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Life Missions

(4 out of 5 complete)

To visit the Teddy Bear Clinic

To donate 500 bears to the Tedddy Bear Clinic

To personally welcome each bear that arrives.

To make it into the local newspaper

To win a Golden Bear Award

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Travelog for: Threadbear

Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 5th August 2008

By: Threadbear

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 added...wow!

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 1, 2008, 10:44 pm Last edited Sep 2, 2008, 7:29 pm by Threadbear [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

In the garden, South Africa - 7th August 2008

By: Threadbear

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, 8:14 pm Last edited Sep 2, 2008, 8:20 pm by Threadbear [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 9th August 2008

By: Threadbear

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 her...so, 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, 9:23 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 11th August 2008

By: Threadbear

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 room...like 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, 9:51 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 19th August 2008

By: Threadbear

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, 10:44 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 2nd September 2008

By: Threadbear

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 arrived...in 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 2, 2008, 11:05 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

The garden, South Africa - 7th September 2008

By: Threadbear

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 away...it 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 Sep 10, 2008, 11:23 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Olivedale, South Africa - 12th September 2008

By: Threadbear

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, 3:29 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Teddy Bear Clinic, South Africa - 17th September 2008

By: Threadbear

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, 4:16 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

TMI, South Africa - 2nd October 2008

By: Threadbear

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, 4:34 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Tedy Bear Central, South Africa - 16th October 2008

By: Threadbear

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, 4:56 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Home, South Africa - 20th October 2008

By: Threadbear

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 20, 2008, 5:03 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Randburg, South Africa - 23rd October 2008

By: MrsC

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....

Randburg Sun.JPG

* Posted Oct 23, 2008, 4:27 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Calne, Wiltshire - 8th November 2008

By: Steve & Helly

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.

threadbear 009.jpg
threadbear 010.jpg

* Posted Nov 13, 2008, 5:44 pm Last edited Nov 13, 2008, 5:48 pm by Steve & Helly [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Calne, England - 8th November 2008

By: Steve & Helly

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.

threadbear 022.jpg
threadbear 023.jpg

* Posted Nov 13, 2008, 5:52 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

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