Monday, 30 July 2012

Introducing New Arrivals in the Soft Toy Clinic - Part 1

Greetings one and all - Cy Bear once again being permitted to contribute!  While Isobel has been away and going through some incredible difficult moments, I was left behind here in Heytesbury sitting where I usually do,  on the bookshelf in the hallway, wondering what on earth was happening.  Hopefully, we're now getting back into the blog-posting groove once more, because Isobel has suggested I tell you about the new Patients who've arrived for treatment in the ColdhamCuddlies Soft Toy Clinic. Some of them are not only patients.  Isobel has been told to use them as templates for possible new additions to the Cuddlies Family and then listing them at our shop at 

So, without more ado - meet:

Fred Bear:  He belongs to a very dear friend of both Peter and Isobel, whom they have known for about 20 years and who lives in Lincolnshire, England, UKPatC is her name and she and Fred have been together for a very long time.  Fred was not new when he came to be PatC's Forever Friend but it is reckoned they have been together for nearly 80 years - give or take a year or two and as this picture shows, this is not the first time he's been mended.

 PatC has asked  for Fred to have  his paws repaired for starters.  No Bear worth his salt goes round for ever with blue paws, so Isobel has said she'll change them for Brown Pads.  PatC likes the way Fred's ear has become crooked over the years, so has asked that when it is sewn on more firmly, it remains as near to it's present position as possible and his facial features need some touching up.  Finally, over the years, Fred has lost his voice:  so Isobel will be taking out his current growler and replacing it with a modern, deep voice, and while doing so is going to replace his stuffing, as she suspects it is not as safe as the polyester fibre stuffing she now uses for us Cuddlies.

 PatC does not want him to be re-covered as all the other Bear patients have been since the Soft Toy Clinic was opened in 2011:  she feels that treatment will be just too much of a change.  As he's already been away from his Forever Home for much longer than intended (as a result of what happened while Isobel has been away since May - see her last post:  "The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men:  Part 3)), he will be the first to undergo the Coldham Soft Toy Clinic therapy.

Next comes Long Legged Tigger:  He has lived for ages in a Toy Box which comes out at PamL's home every time Little People come to visit.  PamL is mother to Isobel's son-in-law, Alan and while everything happened in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire where Isobel has been staying, Tigger and some other friends were introduced to Isobel - to see if they could help her create more Cuddlies for sale in our Shop ( 

Tigger was handmade by one of Alan's cousins, who alas died after an illness a few years ago, and PamL wants him back because he is very special for that reason.  He does need an ear sewn on, but does not really require too much more attention, because, basically,  he's in pretty "good nick".  Isobel might give his present collar a soak overnight in luke-warm water to see if she can get it to look a bit whiter, but that will be it.  He may, or may not, be used as a template, but he's very welcome among the rest of us Cuddlies while he stays here.

Then there's Lop-Earred Rabbit:  he'll have to be given another name, because Isobel is definitely going to use him as a new Cuddly - because he's actually an Arm Puppet and therefore rather an unusual Toy as a result.  Isobel has never come across anything like him before, and Alan - who used to play with him a lot when he first arrived after being  spotted on,  and purchased from, a Market Stall - (actual site long since forgotten) - has never seen another one like him either.  Isobel will give him a wash - living in a Toy Box and being played with by all and sundry for several years is not an ideal environment for keeping pristine clean.  Once he's been washed, he will be taken apart and templates taken of his various parts.  He will  then  be re-made and sent back with Tigger to PamL.  She has pretty well denuded her storage box of toys by sending these two and some more toys which I'll describe in my next post.

It's rather difficult to let you see how he is made, and how he works.  Once he's been washed, cleaned, copied and re-made, Isobel will take pictures of him with someone's arm inside him.  Basically, he works like all our Hand Glove Puppets, but with a whole arm instead of just a hand.  His long leggy bits are joined with elastic, and then they are wrapped round  the operator's body.  Anyway, you'll have to wait and see what happens once Isobel has worked it out for herself - unless Alan, Clare and Dotty come down again soon, so that Alan can once again demonstrate how it should be done!
It's so good to back posting to you all again.  Long may it continue - we've had enough family shocks and emergencies in the last couple of months!.

Bless you all - and Good night!  Cy Bear

Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men - Part Three

At the risk of seeming repetitive in my choice of titles for posts here, when I completed Part Two on June 26th it was with the intention of sorting out formalities connected with Peter's recent death and trying to get on with my life.  The first few days went relatively smoothly, but four days in a telephone call from son-in-law Alan, informed me that Clare - whose home I had only left June 21 - was in hospital following a serious fall when walking their newly acquired dog, and was being investigated for a suspected broken leg.

Circumstances having dictated that I am now a  free agent, and having obtained the agreement of the Trustees of the Hospital of St. John where my home is located, by the end of the week, I was once more back in Nottinghamshire and being a full-time Mum. Residents of Almshouse properties can be subject to limits on the number of days one is away from one's home and until recently, that did apply to  those of us currently at St. Johns.  However, these rules were often dreamt up when such institutions were first formed (in our case, we've been in existence since 1472).  They have thus become redundant and inappropriate in the 21st Century!  However, having been away for 3 weeks and only home for 6 days, seeking such permission did seem correct in this instance!

Having disposed of our car - which was in Peter's name and subject to a contract that required it's return if he was no longer able to use it - I boarded a train at Trowbridge Railway station,  travelled to Newport, Gwent in Wales.  (That was only the second time I have ever visited the Principality.  Listening to station announcements in Welsh, followed by the English version, was indeed an interesting experience!)  There was then a 20 minute wait for another train travelling direct to Nottingham via Birmingham.  Four hours later plus a further change, I dis-embarked at the station closest to Clare and Alan's home.  I beat Clare's arrival home, after a night in hospital for observation, by some 20 minutes!  The journey was a real novelty after years of driving around the UK, Canada and elsewhere, taking 6 hours in total - with someone else doing the driving and allowing me to enjoy the countryside.  Alas that was not at its best:  most of the way we were surrounded by heavy rain - a feature of our so-called summer season this year till then.  With the benefit of both a Senior Person's 'Bus Pass and a Rail Card (which entitles one to free travel with the former, and discounted prices with the latter) - am looking  forward to more such adventures in future!

Plans for re-arranging the Shop at had therefore to be once more put on the back burner until my return to Wiltshire while we all learned to cope with Clare suffering a suspected fractured  tibia just under the knee cap and hobbling with the aid of crutches and a fibre glass Rickards Splint (I believe that is what it is called!).  She  faced a 10 day wait before being re-assessed at the Fracture Clinic.  That visit ended with her being encased in a cast (fortunately not a plaster one) from ankle to hip, in order to assist the bone to knit properly, and an appointment for another X-ray on August 1.  Alas, the first cast (a plain, cream one) was not firm enough and required another trip to the Fracture Clinic a week later.  She is now in a bright pink variation on the cast theme and  hoping to have the current support removed, as arranged, on August 1.

Future treatment is likely to take at least another 5-6 weeks before she is properly mobile once more and may consist of another temporary cast until a specially made brace contraption is created which will both support the injured area as well as enabling Clare to increase mobilty in her joint.  She is not a person who takes kindly to sitting around doing "nothing" - but has been knitting furiously, while planning future craft creations in the meantime.

She was sufficiently improved, however, to be able to accompany Alan and I - plus the cause of the problem, Dotty my Canine Grand daughter (see photograph below) - a couple of days ago.

Dotty - parentage subject to conjecture, but a darling nevertheless
We returned in their mid-sized saloon complete with all the paraphenalia associated with a puppy unaccustomed to long-distance travel and visits to a strange house!  Dotty proved not to be the best traveller, but despite that was more than happy to participate in the adventure.  She and Clare stayed in the flat the next day, while Alan and I completed the clearance of  a storage unit where Peter and I had kept items for which we had no space while two of us lived here.  It included two large plastic bags of plush fabrics for future Cuddlies - which are now safely stowed away for use by me in future creations.

Clare, Alan and Dotty are now back in Nottinghamshire, I have resumed an Executor's administrative duties while combining such activities with organising my Cuddlies business.  During my latest sojourn in Nottinghamshire, I've acquired three new Patients for the Coldham Cuddlies Soft Toy Clinic,  have received permission to use four toys as templates for new Cuddlies, and will be following up a suggestion for a completely new line of Cuddlies I shall be posting about these new developments shortly, but in the interim will close this post - as I  have waffled on long enough.

Hope to be back soon - barring further family emergencies - and look forward to welcoming more Followers shortly:  We just need seven more to reach our second hundred:  just wonder where they will come from and who they will be?