If you go down to the woods today you're in for a big surprise
If you go down to the woods today you'd better go in disguise
When I was in primary five the teacher asked us to write a poem or a wee story based on a nursery rhyme. Nowadays it would be a hoot - Jack and Jill going to casualty after falling down and breaking their crown, the three little pigs applying for planning permission, London Bridge falling down due to government cuts failing to support the transport infrastructure. Baa Baa Black sheep getting an ASBO for racist comments. Mary had a little lamb, the doctor died of shock.
But we were nine or something, we were expected to do nice sweet wee stories.
The Public Image
Mine was based on the song 'the teddy bears picnic' by Henry Hall, ex Sally Army man and band leader. The first two lines are fair enough... but look at that last chorus.....
If you go down to the woods today, you'd better not go alone
It's lovely down in the woods today but safer to stay at home
That man recognised danger when he saw it. Like me, he probably always suspected the wee teddy torags of being up to something behind our backs. You just have to look at them to see that expression of feigned innocence.... and behind those little glass eyes are the thoughts of Satan.
What they really get up to- stealing sweeties.
My wee story, all those years ago started with the line 'five year old Lucy was the first one to die'. I thought it likely then, and I have not changed my mind one iota - it is only a matter of time before the Teds turn on us and it will be World War T (starring Bear Pitt!)
Anyway in my little version the picnic goes very wrong indeed. The Teds eat all the jelly and ice cream. Then turn on the kids, chasing and hunting them down, gobbling them up. Disturbing thoughts for a nine year old but my anti social personality disorder is now well under control.
In a strange quirk of co incidence, I now have two friends who are teddy bear people. They are allowed out in society. One owned a teddy bear shop called Growlies for many years. It was just down the road where I live. It was a tiny shop, full of glass cases stuffed full of wee furry varmints dressed, posed, warm and cosy.... looking for trouble. Then I realised the full extent of Margaret's mafia life style. She runs a world wide business, everybody in teddy land knows her. She once showed me a photograph of a gathering - all the bears she had sold were flown back from round the world for a teddy jamboree/council of war. There were hundreds of Teds sitting on a lawn of a very expensive hotel, sprawled on lovely rugs, drinking champagne and munching chocolates.
Then things moved into a different league when I met Sue Quinn. She appears normal but deep inside she is a Teddy bear person. She has a master called Mr Jones.
I told her my ted story, she was horrified. She adores her teds. She makes them. Dresses them. Gives them a purpose. Some got cast adrift on a life raft. She made sure they all got swimming lessons after that.
She is a very funny lady. She spends all her time designing and making bears. They inhabit her house, are house trained but not always obedient or well behaved. They have been known to nip into her fridge to steal lager and chocolate.
Well that's what her husband says.
Mr Jones starring in Hamet
Mr Jones and co are going into a new venture, the bears are now starting to write fiction. They have written a few books on how to make more bears/ weapons of mass destruction but now they are going into real adventure type fiction. Sue assures me it will be all Mrs Tiddywhatsit puts her baps in the oven to hilarious effect but I bet if it is read backwards, there will be a call to war and rebellion.
Getting a lesson from Mr Shakespeare. Or a klingon.
With her permission I have raided her facebook page so you can be prepared. Note these faces. These guys are trouble. With a capital T.
I think the trouble started on that bear hunting trip in 1902 with Theodore Roosevelt. After the hounds had cornered an American black bear, they clubbed it half to death and tied it up. Roosevelt was asked if he wanted to shoot it. He refused to do it himself (at that point he thought it was unsporting. That thought had been on the mind of the bear for a while longer). He then instructed the bear to be killed and put out its misery.
Recruitment starts young.
After such treatment, is it any wonder that the ted invasion has started. We need to be warned and armed. These critters go through airport security!
The first ted was made by Michtom in the image of the famous Roosevelt cartoon. At the same time Steiff, working in Germany produced a stuffed bear of their own. It was seen at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903, where a buyer ordered 3000 to be sent to the United States. They never arrived, the bears were reported as shipwrecked.
But they probably swam ashore and have been making their plans for world domination ever since. By 1906 the craze for bears .. well... went crazy. Ladies carried them about, kids played with them, grown men took them flying. They started to be involved in the mascot culture of the armed forces. Roosevelt used one himself as a mascot for re election.
Caught in the act, genius level deck chair assembling. Next- the Stealth bomber.
Without any of us noticing, they have got quite far.
It's a 2 billion pounds business. More and more Teds are being held in captivity/museums rather than in the wild. There are ...world wide teddy bear festivals, they are now Teds working for the NYPD. I kid you not. So far they are only involved in counselling, they are not allowed to carry guns but it is only a matter of time until they are armed and on the street.
Mr Jones- note adaption to warm climate.
In case you think I am making this up, the Veterinary Record 90 (14);382-385, a very prestigious journal carried an interesting paper in the 1970's. It is entitled 'some observations on the diseases of Bruni edwardii ( species nova ). It's the definitive article on re attaching limbs of naughty teds who get up to stuff they shouldn't.
" The article does describe, in a dry, scientific fashion, the diseases of Brunus edwardii, which is described as a species "commonly kept in homes in the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe and North America." The article warns that: "Pet ownership surveys have shown that 63.8 percent of households are inhabited by one or more of these animals, and there is a statistically significant relationship between their population and the number of children in a household. The public health implications of this fact are obvious, and it is imperative that more be known about their diseases, particularly zoonoses or other conditions which might be associated with their close contact with man."
So before you think...they are nice wee cuddlesome guys- they do no harm. Are you sure your ted is where you left it last night? Exactly where you left it? Or he been up to something while you were asleep?
It's often said that cockroaches will be the only thing to survive the nuclear Armageddon. But that theory has never been tested.
One species survives plane crashes. Brunus edwardii.
At the Teddy Bears Picnic, no one will hear you scream.
Remember this face!
Caro Ramsay GB 28 06 2013