Tag Archives: grandkids

Just Max and me. Adventures Day 1

A boy’s story is the best that is ever told. – Charles DickensDSC01166

I cannot believe it was six years ago that I was first entrusted with my grandson Alfie, while his parents were at work. I loved it and created Adventures with Alfie, chronicling the fun times we had together. He will soon be at an age where he can read the accounts for himself – I hope he loves them.

History is about to repeat itself and every Friday for the next few months it will be ‘Just Max and me’.  This will be fun!

Max, like Alfie, is something special. He was born to parents who were at one time told that they had ‘little or no chance of ever conceiving and raising children’. God had other ideas and Alfie came first and then Max made a surprise but very welcome appearance. He is eighteen months old now and a real ‘character’. He is happy, loving and possesses a smile that reminds me of a sunrise on a beautiful summer day. At this age he wants to know everything about everything, pick up everything within reach – the breakable ones interesting him most and several things have to be moved to safer places before his arrival.

 

I love him.

The Blue Fairy once told Pinocchio, ‘Prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish, and someday, you will be a real boy. I hope that the times we spend together, just Max and me, will help him along that road.I always try and remember that a real boy is the only thing that God can use to make a real man.

Max arrived early with his mum and brother, we had breakfast together with his cousins before walking to school. I love those days.

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In the school yard we met up with another Max – someone who is so famous his name is on every cooker and record player in the world – so he says!!

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After the drop offs and kisses Max, and I walked to the shops before heading across to visit Eli and Elsie. We were greeted by a yapping Mash who welcomed us in!

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Max and Eli had a great time playing together with the trains and Eli’s wigwam.

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After a while we headed home, as we were going into Cardiff to give Max some valuable lessons on the place of his birth.

Before we went Max had time for a  little relax, a quick drink

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and then I taught him all about the biscuit tin!

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After his quick snack, he walked into the children’s room, patted the television saying ‘Cho choo!” He spent the next half hour glued to a YouTube video of the best steam trains of 2016 and 2015. Epic stuff! We sat together for most of that time, just Max and me.

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I’ve worked out now that the best way into and out of Cardiff with a pushchair is train in and bus out. Catching the 95 bus into town is something of a lottery because if there is already a pushchair on board, having a second one can cause a bit of a fuss. It’s possible you would have to let the bus go without you if it’s full. Coming home the 304 bus from Custom House Street always has space as that is the terminus and you can get in the pushchair space nice and early.

Max enjoyed the train ride in, but between the Central Station and Queen Street Station he dozed off. Not good! He was going to miss some valuable lessons. Getting off at Queen Street made me remember what a great station it used to be. Now it’s a soul-less piece on concrete. Years ago it had class and atmosphere, but in their wisdom the city planners pulled it down. That was an act of Social Vandalism.

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We got off and made our way along Queen Street and popped into a few shops. Max slept on…

Lunchtime was approaching and I had hoped we would eat together but as I was passing Greggs, the pushchair developed a fault and violently swerved to the left. I felt compelled to stop and sample some of Greggs finest wares, giving the pushchair a chance to correct itself.

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I had a Steak slice and a carton of fresh soup – chicken, butternut squash and greens. It was exquisite! The soup had a slight ‘aromatic’ taste which was beautiful and anyone who has ever eaten a Gregg’s Steak Slice will know it’s the nearest thing to heaven this side of the veil. Max slept on.

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We then made our way to the market so I could show Max Ashton’s Fish counter and the butchers in the far left hand corner of the market hall. Both are legendary places in my humble opinion. Every child should spend as much time as possible looking and learning and being fascinated by these great shops.

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Max slept on…

Had he been awake I would have shown him the pigs’ heads, the ox hearts and the sheep testicles, as well as the massive beef bones. This butcher wastes not a thing. One day I must try cow cheeks he has on sale, although my days of eating tongue have sadly passed. Growing up we often had all kinds of strange meat – liver, stuffed hearts and rabbit, but I only ever saw my dad eat brains once – only ever once!! I can’t think why!

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As we were leaving the market  the little man stirred and a street musician nearby playing loudly helped him wake up. But the timing was good, we were nearing Howells, where I had planned to take lunch.

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If you know Howells you will know the second floor restaurant which has a wonderful play area for the kids. Sadly the shop’s days are numbered, Howells will soon become block of apartments and this historic building will no longer be  a part of the lives of Cardiffians as it has been for generations. (I hope they save the church hidden with its walls!)

We made our way to the second floor where Max enjoyed the lovely lunch his dad and mum had prepared. While the rest of the shop appeared empty the restaurant area was quite full of young mums and some families all with at least one little person with them. It was so lovely. We made a rather an inglorious entrance. I found a place quite near the counter, collected a high chair for Max, but as I lifted him out of the pushchair, the weight of his bags made the pushchair tip backwards and as it did it knocked a chair over which made a terrible racket! For a few brief seconds chaos reigned. All eyes turned to see what was happening with this little old fat chap with the cute little boy. I think I got away with a shrug of the shoulders and a roll of the eyes.

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Max enjoyed his lunch immensely, but kept looking over his shoulder at the other little kids playing quietly. He obviously wanted to get down with them, which he eventually did. He was great and played quietly with the others and when it was time, he sat quietly back in his pushchair as we made our way to catch the two o’clock 304 bus back home.

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It was the bus journey home that in many ways was the highlight of the day. We got on and parked the pushchair and immediately Max wanted to get out. Was this the best course of action for a one year old on a bus ride home? Absolutely!

Max loved it! He loved looking out of the window and waving at anyone who passed.

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He stood up on he seat and waved at all the other passengers on the bus and all the passengers on the bus waved back. His smile lit up the whole place. He then proceeded to play ‘peek-a-boo’ with the middle aged couple in the seat behind. He would duck down behind the seat and look up at them between the handle. It was so cute! He had a fit of the giggles, which lasted much of the way home. Most of the bus waved to him as we got off.

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When we got home he walked straight into the children’s room patted the television and said ‘Choo-choo!’ I sat on the settee, patted the settee beside me and my little friend came and sat quietly beside me.

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Dad arrived soon after and Max was bundled into the van to pick up his big brother.

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It was such a lovely day, I’m sixty five and half years older than him, but we had such a special time…

Just Max and me.

 

 

The Old Bear

(For Jemima)

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Chapter 1

The old bear 

Day after day, month after month year after year the old bear sat in the cupboard at the top of the stairs. He shared the cupboard with some other old bears and some old ornaments. The shelf he sat on was a bit like an old people’s home for bears.

They just sat there… all day… every day. They had run out of things to say many years ago, but they liked each other’s company. Most days were the same. They all just sat on the shelf in the cupboard at the top of the stairs.

The old man and his wife, who lived in the house, would often walk past the cupboard, but these days they hardly ever stopped to look in and say hello.

Some days, and these were the days the old bear liked best, some children came to visit and the house was filled with lots of giggling and laughing and the young ones would run past the cupboard playing their childhood games of hide and seek or making dens from loads of blankets and pillows. The old bear loved the sound of the children’s laughter and excited voices, but he was sad that the children never stopped to look in to see him sitting on the shelf in the cupboard on top of the stairs.

The old bear loved company. He was created – bears are not born, they are created – a very long time ago, when the old man who owned him was a very little baby. He was a Christmas present. The old bear loved being a Christmas present, it made him feel special. The old bear was indeed a very special bear. His owner had loved him very, very much for many, many years.  All his beautiful fur had been ‘loved’ off. He no longer looked as beautiful as he used to, but he was still a very special old bear. He had been taken to bed for many years, he had been taken on holiday, he had been played with and thrown about but he always knew that he was loved.

But, there was one thing, one very big thing, that made the old bear very sad. It wasn’t that his fur had all been ‘loved’ off, that was a special thing and sitting with his friends on the shelf in the cupboard at the top of the stairs kept him warm, even in the winter. Neither was it the fact that the old bear had never been given a name. He often used to think about what name he would like to be called, but usually he was happy just to be called the old bear.

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It wasn’t even the fact that his music box had been removed. That had happened many years before and the old bear could hardly remember the tune, although he did remember that the little boy’s mother used to call it Greensleeves. The old bear though that Greensleeves was a silly name for a piece of music, although he liked green things usually!

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Nor was it even the fact that he had lost one leg. It was very painful when it happened, but that too, was a long time ago.

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What made the old bear really, really sad was that he could not see. When he was created, he had two bright shiny eyes made of glass. He loved to look at the face of his owner – the little boy who had loved him so much – he loved to look at all the other toys in the bedroom. Sometimes the little boy would take him outside into the garden and then the old bear would love to look at the beautiful blue sky and clouds, the birds flying in the sky and the lovely things around him, the flowers and vegetables that the little boy’s father used to grow in his garden.

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But now, the old bear didn’t have any eyes. He could no longer see. He lived in a world of darkness. If you close your eyes and look around that’s just what it was like for the old bear.

He lost his eyes a long time ago. While he was sitting on his shelf he would try to remember what the little boy who loved him was like.

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He knew the little boy was now an old man and he wondered if he still had the same face. He would feel his fur and remember how soft and fluffy he used to be and he worried, nearly every day, that now he looked a bit scruffy that he wouldn’t be loved so much.

But one glorious day, one very happy day, something happened. It was a day that the old bear would never forget.

It was Christmas Day, quite early in the morning and the old man opened the door of the cupboard at the top of the stairs and took him out. He was held for a while and although the old bear could not see, he felt sure the old man had a smile on his face and looked at him with a lot of love.

He was put into a bag and he hoped he was being taken somewhere very special. After a lot of moving around, the old bear was placed on the floor in the same bag. The old bear had no idea where he was, but he could hear people, a lot of people, all laughing and wishing each other a “Happy Christmas’. Then he heard some songs being sung. Soon after, he heard the voice of the old man talking. He was telling the people about the best Christmas present he had ever had and suddenly he picked the bag up and the old bear was taken out and held up. Was this true? Was he – the old bear – the best Christmas present ever? Even though he had no eyes, he felt a little tear trickle down his left cheek. He felt so happy.

If the old bear had still had his eyes, he would have noticed small girl, who was sitting, watching. This little girl had the face of an angel and her eyes were wide open as she looked at the scruffy old bear. Going through her mind was a special plan… a very special plan indeed.

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Chapter 2

The old bear finds a new friend

Big Bear

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Hello, I am Big Bear.

I don’t know what my real name is – my previous owner couldn’t look after me anymore and I got sold. Lots of people don’t like me very much because I am quite a big bear. Also, I am not very cuddly! My stuffing is hard and when children press my tummy they nearly always say, ’This big bear is very hard!’

I don’t know why my stuffing is hard, I think its because I am very old.  I wish I had soft stuffing. I wish I was a cuddly bear. Having hard stuffing means I am very good at sitting up on my own. I am also very good at turning my head. I have special fittings on my neck and on my arms and legs. I am very proud of them.

I also like my eyes. They are made out of glass.

I am  old. Most of my fur has been loved off and so have the pads on my hands and feet. My previous owner tried to fix me but she did not do a very good job.

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I was very excited today because I found a new owner. He was old like me and he had a kind face. He bought me and paid a lot of money. I hope this means that he will love me. I liked him straight away. I especially like it when he said he lived with a lady who loved toys and always cared for them really well. I hope she can wash my dirty clothes and fix the pads on my hands and feet.

IMG_1136I was also excited because my new owner told me that he had some grandchildren who loved to play with bears. I love playing with children. While I was waiting for a new home the people put me up on a shelf.

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I don’t like sitting on shelves very much. I enjoy being with children and other toys.

When I went to my new owner I was put in a big bag. I was very nervous and I was very excited all at the same time. My new owner took me out of the bag and told me that he was going to take me home.

IMG_1128He was very kind and gentle. To keep me safe he put me in a car seat. It was the car seat he uses for his grandchildren, Lois, Eli and Max. I enjoyed my ride home.

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I was a little bit nervous when the car stopped outside my new house. It looked very nice indeed. It had a blue door.

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When we went in, I sat on a big bench by the door. It was very comfortable indeed. Just then a little dog came running up to see me. My new owner called her Belle, it was a nice name for a dog. The little dog and I soon became friends and Belle let me put my arm around her. I think we are going to be friends.

IMG_6316I like my new home and I am excited to meet the lady who will care for me and the grandchildren who will play with me.

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I love playing.

Luna’s story

Luna’s story

 

Hello. My name is Luna.

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It was the name given to me by my creator. Did you know bears don’t get born? We are created. My creator was a lovely lady called Lainy. Lainy lives in England, so I am an English bear.

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Some people call us ‘Teddy’ bears, but we don’t like that, we like to be called bears. My creator told me that I was special when she created me. She told me I am the only one like me, there never has been and there never will be another bear just like me. I have a label that tells everyone how special I am. I have German glass eyes.

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I like being special.

Last week I was adopted. Bears like to be adopted. We always love our creator and we will never forget them, but we are made to be adopted. On the journey down to my new home I was very excited and very nervous. I was in a basket with my chums.

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People who see us think we are cute, especially Giraffe and Elephant. We always tease them that they are not bears, but we never break friends. We always love each other, and when one of us gets adopted, we are all very happy.

When I saw my new home I was very pleased. I could tell they liked me because they cuddled me a lot, but the lady of the house said she could not afford me and would like to pay instalments. I asked Elephant and Giraffe what instalments were, but no one knew. I was very worried.

Then after tea, a chubby  little man with a gentle face said he would adopt me as a present for Easter for the kind lady. She smiled a lot and was very happy, but she was not as happy as me.

So I was adopted – it was the best day of my life.

It was hard saying goodbye to my creator Lainy and my chums. I was sad to see them go. It was strange to be on my own for the very first time.

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My new owner said I was now a Welsh bear, as I had come to live in Wales.

 

I love being a Welsh bear.

 

When you are adopted your new owner can change your name but my name is going to stay the same. I like being called Luna. I am glad my name was not changed.

My new owner put me on the mantelpiece.

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I like being on the mantelpiece, you can see all that is going on. My new family is very excited, as there is a very new baby in the family.

I saw the new baby. She is very pretty. When she is older perhaps she will want to play with me. I would like that very much.

On my first day in my new home I met two more bears. They told me all about where I had come to live. They told me about a girl who lived in the house; she is very sweet and gentle. I will love her too. There is also a little dog called Belle. She is a good dog and doesn’t bite toys.

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I am glad Belle does not bite toys. I would not like to be bitten by a dog, even if it is a small one.

It was good to have some bear friends. They looked a bit old but they were very friendly.

 

One thing they did tell me was about another bear, a very old bear that lived in a cupboard upstairs. No one ever played with him any more. He was very old. They say he is blind and has only got one leg. His fur has all been loved off. Some of the toys in the house are afraid of him.

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At night I am put on top of a cupboard near the pictures of two very old men.They both have very kind faces. I have not seen them in the house. I think maybe they have gone away.ImageImage

If I turn my head a bit I can see some old writing in a frame. It looks like the writing is a love letter. Maybe one of the old men wrote it to someone special, like me. I know I am a special bear.

When I look at the old men in the pictures I think again about the old bear who lives in the cupboard upstairs.

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I think he sounded very nice. I expect he has many stories to tell. I wonder if one day I can meet him and hear all about his life.