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.

Sun, sea and sand

It was lovely to get away for a few days this week, to enjoy a change of scenery and some down time with my boys. It was also lovely to come home afterwards for a rest. Holidays are fun but exhausting, does that make me sound ungrateful? I am not, I enjoyed our time away immensely. Now though I need to catch up on sleep and on thinking time.

Whilst away I did not manage to read or write, what I got instead was activity and conversation. We made the most of spending time together without our usual distractions. I need to mentally process all of this as I resume the rhythm of my everyday life. My batteries have been successfully recharged, it is now time to move forward.

Booking a few days on the coast in February was always going to be risky weather wise. After the storms and floods of recent weeks I did wonder how we would cope if we were confined to our hotel by the elements. In the event we were lucky and spent much of our time away walking and enjoying the long, sandy beaches and promenades in glorious sunshine.

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The south coast of England is a popular place for retirees as well as holidaymakers. As I do not like crowds I tend to avoid the more built up areas. On one of our walks this week we ended up in Bournemouth and I was reminded why. It was my husband who accurately noted that the irritations of walking through noisy, crowded streets filled with slow moving pedestrians left us feeling more drained than the five mile walk to get there. We were happy to return to the tranquility of the peninsula where our hotel was located.

My daughter had chosen to stay at home so I had my three boys for company. They made good use of the hotel facilities with my elder son joining my husband in the gym while my younger son braved the cold to swim outside despite the wind and evening rain.

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It was accepted that I wished to relax at times, even though I could not find sufficient time to write coherently. I have come home with a notebook filled with words which I hope I will be able to use in subsequent posts. I have so many plans and ideas swirling around in my head. I feel mentally replenished.

I also feel physically over fed. The food was delicious and plentiful, there seemed little point in not indulging while I had the opportunity. My husband and elder son were particularly appreciative of the various chefs’ skills and I will review our restaurant experiences in other posts. Suffice to say here that these were highlights of the trip.

How different this was to previous experiences of eating out when my children were younger. I wonder if my own lack of imagination and skill in the kitchen at home has resulted in a family who can value variety of taste and presentation when it is offered. Even my younger son was willing to try new dishes on this trip. Our evening’s out were enjoyed by all.

We returned home to a daughter who had made good use of having a house to herself. Friends had been round, food of choice cooked, but she had not forgotten to care for our hens or carry out the other few tasks I had left for her. I missed her company but am happy to see her cope responsibly with independence.

I now have a weekend to get the house in order, deal with laundry and indulge my own needs. We also have the third season of Game of Thrones to finish. If we have time this evening then we will watch the final two episodes. I have been warned about the Red Wedding already.

Preparations

As often happens at this time of year, my life seems to have stepped up a gear. I have a long list of jobs that I need to complete in the next few days if I am to meet other’s expectations. I am not good at coping with obligations that I did not agree to but are presumed accepted.

After the initial wobble when December arrived and I realised that I could not realistically hide under my duvet for the entire month, I have been coping with the preparations for Christmas reasonably well. It will be very low key in our house this year, but the event will be marked. There has been some irritation from my children that I am not displaying the expected enthusiasm; sorry guys, I’m doing the best I can.

I had an added challenge this week as my daughter is attending a conference at a university 160 miles from our home. I have written before about my dislike of driving but, on this occasion, I had to balance my antipathy against the worry I would have to deal with if I sent her on her own by train. The compromise we arrived at was for me to drive her there the evening before and stay overnight in a cheap hotel to remove the pressure of having to complete the journey in a set time. This worked well and I actually rather enjoyed my time away.

With three children and a husband to consider, it can be hard to spend time with just one member of my family. Months can go by without this happening, although I have benefited from two such occasions this week.

On Sunday my husband and I had a meal out together, just the two of us. We do not have regular date nights so this was a rare treat. Admittedly it only came about because we had to bring my daughter home from a Black Veil Brides concert that was due to finish after the last train home had departed. As a trip to the city was necessary we decided to make use of the need to travel and park by indulging ourselves. I still had to cook a dinner for my sons before we left, but it was good to spend time alone with my husband. I almost felt young again.

The late return home after we had collected my daughter, followed by the need to get up for school the next day, meant that I had four hours sleep on Sunday night. This was not the best way to ready myself for the long drive on Monday evening.

I had prepared the family dinner in advance so that all my husband had to do in order to feed himself and our boys was to reheat the contents of a couple of pots. I was impressed on my return to find that they had been washed.

My daughter and I planned to eat on arrival, although I brought along a packed meal just in case we suffered delays or could not find a suitable eatery. I worry a lot about potential problems and feel better if I have contingency plans.

The journey up was exhausting. I am not used to having to drive in the dark and the traffic was very heavy. The unknown roads were confusing at times, despite the many maps and detailed directions that I had printed off. As I had to concentrate hard on my driving I needed my daughter to act as navigator. As a non driver, she struggled at times to understand what it was that I needed to know.

However, we reached our destination after about four hours and were able to walk to a restaurant from our hotel. After a delicious meal we relaxed for an hour or so before settling down for an early night. I slept better and for longer than I normally do at home.

The next morning we spent a pleasant enough couple of hours exploring the university campus before I left my daughter to find her own way into her conference. It was obvious from the many students on site that I was something of an anachronism but, having made the journey, I wished to see what the university had to offer as it is one that my daughter may consider applying to. She showed signs of irritation at my behaviour at times but coped well.

After a picnic lunch I then had to face the drive home on my own. Nobody seemed to have missed me and I was back in time to cook the family dinner. My daughter texted me to say that she was having an awesome time and had made friends already so I do not need to worry about her for the rest of the week.

My week, meanwhile, must continue apace. School finishes for the Christmas holidays on Friday and I still have letters and cards to sort as well as presents to wrap. With one week to go I am struggling to keep my mood up.

However, I am coping. I may not get to the gym as planned, or manage a walk this week, but I should be able to tick off all the essential tasks on my Do List. I also plan to do more writing as that is a guaranteed mood lifter. How grateful I am to have found this outlet for my vacillating emotions.

My house is a mess so I shall now tackle some chores before I face those festive tasks. I hope that your preparations are coming along as you would wish. One week to go and counting.

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