During the course of a long, varied, and probably inglorious career; there are times when I feel I have pretty well ‘seen it all.’ But yet even I can find myself surprised.
This morning I caught a glimpse of pink on the other side of the hedge. Pink, in comparatively large quantities, doesn’t really figure in nature in Cumbria. So when I went into that field to check on the couple of dry cows there, I went to the far end of the field and investigated the ‘pink’. And there sprawled a teddy bear; lying there looking as if it was waiting for forensics to draw the chalk outline round it.
Now I realise that I’m just some simple farm boy who doesn’t get out much; but in rather a lot of years, this is the first abandoned teddy bear I’ve come across in one of our fields. What made it even more unusual was that it was two fields from the nearest habitation, and the field itself was not crossed by any footpaths, indeed it’s a dead end that nobody would want to walk into anyway.
Anyway I collected the teddy bear and when I was feeding sheep I called in at the nearest house and a small child identified the bear as her own. Apparently her mother has adopted a not unreasonable policy in that there are ‘indoor toys’ and ‘outside toys’ and this bear was very much in the outside category. My guess is that a fox took it, carried it through two hedges and was half way across the second field before it realised that its prey might smell of people and therefore food, but it wasn’t all that edible. (Foxes can out-think teddy bears but that isn’t saying a lot.)
As this point, it being Sunday, I’m reminded of the probably apocryphal tale of a small child who went to church with her grandparents. When she got home her mother had asked what they’d done.
The child replied, “We sang Gladly the teddy bear’s song.”
This came as something of a surprise to her mother who didn’t think it was that sort of happy-clappy church. She asked her father about it, who hadn’t a clue, and then asked her mother who thought a while and suggested that the child has latched onto the line, “gladly the cross I’d bear”
Keeping, very tenuously, to a vaguely bedtime theme, my Lady Wife, a lady entirely reliable in her observations, went to get a newspaper earlier this week. It would be about 10am and she parked in the street next to the post office. Roose is a quiet community, a suburb of the seething metropolis that is Barrow-in-Furness. As she came out of the post office she noted a lady clad in a dressing gown, standing barefoot in the middle of the street talking to a neighbour.
She was a little taken back at this; after all, it’s not as if she was in Tesco. Then yesterday, being a Saturday, she also went to collect the paper. Five girls between the ages of four and twelve were running down the street towards the post office, clutching money. One was wearing a onesie, the others were merely wearing their pyjamas. Save for the youngest who had decided to accessorise her pyjamas by wearing a pair of knickers on her head, and was peering out through one of the leg holes.
I suppose it’s nice that the weather at the end of September is still warm enough for such informality of dress.
Through some oversight on my part, I’ve never written a book about a teddy bear! Shocking I realise, but we all fail sometimes. Still looking on the bright side I have got one novel published where high fashion plays an important part.
As one reviewer put it, “In this new adventure in the `Swords’ series, we again follow Benor and watch and feel as though we take part in his hectic life. He both pursues and is pursued when he `liberates’ a prince’s concubine (and keeps her!) and the prince, naturally, doesn’t want to let the matter rest. As well as being an excellent fighter, one of his companions on the journey is a master of the haute couture trade and manages to combine these two rather successfully.
Jim Webster has created a credible fantasy world here, populated by its own races, both rivals and allies, and with an intriguing group of wild creatures which you can almost taste when they are described as food species! There is a good deal of action in this book but also some softer, `Ahhh!’ moments which I won’t describe for fear of spoiling the story. Needless to say, he has once again used his own writing style to give us some wonderfully memorable phrases. I like his style and his gentle humour.”