Sunday, 20 September 2009

Royal Beariety Show

By Susan Brewer
I’m writing this blog on Oliver’s behalf, so I can explain just what the dressing up is all about!

It was Oliver’s idea, of course (it normally is), but in a way it was my fault for giving him a conjuring set for his birthday. In next to no time he was practising card tricks, producing coins from thin air, performing sleight of paw card tricks and bamboozling the others in the hug. (Not that it takes much to bamboozle them). I did have to draw the line when dear little Cutie appeared with sticking plaster on her arm, and whispered to me that Oliver had tried the ‘sawing a bear in half trick but it went a bit wrong’. I hurriedly had a few stern words with him and divested him of the saw from his junior carpenter’s set. However, on the whole I was amazed at how quickly he had learnt to ‘conjur’, as he called it.

Oliver’s inspirational idea was to hold a ‘Beariety Show’, and of course, when he announced his plan everyone wanted to take part. We had to hold auditions, rather like X Factor. To make it even posher, we decided to invite Prince and Princess Bruin, who accepted with alacrity, though it was probably the promise of eats afterwards, rather than the actual show, which prompted them to attend. Once rehearsals started I was pleasantly surprised to see the varied talents which the members of the hug revealed.
So, sit back, relax and enjoy the highlights of the Royal Beariety Show.

Royal Beariety Show
Held in the presence of Their Royal Hairinesses The Prince and Princess Bruin, at the Bearladium Theatre.
Admission free (Pay at the door!)The management respectfully requests that no honey, jam, marmalade or other sticky substances are brought into the auditorium.


The Master of Bearemonies welcomes Their Royal Hairinesses The Prince and Princess Bruin.

The Follies Beargere Girls – Direct from Paris, France

The Great Bearendo Conjurer – Astounding sleight of paw

Violinist Stradibearius – His music will bring tears to your eyes

Ventriloquist Kanu C Milipzmoove and his talking dummy, Bobby Braces

Jiggler the Juggler – A bear with dexterous paws

Bearie Lloyd – Our favourite Music Hall Star

Will Shakesbeare (and Agent)

The Spice Bears – Five bears with attitude

Corkscrew the Contortionist – Cubs, don’t try this at home!

Our very own Cheeky Chappie – Bear-faced cheek

Elvis – Get ready to swoon!

The Master of Bearemonies greeted the Royal Guests, Their Royal Hairiness Prince and Princess Bruin, before showing them to their seats.

First on were the girls from the Folies Beargere, who gave a spirited rendition of the Can Can (though one cheeky member of the audience was heard to mutter, ‘More like the Can’t Can’t’).

Next came Oliver as The Great Bearendo (See top picture). As he performed, the incredulous audience responded with gratifying gasps, even though they had watched him practising for weeks. Apart, that is, from one small bear in the front row who kept yelling ‘I saw how you did it!’ This naughty little bear was later ‘magicked’ head first into the conjuror’s top hat (once the rabbit had been produced), thankfully muffling the heckling, to the relief of the audience.

A short but sweet performance by our very own Stradibearius on his violin. He played, ‘The Teddy Bears Picnic’, which, with hindsight, perhaps wasn’t such a good choice. The Master of Bearemonies had to rush on to tell the audience it wasn’t supper time yet.

Then came the ventriloquist, Kanu C Milipzmoove. His dummy was ably played by dear little Bobby Braces, and if he helped out by speaking, no-one complained. In a complete reversal of the usual stunt, Bobby Braces ate a honey sandwich and drunk fizzy pop while Kanu continued to talk – the audience were flabbergasted, and the applause was stupendous.

None of us knew that Harry could juggle, but apparently he had been practising for ages with eggs, which explains the trail of egg yolk and broken shells I kept finding in the kitchen. I was under the impression we had weasels…. Harry juggled with a set of coloured balls in the show, as he couldn’t find any eggs. (I made an omelette earlier, I didn’t know they were needed as ‘props’.) He also produced a set of clubs, but unfortunately he threw them rather too high and one hit the Master of Bearemonies on the head, which didn’t go down too well (with the MB) though the audience loved it, thought it was part of the act and it was several minutes before order was restored).

Old Time Music Hall Star Bearie Lloyd gave a spirited rendition of ‘It’s One Of The Bruins That Cromwell Knocked Abaht A Bit’, following it up with ‘The Bear I Love Is Up In The Gallery’ and ‘My Old Bear’ (Said Go To The Lair And Don’t Dilly Dally On The Way). The audience adored her and she took several encores.

Will Shakesbeare was on next, reciting a selection of the famous b(e)ard’s works. He began with ‘If honey be the food of love’, following up with ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your bears’ before wowing the audience with several extracts from ‘The Merry Thoughts of Windsor’. Naturally, his agent was on hand throughout, partly to ensure his protégé remembered his lines, but mainly to ensure he received his ten per cent cut.

Now we had one of the show’s highlights – The Spice Bears. Ginger, Sporty, Scary, Posh and Baby were fantastic and deservedly received a huge round of applaws. Their versions of ‘Wanna Bear’ and ‘Spice Up Your Steiff’ had everyone stomping in the aisles, while Ginger’s tight and short union jack dress made the male bears whistle.

Then came Corkscrew, aka Clicker, our resident contortionist, to demonstrate his amazing flexibility. Robbie, in the back row, decided he could do just as well. Unfortunately, his leg jammed around the back of his head, and at the time of writing, we are still desperately trying to free him.

Naturally we couldn’t have a variety show without a comedian, and who better than our very own Cheeky Chappie? His jokes were corny, and we had all heard them hundreds of times before, but that didn’t matter. We still laughed when he said, ‘I say, I say, I say, why did the bear blush? Because he had a bear behind!’ Cheeky appeared with his pink zebra, who doubled as his stooge. ‘I say, I say, I say, what happened when the teddy saw the zebra crossing? He climbed onto its back and crossed safely!’

This was the one we had all been waiting for – Elvis, aka Oliver. He had the hip swivel, the curling lip and the toss of the head all off to a T, and as he strutted onto the stage several of the younger girly bears in the front row swooned. You should have heard him. From the opening strains of ‘Blue Suede Paws’ through to ‘I just want to be your Teddy Bear’, ‘Houndbear’, ‘Merrythought’s The Name Of His Latest Flame’, and the final ‘Jailhug Rock’, Oliver – sorry – Elvis, was magnificent. As the audience erupted, the Master of Bearemonies announced ‘Elvis has left the building’. Of course he had. He had raced next door where he was busy scoffing all the sausage rolls.

The general consensus was that it was a wonderful evening, and that the hug must do it again. Well, maybe they will. But not till next year. My nerves won’t stand it.

CAST LIST (in order of appearance)

Master of Bearemonies - Paddington

Prince Bruin - Prince Bourton

Princess Bruin - Ponkle

The Folies Beargere Girls - Hudson, Hardy, Hampton and Hieronymous

The Great Bearendo - Oliver

Stradibearius - Bobby Ganz

Kanu C Milipzmoove - Alfonso, and Dummy (Bobby Braces)

Jiggler the Juggler - Harry

Bearie Lloyd - Norah

Will Shakesbeare - Will, and Agent - Will Wannabe

Spice Girls - Blancmange (Posh), Macaroon (Scary), Patriotic Punk (Ginger), Baby Blancmange (Baby) and Tennyson (Sporty)

Corkscrew the Contortionist - Clicker

Cheeky Chappie - Bric-a-Brac

Elvis - Oliver

Sunday, 14 June 2009


When I told my family that it was time to set out for our holiday in Norfolk, I didn't realise that Oliver was listening. I certainly didn't expect him to assume that he was coming too. But what can you do when a fifteen-inch high ball of golden fluff excitedly staggers up to you loaded with 2 suitcases, a picnic hamper, a deckchair and five keyrings all labelled 'Oliver'? So, this is Oliver's diary, just as he wrote it, except that I've corrected his (atrocious) spelling. I've also included punctuation, because, as Oliver says, 'Bears don't do dots.' You will, no doubt, notice his preoccupation with food!



When I heard Sue say 'Holiday' I thought it meant sharp thorns, like the holly last Christmas, which I sat on. Ow! Then she talked about boats and trains and lots of ducks, and I knew it would be something nice. I don't know why she wouldn't let me take my red devil Hallow'een suit or my black satin tailcoat and white silk shirt, but she said they weren't suitable. She also made me unpack my train set, spaceman's helmet, big toy parrot, alarm clock with bells, wellie boots, skateboard and tin of choccie bickies. And the cat.I waved to everyone out of the car windows, till Sue made me sit on the floor. She said I was distracting people, but it wasn't my fault that a little girl waved back while she was drinking orange juice and it went all over her mum.

It didn't take long to get to the place we were staying, in Wroxham, Norfolk, right by the river. I was soon relaxing on the veranda, watching the boats and ducks. One gave me a feather - a duck, not a boat. Boats don't have feathers, though I think Catamarans might be furry. I put the feather in my scrapbook. Later, we walked around the marina, and I saw a boat with Rosie and Jim peeping from the window. I like Rosie and Jim, I watch them on television so I wanted to go and say hello, but I couldn't jump across the water.


After my usual breakfast of honey and bacon sarnies, honey and toast, honey-covered cornflakes and tea (with plenty of honey), I had a wash - why do bees make their honey so sticky? We went to visit a stately home called Blickling Hall, which was built in the early 17th Century, one of England's great Jacobean houses - I'm not sure what that means, but I think it means it's very old. As Sue is a member of the National Trust we didn't even have to pay, and we explored the rooms which were full of wonderful paintings, carved furniture and plush sofas. The beds were enormous with curtains and canopies. I wish I had a bed like that. I usually sleep on a pink cushion on Sue's black leather office chair. She doesn't know, but at night I make it spin round and round and round.

The gardens at Blickling Hall were beautiful, and I sat amongst the lavender which smelled lovely. Sue told me that some teddies are stuffed with lavender and people use them to scent their bedrooms. I hurried off quickly. There was a secondhand bookshop at Blickling, and Sue was very pleased because she found an old annual which she'd had when she was small. She told me that it contained a story about a little girl who was going to be May Queen, so she asked her mummy to call her early. Sue always wondered why the little girl wanted to be called 'Early' instead of her real name!We had a delicious meal at Blickling, followed by strawberries and cream.


We went to Great Yarmouth, but it rained. Most of the day Sue carried me in a plastic bag to stop me getting wet. She bought me a bunch of feathers on a loop to fit over my ear. It makes me look a bit like a duck.Later we visited a craft centre called Wroxham Barns, where I bought loads of fudge. I also sampled the cider. Several times. Sue bought a notice to hang up at home which says, 'Some people have interesting lives. Other people have tidy houses.' I think Sue must have a very, very, very, very interesting life! (Are you being cheeky? Sue.) I went to the little fair, too. There was a Peter Pan railway and a roundabout. Then I found a shop which sold lots of different kinds of honey!


We have hired a boat for two days. It has lots of comfy seats and a tiny kitchen, called a galley. As soon as we climbed on board, I looked at the map of the Broads to work out which way to go. Once Sue had pointed out that we had to follow the blue route, and we couldn't go along the yellow route, as I first thought, as yellow meant roads, I decided that we would go to Ranworth where we could moor and have our lunch. I am captain of this boat, and have to say things like 'Ahoy there', 'Splice the mainbrace' and 'Weigh the anchor', only I don't know what a 'hoy' is, I haven't got a mainbrace to splice and there aren't any scales so I can't weigh the anchor, though I do know it's very heavy. I don't suppose it really matters. It was lovely cruising the Broads, and we saw lots of coots, grebes, moorhens, ducks, geese and swans. Some of them had babies, and I lent over the side to throw in bits of bread. Sue held on to me because she said the water was very deep, though I think she's wrong as it only comes a little way up the ducks. Did you know that grebes sometimes carry their babies on their backs? They looked very sweet, enjoying their pick-a-back rides. Coots are funny birds - they have big grey feet with squidgy toes, and when you throw the bread they run very fast towards you across the top of the water. They made me laugh. It was a good job I brought my picnic hamper because I noticed Sue hadn't packed any bear-sized cups or plates. I gave the ducks my crusts, but I'm glad they don't like honey. I expect they like choccie biscuits, but I didn't try as I only had two. We found a very peaceful stretch of water, and saw an enormous heron. It flew right near the boat and scared me a bit; I thought it was an eagle.


We went on the boat again. It was moored right outside our veranda, so we
could make an early start. As we went through Horning we admired all the lovely thatched cottages and houses which back onto the river. It must be smashing to live there, you could go sailing every day and have your own pet duck. We found a pretty creek which led to Ludham, and moored at Womack Staithe for our picnic lunch.In the evening we went to a restaurant in Wroxham and had pizza, which was delicious, even though it didn't have honey on it. And for pudding, we had three different kinds of ice cream.


An exciting thing happened today. We went to Sheringham, and bought tickets to ride on a steam train, on the Poppy Line. And afterwards the driver let me go in the cab! There really were lots of poppies, too - they grew all along the edge of the track, and shone bright red in the sunshine. The train chuffed and puffed and said 'hwoooo' as we went under a bridge. The shop at the station sold little shoulder bags, and Sue bought me one. She asked what colour I'd like, and I chose red to match the poppies. I can keep my pennies, jelly babies and hanky in it. Or, perhaps I could fill it with honey...?
We went to Cromer, too, and had delicious sandwiches, though they didn't have any sand in them. Ha, ha. I made a joke!


I can't believe that we have to go home tomorrow. I think I'll stay here for ever and ever. We went to a place called Sutton to visit a windmill. It was very exciting, climbing right up to the top. We had to go up lots of ladders, and, if you were tall, you had to keep your head down in case you bumped it on a beam. I was alright, as I'm only little. It was worth the climb, as the view from the top was amazing - I could see right across the fields. By the Mill was a museum which was full of old packets and boxes and tins. It was showing what life was like in times past. There were old-fashioned shops including a chemists and a grocer's, with big wooden counters and cash registers with keys like a typewriter has. Sue took a photo of me sitting on the counter, but I'm not for sale. Not really. Am I? Sue? Sue?

We went to a pub, and had the most delicious crab sandwiches. They were yummy. I like crab nearly as much as honey. If they had honey on, they would have been perfect.Then we went to another kind of windmill, called a windpump, at Horsey. This one was owned by the National Trust. I climbed all the way up to the top. When we came down, I had a chocolate ice-cream, and sat by the river watching the swallows. They were swooping over the water, catching insects. I'm glad bears don't have to swoop over the water to catch insects. Yuk!


We had to go home today. I packed my cases, hamper and deckchair and was soon ready. I found some swan's feathers to put in my scrapbook, and I went to the shop to buy some postcards to stick in, as well. I'm a bit sad to be leaving Norfolk, but I've had a lovely holiday. Still, it will be good to see all my friends at home. I can show them the photos and my diary, and tell them about my adventures. I wonder if anyone else would be interested?

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Diary of a Teddy Bear


Oliver is a fifteen inch high Merrythought teddy bear with lots of attitude. He lives in deepest Essex with Sue, who is a writer, and family. Here in this blog he shares his thoughts, his adventures and his rather odd take on life.

Oliver is a well-dressed bear, with clothes for all occasions. He favours casual wear, but can look smart when he needs to.

My name is Oliver and I am a special bear. I have been given my own blog so I can tell people what I do and where I go. However, teddy bears can’t write very well, because their paws are full of fluff and get caught in the computer, so I am having to write this slowly. Please read it slowly so that you don’t get too far ahead of me. Otherwise you will be reading a blank page.

Bears have their own special spelling, and we don’t do those dot things which you call ‘punctuation’, so Sue is correcting it all for me as I write, because she thinks you’ll find it hard to read if she just puts it up in bear writing. Here is a bit of bear writing for you to see, though. All my teddy friends can read it and they write just the same, but I will let Sue ‘translate’ the rest of my blog.

‘Helo mi nayme is oliverrrrrrrrr sori I got mi por cort in the kei bord an I am a speshul baer I hav bin givun mi oune blogg so I can tel peepel wot I do an ware i goe’
See, it’s not really difficult to read, is it? Anyway, now I will tell you about myself, cos I think that’s what blogs are meant to do.

Sue has lots of bears, but I am the most special of all, and I am important because I go on holiday with her, and I go visiting. My best friends in our ‘hug’ are my gang - Cheddar, Macaroon and Punk. We have just been joined by Toastie, who is Macaroon’s long lost twin brother, who Sue found forgotten in a carrier bag in the spare room.

Punk is very cheeky, and he wasn’t meant to be in my gang but he kind of latched on. Cheddar looks sad, but he is really very funny, always telling jokes. He finds it useful to look sad, ‘cos Sue feels sorry for him and gives him extra biscuits. Macaroon and Toastie both growl a lot, but they are friendly, and very happy since they found each other again. We have adventures and stuff, and when Sue sees us whispering together, she always says that ‘trouble is bruin’ (which is a joke).

There are also two Togglitt bears, Mothball and Tyla, who try to see what we are up to, and sometimes we let them join us, but they are a bit shy, and also very inquisitive. We keep having to pull them out of jugs and drawers and things. Mothball likes to pretend he is a hippie, and so Sue made him a hippie waistcoat, but Tyla hasn’t decided whether he wants to be a hippie yet. He has taken to wearing a red bell off a Lindt chocolate rabbit, so is trying out the look but without the beads and fringed clothes.

I also have a bear friend called MK. MK lives quite a long way from me, so we don’t meet up much, but we are paw pals, and write emails to each other in bear spelling. I have another email friend too, her name is Dora and she is a doll who lives in Wales. Sue has lots of dolls, as well, but most of them giggle a lot and chatter all the time, which annoys me and the gang. My best dolly friend at home is Lulu; she is a very cheeky doll, and is an honorary gang member.

When I am not on my travels, or having adventures, me and my friends sometimes act out plays and put on concerts. Not long ago we had a show and I was a conjurer. I tried to make a rabbit come out of a hat; it didn’t work quite right, but everyone clapped anyway. And then I dressed up as Elvis Presley and sang ‘I Just Want To Be Your Teddy Bear’ and ‘Blue Suede Paws’. Once, we did a ballet. I was a soldier and Grace, one of the big (very, very big) girl bears was Sugar Plum Fairy. I will put pictures up on my blog of our shows, so you can see them. We’ve also acted out a pantomime - it was Jack and the Beanstalk. I was Jack and had to climb up and up and up till I found the giant, but it was really Mr Chad, the biggest bear in our hug, pretending to be fierce.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading my blogs and seeing the pictures of my adventures. Now my paws ache with all the typing, so while Sue does things to my spelling so you can read it properly, I will sneak into the kitchen and pinch some chocolate biscuits from the tin with the chickens on the lid. And I might have a honey and marmite sandwich as well.

Bear hugs