Teddy Bears’ Picnic.
My name is Bertie. I am a teddy bear. I do think a lot as many bears do and have done in the past. Bears like Winnie the Pooh and Paddington.
My best friend is Bobby Ballcock. He talks a lot. Everybody says so. Together we hope to bring you a ray of sunshine through our stories. Where we go. Who we meet and what fun it can be. And each week we light a candle to Diddley. Bobby’s wife who is now in heaven. Never forget the ones you love.
Coming from a teddy bear shop in Dorking run by an old gentleman like the one in Pinocchio. The toy maker. The shop isn’t there any more. When Bobby met Diddley it seemed only right I should be best man at their wedding. Just the three of us. Before that he and I were on our own, and now we are on our own again. It’s OK to be sad. but not forever. In our blog we say –
Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, so live for today. And that is what we try to do.
This is a Teddy Bears’ Picnic. Sometimes when your life changes you can do things you couldn’t do before. Bobby loves trains. And planes. And old cars. And Fulham Football Club. Which club do you support? Me? I support Sutton United. Put it all together and there are so many opportunities. The best one being travelling by train to our favourite place in Austria. A week walking in the mountains. A week to get there by train and a week to get back. On the way I went to Paris and up the Eiffel Tower. To Germany and the BOB train. To Austria and the mountains. And Venice, with all those boats. On the way back through Germany I found the most wonderful upside down railway with a very funny name…..Wuppertal Schwebebahn. Try saying that eating an ice cream.
If you look at my blog, you will see many other stories about the life a teddy bear can have. A veritable Teddy Bear’s Picnic. He has a good friend. And lots of grandchildren.
Here is the blog… www.mindfullybertie.org.uk.
There are many stories to write. Last week we went to Brooklands Museum. A wonderful place for bears.
And, of course, we always finish with Lighting a Candle for Diddley. This time here at Laurel Cottage where we all had such happy times. And still do. Where the family and friends and you through this blog are always welcome. Just bring a smile.
Lighting a Candle for Diddley at Easter
This week we are delighted to welcome our very first visiting contributor. Long time friend Bernard is writing about his father’s military adventures in ‘Ernie’s War’. Over to you Bernard:
Delving into my family’s past has been a great fascination for me. Capturing these memories is important. A little more on that subject at the end. Ernie’s War is the story is about my father in the early stages of the war. Joining the Air Training Corp, through to the RAF and his continued involvement post war. (more…)
The home of Mindfully Bertie. A Cottage full of love, memories, grandchildren. Back in 1998 it was quite different. Diddley was already living here. Facing losing it in unpleasant divorce. When, at the eleventh hour and fifty nine minutes, newly married she was able to email the entire office she and Bobby worked in……..
“Thank you. In my darkest hour I dreamt of being saved by a handsome prince on a white charger. Little did I expect white van man in a boiler suit”.
And so to Austria.
Bobby loves Austria. Back in 1981, it was the destination for his first holiday abroad. Wallace Arnold coach from Victoria Coach Station. (A future blog). 24 hours. To Lake Achensee, near Innsbruck. Many years later, married to Diddley, he was in a relationship where you followed your dreams – even if it meant going on your own. With approval. A Country Walking magazine article was the spark for Bobby to go back to Austria on a walking holiday to see the Alpine meadows in May. In Carinthia, the southern most state, bordering Italy and Slovenia, he found a walker’s paradise of mountains and lakes. Millstatter am zee…..
The Adventure Club: Suffolk.
Bobby worked for the Highways Agency for nearly twenty years. During that time he made some wonderful friends that are still friends today. Eight years after he retired. Back in 2006, he suggested one evening that his friends walk with him the long way to Laurel Cottage. Over the hills and far away. Tea in the garden with Diddley.
That walk soon led to more. To long weekends away. All over England and Wales. And, memorably, to Eastern Europe. Bratislava, Krakow and so on. The group became known as “The Adventure Club”. As the years have gone by, the group has changed. Some are no longer with us. And now, we have children coming. It’s a natural progression. Always dependant on the one or two stalwarts who put all the organising effort in. Our most recent adventure was to Suffolk, and this blog tells the story of that lovely weekend.
Mum Becky and her children, Heidi and Ava, shared Bobby’s car. Stopping off for a wild adventure on the way. MacDonalds! On, on we drove for what seemed like ages. Arriving at the rented house after dark. An indoor swimming pool, games room, lots of space, and communal meals. All organised for the lazy ones. Like Bobby. I had a go at pool. Not very good.
We decided to go to Southwold the next day. Famous for Adnams Brewery and those wonderful beach huts.
Beach hut extravaganza. Check ITV Hub. Robson Green. Tales from the Coast. Episode 3.
Guess how much for a posh shed that you cannot stay in overnight. That people do not want to sell anyway… £60000 to over £100000!
Oh, by the way. Bertie is wearing his Sutton United scarf for an FA cup tie at Dartford that was won and led eventually to Arsenal. Fish and chips on the pier.
Suffolk and Norfolk are lovely counties. One feature being village signs:
On the way back from Southwold, we found a very strange church indeed. Covehithe. On a wet gloomy night, with the light fading, the church and its surroundings were quite sinister. Shall we just say that nobody else got out of the car. The sea gets closer to the church each year as the cliffs erode. The road passed the church is closed as it disappears over the cliff. According to the web, a la “Thelma and Louise”. Had to buy the film, to find out what they were going on about. The story of Covehithe is best read in www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covehithe. But, suffice to say, a big church had been built a long time ago that a small population could not look after. So they took the roof off and built a small thatched church inside the big one, up against the original tower.
It was still raining that Sunday evening, so a few of us drove to Norwich Cathedral for sung evensong. What a wonderful joyous place that is, compared with Covehithe.
Come Monday it was time to go home. Say goodbye to the lovely landlady…
“Anyone fancy the longer, prettier way home?” Becky, Heidi and Ava did, and we landed up in glorious medieval Lavenham. A half timbered village straight out of another age. Home to a glorious “wool” church. From a time when Suffolk wool, like the Cotswolds, brought immense wealth to the County. But how could you show off the wealth? No Rolls Royces. I know – build a whacking great big church to outdo your neighbours. Leaving a glorious legacy and a maintenance nightmare for those charged with looking after them. If this is your thing, there are Wool Church tours in Suffolk. Here’s a site to get you started: www.suffolkchurches.co.uk.
Bobby even bought a tea towel. Careful! Not just any tea towel but, as you can see, a quite remarkable map of East Anglia. Where, given its strategic position, every decent field became an airfield during the war. There are remnants all over the counties of farms with unusual shaped barns. Hiding secrets of long ago – and Spitfires… Once.
Lighting a candle for Diddley.
We lit lots of candles in Norwich Cathedral. But this time, remembering a few years ago when she walked into Lavenham church, the candle was lit there.
Dear Friends. As you know, Bobby is a man of few words. I do most of the talking. This week, he is saying nothing at all! He was profoundly affected by an article in last Saturday’s Telegraph magazine. An article itself reproduced from a book… “Good Grief” by Julia Samuel. It gave him the confidence to say to himself… “You’re doing OK, Bobby”. (more…)
Railway Journeys: Munich.
Clerk Ordinaire, pen pusher, in civil service parlance… an “inky” to a civil engineer’s “oily”. Bobby is all of these things. When Diddley died what was the first thing to do? Correct. Set up a file. With a stationery cupboard looking like a mini Rymans, it was all there. A ring binder. New, A new pack of coloured dividers. All soon labelled with headings for all the activities that would dominate the next few weeks. It was, of course, bereavement therapy. Time for tears later. (more…)
Bobby… “We are going to a circus!”
Bertie… “Wow… All that colour, lights, fun, clowns. You would make a good clown Bobby. You’re good at falling over…”
Bobby… “Thank you. I’ve been called a clown many times. Usually derogatory. Anyway, not that sort of circus. We are going to Piccadilly Circus. They turned the lights out. Here is how they looked at Christmas.
THE SONG OF THE SNOWDROP FAIRY
Deep, sleeps the Winter,
Cold, wet and grey;
Surely all the world is dead;
Spring is far away.
Wait! the world shall waken;
It is not dead, for lo,
The Fair Maids of February
Stand in the snow! (more…)
And so to Paris…
As we boarded the Eurostar, I could see that Bobby was deep in thought. Did he wish Diddley was there? He had promised to take her to Paris, but never did. Was he nervous about the adventure? So excited, he had been rendered speechless? No! He was thinking about 1954. (more…)