Bare/Bear with Me

It all seems quite unreal.  I am in an ambulance wired up to a portable ECG machine. My ectopic heartbeats continue their uneven zigzag.  Eventually we arrive at the admissions ward where ambulance crew have to wait until they can hand me over to the medical staff.  This is at 3pm.  They have been on duty since 7 am without a break!.  I wait on a trolley in a cubicle. I am wired up again; a doctor asks questions and takes blood. Cannyrob arrives with a welcome cup of tea and a sandwich. The doctor comes back. The blood test is inconclusive. They do a second test. Results arrive at 11pm.  I haven’t had a heart attack and can go home.  I still feel unwell and have two bad asthma attacks as well as the heart arythmia .  Later in the week I see my GP. It seems the beta blocker I was on may have aggravated my asthma and caused breathlessness.  It has been changed.  I am to have a review at the newly reinstated Asthma Clinic tomorrow.

I also got some serious pain relief for my acute sciatica.  You are possibly thinking this is typical old lady stuff.  And it is!  Seriously limiting my activities just when I want to be out there having fun. And no alcohol while I’m on this pregabelin. It does knock out the pain though, even if I appear to be falling down drunk most of the time. l am sleeping better now but had a run of bad nights and was wide awake at 4 in the morning.  A silent message lit up my phone.  From F in Seattle.  Only evening there. Can I call you?  We talked for two hours. It was great.  I do appreciate technology.  I’m seeing an excellent physiotherapist who has taken me through the right exercises, stuck.tape on my back and, today, gave me acupuncture.  It feels really good.

I chose this month’s Tarot card with some trepidation.  The Falling Tower? The Devil? Death? But no, my randomly chosen card was The Empress.

She is the Madonna, the Great Mother, also Kali, the Terrible Mother.  She rules intuitively, the power of love more important than the love of power.  She is dynamic, dramatic and creative.  Just how I’d like to be at this stage in my life.

I had this blog post all worked out.  It was going to be about teddy bears, and still is.  My generation had very few toys and the ones we had were treasured.Teddies, stuffed toys originally associated with President Theodore Roosevelt’s refusal to shoot a captured black bear. An enterprising shop owner made some ‘teddy’ bears and they have beeen popular with adult and children ever since.  i used to love to get up on a Saturday morning and listen to Children’s Favourites on the BBC Light Programme.  This was one I especially liked…..


My bear was my second soft toy.  As a tiny baby I had a panda which came with me everywhere.  On a tram with Mummy when  I was two I was kneeling on the slippy seat holding Panda up to the window to look at the rain.  He fell out.  We went back later to look for him but he was gone.  I was sad.  I had to wait some months until my third birthday when, waiting for Daddy to come home, I heard a growl in the hall and I was presented with my Chad Valley teddy, resplendent in a blue satin bow.  This my clearest early memory. From then on he was my constant companion and playmate.  I remember trying to breastfeed him when my Sister was a baby.  I remember cutting his golden fur and being bitterly disappointed when it didn’t grow back.  Any time I got to make a wish, mine was for Teddy to be alive. 

Teddy before renovation

He has spent years on a sofa in the upstairs room where WeeBoy sleeps.  When his eyes fell out I embroidered new ones  but they never looked right.  When his paws distintegrated I folded his arms over and sewed them.  A few months ago I decided on a Teddy renovation project, sending away for new eyes and a nose, plus a new ‘growler’ and some suede like fabric for paws.  I removed some of his old straw stuffing and replaced it with wadding.  The growler operation involved a major incision, but it was good to hear that rattly grrr again.  I knitted him a cardigan with two buttons from one I’d had as a child, with a little Dutch scene.  I have to admit to sleeping with him again.

Teddy after

My Sister didn’t have a teddy and ws very envious of mine.  She had a rather stiff, scratchy knitted pink rabbit with a vaguely evil face.  She never really liked it but cuddled it anyway.   On holiday in Canada a few years ago she bought herself a proper soft cuddly teddy bear.

A knitted rabbit c. 1951

Two close friends have shared their teddy stories.  Both had home-made toys made from furry coat fabric.  Immediately post -war toys were in short supply.  C was born in August 1945, and as her first Christmas approached,  her mother was talking to a friend about it, who said she would make something for the baby. The friend cut up an old ‘fur fabric’ coat and made a teddy out of it. She stuffed it so full that it felt hard and it was also the old fashioned shape that you see on really old bears. When her grandson was born in 2007, it was some important anniversary of Steiff, and she bought him a bear very like hers, with a commemorative tag.  It could be worth something some day.

2007 Steiff bear

Two Teddies by A

There were two Teddies in my childhood home, one each for my older brother and me.

I had always assumed my brother’s Teddy was knitted in wartime but maybe it was handed down from a cousin, and was even older. I hated it! It was rough, scratchy, a nasty dark greenish colour, not a Teddy to cuddle. Maybe in the 1940’s it was considered a masculine Teddy suitable for a growing boy.

I don’t think he spent much time with his toy.

My Teddy was my friend and confidante and very cuddly. I had known him in a previous life, when he was my winter coat. My best coat, my Sunday coat, for visits and Sunday School, in a faraway world.

My mother had bought soft, light brown Teddy-coloured material and sewed my coat, wrapped me in it and when it was too small, recycled it into Teddy. I loved his face. He seemed to smile at me all the time and he had a firm body to hold on to. Over the years his legs, arms and ears fell off, were sown back on by my mother, and much later by me.

When I was a bit older he slept in a big bed with me. I cuddled him with my book and then I placed him at my back. I faced the door and kept watch, he watched the window. We could sleep without any fear.

Thank you for sharing these memories. They have stirred up some deep feelings in all of us.

I haven’t done much reading this month…currently The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel.  Not as riveting as her Station Eleven.  Just finished The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton.  Not saying too much about it! Interesting ending..The Marriage by KL Slater is one of these twisty psychological thrillers.  I also listened to two in a similar genre by Nina Manning: Daughter-in-Law.and  The House Share.

Audiobooks have helped me through this challenging time. Having finished Max Hastings book about the second world war I have now embarked on Stalingrad by Vasilly Grossman, a very long listen. Meantime, I have succumbed to a creepy tale of a haunted house called simply The Haunted by Bentley Little.

I do however, have lots of new books to read! Huzzah!

A Freudian slip is saying one thing when you mean your mother.

From article on Freud

This is a bit late but I am on serious drugs. Writing this is a great distraction. I just love the teddy stories. Send me yours? Next month:. Leonora Carrington, being a Goth Grandma and more…Thanks for reading and just being there. Email me privately at

Or use the Comments box or social media.

By Elinor Kirk

Granma of WeeBoy, mum of Daughter, Son and Daughter, partner of Cannyrob, blogger since 1999, retired dramatherapist, would-be artist with Gothic leanings.


  1. I can really relate to both sides of this story, it’s uncanny! I hope you feel better soon. It’s great to hear you spoke to someone during one of those long nights.
    My mum has a similar threadbare teddy who would appear in the bed my grandma made up for me as a child. ‘Old Ted’ was scratchy but I loved him as a symbol of the care she used to take getting the spare room ready for me. I’d climb inside the rigid covers and know Ted was keeping me company.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear you have been unwell Elinor, hope Teddy helps you recover. I still have my bear, he is bare down one side have never been brave enough to try to repair him. evelyn

    Liked by 1 person

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