Sunday, 27 September 2015

Introduction to Mons.Pierre Ours, with a Colin the Koala Update

Greetings everyone - Cy Bear here and delighted to be chatting with you all once more.

First of all, an update on my big friend, Colin, the Koala:  here he is after being introduced to his new surroundings in "The Artful Buttoner",  in Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.  This is where a lots of COLDHAMCUDDLIES are currently sitting on shelves around the Shop, all - like Colin himself - hoping to find their Forever Homes soon.   

After some thought, I'm told that Maggie from "The Artful Buttoner" decided the best way to let everyone know about him was to give him a cream silk bow tie, to which his name and price is attached.  When Isobel visited the shop to take part in the Shop's MacMillan Cancer Coffee Morning on Friday this week, she saw he's sitting in a prominent position (on the floor by one of the Shop's front windows - because there aren't that many spaces on the shelves for someone of Colin's proportions).  He won't be bored, because he can watch everything (and everyone) passing each way in the street outside.  Any developments in his story will, of course form part of a future blog, as and when they occur.

Next, it's my pleasure to tell you more about my twin, Peter Bear - who currently lives in Normandy, France.  He, like me, is made from the left side of an old Beaver Lamb fur coat.  Isobel made me first - and made some mistakes in so doing - which meant that it was decided I should remain with her and become the official COLDHAMCUDDLIES Mascot, with many official duties involved.

When MmeIM (although she's Isobel's sister-in-law, I don't know her very well, so - as a well behaved Bear, I speak about her formally, as I have been told to do) first met me, she asked if she could have an identical Bear made for her.  As it happened, there was JUST enough Beaver Lamb fur left for another version, and so Peter appeared on the scene.  When Isobel and Philippa went to Normandy three years' ago, Peter accompanied them, and he's lived there ever since.

Since residing there, and acquiring this very flash mauve bow tie, Isobel has decided that - as with Mons. Reynard (Mr. Fox) and Madame Lapin (Mrs Rabbit) - Peter will now become known as Mons Pierre Ours (Mr. Peter Bear),  So, as I am an obedient Bear, I'll carry out this instruction without argument.  The two cast-iron herons in the picture are placed on an old tree trunk - left over from when an old pine tree had to be cut down some years ago.   (MmeIM and Mons.MM have lived in Normandy for nearly 30 years, and regularly have to fell trees as they get old, or get blown over by the numerous storms that hit the area frequently.  They then become firewood when that is needed in the house).  

When he's not going round the garden being photographed (a first, as it happens), Pierre normally sits on the piano in the living room of the house.  However, when Isobel and Philippa were there this time, double glazed windows were being installed throughout the house (shown in Isobel's post last week) and all ornaments etc. had been removed so that they would not get dusty - or broken.  Until all the intallation is complete, Pierre has been put in a storage container - which is currently housed (with everything else in what is known as The Chalet)

Once all the domestic upheavals have been completed, I expect Pierre will return to his usual spot on top of the piano -  or, then,  may be not.  A couple of bulletins ago, I suggested that some up to date pictures of Mons. Reynard and Madame Lapin might also be taken, but I now learn that they have recently gone to live with MmeIM's six year old Grandaughter, CM - who lives in Glastonbury (as Isobel told you last week).  It has been suggested that we may ask for photographs of them to be taken with their new Forever Friend, but so far that has yet to be arranged.  If that can be arranged, think that would make a great post for here, don't you?  Meanwhile, a dilemma might occur - should they remain Mons. and Madame?  Or should they go back to being Mr Fox and Mrs Rabbit?  Watch this space.

Meanwhile, there could be a space for Pierre on MmeIM's dressing table (where the other two Cuddlies had lived), and he could get to know Mons.Le Professeur Ours (Prof Bear to you and me) who is a relatively recent present to MmeIM from her Son, DM (CM's Dad).  Here's a  photograph of Prof Bear

You see that Prof and Pierre would look good together with their matching bows, and there's room at the other end of the dressing table for Pierre.  Again, watch this space!

Before closing, here are some other pictures of Pierre in various parts of the garden in Normandy - Isobel was able to get the photos in between the heavy rain showers - but at least this time around, the sun did come out for the travellers to be able to enjoy the lovely surroundings in which they found themselves.

Here he is sitting on a chair in a garden pergola

Perched on a heap of rocks in front of another building, which also has a garage space at the other end of it.

These pictures were being taken as the sun was going down - but the shadows make for some interesting features I think.

This shrub under which Pierre is standing seems to have different names - depending on whom Isobel was talking to.  But she thinks one of them is a "Judas Tree".  In the summer it has bright orange flowers on it:  when this photo was taken, there was just  one, slightly brown one left over, which can be seen in the top right corner of the picture.

Next week, I'm hoping that we'll have some more to tell you about new Cuddlies who are planned to be introduced, as well as a new listing of yet another Baby Bunny Rabbit - who is scheduled to be listed in our Shop ( next week.  That is after Isobel has completed a total retitling and retagging session on all the Cuddlies (87 of them at the last count), which is what has been occupying her this last week.

Until then:  I do hope everyone has a good, productive week - and that the Indian Summer weather we're currently enjoying in the UK is what many of you are also having.

Good bye for now.  Your Friend,  Cy Bear.

Monday, 21 September 2015

A Colin the Koala Update and further news

Hello there Everyone:

Having returned safely from the trip to Normandy at the end of last week, I've spent the last couple of days catching up with Etsy administration and responding to the inclusion of Cuddlies in over 35 Treasuries while I was away.  A wonderful surprise, but inevitably a time-consuming enterprise.  (I've yet to check what, if anything, has happened today - but that will have to wait until tomorrow - Monday).

Thus, this post is going to be a day late, because when I could have been writing it, I was spending a very pleasant afternoon visiting St. Mary's College, Oscott - located on the outskirts of Birmingham - which is where many Catholic priests learn to carry out their vocations.

The College, with this magnificent front view,  has been in existence for two hundred years, and having heard a lot about it during my 40-odd years of marriage to Peter (a one-time Catholic journalist), it was exciting to be able to visit - thanks to a lift from Clare and Alan, accompanied by my young Grandson, ER.

(Readers of this blog will recall, that I don't include the full names of either my customers, nor the Cuddlies Forever Friends - so I shall continue this custom when relating to younger members of my family and friends).

This photo shows the magnificent front entrance to the College, which overlooks the City of Birmingham.  A party of members of the congregation of St. Barnabas Cathedral, Nottingham - where the family attends Mass each Sunday, and Clare and Alan are involved with various parochial duties - were given a tour around the building, including its magnificent Pugin-designed Chapel, as well as being entertained to tea, coffee and cakes.  We left before going to its well-known Museum, because we needed to complete a 90 min. drive home so our Little Person's night time routine could be fulfilled.

Now some further news of Colin, the Giant Koala.  His travel arrangements - as outlined by Cy Bear in our last past - were successfully concluded, and he is now sitting in the bedroom chair awaiting his next adventure(s) (still to be decided).  He was still in his original wrappings when I returned from Normandy, and was no doubt relieved to be able to see daylight once more.

His story is still not entirely resolved:  because, before leaving for France, I made arrangements to provide a full refund to the lady who ordered him.  Upon returning to Philippa's home last Wednesday, a message from the customer awaited me on the Etsy Convo site indicating that somehow the payment had not gone through!  (The whole transaction, not just Colin, would seem to have been jinxed!).   Later that day, when checking through my emails, I discovered that the payment had indeed reached the customer's work place, but an over zealous colleague - not recognising from whom the refund was coming - had instigated the return of the funds to my PayPal account!  Having then confirmed that the instigator was indeed a work colleague, and with the week-end's family meetings with Grandson to look forward to, I told the former customer that I'd sort things out on Monday!  Let us hope that this will finally conclude this bit of Colin's adventures!

Philippa and my trip to Normandy, via a visit to her former flatmate to deliver "Welcome to the World" presents to her little three-week old son, was very successful.  We had a wonderful time, and the directions to and from the Channel Tunnel were good enough for us to have few problems following them.  The journey each way took us about two and three-quarters hours each way, and driving on the right presented few problems for Philippa, who has lived (and driven) on the Continent, as well as the USA,  in the past.

The weather was mixed, although we did get some sunshine amidst frequent heavy downpours, and I was able to take some photographs of Peter Bear, as Cy Bear suggested might happen.  I'll post about him next time, but here is a taster for you to look forward to -

Cy Bear is not too sure about the velvet bow tie, but Peter (or should that be Mons. Pierre now, I wonder?) wears it with pride.

However, Cy Bear's other suggestion - that up to date photos of Madame Lapin and Mons. Reynard be taken - could not be done.  These two Cuddlies have recently travelled to live with my nephew and his six year old daughter CM, who live in Glastonbury, Somerset -  some 25 miles from where the Cuddlies were based before we moved to Nottinghamshire, last year.

Since Mons. Reynard was originally made by me for my nephew (in the early 1980's) - only for the Fox to be appropriated by his Mother (to keep Madame Lapin company - so she said!) it seems very appropriate that these two Cuddlies should now be regarded as "Hippy" Cuddlies.   (Glastonbury is, after all, the location for the famous Glastonbury Music Festivals - where the attendees are never happier than when camping for the week-end, and wading through the mud puddles that almost always seem to be part of those occasions. I know that sounds somewhat stereotypical but it's what Glastonbury is well known for - as well as it's beautiful Abbey ruins, and the Glastonbury Tor.   Neither the music, nor the accompaniments, are something that appeals to me, actually, but we know folk (of all ages) for whom it is a "must do" thing).

A visit to Normandy is not complete without jaunts to various super markets - to acquire the local cheeses and bring back wine and other choice locally-produced comestibles - and Philippa and I carried out our plans accordingly.  We were also taken to a couple local towns - Cormeuil, which has some lovely examples of the typical Normandy houses built with wood and wattle.  An example is where we were staying:

and this is the house next door - just after a typical Normandy downpour, with a convenient rainbow to brighten things up:

Alas, when we visited Cormeuil, I forgot to take my camera with me (as the Heavens had opened, and there was little or no sunlight with which to take pictures).  We had every intention of returning the next day, but - as often happens on holidays with family - other things intervened, and we never did get around to doing so.

However, we did visit Honfleur - a small fishing and sailing port on the west coast of Normandy, where we spent a lovely couple of hours roaming through the picturesque streets and along the inner and outer harbour.

The outer harbour, looking inland

The outer harbour, looking seawards

A typical cobbled street - making difficult walking conditions!
The inner harbour
You can see there were rain clouds in the offing throughout our visit, but fortunately the weather held while we were strolling through the Town.

It's time I wrapped up this weeks' post - as it is now well past my bedtime.  Whilst it is ready to be published, if the usual round of publicity postings on Google+, Etsy itself and elsewhere is also to be undertaken, it will be the early hours before everything is accomplished.  So, what's another day between friends?  See you all tomorrow - and Cy Bear will probably be back next week, posting about his Twin.  Lets hope he's got over the shock of the velvet bow tie by then:  I do not plan on giving him one!

Hope everyone has a good week.  Isobel

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Adventures (or possibly, Misadventures) of Colin the Koala - Part Two

Good afternoon once more Everyone:  Cy Bear here again.

Me in a Cherry Tree a couple of years back
Lovely to be back, as it looks like there's going to be a break in communications for at least one week, while Isobel goes to Normandy next week, and while we still await the arrival back home of Colin the Giant Koala, about whom I posted last Sunday

There has been yet another mix-up between Isobel and the Couriers - poor old Colin, he seems to be jinxed, doesn't he?  She thought she'd ordered - and paid for - a Courier service:  they booked it as a parcel service, which entailed our customer having to haul Colin to the nearest Parcel Shop, from which his journey would then commence.  

That is until Thursday this week - when we thought he would be arriving with us here in Nottinghamshire,  Instead, we received a message from the Customer telling us that he was still waiting to be picked up.

Having been thus alerted to the true situation - and after exhaustive searches on the Courier's site, and Isobel being able to find out how to "chat" to some one on line, another journey was arranged - with the first one being cancelled.  A refund of the "ticket" home is due early next week, and Isobel is hoping that she has now organised Colin's departure from London to begin on Monday morning.

Now, as the Courier in question does not guarantee a delivery in anything under 5 Working Days from pick-up, that could pose a problem.  As I said in the opening paragraph, Isobel is due to be travelling to Normandy, France (with visits to friends en route, as well as a special lunch at a hotel called "The Compleat Angler" near where Philippa lives, which is on the way to said friends in Kent). 

They will then be overnighting at Folkestone and getting on an early Chunnel Train to Calais, from whence Philippa will be driving both of them to stay with family in Normandy for five days.  As Isobel is doing the navigating both ways, I am trusting that all will be well. (She used to be pretty good at it, I'm told, here in England, so presumably it won't be THAT different in France!  When they're there, there are plans for photographs to be taken of my Twin, Peter Bear, together with old friends Mons. Reynard and Madame Lapin:  so look out for a post about them soon!)

The reason for stopping off at "The Compleat Angler", in a town called Marlow, is that it is where Isobel and Peter spent their wedding night in 1969.  As Thursday happens to be the 46th Anniversary of that date, Philippa suggested it might be nice to go there - and the arrangements were set up accordingly. (Isobel's main memory of that day - apart, of course, from the Wedding itself - was Peter going to dinner, in this very posh hotel, wearing bed room slippers.  He'd spent the whole day in a new pair of shoes, and his feet were killing him.  It wasn't such a social disaster, however:  as Peter always wore leather slippers (polished to a high degree!) and could get away with it!!)

So, Colin is likely to arrive back in Kirkby-in-Ashfield on either Friday or Saturday of next week - when Isobel will be far away in Normandy.  Matters have been arranged that the parcel will be taken in by our kind next-door neighbour at Old Chapel Close - where we now live.  The good lady has already seen Colin - before he was packed up for his journey to London - so she knows he's going to take up quite a corner in the corridor of her flat!  (Isobel could have arranged for Colin to be delivered to Clare's home, three doors away - but with the recent arrival of a Little Man in the lives of Clare and Alan, an enormous Giant Koala parcel seemed to be an additional responsibility too far.)

Interestingly, while discussing the new travel arrangement with our Customer - who happens to be an Australian living and working in the UK, who had been particularly excited to find Colin for the project she was working on. Isobel discovered that, our Customer was working on a a video in which Colin would have "played" a major part.  Such a shame that the journey south didn't work out - as that would indeed have been a "FIRST" for any of us Cuddlies.  (On the other hand, am not sure any one could have handled Colin's ego had the plan been fulfilled.)  Yes, I'm jealous!!  But then who wouldn't be? 

Just to remind you - this is Colin's head already....

Giant Koala Toy Grey White Plush Collectable ColdhamCuddlies Bear Seeks Adoption Unusual Mascot Special Attraction Friendly Companion Toy

Sorry, we cannot centre this photo - as we couldn't last week - because it's been "cut and pasted" directly from our listing in our Shop.  The layout of this blog doesn't seem to allow us to do it, AND centre it!

We have "re-activated" Colin, because one never knows if or, indeed when, someone else might want him to feature in a Video, or as a Special Mascot, or even as a Special Prize in some Tombola or Raffle competition  - whatever any of those might be!!  You know me:  being a mere Beaver Lamb Bear, these things are a complete mystery to me.

Just to revert to Isobel's proposed journey to Normandy later this coming week - she's been making some new Baby Rabbits for our shop ( based on the very first Baby Rabbits she made in the 1970's.  Then she only had access to some yellow and white plush fur, so as babies don't care what colour their Cot or Pram Toys come in, she made one for Philippa and one for Clare, when she arrived some years later.  That first Baby Bunny was named "Treasure" by Philippa when she was able to speak, (because her Grandmother used to call her that -  usually when she was holding the Toy in her hand)- and so every Yellow and White Plush Coldham Baby Bunny made since has been referred to as "Treasure" ever since. 

 One of the three Treasures shown below

will be accompanied by a Purple Fleece Rabbit - because the two travellers are going to meet the Little Boy who has recently arrived in the home of a former flatmate of Philippa's.  Treasure 15 (because he was made in 2015) is Isobel's gift:  Purple Bunny is going to be Philippa's present to her latest Honorary Nephew. 

 I think the final presentation will look like this.

Right, think I've wittered on long enough for this week.  However, since you're going to have a week's break from a post, perhaps you'll forgive me - just this once.

Your good friend, Cy Bear,

Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Adventures of Colin the Koala - Part One

Hello again, Everyone!  Cy Bear here again, after the swift passing of another week in the lives of the Coldham Cuddlies.

A couple of weeks' ago I alluded to the fact that one of the Cuddlies was about to set off on an adventure, and that I'd tell you all about it as and when it ended.  As it happens, it hasn't ended yet, nor in the way that we'd all hoped, but it's still worth telling you about (and in any case, Isobel hasn't come up with anything else for me to post about this week!).

Before telling you the whole story, perhaps I should give you a bit of background about Colin.  He is our one and only Giant Koala and looks like this now he's finished.