Threadbear, Home!, South Africa


Posted May 19, 2008, 10:29 am
No one can go back and make a brand new start...
Anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

Hi! My name is Threadbear and this is my story...

I was rescued from the SPCA (Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals) thrift shop by three visiting ToyVoyagers  Pinky Bear, Dilbert and HitchaRideDooey and their host MrsC.

I was in a bad way, dusty, torn split open and even worse, to my shame, my head was on backwards and I had a filthy piece of lace a round my neck. But they saw the potential in me for which I shall be forever grateful.

MrsC patched me up, returned my head to it's rightful position, and gave me a very gentle clean.

She gave me a new name to celebrate my new beginning. Threadbear. Very fitting and I am very fond of it.

A few other toys were rescued with me and also cleaned up and repaired. Slowly but surely they have all been given a new purpose in life. I wondered what my new purpose in life was. I am certainly too fragile to travel. When MrsC told me what was to become of the last few bears I knew EXACTLY what it was I had to do.

They were destined for a sad but wonderful place called the Teddy Bear Clinic it is a clinic for sexually abused children in South Africa. Unfortunately there are far too many children here who suffer this fate. Each child visits the clinic at least five times and each time they get to choose a bear to keep. The bear is used by the child to show what has happened to him or her, especially when they are too young to communicate properly  and also as a source of comfort because we all know what magical healing properties Teddy Bears have...

As you can imagine they need lots of bears, in all different shapes and sizes. Mrs C sometimes knits bears for them and collects either old or new bears. Here are some she collected doing a school drive ( a friend of hers once got the children in her class to knit, even the boys!) Hang on I need to cunningly disguise the children...

Here they all are at the clinic. MrsC asks very nicely that no one posts an extra large bear like this one, she struggled to get him into her car!

Well I have decided to ask all of you out there reading about me to send over any retired bears that you may have sitting forlornly on shelves or in boxes.  It does not matter if they are small, sometimes the children prefer them like that. If they need cleaning or repairing, don't worry, MrsC will sort them out and I will welcome them all, each and everyone. Please PM me for my address or e-mail directly.

Posted May 19, 2008, 8:03 pm
Enthusiasm is contagious.
Start an epidemic

Hi everyone!

Thank you so much for the wonderful response so far! My Teddy heart is so filled with joy that I am afraid it may burst a few more stitches on a weakened seam somewhere!

I have been in contact with the Teddy Bear Clinic and they are just as excited. Hopefully I will be able to go through for a visit sometime this week  to show you around...

Here are some photos MrsC found of a 'bear repair' that her and her friend carried out on quite the biggest bear I have EVER seen... clearly I was not the first bear to have surgery performed on him by MrsC!

Poor, poor thing! Years of children bouncing all over him have left him in an un'bearable' state...

Amazing what a little bit of love and thread can do... That is MrsC's special friend, MrsF sitting on his lap, so you can see just how BIG he is. Every time MrsC has a harebrained idea to help others, MrsF is the first to jump in and help. (Thanks MrsF)

It has been exactly two years and three days since that photo was taken, it will be interesting to see what state he is in by now! That is one HUGE pair of dungarees that MrsC made!!! :stare:

Posted May 21, 2008, 11:06 pm
Don't live down to expectations.
Go out there and do something remarkable.
-Wendy Wasserstein

Hello lovely people!

Today I did a little adventuring with MrsC and Pinky Bear we did a few charitable deeds which is what I am all about so that was fun, but then, typical girls, they went shopping.. I had a little doze in Fi's bag, though I did wake up to meet Melson Mandela

Pinky was all for having a chat but I looked at MrsC's phone and saw what the time was! We needed to get to the Teddy Bear Clinic quickly or we would be late for picking the children up from school.

Here we are getting closer, this is the famous Hillbrow Tower, situated in the infamous Hillbrow, which is pretty much a slum these days so this was as close as we were getting.

You may have noticed that we South Africans are very proud of our colourful flag...

Some more than others...

Here we are at Reception. Unfortunately the man we had come to see, Luke, was busy in training.  He is very, very busy as Child Protection Week is coming up soon. Never mind, I am sure I will get to meet him soon. The most important thing is that he knows what we are all doing here on ToyVoyagers with the Teddy Drive and he is very excited about it too.

The Teddy Bear Clinic won a prestigious gold award, which recognises their contribution made to public life in South Africa. Well Done!

Pinky and I join in a jacuzzi party! Just kidding, every available space is filled with Teddy Bears which is a lovely site...

These ones do the filing..

These ones do admin...

These ones do general office work...

We made a friend on this desk...

Here is a peak into one of the rooms... people were busy in all the other rooms and we didn't want to intrude.

This bear is made from wire!

These poor girls need some TLC, someone tried to put a dress on the first one but it just got stuck because the bear was just too big. MrsC promised she would be back to make dresses (maybe she will take a sponge and some detergent with too)

Who is that I spot down the end of the passage?

Look, MrsC and MrsF did a good job! The Gigantabearus still looks good, he just needs a little lip surgery and all will be well!

Maybe if we collect enough bears we can get ToyVoyagers up on the wall too?

Here's hoping!

Whilst we were in the building we went up to visit some of the other clinics Fi supports.

Here is the view out of the window. The tower again and the derelict looking building in front of it was once the esteemed Queen Victoria maternity home, where pretty much everyone in Johannesburg was born before the new Johannesburg General Hospital opened in the late 1970's. The building we are in at the moment used to be the children's hospital until that too was moved to the new Jo'burg Gen.

This is the Toy Library but children were busy having a play session so we didn't go in...

Then we went up to visit "BigShoes" which is a clinic for abandoned babies, orphaned or vulnerable children. Their mission is to aid these children so that they can grow up and fill big shoes! Isn't that sweet?

This is a lovely bright and beautifully decorated clinic.

These are some of the latest babies that have been adopted both locally or internationally.

If you can see on this poster, the little white stickers are all the children's homes just in Johannesburg alone. Scary.

All the people that work in this entire building, which is exclusively for children's clinics (all Non Government Organisations) do the most amazing job and I for one salute them.

On the way out we stopped at the canteen...isn't it sweet? The bears are down here too!

Well that was an emotionally draining experience but I can't wait to go back! It would be especially nice to take 500 bears back with me!


Posted May 28, 2008, 12:04 am
A bear grows more alive with age.
No one with one ounce of sensitivity could ever consign a bear to the dustbin.
-Johnnie Hague

Hello, hello!

What a happy day it has been. Chilly, chilly weather and it has been raining almost all day long... but the heater was on and I sat on MrsC's desk making new friends and drinking hot chocolate! Would you like to meet the first local bears to arrive?

First up is this handsome fellow, I must find out what shampoo he uses to get that shiny fur...he hasn't stopped smiling since he found out why he was brought here.

This lad is dressed up appropriately for the weather... he has the longest legs I have ever seen in a bear! He comes from the same area as Charlize Theron, must be something in the water over in the East Rand...

Some child is just going to love this other one, he is so soft.

These two little bears are so funny! The little one at the front is a cheeky little chap. He comes from a doctors rooms...he has spent all evening looking through MrsC's (very extensive) ribbon collection and then he decided he needed to look again in day light before he could choose one.

The other one is a kindred spirit... remember my head was on backwards? His arms are on the wrong way round! MrsC says she will wait for day light too before she corrects this... His nose has also split in the exact same place as mine... nose job needed!

We are just waiting for MrsC to go to bed so we can have some real fun. Shouldn't be long now, it's 1am and she is yawning her head off...

Posted May 28, 2008, 8:47 pm
A bear teaches us that if the heart is true, it doesn't matter much if an ear drops off.
-Helen Exley

Hello! Do I have exciting news for you...

Today MrsC and I went back to the SPCA to rescue some more bears... I was a little nervous, but no-one asked me to stay behind again... We bought up every bear they had except for one, he was too badly damaged to be repaired.

I asked this one if she wanted to be rescued and she just looked at me, so I asked her again... she just stared at me. I was just about to repeat myself when MrsC nudged me to take a better look... oops! I am sure she will get a pair of ears soon, and knowing MrsC as I do, this one is not going anywhere, she's getting a desk job...

This motley crew need washing and all manners of repair before they are fit to be passed on. It will be a busy weekend, for sure.

I noticed we had a few pandas in the crowd... they amused themselves with this rather hilarious book...

These girls just giggled during the photo shoot. I think under a ton of dust they are actually as white as they look in this me that was just the camera flash!

Here we have a shy polka dot bear. I think the other one used to have polka dots too, she was at one stage a ladybird bear... we'll have to make a plan about her...

And last but not least... I had a very teary emotional reunion with none other than my baby brother Buttons! I thought he was lost for good. What a happy moment when MrsC found him stuck to a Velcro strap of a satchel! The happy moment lasted until she took him off the Velcro... he squealed like a stuck pig.

Poor, poor Buttons - he has also become very fragile in his old age. He needs a few stitches here and there. At least he has all his parts on the right way! Now that I have found him again, I am not letting him go... He also gets to share a spot on the desk with me.

Tomorrow we hand out pamphlets at the children's school to see if we can round up a few more bears. I'll keep you posted...

Posted May 29, 2008, 4:22 pm
You will never find time for anything.
If you want the time, you must make it.
-Charles Buxton

Hello lovely people!

Buttons and I helped MrsC make the pamphlets today... it was a lot of hard work but we managed...

I helped to cut them neatly, it was quite a workout pushing the blade along.

Oh, don't you like my lovely new jersey? It has been so cold lately. MrsC found it in a shop called TeddyBears ETC that sell the most wonderful stuff (AND they were holding a Teddy Raffle in aid of the Teddy Bear Clinic - kindered spirits!)

Buttons also got a jersey, it fits him perfectly. He helped sort out all the pamphlets and then stacked them neatly.

Ta da! All finished. Now to take them to school and put them in the post pockets. Hopefully we will get some bears soon.


Posted May 30, 2008, 5:36 pm
Bears being sent through the mail should never be squashed up to make them fit.
It gives them indigestion.
-Pam Brown

Hello, hello!

There was much excitement around the house today. Another batch of local bears arrived. Some were previously loved and some were brand spanking new. All of them were gorgeous.

I asked if I could take the photos today, I really want to be involved a bit more. The camera is very heavy so I needed a bit of help...MrsC held it up and I pressed the button. I think I did a pretty good job, if I must say so myself.

Even more exciting news, is that MrsC came back from the Post Office with three packages, all from the fabulous BunTraveler! 15 little cuties and one of them a guardian angel to look after the rest.

Here are a few of them, desperate for a cup of tea I'd imagine...

These ones were dying for a snack, when Jeeves the butler walked by they just dived right in! Unbelievable! The youth of today... tut, tut...

Well, there are bears all over MrsC's desk. She is going to have to make a plan about storage soon. There is no place to work on there...hmmm... maybe that is her plan!

I counted everyone and this is the latest tally:


Posted Jun 2, 2008, 3:14 pm
Bears sleep by day.
At night they stay awake to chase away bad dreams.
-Jesse O'Neil

Hello everybody!

MrsC dragged home a huge bag full of stuffed toys from school today... I welcomed them all! Any toys that are not Bears will go to one of the other clinics in the same building as the Teddy Bear Clinic, no toy is turned away.

Here are the new arrivals, all pumped up from being at school all morning with all those excited children...

This little one obviously had WAY too much fun at school and passed out in the car, on the way home. He will have to wake up just now for a quick wash so he can dry whilst it is nice and warm...yay the sun is out !

Buttons and I have been helping wash the others. Some of them were just too dirty for a hand wash and I had to leave the room when they went in the washing machine...oh the squeals of protest!


Posted Jun 6, 2008, 10:14 pm
There is probably nothing that a bear so dislikes as a good wash.
-Marion C. Garretty

Why, hello everyone!

So much excitement today I hardly know where to start...
I suppose the beginning would be a good place!

MrsC has a friend called Gazelle (really!), who recently became aquainted with another lady, called Petra (not Fam-United!). Petra sent out some e-mails asking for donations for a project she is running for some homeless people. As e-mails do, they spread like wild fire and Petra ended up being interviewed by a national 'talk radio' station. She ended up with a deluge of donations that she had nowhere to store. Gazelle and her husband offered part of their property as a temperory depot and my goodness me, we (MrsC and I) went to visit it today. I am sorry that we never took the camera so you could see just how MUCH stuff there was: clothes, shoes, furniture, you name it.

MrsC told Petra all about me and my mission (I was dumbstruck by the sheer amount of STUFF). Petra said I was to go through all the toys and find any bears or other soft toys that I needed as there were just too many. So that is what we spent the morning doing...sorting the mass of toys.

And this, dear people, is what we came home with!

I know! And some of them smelled REAL BAD...and most of them were filthy (everything is stored under tarpaulins because they just ran out of storage areas - and it has been raining). I think MrsC has washed her hands about 30 times today (and I don't think she has OCD!)

Anyway, I welcomed them one and all, and we started separating them into stations:

Bears for laundry. I know they hate it, but oooh, the smell!

So sorry you guys!

And..other toys to be dealt with later, I'm afraid bears take top priority...

Here's the first load drying on the window sill... the 6th load is in the machine as I type!

Every surface in this house has a damp bear on it! AND they all smell fantastic... I checked!

Then we sorted out all the bears that have been here a few days already. Even though MrsC is a great believer in the last minute, she realised it was a huge task and only just begining!

Here we have bears Ready-To-Go.

...and these just need a bow!

There is NO shortage of ribbon let me tell you...but she was muttering to herself about Mohammed and mountains every time she brought down another jar from upstairs...

This is the Casualty Department (or ER for those of you who speak American). Missing eyes, half severed head, burst seams, backwards arms, missing ears, ancient flat stuffing...

And surgery! I'll leave this bit to MrsC then...

Oh. I met a girl.

When MrsC sews in that room she likes to play old records... and I mean old...

We danced around the room..

Even Buttons and Pinky Bear had a go...

Ahh, that was such fun! Made me feel young again..


Posted Jun 6, 2008, 10:27 pm
Oh Wow! I have only just noticed now that I made Voyager of the Week! Thank you so much...I'm overwhelmed...

Posted Jun 10, 2008, 7:48 pm
At sales every other toy looks simply worn, dilapidated, grubby.
A bear looks lost and abandoned and desperately in need of a loving home.
-Helen Thomson

What a weekend! We worked our paws to the pad...
We repaired all the bears that needed fixing, including completely re-stuffing three bears and converting three hotwater bottle cover bears into Teddy Bears!
Once everyone was cleaned and dried and repaired we began the massive task of giving them ribbons. A task made more massive by the fact that all the ribbon had to be ironed first! And the iron died... but luckily there was a ancient spare  one found at the bottom of the laundry cupboard, so on we soldiered... putting on bows all night...

...and all day...

And then we got more exciting post!
First up was a box of bears from Michele one L...

...and a stowaway pig, that was lurking in the box too!

Chardas twins also arrived. (They got nice orange ribbon because they are Dutch!)

By last night, actually, very early this morning... our "Ready - To - Go" bears went from this:

To this!

Two more bags of bears have arrived today but you will have to wait until tommorrow to meet them. I am off to bed for well deserved rest!


Posted Jun 11, 2008, 3:32 pm
The right man is the one who seizes the moment                                                     
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I slept like a log last night! I was so tired I fell asleep with my scarf on still... But I awoke feeling refreshed and invigorated and ready to tackle the day's tasks. The only way to keep the bear situation under control is to sort them out as they come in. So, first I welcomed yesterday's late arrivals and a new batch that MrsC brought home from school.

And I must let you know that the hardest working member of our photographic team is Mr Min! Here he is...

Jo'burg is very dry and dusty in winter. But MrsC's house is sparkling at the moment, this is the best motivation she has ever had for doing housework.

Can you here the whirring of the washing machine? It is hard at work cleaning this batch of bears. When they are dry they will get a few nips and tucks as necessary and a bow if needed. We are definitely keeping on top of the job!

Posted Jun 14, 2008, 3:03 pm
A bear remains a bear - even when most of him has fallen off or worn away.
- Charlotte Gray

Hello, hello, hello!

We have been having a busy time at Teddy Bear Central lately, bears are arriving by the bagful everyday and needing lots of attention.

First off the little Stowaway pig has been adopted (by Vickis daughter in exchange for three bears. MrsC has a strict policy in this house, if something is donated for charity but you desperately want to keep it, you need to give up three of your own toys (or similar items).

MrsF fell in love with a little blue bear, so to thank her for all her hard work collecting bears, MrsC donated another three bears and gave her the blue bear.

Here are MrsC's bears for 'swaps'...she went back to the SPCA looking for them. The lady at the SPCA asked if she was buying the bears as dog chews! I was shocked to the core when I heard this. Imagine such a terrible, terrible thing!

When the lady heard what the Teddies were for she found two more at the back and donated them to my collection. Wasn't that nice of her? The large one at the top of the shelf is one and this poor little fellow is the other. He was so traumatised at being abandoned at the SPCA that he just hid in the corner. Eloise went to coax him out of it and explain what was happening. She is so sweet and lovely....

Soon it was back to washing and sorting and sewing... This knitted brown bear was in a sad state. His face was full of glue that could not be removed, his knitting was sagging and his stuffing was flat. MrsC and I were very sad because we have managed to rescue every bear so far...

Eloise rescued the day! She is so smart.
She said we needed to unpick the bear... oh okay...I think...
Ah! That is why he was so hard and flat, he was stuffed with bits of yarn...

Eloise helped me wind up the wool. Oh poor, poor bear... but he will serve a good purpose still!

And here he is! Ta Da!

This is all of this weeks bears, washed and dried with bows on.
Now we can have a break for a bit until the next lot arrive! I am sure next week is going to be very busy. I am hoping lots of overseas bears start arriving during the week too.

We have passed the two hundred mark! But We will do an official count next week...


Posted Jun 15, 2008, 10:05 pm
As I continue my talks with her, I become aware that, in my heart, a window is opening.
— Akhito, Crown Prince of Japan

What a lovely day I had today.....

It was Father's Day so MrsC and MrC took the children out to a place called the Zoo Lake, which is so named because it is formed from a river that runs through the Johannesburg Zoo.
She asked if I would like to go with and have a break from all the bears.
I said I would love to, but could I perhaps take just one bear with me? She said of course and the lovely Eloise said she would be delighted to join us. Oh how my heart soared!

MrC galantly rowed a boat around the lake for us...

We fed the ducks and geese some bread... my they were greedy, hissing at each other and grabbing bread as quickly as they could. They could learn a few lessons on ladylike behaviour from sweetest Eloise.

Just crumbs left...

We sang 'row, row, row your boat' at the top of our voices, such fun!

Oh and then we saw a rainbow!

What a nice day full of happy memories that I shall treasure forever.


Posted Jun 18, 2008, 9:09 am
Reduce, reuse, recycle

Because it has been a long weekend, with Monday being a public holiday, there has not been a lot of bear activity.

Eloise and I decided to help MrsC along and start sorting out all the other stuffed toys that invariably arrive with the bears.

Eloise found two rather cute knitted rabbits that she had a grand plan for! She thought we could surprise MrsC with two more bears. I really couldn't see how she could do that... first she removed the ears...

Then she unravelled the wool and knitted smaller round ears and sewed them back on... OH! I see it now! Won't MrsC be impressed?

We have managed to do four wash loads already and once again every surface of the house is covered in plush toys!

Time to go to the Post Office and see if anyone else has arrived, though public holidays always put a spanner in the works...

Posted Jun 18, 2008, 11:32 pm
What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp.

The girls (Pinky Bear and Fiona) were all excited when MrsC came back from the Post Office with a parcel from Russia. They were hoping for another ToyVoyager to keep them company... I'm afraid Eloise and I are too absorbed with each other to pay them much attention and Buttons seems to be avoiding them for some reason... ah well...

Then, after they thought about it for a while, they realised that the box was a bit too large for a ToyVoyager so they called me over... reasoning that the box must contain bears.

Indeed it was! Many, many thanks Kristl! They were exhausted after their long trip, so I found an empty chair (no mean feat!) for them to have nap on....

Eloise and I managed to wash all the other toys and they are drying on EVERY single window sill in this house. The weather has been a bit grim lately, but sun has been forecast for tomorrow - here is hoping!

MrsC has kindly asked that if you are sending bears to her, please mark them as 'gifts' as she is getting charged custom duty! Naughty customs officials! :mad:

Posted Jun 19, 2008, 1:50 pm
Children should be seen and not heard...

Well who ever came up with that little gem, surely didn't know children.

It was far too quiet this morning in this house, a sure sign that someone was up to mischief... I decided to investigate because I had a feeling it involved bears...

Oh boy, a new bear arrived late yesterday afternoon. I'll tell you her story in a moment... she is quite a fair size, perfect apparently for dressing roller blading gear! Well, I suppose she would have been safe with all the elbow & knee pads had they managed to get her outside.

Once she had been rescued and given a large pink bow, she sat down and read to the others...they were enthralled....

Now do you remember the 'three for one rule' that MrsC has in this house? Her friend, MrsF has been collecting bears on her behalf. In amongst the bears she collected was a Hello Kitty plush toy. Now MrsF has a young daughter (7) who knows that MrsC's daughter is besotted with Hello Kitty. She decided to donate three of her own bears so that Natalie could have the Hello Kitty! Isn't that lovely? MrsF you have really done an amazing job of raising your child. (The other two bears arrived a while ago but this large bear had a wash and took longer to dry.)

Posted Jun 20, 2008, 6:38 pm
Teddy Bears are like keys . . . They're always in the first place you think they'd be, and the last place you look.
- Garfield

Just as well we had a bit of a break this week...look what happened...

Could these two look more tragic if they tried? They have had bears up to their eyeballs and are desperate for the company of another ToyVoyager so they can compare travels. I of course have never travelled, so I don't know what all the excitement is about...

MrsC went off to the Post Office to post her great big stack of postcards as usual. When she came back she told us there was a bit of a surprise in her car... hmmm...curious...

They could tell straight away these were bears, and were not very enthusiastic...

Oh, what's this then? MORE boxes? Goodness, what a lot... still they looked dejected... the other bears in the room where delighted, look at the ripple of excitement running through them!

Good grief!

Eloise and I were thrilled to bits. Pinky Bear and Fiona were amazed at the amount of parcels but they said it wasn't fair that there were STILL no other TVs.

So we started opening the parcels and out came five bears..

And another five bears...

And yet another five bears...

Well I guess Isobel and Neil can count to five then!

Oh the next parcel contained more...they managed to count to 25 this time!

50 bears from Toyvoyagers Central! WOW! (and thanks for the card!)

Then we packed those bears away... and opened the next parcel...hmm they seemed a little familiar!

75 bears from Isobel and Neil! You had 75 bears lurking around your house? Oh my goodness, you must have big empty gaps now...

Carlissa also sent bears... and a manatee!

...and some more bears, a postcard (MrsC loved that!) and the softest sweetest toys.

The Teddy bear Clinic only takes bears, so these soft toys will be going to the Abandoned Baby Clinic - we have a huge problem of unwanted babies in this country. Sometimes they are simply thrown in bins, or left in the veld. We have a place called 'the hole in the wall' where mothers can place their babies and walk away without being seen. A sensor goes off to notify the staff that a baby has been placed there. Often the mothers are no more than children themselves.

The Abandoned Baby Clinic also issues all police vehicles with an emergency baby kit, as the police are often the first to find them. They have cord clamps (the babies usually still have the placenta attached), nappies, vests, baby grows, jerseys, knitted hats and booties as well as a bottle with sterile water and a serving of formula. Once stabilised the babies are placed in children's homes which is where they need the soft toys.

So thanks Carlissa, they will indeed bring joy to someone.

Next I opened a large box, very carefully I might add, I could see it had lots of confetti in it!

Oooh... and another postcard for MrsC (I guess you all know about her ahem...problem!  ;))

Steve & Helly sent over HRH Queen Elizabear...

…followed by her entourage.

All of a sudden I noticed that 'The Girls', who had slunk off in a huff earlier, had returned.

The second last box held a very colourful surprise... Cassiopeia, a celebrity in our midst! Welcome, welcome! Look at 'The Girls' smiling now, my how their luck has changed.

Once all the squealing had died down we heard a grumpy little voice coming from the very last box. The little voice said, in a very British accent: "would you please keep the noise down, I am trying to sleep in here. I am on a very long journey to South Africa and I really don't want to wake up till I get there!"

I opened the box to let him out and tell him he had arrived at last. He blinked and blinked in the bright light. He couldn't really see us, but he said he was really happy to see us, if you know what I mean! Welcome to South Africa Moley!

My my, such excitement. Ninety one new bears and two new ToyVoyagers all at once.

Well we can't sit around chatting all day, we have bows to put on. Get cracking!


Posted Jun 23, 2008, 8:10 pm
Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. 
-Newt Gingrich

Somedays I feel like I have a never ending task. I no sooner finish washing and sorting bears, than another load arrives!

I am not complaining at all, just a little tired. Meet our latest arrivals... a good wash, a few stitches here and there, and they'll be as good as new!

We had almost run out of ribbon when a friend came to our rescue with a bag of mixed colours and sizes! Thanks to lovely Lara we can carry on with tying bows on all the little bears that arrived last week...

I am afraid it has been impossible to count the bears as there is no where else to put them! MrsC says she will try find some boxes to store everybody in. The Bears are tired, it is winter and they should have a little hibernating session. It will do them all the world of good. Hopefully she will find some boxes tommorrow.

We also need boxes for all the other toys that have arrived. It is time for them to move on to their new homes. They are taking up vital space as we are expecting another wave of bears soon. I'll ask MrsC to take a photo of all of them so you can see what I mean! I predict a few HUNDRED happy children somewhere along the line. Most especially those who have always yearned for a dog! WATCH THIS SPACE.

Posted Jun 24, 2008, 11:07 pm
Many hands make light work.

How true that saying is.

Tonight we all decided to knuckle down and get to work putting bows on the last lot of bears. MrsC has found boxes so we can do a count tomorrow and start packing everyone away for hibernation.

Meet the team: myself, the lovely Eloise, Buttons, Cassiopeia, Pinky Bear, Moley and Fiona

This is our work load, a basket of bears...

The work was divided amongst all of us...

Fiona removed the tags...and Pinky the plastic barbs.

That was quite a job, thanks girls!

Buttons removed all the labels; MrsC seems to have a severe aversion to them.

Oh dear, one of the foreign bears had a postal related back injury. Luckily Eloise is a trained ortho-bearic surgeon... she operated on him and he says he has never felt better!

Moley, bless his little heart, has stopped being such a grouch now that he can see, and was the most eager of the toys to work. And work he did. I showed him just once how to tie a bow and away he went: full steam ahead...

and before long...

What a fantastic job old boy!

Poor Cassiopeia, not having paws, was unable to cut or tie bows. She really wanted to help. Eloise suggested we turn off the music and Cassiopeia could read to us. She was delighted with this and read us a book of traditional South African tales.

We were so enthralled that we didn't want to stop listening even once we were done... so we all sat and listened to the end.

Even the little bears, who had been boisetrous all evening sat in silence and listened.

If you would like to read the tales, visit the travelog of each of the TV's that helped tonight.


Posted Jun 27, 2008, 5:37 pm
The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings. 
-Eric Hoffer

For the past two days we have been sorting and counting... and re-counting and re-sorting. Trying to make sense of it all.

We sorted all the bears into colours or types and counted them that way...

This went on way into the evening...

We packed them in boxes to hibernate because they were all so sleepy and getting cranky. We counted again, as we packed them away...

But no matter which way we did it, or how many times we counted the number was always the same Three Hundred and One. I was SO sure there were more bears... so, so sure.

Eloise tried to console me. She said maybe it was all the bunnies that had me confused. "Sometimes", she said, "they look sort of  like bears...."

...or maybe all the dogs....

But it wasn't the bunnies or the dogs or even the camels...

It wasn't the farm animals either...

Don't you think this one would make a fine ToyVoyager?

It certainly wasn't the birds.

Or the bugs...

The North American crowd, the Antipoedean lot or the ones from another galaxy...

Oops, that mouse needs an eye still... and a wash...

I certainly never mistook these frogs for bears.

Or these dinosaurs, for that matter.

None of these had me confused

And frankly this lot are even more work than bears...

301 bears only, that CAN"T be right... it just can't be.

Sigh... I need to go for  a walk outside to clear my head...


Posted Jun 27, 2008, 6:06 pm
Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination. 
-Mrs. C.W. Earle

Well, I left Teddy Bear Central to take a walk in the garden. The air was quite bracing, being mid-winter.

The garden is looking a little sad too, but Spring is just around the corner and soon all manner of things will be growing in places you least expect them like here...

and here...

and even here...

I KNEW there were more bears! they must have escaped to the garden. I'll have to start a search... see if you can help me spot them.

They are everywhere, in every shrub and bush...

I'd better look in the front garden too...

I wonder if I walked past any when I came down the front stairs? Oh, I certainly did!

I'd  better check round the back in the trees...oh yes there they are...

Three Hundred and Thirty Eight Bears!!!!

That sounds more like it... let me go back and tell them the good news!

Posted Jun 30, 2008, 10:29 pm
The most precious possession that ever comes to a man in this world is a woman's heart.
- Josiah G. Holland

In between washing and sewing and sorting, Eloise and I managed to share a few quiet moments... we talked about anything and everything and nothing. We laughed and laughed... we sat in quiet contemplation...

I can't imagine my life before her; I can't imagine my life without her.


Posted Jun 30, 2008, 10:50 pm
You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.
- Winston Churchill

I woke up after a well deserved nap just now and I felt a little rumble in my tummy... this is one of the troubles of being a bear: you always wake up hungry. Everyone else was sound asleep so I wandered into the kitchen to find a little snack or two...

Imagine my surprise when this is what I found above the honey pot!

Where on earth did he come from? I thought I'd found all of the escapees....

Next, I heard a deep voice muttering that it was very thirsty. I looked over to the shelf where the glasses are kept and spotted another bear!

I must have had quite a startled look on my face because the next thing I heard giggling! I looked up to find three little faces peering down at me...

Goodness me! Sitting next to them were two American bears, I could not believe it....

One of them said 'shhhhhh! You will wake up the baby!" I was just about to ask "which baby?", when I spotted her... all curled up in the soup bowls.

I asked them where on earth they had all come from and they said they had been sent by JaymeC, all the way from Okinawa in Japan! MrsC had fetched them from the Post Office this afternoon and forgotten to mention it to me. Well thank you so much JaymeC!
Eight new bears!

We all had a smackeral to eat and a little drink, then I led them back to Teddy bear Central to meet the others.


Posted Jul 7, 2008, 8:38 pm
He who sings scares away his woes.

Not much has been happening lately at Teddy Bear Central. We have all been catching up on much needed sleep. I thought I might wake up to fist fulls of Post Office collection slips, but MrsC tells me there was nothing but bills and postcards. She thinks we should maybe go have a look again tomorrow. I sure hope some of the international bears start arriving soon.

Anyway, ever had a tune stuck in your head? It is called an ear worm. Well today I had one stuck firmly in my head and it went a little like this....

One fluffy...

Two fluffy...

Three fluffy teddy bears!

Four furry...

Five furry...

Six furry teddy bears!

Seven cuddly...

Eight cuddly...

Nine cuddly teddy bears!

TEN little TE-DDY BEARS!!!

And me too, in MrsC's messy creative spot...

Posted Jul 18, 2008, 6:04 pm
Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. 
Life is like that - one stitch at a time taken patiently and the pattern will come out all right like the embroidery. 

-Oliver Wendell Holmes

MrsC, her friend Lara and Lara's Mom, Stephanie, as well as myself and a few Toy Voyagers took a road trip to a little town called Makapanstad, in the North West Province (or Limpopo as it is now called). We went to visit this house.

Now before I tell you the story of what goes on in this house and why it was so important for us to visit, I’d like you to read this:

This is our heartfelt story. It has a sad beginning but because of it the lives of others will be changed forever. Martha Letsoalo started the heartfelt project with Julie Masureik after her son Emanuel died in prison wrongly accused and sadly abused at the age of 25. His files to this day have never been found.
After stealing what little money Martha had and promising to get Emanuel out of prison, the corrupt lawyer left her broken hearted and disheartened by the legal system in the country. With no husband to depend on, no job opportunities and three grandchildren to feed - Martha did what came naturally to her – she found a way to survive. The heartfelt project is her story. It’s about who she is. It’s about her children. It’s about the lives of the women and families in her community. It’s about the sadness that happens on a daily basis in a little place called Makapanstad. And the big difference one small heart can make to the happiness of others. Together, Martha and Julie started creating and designing the heartfelt products using traditional handcraft skills, felt and beads. Today they are sold within South Africa and the UK.
There are now ten women employed by the heartfelt project. Each day they come to work full of pride and hope. Creating each heartfelt design out of love and strongly believing that they can make a difference - not only to their own lives but to the lives of the community in which they live.
Each heart sold by the heartfelt project helps to feed and clothe the ladies and their families. It also gives back to the community by donating a small portion to a local charity to help fight TB, HIV/AIDS and look after children and old aged men and woman within Makapanstad. Its aim is to heal the hearts of people who don't have the opportunities we have on a daily basis. And to fill not only the ladies hearts but many others with hope. 
Ke a go leboga

One day, MrsC was playing on the internet, as she does, and somehow, somewhere, she found the link to a website about The Heartfelt Project. Before she had even finished looking at the website, she had e-mailed Julie and asked if she could help by sending bits and pieces that she had lying around her house (trust me on this one – LOTS of crafty stuff around here!)

Juliee e-mailed back almost immediately and said ‘yes please!’ and so a box (full of felt scraps, buttons, beads, floss and other bits and pieces) was despatched to Makapanstad.

Then, one Saturday morning, MrsC and a group of friends were sitting at their monthly scrapbook class and one of the ‘girls’ was leaving and going back to the USA. She had a few items that she could not take with her and left them to be distributed amongst the rest. MrsC picked up a packet of embroidery floss and said ‘this can go to the Heartfelt ladies… Then Lara asked who they were. The story touched her heart and made her do this ….

So, to cut a long story short, today was the day we were delivering the ‘collection’ and getting to meet these absolutely awesome ladies and to see up close their beautiful work.
We were literally welcomed with open arms. And I am talking about US the ToyVoyagers!

The ladies are presently working in a dining room, with no lighting, but still their work is just amazing, such bright colours and tiny little stitches...

We left them to get on with their work and had a wander round, while we waited for Martha to get back from the Post Ofiice (she was almost in tears because she thought she would miss us)

And then she arrived...oh, it was love at first sight ... for both of us...

Don't worry Eloise, you will never be replaced!

Martha and I chatted and chatted and she took me for a walk...

When we got back I had made up my mind. Once I have reached my target of 500 bears, my next project will be the Heartfelt ladies. So start gathering up needles, buttons, key rings, ribbons, beads, embroidery floss, brooch pins, etc now! I'll let you know when I begin...

Martha let me choose a little something as a thank you, so I picked a little brooch out for my lovely Eloise...

Please go to the travelogs of either Cassiopeia, Fiona or Moley to see and read about the entire visit, including all the scenery, goats and other interesting sights along the way!


Posted Jul 18, 2008, 8:04 pm
Travelers never think that they are the foreigners. 
-Mason Cooley

Once again, I found myself in the kitchen looking for a little something... and once again, I noticed something a little odd...

Why do bears always gravitate towards the kitchen? Why are we always so peckish? One of the great mysteries of the world...

And why, oh why, do these American bears always laugh at my accent? Have they never heard themselves?

These two were miserable because they wanted American food and couldn't find any. I told them the food was exactly the same here, they were just sitting in the wrong cupboard! Silly bears, they are obviously jet lagged still.

This lot were demanding coffee! That's when I knew for sure they came from New York, and that they had been sent by Michele_one_l! By the way, she NEVER sent the glass bear! That is MrsC's honey container... erm, it's empty because of my midnight munchies. I'll get a re-fill!


Posted Jul 18, 2008, 9:46 pm
If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.
-Mary Engelbreit

Pinky bear went on a short trip to Scotland and came back with some bears, kindly donated by MrsC's aunt, Sheila.

She was very grumpy about the fact that she was stuck in a bag with them...

She would not even talk to them... Pooh bear and the orange one tried to get her to laugh. The others got really sad though.

They left her to sulk by herself and I found them ...where else... in the kitchen! They are like homing pigeons.

What on earth?... I am speechless!

Whispers: they are smiling, because they have found the huge stash of supermarket pasta, behind the fancy pasta machines!!! Heh Heh Heh....

And Pooh Bear again, talking nineteen to the dozen, plotting how to get Pinky to like them...

I don't think anything they do will sway her. Maybe I should get Eloise to have a chat with her... she is so good at that kind of thing.


Posted Jul 18, 2008, 10:37 pm
The fairies went from the world, dear,
Because men's hearts grew cold:
And only the eyes of children see
What is hidden from the old...
-Kathleen Foyle

Oh there are fairies alright! And they live in MrsC's garden... for sure. I have heard them... they leave toadstools in their wake.

They sprinkled fairy dust and turned some into bears for me, I think...

This one however, just got lost and wondered in because it has been so bitterly cold lately!


Inside, we had MORE bears arrive from Michele_one_l... they flew in...

...and they brought a spare jersey (UK-jumper/ US- sweater) with them... it should take about 5 minutes to find a bear that this will fit, we have ALL sizes!


Posted Jul 18, 2008, 11:22 pm
There are no traffic jams when you go the extra mile.
- Dr. Kenneth McFarland

MrsC was in an EXTREMELY good mood today, who knows why! But with a happy heart and a spring in her step, she went off to the Post Office, ignoring the idiot drivers on the road even... Hmmm...and her good mood was reciprocated with happy mail: tons of postcards and two parcels!

She opened the first one, which she thought was an unexpected TV. But no, it was her matchbox from the random acts challenge... and she BOUNCED around the room! Good grief...

She was so excited that Puny&Bumblebee had sent a little bear for me too! Thank you for thinking of me, how kind you are...

The next box, beautifully wrapped, but completely SQUASHED, was from Mosuha. Oh, now that brought even more excitement... silly MrsC, was almost dancing around the room, firstly because the contents of the box were not missing as she had feared; and secondly because there was a POSTCARD in the box! Have you ever?

Not just any postcard, she tells me...but one of somewhere she hopes to lose her breath one day, the Himalayas! Pinky Bear is correct, MrsC is very odd sometimes!

The box also contained a very excited TV, Jubilee Bunny, some Indian Tea (MrsC doesn't drink tea - but it smells so heavenly, she is determined to try it!...Trouble is, what if she likes it?), and... a whole host of bears! One had flat fur, poor thing. But after a bit of fluffing up he returned to normal.

Thank you so much Mona & Uli, for all the bears and little extras!

That was not the end of the excitement. Today was the birthday of South Africa's 'living legend', Nelson Mandela... so we had a little party to celebrate.

We will do a count of all the bears some time next week. The good news is that MrsC's son's school is collecting bears for me too. So hopefully we will hit the 500 mark soon!

Posted Sep 1, 2008, 10:44 pm
How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?
~Dr. Seuss

Oh dear, how did it come to be so long since I have done an update? Lots of little reasons, none of them of importance now that I am here to tell you what has been happening!

I hope I manage to remember it all; I am a rather old and sometimes forgetful bear you know...

First off, Teddy Bear Central looked like a bomb had hit it... we had been so busy fixing bears that we hadn't really noticed the mess we had created. A little bunny by the name of Gracy had come to help with re-housing all the toys but when she looked in and saw this...

She decided that she had better help us too. These are bears that had all just arrived that I still needed to meet and greet....

She hopped up on the couch to survey the sea of bears...

Finally she turned around, with a very thoughtful look on her face and asked how many other ToyVoyagers were around and if they would be able to help.

She made us clear the boxes off the table so we could have an 'Indaba' (The Zulu word for a meeting).

And here we all are: NormaNikkers, Gracy, Bullet, Jubilee Bunny, myself, the lovely Eloise, Synapse and Fiona

The Indaba got off to a brisk start, she had lots of good ideas as did Synapse (he is a brain cell after all).

The decision was made to pack all the bears that were 'completed' ie, washed, repaired and bowed, into boxes and each box should be marked with a number and the amount of bears that it contained. We had overlooked this when we had packed the first lot of bears resulting in us having to unpack them all and recount them. Silly old bears!

We just had to make sure none of the TVs ended up packed away too...

That was an exhausting task that took almost the whole morning.

Next, we helped all the new arrivals out of their postage containers.

Good gracious, I felt like a magician pulling this lot out of boxes, I thought it would never end! Some of the poor dears were squashed rather flat, but a gentle shake restored them to their former glory. Our deepest thanks to the generous JaymeC.

MrsC's daughter fell in love with the bear in the glamorous dress and swapped three of her bears to keep her. (MrsC got a lump in her throat because two of those bears lived in the crib with her daughter when she was a tiny newborn baby)

Not to be outdone, her brother handed over some of his pocket money to pay for some thrift store bears in exchange for the soccer bear! He refuses to part with any of his bears - what a loyal boy!

Gracy had just arrived via JaymeC and she had three travelling companions so she wouldn't be lonely.

So that made a total of fifty bears! Two were exchanged and four were!

Steve & Helly sent another fifteen bears! They always smell so nice... Luckily there was no confetti this time because MrsC is STILL finding little purple hearts down the side of the chairs  :p

AbbyB had sent these three gorgeous bears as travel companions for Synapse. I love the cranky one (he is really quite a sweety!)

These three arrived with Bullet. Thank you fam-united! Even though the rest of us were a little cold, the polar bears were ready to suntan...they thought it was a lovely warm day...

Michele_one_L sent another eleven bears  and another pig. MrsC was confused for a bit till she spotted a ladybug too. Then she remembered that Michele had 'sold' toys in exchange for bears. These were two that MrsC had bought (and paid for!) They now live on her very full desk. Maybe one day she will send them out to see the world.

Last, but certainly not least, were this lovely group of bears from Finland. Thank you so much Delenna

Phew! What a lot of bears...they were sorted into their stations (washings, repairs, bows...) and dealt with then packed into the boxes and counted.

That was quite a busy day. Little Gracy said that we needed to do more repairs next... there was almost a mutiny! She admitted defeat and said we could continue the next day. We all fell into bed and slept soundly...


Posted Sep 2, 2008, 8:14 pm
Love puts the fun in together,
The sad in apart,
The hope in tomorrow,
The joy in the heart.
- Anonymous

The children were on school holiday and it was such a lovely day (after all that horrid cold weather) that MrsC said no fixing of bears till AFTER we have had a picnic! There was so much excitement in the air as everyone ran around preparing for it...

Hmmm! Look at that yummy spread, makes my tummy grumble just looking at it again!

NormaNikkers found a strawberry that was the same size as her...oh I do love strawberries...oops, I just drooled on the keyboard - I hope it doesn't short...

Bullet made friends with one of the dogs, who behaved herself and didn't steal any of the food.

It was so lovely and warm in the sun that I may have dozed off a little while a story was being read....

Umm, yes, I think I did...because I opened my eyes and found I was looking upwards at the sky and Eloise was giggling...

I felt the need to walk off the huge lunch I had just eaten (maybe one too many cupcakes...) and dear sweet Eloise said she would join me for a stroll around the garden.

We walked and we talked as we always do, she makes me feel so comfortable in her presence. Eventually I had to take a rest (it happens when you get to my age, unfortunately). We found  a comfy log to sit on and sat and just enjoyed listening to the birds for a bit, taking in the heady scent of the jasmin and admiring all the newly flowering plants.

I looked into my dear sweet Eloise's eyes and she smiled at me and I was overcome by a sudden urge to drop onto my knees... this was unfortunately impossible as I don't actually HAVE any knees - how did I not notice this before?

Well, I proposed to my darling - sitting right there as I was, no bended knee, no ring, just a heart filed with love... she held my hands and smiled the sweetest smile... I thought I'd pop a stitch if I held my breath any longer!

She said YES!!!!!!!! I think I heard an orchestra playing Handel's Messiah overhead as we sealed our engagement with a lingering kiss...

One little word and my whole life changed. Oops, I think I DID pop another stitch!

We decided to keep it a secret from the others until all the work was done. It was going to be hard enough for us to concentrate on the task ahead.


Posted Sep 2, 2008, 9:23 pm
Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. 
The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use. 
~Earl Nightingale

There was nothing else for it but to get stuck in and fix the remaining bears.
Between us we repaired eyes, lots and lots of eyes...



We fixed noses, lots and lots of noses...this one's original nose was hanging on by a thread, but it could not be used as the washer could not be removed, so he got a nice embroidered nose instead.

This panda was the closest we came to losing a bear. He had no nose, scratched eyes and his sponge foam filling had turned to dust, making him as flat as a pancake...what a mess to remove it... he looks much better with new stuffing already.

Look how beautifully he turned out in the end...

We did complete body overhauls. This poor bear was filthy and full of holes. She was too big to put in the washing machine and too dirty to wash by hand. Gracy told us to remove all the bear's stuffing, wash her in the machine, patch her up and re-stuff, that is exactly what we did...

Bullet was bored at first until he discovered that he could run right inside to put the stuffing down the legs.

Fiona sewed up the last hole...

And! Wait a bit, something is not right...

Much better!

We did a mountain of washing as well and put on meters of bows... and with the exception of the few small bears in the photos above, these are all the bears that we collected from the children's school.

MrsC started keeping stats on how many eyes she had replaced (lots), and labels she had cut off (hundreds!) but she got bored of doing that when the numbers started getting ridiculous… and she has this to say: If it were not for China there would be VERY few bears in this world!


Posted Sep 2, 2008, 9:51 pm
Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don't do it.

Once we were quite sure that all the bears were dry, we counted them and added them to the boxes. All the boxes were pushed neatly to the one corner of the this...

The remaining toys were put in boxes and stacked in another corner, awaiting the attention of Gracy, like so:

The dust bunnies were evacuated and Teddy Bear Central is habitable once more! Wow, thanks Gracy, you are a pocket dynamo...

Now we just need to wait for Hector to arrive, MrsC's Friend Lara to get back from her visit to the States and we can take them all in to the Teddy Bear Clinic.

Posted Sep 2, 2008, 10:44 pm

I would rather trust a woman's instinct than a man's reason.
~Stanley Baldwin

I thought we were done and that all the boxes should be sealed. Eloise said to wait a bit, there would probably be a few stragglers still...

Of course she was correct! Meet a few cute hand knitted local bears that are full of character...

and two more local bears that turned up too.


Posted Sep 2, 2008, 11:05 pm
Patience is also a form of action. 
~Auguste Rodin

We have been so busy for so long, that it has come as quite a shock to have nothing to do but sit around and wait.

The other ToyVoyagers have been out on excursions and enjoying themselves, some have moved on... Eloise and I have been staying home and enjoying each others company during the quiet moments when the house is not so busy.

Today was a different matter though. Today there was great excitement in the house when MrsC came back from the Post Office! 
Look who a great whoosh of purple heart shaped confetti :p (face it MrsC, it will be around for a while yet!)

My what a handsome fellow Hector is....We are so pleased that he arrived safely. Hopefully we will be able to get to the Teddy Bear Clinic soon and show him around.

Posted Sep 10, 2008, 11:23 pm
I dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance,
A church filled with family and friends.
I asked him what kind of a wedding he wished for,
He said one that would make me his wife.

Eloise and I managed to keep this a secret until the last minute...

We asked all the 'retired' bears (all 552 of them!!! Yay!! We DID IT!!!) to gather in the garden so we could have a group photo before we make the trip to the Teddy Bear Clinic...

We invited Vicki and her TVs to come and see all the bears together...

...and we asked all of MrsC's Tv's to come out and help keep everything orderly.

There was much giggling and chatting as everyone jostled for good positions. I eventually managed to get them all to calm down and made an announcement.

First, I welcomed all the guests and thanked them for travelling from both near and far to help me on my quest. I told them that I had some good news, Eloise and I had had recently gotten engaged! There was a ripple of excitement through the crowd and a few whistles and cheers from the rowdy section...But, I told them next, we wanted all of you to be guests at our wedding before you leave for the Teddy Bear Clinic so... if you look at the end of the aisle, you will see the most beautiful, kind hearted bear I have ever laid eyes on...

There was a very loud gasp as they realised that they were all at our wedding!

Buttons walked her down the aisle to give her away, Pinky Bearand Fiona were bridesmaids. Hector did the honours of best man.

How my heart swelled as she walked close and closer...

The officiating bear asked who gave the bride away, and Buttons stepped forward to do the honours.

Then it was our turn to exchange vows...

Eloise said 'I do'. I said 'I do'. (I heard a few sniffles in the crowd...)
The ring bear-er passed over the ring... well really it was a bracelet as we have paws not fingers...

The crowd gave a collective sigh...

Then it was time to kiss the bride!

I DEFINITELY felt a few stitches bursting! My beautiful wife, Eloise... how I love you…

We walked back down the aisle as bear and wife...

We were showered with petals...

Oh that was amazing! We were congratulated by everyone.
We went inside to have some wedding cake - Vicki brought a chocolate cake because that is way nicer than fruit cake....

The bears preferred to have honey and large pots of it were provided. We had a whale of a party, we danced and chatted most of the night was quite a whirlwind of an evening.

Soon, however it was time for us to leave. My wife and I climbed in the car...

The other TVs gathered around to wave us off.

Eloise threw back her bouquet...

Pinky Bear caught it!!!

And we were off...

We will be back soon... This was without doubt the best day of my life!


Posted Oct 20, 2008, 3:29 pm
Trip over love, you can get up. 
Fall in love and you fall forever.

My lovely wife, Eloise and I, spent the evening away from the boisterous party crowd. I hear the party went on into the wee hours!

We had a brief stay over at a friends place. Unfortunately there was no time to take a honeymoon as all the bears needed to be sorted out. Maybe someday soon... we can but dream...

We spent the day at the pool. It has been lovely and warm.

We floated around for hours just chatting away.

When we tired of that, we lay on a sun lounger and chatted some more!

What a lovely day we had, our first as husbear and wife.


Posted Oct 20, 2008, 4:16 pm
Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. 

~David Frost

Today is the day! All our months of hard work, all the months of you wonderful people sending in bears that you have collected...

We have reached our goals and it feels wonderful! I am about to achieve two of my life’s missions and that feels fantastic too...

Every last bear is boxed up, prepped and ready to go. There have been a few tears of course (mine mostly) it is sad to see friends go; But it is with a light heart that we separate as we know what special duty awaits each bear.

MrsC's friend Lara is here to help with transport. Lara's Mom Stephanie has also arrived to help. She has brought more bears!

We all push and shove and manage to fill the back of the Vito in an acceptable and orderly manner.

Gracy is coming too, she has helped so much and she also wants to drop off some of her soft toys in the same building.

Little Hector helps up front.

Eventually, we are off and on our way.

We arrived at the TMI building (Transvaal Memorial Institute - more about that in a minute) and unload the whole van in one go

Luckily the lifts are enormous and we manage to fit it all in in one go. It is still a bit of a squeeze...look at poor Lara behind all those boxes!

We announce our arrival at reception. They are very surprised at how many bears we have brought...

The boxes are stacked in the corridor; they will be put away in storage until they are needed. Luckily the bears are used to sitting around!

MrsC and I take Hector around for a look as it is one of his life's missions to visit the clinic.

This is the psychologist’s office (it was empty so we sneaked in) the other side is a bit more attractive, I promise!

He was very saddened by how dark and dreary the clinic was, but very excited to see all the bears...and boy are there lots of bears!

Once we had said our goodbyes we headed up with Gracy to Bigshoes.

This clinic is nice and bright and has a happier feel to it...

She was dropping off some soft toys for the Abandoned Baby Clinic which is part of Bigshoes.

This is where they examine the babies.

There was no clinic running when we got there so we popped in one of the cots for a bit of fun.

We said goodbye to the clinic sister and had a little look around the building as Lara had never been there before.

The building is known as the Transvaal Memorial Institute -TMI for short. Is was exclusively a children’s hospital that was run by the government. Once the huge New Johannesburg Hospital was built in the late 1970's, the children’s hospital moved over there.

This building became a children’s outpatient department. It is now exclusively occupied by NGO (Non Government Organisation) Children’s Clinics. (And although it is stilled called the TMI - the province has changed name from Transvaal to Gauteng)

This is a list of the clinics in the building. I will be back soon to help Gracy drop off more toys.


Posted Oct 20, 2008, 4:34 pm
The purpose of life is not to be happy - but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all. 

~Leo Rosten

Todays the day! Time for Gracy to take the toys and distribute them amongst the children's clinics... she asked if we would go with and help her.

Fi ran up to the Teddy Bear Clinic first to borrow a trolley as we had lots of boxes.

This was the crew: Bullet, me, Hector, Gracy and NormaNikkers.

Our first stop was Sunshine Centre. We gave them two boxes of soft toys that they will distribute as Christmas presents.

Our second stop was the Thusanani Children's Foundation (they were so excited to hear about us that they have signed up on the ToyVoyager website!)

We gave then two boxes of soft toys too...

We also dropped another box off at the Bigshoes Clinic.

Our last stop for donating soft toys was The Toy Library this was the very first charity Fi ever collected toys for.

There were some children who were quite excited to see us but Fi never took photos of them.

Our last stop was the Teddy Bear Clinic to drop off some curtains, late comer bears and the trolley we borrowed!

The bears who missed the first drop off came courtesy of Kristl. Many, many teddy thank yous to Kristl!

And some more local, hand knitted bears with loads of character.

Gracy's job here is done. She will be headed home soon, and the others will be leaving too...wonder when it's my turn to travel?


Posted Oct 20, 2008, 4:56 pm
It isn't the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it. 

~Eileen Elias Freeman

MrsC came back from the Post Office with two more parcels for me!

Mistigree sent these lovely bears from France...

And BlackCat and Olgamaus sent a joint parcel of these gorgeuos bears.

Thank you to all three of you from the bottom of my teddy heart.

MrsC has promised that she will sort these bears out for me as I have exciting news! MrsC told Eloise and I that she has signed us up for a Round Robin and we get to go on honeymoon! We are so excited, you just won't believe it.


Posted Oct 20, 2008, 5:03 pm
The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

~St. Augustine

Eloise and I will be travelling shortly, MrsC told us today who it is we are going to see! I am almost besides myself with happiness. Eloise just laughs at me and says that I am like a child at the moment...

I can't wait for tomorrow, I don't think I will sleep a wink tonight....


Posted Oct 23, 2008, 4:27 pm
Threadbear is somewhere in the postal system and doesn't know that he has just achieved another of his life's missions! I thought I would post it here for him, and he can have a  surprise when he does his next update....

Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 13, 2008, 5:44 pm
Oh, a parcel has arrived addressed to Steve & Helly from South Africa.

I wonder what it can be ? ?


Oh look! What a wonderful surprise, it's Threadbear and Eloise on honeymoon.

Welcome to England.

Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 13, 2008, 5:52 pm
Gosh were we glad to be able to stretch our legs! I was certainly stiff from my long voyage.

Helly & Steve kindly offered to show us our room but we felt it would be rude to retire so early.

Instead Helly presented us with a glass of bubbly in honour of our recent marriage.

I was so happy I leant forward and kissed my beloved Eloise on the tip of her cute nose.
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 13, 2008, 5:57 pm
Yawn! After a while we decide we really couldn't stay awake any longer.

What a surprise we had, a lovely king sized bed with a red heart cushion and orchid bed lights.

Helly tucked us in for the night and then switched off the light.
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 15, 2008, 9:50 am
'Night Night'. . . .

'Wait a minute, what's this?'

(Light on)

'Honeysuckle Bears, what are you all doing here?'

'It's Ok, Helly, we won't look, see, we'll look this way'

'I don't think so. Threadbear and Eloise do NOT want to share their honeymoon room with you! Go on you naughty bears, out!
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 15, 2008, 9:53 am
Off you go, out, out! Shoo!
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 15, 2008, 9:57 am
Eloise & I sat and watched the naughty bears leaving our room. We hugged each other and giggled at their antics. I think we're going to have so much fun while we're staying here.

We said 'Good night' to them and closed the door.
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 19, 2008, 7:36 am
Today we drove up the road to see Silbury Hill, the largest man made hill in Europe.

No one knows why the hill is there. Many theories exist.

You can see it clearly from all around, including from where the second avenue of stones lead to Avebury stone circle.

Just after this photo was taken, literally the second after, a huge lorry went by and sprayed us all with the contents of a puddle!

Helly was horrified but my darling Eloise and I burst out laughing and hugged each other in the joy of the moment. We giggled all the way home.
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 21, 2008, 7:27 am
On the way back to Steve & Helly's house we took a detour to visit The Crammer.

The Crammer has an interesting legend attatched to it - Helly says it may be a myth, Legends have some truth attached to them, Myths don't.

The Moonrakers:

Many years ago there were some smugglers and they were returning home to Wiltshire with a huge barrel of brandy. They were nearly home when they spotted some excise man laying in wait. They quickly rolled the barrel of brandy down into The Crammer, a huge pond in Devizes.

When they thought it was safe they began to rake the barrel out, at which point the excise men reappeared and asked what they were doing.

'We're trying to pull the cheese out of the lake', they replied, frantically raking at the reflection of the moon in the water.

The excise men left them, laughing at how stupid they were.

To this day, anyone born and bred in Wiltshire (Steve) is called a 'Moonraker' to reflect how canny they really are.
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 24, 2008, 10:10 am
Today my darling Eloise & I sat at the top of Bowden Hill and looked out across the whole of West Wiltshire and beyond. On a really clear day you can see for miles.

We snuggled up as there was a brisk wind blowing and enjoyed the peacefulness of the moment.

Tomorrow Helly told us we're off somewhere very special.
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 25, 2008, 5:54 pm
Today we stepped out of Wiltshire and across the border into Hampshire. Helly has a teddy bear fair tomorrow so we're staying here . . .

It's our treat for the weekend, a four star spa hotel, Botleigh Grange.
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 25, 2008, 5:58 pm
Before we went in, my poor Eloise was a little intimidated by the size of the place, she and I climbed up onto this very posh Rolls Royce.

We pretended the car was ours and we'd arrived in style! It even had a very expensive personalised number plate. It should read 'TB & E'!
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 25, 2008, 6:01 pm
Well, if we thought we had a huge bed to ourselves at Steve & Helly's house, look at this . . .
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 25, 2008, 6:06 pm
Look at all these lovely toiletries, and the posh bathroom.

After a quick cuddle, looking out of the window, Eloise excused herself and locked herself away in the bathroom for hours!! It must be a woman/bear thing. Steve sympathised and said he'd probably lose Helly into the black hole called a bathroom later too!
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 27, 2008, 6:22 pm
My darling Eloise & I spent today wandering around the gardens at the hotel and enjoying time together. The gardens were lovely, and apart from a few fishermen by the lake there was no one about.

We sat and admired the grounds for a long time.
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 27, 2008, 6:28 pm
We then became very silly and like cubs we ran about the place and climbed trees and locks . . .
Steve & Helly

Posted Nov 27, 2008, 6:32 pm
Phew! We're not the cubs we used to be! As the sun began to set we rested a while, catching our breath in the lovely gardens before it got too cold.

Later tonight we're returning to Wiltshire but Steve told us we have another treat in store for us next weekend. We can't wait to find out what it is.
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 1, 2008, 7:19 am
Later this week we're off to see the stone circle itself. This morning we stopped off to see the Adam and Eve stones.

These two solitary stones were once part of a processional avenue of stones which led to the circle itself. Only two remain. Many were removed to build houses.

In fact, these stones are nearer Avebury Trusloe, a village which was built specifically to house the residents of Avebury when their original Avebury houses were demolished in order to 'restore' the stone circle.
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 2, 2008, 9:02 pm
We set off early this morning to walk along the Kennet and Avon canal before Helly started work. It was a cold and frosty morning . . . oh, there's my cue for a song!

Helly took us along a road with sixteen speed bumps - she knows, she counted every one. We then walked a short way and found ourselves half way up Caen Hill, a flight of sixteen locks in very short succession. In fact, over a two mile stretch there are 21 locks.

Caen Hill is famous for it's locks. It takes about four hours in a narrow boat to navigate the flight of sixteen. Luckily there's a pub at the top for refreshments.

We didn't see any narrow boats this morning. Perhaps it was too early, or the more hardened boaters are moored up at the various marinas along the canal.
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 2, 2008, 9:08 pm
The large 'lakes' you can see are there to allow boats to moor up but more importantly they are there to prevent the canal flooding. A group of people are employed to control the water levels along the canal in times of high water. This morning there was just us and a few ducks to be seen.
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 7:09 am
What a surprise we had! We've once again travelled away from Wiltshire to London! More specifically, we're here to celebrate Helly's Dad's 70th birthday, at the London Eye!
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 7:15 am
Helly kept tightly hold of us through the crowds of London and before we knew it we were in a 'pod' and on our way!
Eloise held tightly on to me on the way up, but soon relaxed as Steve pointed out the sights.
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 7:19 am
Look, Can you see the Houses of Parliament in the background? We saw The Post Office Tower and St. Paul's Cathedral and the Gerkin Buillding, and that was just going up!
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 8, 2008, 3:13 pm
Hurrah, we're nearly at the top now. Hasn't time flown. The whole trip takes half an hour and it seems only minutes since we started.
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 8, 2008, 3:20 pm
Gosh, it's a long way down. My darling Eloise surprised me as I thought she'd be scared but not at all. She's loving every minute of it.
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 8, 2008, 3:45 pm
Wow, what a ride that was!
Now we're back on the ground we can explore some of London.

First stop - Horse Guards.

We were in time to see the changing of the guard. Those poor horses stand still for three hours at a time and the guards are not allowed to show any emotion. Not even when Eloise cheekily stuck her tongue out at one of them! Note the two different guards.

(Oh, Helly says to please excuse the fact that Steve took these photos and it's a bit hit and miss as to whether we're both in shot! He's not a pro!)
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 8, 2008, 4:02 pm
Next stop, Downing Street.

We couldn't see No. 10 as it's hidden behind these big gates.
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 8, 2008, 4:09 pm
Then we paused for a moment at the Senotaph. There were still lots of wreaths from remembrance day there.

(Oh, this is another Steve photo, can you tell?)
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 8, 2008, 4:12 pm
What a surprise, a familiar face!
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 13, 2008, 8:17 am
We drove to Marlborough especially to see the beautiful lights. Helly & Steve were very disappointed that the pictures did not do the lights justice.

However, we snuggled up in the car - it's starting to get cold here - and thought they were beautiful!
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 13, 2008, 8:39 am

Helly has discovered that her camera is not good for night time shots and for the actual night selection on the camera she needed a tripod, so she apologies as these are the best of a bad lot!

We had a fantastic time. Each year Calne has a festival of lights. School children and local groups make lanterns and walk through the street to the river before the Christmas lights are turned on.

Steve told us this was the best year, there were so many lanterns, big and small. It was icy cold so Eloise and I snuggled up together to keep warm.

We saw Father Christmas on his sleigh!

When the festival is on the main road, the A4, is closed through Calne which causes chaos. The police were there - the photo didn't come out well - and several buses had not read the 'Road closed' sign and had to turn around, doing 9 point turns to do so. It also means they have approximately 10 miles to drive to get back on their correct route!

We also saw a typical English red fire engine.

We only stayed until the lanterns had gone by as it was so very cold.
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 18, 2008, 4:58 pm
Back to Devizes this morning. This time Helly let us join her on a training day. Helly was delivering an abuse awareness course with new staff. Although it was a serious subject we did have some fun.

First we helped Helly with the flipchart.

Then Eloise and I wrote messages to each other . . .
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 18, 2008, 5:02 pm
Then we were introduced to the group. We helped them to make tea and then some of the group asked if they could take us outside and show us the beautiful church yard next door.

My darling Eloise and I were feeling mischievious so we also climbed into a bush and played hide and seek.
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 18, 2008, 5:04 pm
Finally, still in miscievious mood we decided to climb on to the overhead projector and project ourselves onto the screen!

It was so much fun! My darling Eloise and I giggled through the rest of the afternoon!
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 18, 2008, 5:13 pm
What a surprise we had! Helly's parents are spending the night in Bath so we went to help them park up and show them Bath's Christmas market.

After seeing the views of Bath from their hotel window we stopped at Paultney Bridge. A famous bridge of shops, which, when you're on it you don't realise you're on a bridge at all, unless you look through the shop windows.
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 19, 2008, 5:44 pm
First stop was by this amazing 'statue'. It stood really still before suddenly moving and startling people. Eloise wasn't too certain she liked it and held on to me tightly.
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 19, 2008, 5:55 pm
Well, we were here to visit the Christmas market but it was just so busy Helly was scared she was going to lose us, so she didn't take any photos.

However, our attention was caught by these two acrobats . . . almost naked acrobats! They are called 'Skate Naked' and are incredibly funny.

Eloise was particularly taken, which made me feel a little jealous. However, at the end of the show she kissed me on my nose and said she only has eyes for me!

Helly and Steve have seen them three times now. They always perform outside the very posh restaurant at the Pump Rooms in Bath, which was funny in itself.

It was an incredibly cold day. They must have been frozen!!
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 20, 2008, 8:08 am
We had a bit of fun today! One of the shops had a half price sale and had 'snow' outside . . . not real unfortunately, but foam!
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 21, 2008, 10:23 am
Do you remember we visited the Adam & Eve stones? Well today we're visiting The Avenue. The more famous of the two avenues that used to lead to Avebury Stone Circle.

There are still many stones still standing, others have been replaced with concrete blocks to show where they would have been.

Eloise snuggled up to me as it was SO cold!
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 21, 2008, 10:35 am
Here we are in Avebury itself - we left so early to get here before Helly went to work!

We walked all the way around the circle, a walk of a mile. The stones are so big.

Many of them are still standing. Many were found below the ground and have been replaced. A village was built on top of the stones many years ago. Then a gentleman, Alexander Keiler (We think that's how you spell his name), built another village, Avebury Trusloe, just outside of Avebury. Moved all the residents into the new village and pulled down their houses in order to restore the circle to what you find today.
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 22, 2008, 7:02 am
We then sat on what is known as 'The Devil's Seat'. This is a huge standing stone.

Do you recognise it? It's Helly & Steve's avatar.

Finally, on the way back to the car, we stopped in the High Street. Can you see the English red post box?
Steve & Helly

Posted Dec 22, 2008, 7:11 am
Every day Helly drives past Cherhill white horse on her way to work and every day since we've been here it's been too dark or cloudy to see the horse.

Well Helly finally gave up and took us to Hackpen Hill.

Here at least we could see one of Wiltshire's eight white horses.

So, since we've been here we've been past Marlborough white horse - nowhere to stop to take a photo - and Cherhill, many times. At last we got to see one.

Unfortunately we're about to return to South Africa. Perhaps one day we can return to see some more of the white horses and also Stonehenge, which is also in Wiltshire but an hours drive away.

We've loved our extended honeymoon. Helly even touched up my nose for me - Mrs C, if you don't like it Helly says she's left the original stitching underneath and finished off under my left arm. So you can easily remove the stitches.

We'll snuggle up in our box now and hope we arrive home very soon.

Posted Jan 15, 2009, 10:58 pm
My dearest Eloise and I have made it home intact. It was a tiring journey but we are happy to be home.

MrsC was very happy to see us pop out the box, and even happier to see we came bearing gifts! Souvenirs from our honeymoon....

We'll set up the mini Stonehenge just as soon as we can find a space - Fi's desk is a massive mess at the moment! Guess we'll need to help her clear it up.

The lovely Helly sent us a congratulations card...

Oh, we had such a fantastic time with Helly and Steve, we shall miss them terribly. I shall also remain forever grateful for my beautiful stylish nose. It has given me so much more confidence.

Thank you! Much Teddy love to you both.