During the Second World War Miss Shepherd drove ambulances in Plymouth. A quarter of a century later, while lodging in Torquay, she sewed the amber eyed, ginger head back on my teddy bear the wrong way round. Strengthening the thread with candle wax. I knew she had witnessed the darkness of the human soul therefore I never uttered a word. I have always cherished that bear.
As I evolved into a bachelor adult I realised many of my friends, pairing off in partnerships, had other people to talk to. Their selective telephones banishing me like a pauper from the Bugatti Boutique in Brompton Road, Knightsbridge.
I have watched with sadness whimsical bear celebrity wax and wane through the titled affected associations of Brideshead Revisited to Sir John Betjeman and the collectible button eared Steiff’s of the rapacious Antiques Roadshow.
My bear this Christmas will provide, as always, a comfort only my memories can know as I hold his padded foot rough as the canvas of a 1940’s hospital stretcher while watching the Queens speech.