Sunday, 27 December 2015

Waiting for the New Year - a Brief look in from Buckinghamshire.

Good afternoon Folks - do hope everyone has had a great Festive week-end, and are now, like me waiting for the New Year to arrive.  When it does I shall be back in Nottinghamshire, as I am being driven there tomorrow (Monday) by Philippa.

As I left before most of my Christmas cards had arrived, am hoping there will be a prolonged session of opening them and catching up with friends and relations when I get back to Kirkby -   Whilst Philippa would undoubtedly have liked to spend time with young E, her nephew, she's succumbed to the dreaded Christmas cold bug, and doesn't want to spread it around the rest of the family, so after a brief stop over, and refreshments provided by Clare and Alan, she will be doing the return journey the same day.  With any luck, because Monday is a Bank Holiday there won't be as much traffic on the road as there could be - fingers crossed.  (In the UK, Boxing Day - is celebrated as one normally when it doesn't fall on a Saturday.  So this year, there is an extra holiday) 

We have an update for you from Mobile, Alabama.  The Hedgehog Family, whose arrival there was shown in last week's post, are safely in the hands of their Forever Friends.

The young triplet cousins of MrsMM seem to be pleased enough - and I've asked to know if the toys had yet been given names. The picture was accompanied by this note -

  The little hedgehog family has been successfully delivered to their new home. Everyone loved them, especially the kids. I enclosed a note with each about the plight of the real hogs, the rescue and that their gift will help raise money to help the real hogs in peril.

Meanwhile, MrsNA from Bonsall, California was asked by Etsy to give a review for the Mommy Hedgehog she had purchased - which can be seen on the Shop site ( but I'll quote it here as well.  -  "Just adorable..... Arrived on time and with lots of love from Isobel" 

MrsNA was unable to confirm at the same time anything about the the safe arrival of the Fayetteville-bound Panda Hand Puppet and Baby Hedgehog, because their Forever Friends are actually her Great Grand Kids, so there's another family level to be negotiated before that news is sent/received!

Before closing, the visit to St Tiggywinkles Hedgehog Hospital did take place at the beginning of last week, and what a worthwhile place it is spend time.  I took lots of photographs, but am unable yet to publish them here, because I need to run my post by the Publicity Department at the Hospital.  Alas, in the past, many quasi-amateur photographers have done the same thing, apparently, and then sold their pictures to the media - without donating any of the funds received to the Sanctuary.  Thus, for sometime, and quite understandably, the Hospital Trust has placed a copyright on all photographs taken at the site.  Before leaving, I checked whether I could use some or all of my pictures - which can hardly be described as "professional", and was asked to send them a copy of what I planned to say in my blog - before publication.  This will be undertaken when I get back to Kirkby during the week, and hopefully, I'll be able to tell you all more - and show you some pictures too - in forthcoming posts.

Thus, there's nothing more for me to say this week, but to wish you all a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous 2016 - because the next bulletin will  be the first for the New Year, and the start of the 6th Year of COLDHAMCUDDLIES' existence.

Good Bye and God Bless!  Isobel

Sunday, 20 December 2015

A briefing from Buckinghamshire, UK

Good afternoon Everyone!

Whilst Cy Bear sits in solitary charge of the Kirkby Cuddlies, I've made it safely to daughter Philippa's home in High Wycombe following a speedy, untrammelled trip by car - courtesy of daughter Clare, and in company with son-in-law Alan and GrandsonE.

As everyone knows, it is not my custom to use anything but initials when referring to Cuddlies' Forever Friends who are children, and when Cy Bear is the author of our posts, he always likes to use initials when referring to our Customers and Friends - because he is a very well brought up Bear. GrandsonE is a recent addition to my family, and is still subject to rigorous adoption rules that operate in the UK, so photographs of this wonderful little fellow on public blogs and media sites like Facebook etc are officially frowned upon.

MrsMM from Mobile, Alabama, about whom Cy Bear also wrote last week has been as good as her word.  She sent us two pictures just to prove that her family of Hedgehogs had arrived safely - and here is the photographic proof!  (Taken in such a manner that their prospective Forever Friends were not aware of their arrival!)

Am pleased to be able to report the safe arrival of Mommy Hedgehog in Bonsall, California -  the furthest destination (from the UK) for the Hedgehogs who left us earlier this month.  We assume - because we've not heard to the contrary - that the travellers to Fayetteville, North Carolina reached their new home too.  When thanking MrsNA for letting me know, asked if she could establish whether or not the package had arrived there, even if the parents of the two children had been firmly told NOT TO OPEN the packages before DECEMBER 25!  (The parcel was safe to open in the travelling envelope:  but no further).  A response has yet to materialise  - but given what happens in households everywhere at this time of the year, it's not really that much of a problem if I don't hear - except, hopefully, that Panda Puppet and Baby Hedgehog make acceptable Forever Friends in due course!

Plans are being made for Philippa and I to travel to StTiggywinkles Hedgehog Hospital on Tuesday of next week - so not only will there be something for me to tell you about in my post next week, but I'm hoping that there will also be the opportunity for me to actually hold a Hedgehog patient too.  Am going primed with my camera - so watch this space.

Meanwhile, before ending this post - Cy Bear forgot to show you the publicity material kindly sent to us by St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Trust for the Press At Home that was such a fiasco.  I've retained it all in a file at home, and will be working on schemes where it can be put to good use in 2016!  (The certificate being propped up by a Mommy Hedgehog is my Certificate of Membership of the StTiggywinkles Wildlife Trust).

Then, late Sunday evening, after the last blog post had been published, we got a last minute call for help from MrPF .  He'd seen one of our Black Plush Baby Rabbits, and wondered if we could get it to him in time for Christmas, as he was anxious to include it with other gifts for his fiancee.  Apparently she has two real rabbit pets, and already has a black and white stuffed toy version of her Dutch Black Rabbit (which also has white markings).  The second real rabbit is an all black variety - and he was hoping to be able to provide a stuffed version of it as a surprise Christmas addition.  As MrPF is located in Ripon, North Yorkshire, UK, there was no problem - except that we didn't actually have one in my flat!  The extant one was on display in "The Artful Buttoner" in Kirkby Town Centre!!

So, Monday morning saw me boarding a 'bus into town to check out the availability of the Black Plush Rabbit, and also Wilfred Wolf, about whom I also received an enquiry over last week-end.  Just in case, the Black Rabbit was not in stock in Town, and because the Baby Rabbits don't take me that long to create, I cut out and sewed up a new version on Sunday evening.  Although there was indeed a Black Bunny in the Shop, I bought both of the Toys back - largely because I still didn't know the location of the customer who was asking about Wilfred Wolf, and I wanted to give MrPF a choice.

In the end, after completing the stuffing on Monday evening, the new version of the Baby Bunny was provided with a crimson velvet ribbon around his neck (rather than the orange version on the original Black one) and was dispatched to Ripon, North Yorkshire on Thursday, before I left for Buckinghamshire the next day.  Wilfred Wolf remains in the UK, as his potential Forever Friend lives in the United States, and there simply wasn't enough time for me to guarantee a Christmas delivery.  (The customer did admit to having "left things a little late this year"!!)

Cy Bear supervising the travel arrangements for the Baby Black Rabbit
Earlier in this post, I mentioned GrandsonE:  to celebrate the fact that after just three months with us, and because he will be 18 months old on  Christmas Eve,  I am including a photograph (with permission of Mummy).  It gives an impression of our wonderful little chap, without it being really that possible to identify him, so hopefully will not fall foul of any official policy.  He is playing with Bob the Purple Bunny, who featured as his first Present from Mummy and Daddy in the introduction process before he arrived in the family.  Bob is still a favourite among the host of toys - stuffed, electronic and wooden - with which E spends his days, and as you see can be subject to fairly rigorous attention. 

E's favoured method of propulsion when he arrived with us in early Autumn was rolling:  he is now walking up to 20 steps unaided, and keeping his parents on their toes!

So - that 's the news from the Coldham Cuddlies world for this week.  Let me wish all of you Readers, Friends, Followers and Fellow Etsy Team Mates a really wonderful Christmas before I end this last but one bulletin for 2015.  (Cy Bear did entitle last week's post as being the penultimate communication from the Coldham Cuddlies - I'd forgotten there was yet another Sunday between Christmas and New Year's Day!)

All the best.  Isobel

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Penultimate Pre-Christmas Post - an update

Greetings Everyone!

Cy Bear back again, almost as soon as the last bulletin got published - or so it seems.  Isobel is always saying that time flies, and increasingly, I'm finding the same thing is happening to me.  Folks might think that sitting on a bed, watching the world go by, that time would pass slowly.  Not in my life, it doesn't!! 

Last week, I ended by telling what was happening to some of our Hedgehog friends in our Shop at - with destinations booked for New York State (a Baby Hedgehog), Fayetteville, North Carolina (Panda Puppet and another Baby Hedgehog) and Bonsall, California (an original Brown Mommy Hedgehog).  

These were the cards that Isobel chose to write the messages in for MrsNA's granchildren in North Carolina.

These were the messages inside the cards:

This shows the individual packages, wrapped in Christmas paper, after the Cuddlies had been wrapped in chemical free tissue.  Because they were going in Christmas paper, Isobel didn't wrap them in bubble wrap, because she didn't want the parcels to be any heavier than necessary, and in any case, they were going to be packed snugly into the same polythene envelope with "AIRMAIL Bag" stamped over it.  They shouldn't have wriggled around too much en route, and to make sure they got as gentle as possible a journey (Postal journeys can be notoriously rough, I'm given to understand) Isobel finished the outside parcel off by placing a band of sticky tape all round the sticky closing area with "FRAGILE" printed along the tape.  Cuddlies may be plush stuffies, but we do have feelings you know - and Isobel always feels guilty submitting them to the dangers of international travel!!!

Mommy Hedgehog was sent off to Bonsall, California at the same time, and we hope to hear that they have arrived safely at their destinations sometime this week - if the services that MrsNA paid for are adhered to by the international postal authorities.  After all, the Christmas Rush has not yet really begun - there's another week before the LAST POSTING DATEs come into effect!

We have heard that the Hedgehog Family sent to Mobile, Alabama a week earlier arrived safely on Friday and that MrsMM is going to send us pictures of them in their new surroundings, as well as when they have been introduced to their Forever Friends. (She wants to be careful not to show them to the designated Forever Friends).   I'm pleased to tell you that she finds - 

 "They are just adorable!!!! I love them and I am sure my little cousins will as well. They look so much cuter in person than in the photos."

Then last evening we were contacted by a MrsTB  to ask when, or if, we would be able to ship Jemima Brown Rabbit - she wanted to buy her for her daughter as a Christmas present.  Without knowing where MrsTB was located, a short exchange of convos on the Etsy site indicated that she was enquiring from the UK.  Well, as the last posting date for guaranteed Christmas parcel delivery is not until Monday, 21st December, Isobel wrote back with a provisional date  - and the result is that this afternoon, MrsTB's order has been received.  As Jemima was last heard of sitting somewhere in "The Artful Buttoner", Isobel's first job tomorrow morning will be to hop on a 'bus to go and collect her and get her ready for her journey to her Forever Home.  (Other things being equal, we're hoping that will be Wednesday of this week.)

Stuffed Jemima Brown Bunny Toy Plush Rabbit Girl Toy Collectable Gift Sea Green Poplin  Frock Orange Carrot (opt) Christmas Present
Jemima Brown Rabbit, sitting in the summer sunshine
The Press At Home I talked about last week was a complete flop, I am sorry to say.  The members of the Fourth Estate, whether print or television, simply did not show.  Whilst inevitably disappointed, Isobel did not feel it to have been a totally wasted afternoon.  She was able to almost make one whole Baby Hedgehog, while quaffing coffee and chatting to M, the knowledgeable sales lady in "The Artful Buttoner".  Also, it's an inevitable consequence of living in a country with a free press.  One cannot FORCE them to come if they don't want to!!   Their loss really - because the coffee was VERY quaffable,and  the cranberry and dark chocolate chip muffins baked for us by Clare were  simply DELICIOUS!!  There are more than "one way to skin a cat" (as the saying goes, I'm told) and Isobel has other plans formulating....... watch this space!

Isobel spent last evening cutting out six new Hedgehogs - in readiness for her trip South to Buckinghamshire at the end of the week (Friday, 18th December).  While watching the television last evening, she surprised herself by being able to not only draw the templates for all of them, but she also managed to sew, put facial expressions on, and stuff one of the Daddy Hedgehogs she'd started on. She's getting quicker at making them each time she makes one!

I shall not be accompanying Isobel southwards - so will take the opportunity here to wish all my lovely Reader friends here at Very Happy Festive Season (not everyone I know celebrates Christmas) and a Prosperous and Healthy New Year.  

The computer is supposed to be travelling with Isobel, in the car with Clare, Alan, GrandsonE and all the Christmas presents for Philippa and Isobel.  So, while I won't be doing a post next week, Isobel may - as she is hoping to be able to actually visit StTiggywinkle's Hospital for Hedgehogs while she is staying with Philippa.  It's only a half-hour or so drive from her flat in High Wycome.

Your Friend - Cy Bear.

 PS:  Sorry about the change of typeface - caused when Isobel copied Jemima's picture directly from the Etsy order page!!  She doesn't know how to change it back again.  Still it is legible!!  (CB)

Sunday, 6 December 2015

New Horizons for three Cuddlies - and getting ready to meet the Press

Good afternoon Everyone!

Cy Bear here once again, after a busy week for Isobel - organising the Press At Home for introducing our New Hedgehog Toys, and getting Cuddlies ready for their new lives.

There are three Cuddlies almost ready for their respective journeys to their Forever Homes.  Panda Bear Puppet, one of the new Baby Hedgehogs and our original Mommy Hedgehog.

I thought you'd like to see the special photograph of or new Hedgehog Family, only listed yesterday evening, and specifically going to be used in our Press offering if any TV stations turn up. (Apparently, white backgrounds don't look good on television, hence this special background for our Hogs!) Four have been invited (from BBC East Midlands and BBC Midlands and the two stations operating in the same areas from Central Indpendent Television. (Isobel was one of the first employees of Anglia Television, the station based in Norwich, Norfolk before it even came On Air in 1959, so she is really hoping they will send someone!).

Several local newspapers have also been invited to send representatives, St Tiggywinkles - although unable to attend themselves - have sent publicity literature for our guests to take away and read.  West Midlands Hedgehog Rescue is being kept informed of what we hope will happen - we knew MsJL wouldn't be able to attend (because that's why we're helping to raise funds for her - she doesn't have time to do it properly for herself!).  So, now all Isobel has to do is cross her fingers and hope that SOMEONE does turn up.

Meanwhile, two of the new baby hedgehogs have been adopted - and Isobel is busy making them so they can be dispatched early this week - one is destined to go to Fayetteville,  North Carolina (accompanied by  Panda Hand Puppet).  The other is going to New York State - to be the beginning a Hedgehog Collection by one of Isobel's Team Friends.  This one does not have to be at its Forever Home in time for Christmas, but we're doing our best to see that it is.  

Me performing my usual farewell duties to those headed for North Carolina
These two Cuddlies, together with our original Mommy Hedgehog, were purchased by MrsNA - another of Isobel's team friends.  MrsNA wants the Cuddlies to become Forever Friends of her three grandchildren;  the other one lives near her in Bonsall, California.  Mommy will be leaving at the same time as the other two Cuddlies - but there will be the entire American Continent between them.  It will be interesting too for us to see which side gets their parcel first!  It all depends, I am told, on the number of aeroplanes departing the UK headed for the United States of America.  I'll let you know - if we find out!! 

Isobel is wrapping up the Cuddlies headed to the eastern side (North Carolina) with Christmas paper, as well as our usual packing materials (chemical free tissue paper and bubblewrap) while Mommy will just get the tissue and bubblewrap.  There will also be a message - which MrsNA has given Isobel - contained in a Christmas card.  (This is a service offered by - and adds another USD 5.00 to the overall cost of any Cuddly).

Here's Mommy Hedgehog and I just before she gets prepared for her journey to Bonsall, California. We presume that she will be opened in front of Grandma on Christmas Day - or shortly thereafter.

I'll end this week's bulletin with a photograph of our three travellers, sitting with me, while Isobel gets herself prepared for the wrapping ceremonies!

Do hope everyone is keeping well, getting ready for the Christmas festivities.  Next week will be the last post before Isobel moves to High Wycombe for her Christmas with Philippa.  We're hoping that while she is there, and the weather permits, that she will be able to actually visit StTiggywinkles.  (If that happens, there will certainly be a post or two about that establishment  - she's away for 2 Sundays).

Have a good week everyone!  Your Friend, Cy Bear.