As well as enjoying the fine local countryside, Edward has been celebrating a family milestone. The medical student has become a doctor. Appropriate bears went to town for dinner and drinks.

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A good dinner always ends with pudding. Edward carefully checked if the tiramisu and then the profiteroles were worth eating. After significant consideration he declared them tasty and agreed to share with his bearers.

Both food and medicine rely on fungi, as discussed in this recent newspaper article.

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Another day offered the opportunity for an additional trip to the woods. Look what Edward found. He has no idea what these fungi are called but admired the cascade effect they made.

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As the nights draw in, Edward has also been enjoying some quieter pursuits, including reading. He recommends you too seek out The Secret Life of Fungi by Aliya Whiteley. Like teddy bears, what we see on the surface is merely an indication of wider usefulness. There is wonder to be found in so many things if one delves deeper.

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Edward Explores: Autumn

After the excitement of his trip to London last month, Edward has been staying closer to home recently. The settled weather has enabled him to get out and about locally, something he enjoys immensely. Edward has been on woodland walks with friends and has helped in the garden with the apple harvest. It is still a tad early in the season for the trees to display their glorious autumn colours but the fungi are starting to emerge. Edward hopes to enjoy more of these fascinating organisms as the summer undergrowth retreats further.

 

On one woodland walk, Edward and his good friend, Taly, climbed some trees to enjoy the view. Woods are fine places to explore with all their fascinating plants and creatures rustling through tangled thickets, hidden but heard. At one village passed through they found a bear sized niche in a church wall to rest in. As always, people who walked by smiled when they saw the bears enjoying the sunshine. Teddies bring happiness wherever they go.

 

Tree climbing was also required when Chief Bearer requested apples for a warming crumble. Edward selected the finest of the fruit and then supervised preparation. It took a very long time for the dish to cook. Patience is not one of Edward’s many skills.

 

Edward is, however, an excellent cook. He especially enjoys taste testing finished creations. He tried the crumble with Greek yoghurt, cream, and then custard. The latter was declared his favourite.

With the nights drawing in, evening entertainments have mostly moved indoors. Edward has been teaching his friend Albert to play pool, a game he excels at. Albert’s paws managed the long cue with only a little assistance. Edward tends to forgo the need for this implement when taking his turn.

Edward hopes that all his readers are keeping well and finding time to partake in whatever pursuits bring them joy. He advises that all activities are even more fun when shared with a teddy bear.

Edward Explores: London in the time of Covid

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As mentioned in the last post in this occasional series for fellow teddy bear appreciators, Edward was very excited to be taken on an adventure that required a train journey earlier this month. He travelled to London where he hoped to visit several of his favourite attractions. Sadly, some were either closed to visitors or had restrictions in place that prevented entry. Nevertheless, Edward had an enjoyable couple of days away with his bearers and returned home with tales to tell his friends.

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On disembarking the train, Edward took pleasure in a lengthy walk across the city, through several Royal Parks and along the river. He passed Buckingham Palace where his good friend Elizabeth sometimes works. Men with guns stood outside so he decided not to get any closer. The place was notably quieter than the last time he was there.

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After such a long walk it was good to arrive at the hotel where Edward would be staying. It had a big bed and a view of passing trains and tall buildings. Our intrepid bear decided that a nap was in order and settled down to rest with the complementary cookies to help keep him going until dinner.

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Edward had hoped to visit St Paul’s Cathedral but it was closed. This seemed strange given it is supposed to be a place for worship and quiet contemplation. He perched on a sign that seemed appropriate. Why it was there remained a mystery.

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Shops were open so a few important purchases were made, selected after careful consideration and tastings. Edward likes Whittard, although was sure on his last visit he was also provided with biscuits.

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Edward understands how important it is to take time to refuel when on an adventure. The Ivy at Tower Bridge provided a delicious chocolate bombe that was much appreciated.

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Edward regretted that he could not gain access to the Tate Modern as it is such an interesting building to explore. Instead, he observed Extinction Rebellion protestors gathered on the lawn as they prepared to cross Millennium Bridge. The surrounding streets were clogged with a great number of police vehicles, one of which had been given a parking ticket. Edward did not appreciate their noisy helicopter overhead but enjoyed the protestors’ musical offerings.

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Before returning home, Edward had a chance to chat to his good friend Paddington who told him the return of visitors has been most welcome, although his station remains quieter than it used to be. Edward then enjoyed a small snack before boarding his train.

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Edward was sad to say goodbye to London but concluded it is probably not worth visiting again until everywhere reopens with a full welcome. He was pleased that the fine weather enabled the outdoors to be enjoyed – especially along the lively South Bank – when so many indoor venues proved uninviting.

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Elizabeth enjoyed catching up with all the news of her capital city. Even with limited access, Edward agreed it was good to go adventuring again.

Edward Explores: A Happy Birthday

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In last month’s post readers were told that Edward likes birthdays. His favourite birthday is his own, which he celebrated recently. It was decided that such a special day deserved its own post in this occasional series.

A reminder, Edward Explores is written for fellow teddy bear appreciators. If you are here purely for the books you may wish to come back tomorrow.

As Edward’s birthday is such an important occasion there was champagne and cake. Edward shares the date with Chief Bearer who had requested chocolate brownies be made. Robin, a bear adopted from the wonderful Flump Bear Care, helped Edward check their quality. After several sizable tastings they declared the brownies excellent.

edward birthday pic 1Birthdays also benefit from a delicious meal out, preferably in the company of favourite people. Edward was happy to be taken to one of his favourite restaurants. Naturally, he dressed for the occasion.

Deciding what to eat can be a challenge when there are so many tasty options to choose from. Edward decided to try: bread and butter pudding with custard, warm chocolate brownie with ice cream, and chocolate chip banana bread with ice cream. 

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After carefully considered (and repeated) tasting he opted for the brownie. It was that sort of day.

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Bears will normally be in bed by 8 o’clock but birthdays can require a later night, especially when they have involved so much rich food. Thus Edward had a recovery lie in the next day. He enjoyed a healthy breakfast incorporating the last of the brownies.

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Freshly energized and determined not to waste what time was still available, Edward decided that, as a thank you for his birthday dinner, he would make chocolate truffles for his bearers and friends. These were much appreciated.

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Since his birthday, Edward has been on another adventure, one requiring a train journey! As it has been such an exciting month there will be a second post to tell his readers all about it. He is very happy to be out and about again. 

Edward Explores: Eating out at his local pub

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Edward has been on an adventure this month, which pleased him greatly. With restaurants permitted to reopen after lockdown, enquiries were made at his local pub. Hurray! Restrictions have been lifted and customers are being made to feel welcome again. Younger bearer decided it was time to go out for his delayed celebratory birthday meal. Edward likes birthdays. 

Always eager to be appropriately dressed, Edward chose carefully based on the heavy rain that fell on the day selected for the outing. Thankfully, by the time everyone was ready to walk to the venue, clouds had cleared.

The friendly waiting staff offered a table by bookshelves, giving Edward an excellent vantage point from which to observe proceedings. Drinks were ordered along with a sharing platter. Edward was not entirely convinced this was for him.

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After a lengthy wait, during which Edward had time to peruse several books, more appealing portions were delivered. These looked very tasty.

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From chocolate brownie, biscoff cheesecake and sticky toffee pudding, Edward chose the brownie. He had to try quite a lot of each before coming to this decision. They were all delicious.

As well as eating out, Edward has welcomed two new friends who came to live with him. 

edward and bumble Edward meets Oskar

Bungle is a rescue bear, spotted in a charity shop window and brought home to comfort youngest bearer who had been feeling a little down. Edward has never been able to understand how loyal and undemanding bears end up in such places but is pleased that Bungle – who provides excellent cuddles – has now been given a new forever home.

Oskar is a one of a kind bear from Susie’s Button Bears, purchased to celebrate a bearer’s new job. He mostly lives on her bookshelves along with some other bears from her extensive sleuth.

Edward hopes you are all keeping as well as is possible in these trying times. He is looking forward to further adventures while his bearers remain free to take him out and about again.

Edward Explores – Lockdown Life

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Welcome to another post keeping you up to date with how life is treating a small (but perfectly formed) teddy bear named Edward Gainsborough. When this series was introduced last month, Edward had been hoping to be out and about on exciting adventures by now. Sadly, the lifting of lockdown restrictions was postponed meaning he is still confined to his house and garden. He has, however, been working hard at keeping his bearers’ spirits up as much as is possible – a task teddies are particularly adept at.

When, for a brief period at least, the sun came out and temperatures rose, a cheering barbeque was requested. Edward enjoys barbeques. He and his good friend, Al (a build-a-bear companion made for youngest bearer) took their sunglasses and deck chair into the garden to watch an exciting table tennis match while food was cooked on flames – they stayed well back from those. Edward particularly enjoyed the chocolate stuffed banana he was given, eating it all up before it could be photographed – yum!

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It is always an exciting day when a new bear comes to live at Edward’s house. Helga (a Steiff bear from the Netherlands) brought with her a tulip and a small companion who had kept her company in the box they travelled such a long way inside. Edward introduced her to all her new friends, whose names she cleverly committed to memory. She is a lovely addition to the sleuth and gives excellent hugs.

When the weather turned damp, Edward suggested a pancake night – something that brings his bearers together, drawing them out from their private spaces within the house. They listened to music and talked about football, a sport Edward was to learn a great deal more about in the weeks ahead.

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With the need to find entertainments at home, the recent European football competition has provided a welcome distraction. Edward joined his bearers to watch the Scottish match, although that team’s supporting bears wanted to know where their flag was. They also wondered how to turn the big television on – in their excitement they had arrived a tad early for kick-off. Teddy bears are, of course, very patient but were keen to learn what exactly footballers did and why this was so exciting.

Although Edward’s bearers shout a lot at the players – something a quiet bear would never do – he was pleased to note that they seem to enjoy themselves, especially when their team wins the match.

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There was also a birthday to celebrate this month, which required cake. The chocolate orange creation didn’t last long but was declared delicious by the young bearer it was made for. Edward agreed.

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More football was watched and goodies eaten in celebration of the England team’s continuing success. The bears enjoyed sharing the edible balls provided. They may need more time to master the skills required to make use of the one they were provided with to kick.

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Limited as they are to home entertainments, Edward is pleased to see his bearers interest in the sporting action, even if it is only on a screen. He wishes the England team good luck in the final. He is hoping a win might result in much joy for his bearers, and perhaps another celebratory cake.

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Edward Explores – An Introduction

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.