Hi! It’s Lemon-Ted here again, folks, with my latest ponder. (12th May 2020)
At long, long last, my turn came! Why I – Lemon-Ted – had to wait so long, you’ll have to ask my man. I mean, how many of his other bear friends, who had already had their turn, are authors like me? And, with a following of loyal and supportive readers. To say that I was getting a little hot under the armpits (as a bear, naturally, I don’t wear clothes!) is an understatement. But, finally, it was my turn to sit in the window and watch over the local street. A proud moment. So, I sat. I watched. I waited. And, nothing! Well, for the first hour anyway. Then, the activity built. Lady with two dogs went past and, a little later, went back again. I waved and I smiled on both occasions. No response whatsoever. A car went past slowly (because of the potholes and local parking) with the people looking my way and, a little later, went back again. I waved and I smiled on both occasions. No response whatsoever. A man with a dog went past and, a little later, went back again. I waved and I smiled on both occasions. No response whatsoever. More cars went past slowly and, a little later, went back again; more people walked by and, a little later, went back again. I waved and I smiled each and every time. No response whatsoever.
So, what was the purpose of me sitting here? He had told me that my role to sit in the window was to bring a smile to peoples’ faces as they went by, to bring cheer to people in these difficult times. This was a task that I, of all people, was always meant to carry out, he had said. And, yet, in almost a whole morning, I had not achieved a single response. Not a wave, nor a smile. I told him that it was a waste of time and asked him to put me back to where I could doze to eat my honey and marmalade (without ginger, of course!). He told me to be patient. To persevere. So, I did. For what seemed a long time as people and cars went by. I even did headstands to try to attract attention (not a pretty sight as the only way I could do one was to have my bottom resting on the window)! But, no response whatsoever to any wave or smile. I was getting dispirited. It was only his promise of an extra jar of honey that kept me there.
Then, a couple went by with a young child walking between them, holding hands. The little one was not very happy and was a bit grizzly. I waved and I smiled as I had done all day so far, but expected no response. The lady pointed me out to the little one. Who turned and looked up at me, with tear-filled eyes. Suddenly, the little face broke into the broadest of smiles. Arms were held out towards me. Hands clapped together in excitement. Little legs jumped up and down. Squeals of joy came bursting out. The older people also smiled, hugged the little one and, embarrassingly, gave me a little clap. And, then, they were gone. I felt a warm glow all over. I pondered. So, this was what it was all about, this sitting in the window? Not about me and however important I consider myself to be, but just to bring a little happiness to someone in these difficult times. Trying to make a difference where one can and accept that not everybody can be helped in the same way. Given that the latest buzzword phrase is ‘the new normal’, my ponderings led me to wonder whether our ‘new normal’ might be to try, each day, to make just one other person smile? Even with a mask on, a smile radiates out through the eyes! What are the words of that song that my man tries to ‘sing’ (the quotes are deliberate!)?
“When you’re smiling. When you’re smiling. The whole world, it smiles with you.
When you’re laughin’. When you’re laughin’. Well, the sun comes shinin’ through.”
It just might help us to cope with these difficult times. Worth giving it a try?
Take care. Stay safe. And…, keep smiling!
From your friend.
Why, hi, folks! It’s Lemon-Ted here again with another snapshot of life here to share with you. (29th April 2020)
I just knew that something was up! He kept looking at his watch. Suddenly, he exclaimed that ‘it was here’. What was? The shopping. Their first-ever home delivery of groceries. Well, as it turned out, only about seventy percent of what was ordered. Keeping a peek behind the blinds, he watched as a strong-looking man wheeled crates from one side of the road to outside our house. Much rustling later, there was a ring on the doorbell and, as he opened it, the delivery man stood back and pointed to the bags. Loads and loads of white bags. After thanks all round, he was gone. Between them, the bags were carried indoors and put wherever space could be found. By this time, I could hardly contain myself. How many jars of honey, I wondered, were there lurking in these bags? Patience is not one of my virtues. So, I bobbed in and out of the array of bags, looking. First, of course, they dealt with the frozen goods and, then, the fresh ones which seemed to take ages to be put away. On to the fruit and veg – no interest here for me – and, finally, after what seemed to be hours (it was, probably, about ten minutes!), the groceries were next. First up, marmalade! Fantastic! But, what? Ginger marmalade! Whoever thought that that was a good combination? Real marmalade is made from oranges – the sweeter the better – my brain screamed! Don’t humanoids know that? I was still pacing around in utter frustration at this revelation when he came upon the ‘nectar of the gods’ – well, it is to us bears! – honey! But, where’s the rest of the jars, I nudged? He told me that there was a restriction on how many could be bought at any one time. So, sulking, I took my allocation’ and sloped off to my various hidey-holes to reorganise my supplies. This is where you humanoids have taught me a good lesson. Having watched while you place your tablets in little daily boxes, it seemed a good idea to do the same with my honey supplies. A little while later and all was sorted. But, I cannot get the thought of ginger marmalade out of my mind! Thank goodness for unadulterated honey!
This got me pondering. Like many, many others, my family – him and her – go out into the street on Thursdays to clap for the National Health Service and other key-workers. And, from what I see on the TV News programmes about the dedication and sacrifice that such people are making, such a response is thoroughly deserved. Long may such appreciation last – especially, after the current situation becomes more stabilised and life starts to return to (a different!) normal. I just hope that, once the focus on these brave people reduces, humanoids continue to remember that their work goes on.
This week was no different. Out they went and joined in the clapping and general noise-making. When they came in, there was a buzzing noise in the kitchen. Yes, he had left the back door open – despite telling her that he had closed it as she had asked! – and a flying creature had got in. Swiftly, it was captured in a pot with a piece of card held over it to stop any escape. With a cheery ‘on your way’, the buzzing creature was released into the wild. Good job done. This led my musings to wonder whether we should, sometimes, also stop to give a clap to the other ‘nhs’ – natural honey sources! Bees! Key-workers by any definition. And, sadly, endangered due to the behaviour of humanoids. Without bees, humanoids would starve. They are needed to pollinate crops and fruits in a way that nothing else can. And, in return, they give us (bears!) the most wonderful crop of honey! So, I pondered, next time you are in your garden, walking the countryside, or wherever, might you give a thumb-nail clap for the bees (a hand-clap would be, frankly, ridiculous and might scare them away!), our other ‘nhs’?
Take care, my readers. Stay safe.
My goodness! The mood is quite dark here. The darkest I’ve known in many a year. It’s the lack of social contact that getting him down especially with the apparent rudeness of moving away from people rather than towards them. And, the confusing information springing from the media as one ‘expert’ contradicts another. ‘Just tells us the facts,’ he yells, ‘I am not interested in personal opinions and alarmist theories! Tell us how it is!’ To this we must add his crossness at the supermarket they have used for all their married life who made promises about home deliveries which, clearly, they could not keep. ‘It would have better had they said nothing!’ he says. No, he’s not coping well. And, each day, the frustration appears to grow. Of course, one of his problems is that it all looks out of control and he is a man who, very definitely, likes things to be organised to the point of predictability and routine. Even a hug from me doesn’t have the effect it did. Yes, he responds, but, he is distracted. Time for some radical pondering.
Pondering over, I nuzzled up to him. ‘Remember all those years that you had hurting people in your study who had problems and were finding it difficult to cope with life? Do you remember one of the tactics that you offered to help them get started on the way back?’ He looked at me oddly. ‘They were confidential conversations,’ he said. ‘I know,’ I replied, ‘but, living in your study as I did, I couldn’t but help overhear and it was good to see people respond. You should be pleased about that.’ ‘And, the point is?’ he asked. ‘What about applying some of your advice to others to yourself?’ ‘Such as,’ he almost barked. ‘Such as changing your focus on life. You cannot change the bigger picture of what is going on in the nation at the moment. All you can do is play your own personal part as the authorities ask. But, you can change how you go about things. Take your daily exercise, for instance. It’s not about using up an hour or so of a boring day. It’s not about following the government’s advice to stay fit. It’s an opportunity. An opportunity to re-engage with creation. Notice the differing crops starting to peek through the earth. Catch the beauty of blossom and new green shoots on the trees and bushes. Hear the multitude of different birdsong. Watch the birds as they soar on the air currents or flit among the hedgerows. Feel the fresh air as you draw it into your lungs. Learn to focus deeply on the very things that are right there in front of you. Draw breath and breathe. This is just an example for you in the form that you used to tell others. And, you always finished by saying that you hoped things might look a little more balanced in a day or three. That’s also my hope for you.’
And for you, faithful readers, my advice is the same. At this extremely difficult time, focus on what you can do – for yourself and for others – and not on what you cannot do. The bigger problems of the nation will still be there and, in time, will be solved. What is needed is for people to be fit and healthy – physically and mentally – to take up their responsibilities and duties once life starts to assume some sort of normality.
Take care, my friends.
Hi, folks! It’s Lemon-Ted here, again! (January 2020)
I should be deep in hibernation, just like all of my cousins in many parts of the world. But, I am not. It is too warm and too light for me. I need cold days and long dark nights and, to date, these have not happened yet. And, now that daylight hours are lengthening, my guess is that I am going to have make do with the short period of deep sleep that I did get.
But, it’s not all bad news. Yes, I still struggle with the disability of not being able to speak to ‘my man’ to dictate my ponderings. The stick and alphabet pointing method does work after a fashion, but it is frustratingly slow and prone to huge confusion. ‘My man’ and predictive text are not good bedfellows! But, we get there, in the end.
So, I was pondering about words. I like words, especially ones that sound nice to say – or think in my mind now that I no longer have a voice. It was his use of the word ‘assist’ that captured my attention. He was telling a friend (yes, he does have some!) about how proud and privileged he was to be able to ‘assist’ Moira (the one whom I remember as wearing a weird long white frock, but who seemed so very jolly) in her work. I do not know what this ‘assist’ involves so I just observed and listened.
Later that day, Mrs Indoors asked him to ‘assist’ her with a task that she was doing. It didn’t go well! I am not sure what his problem was, but he, clearly’ didn’t ‘assist’ in her eyes. The exasperated words: ‘You’re not helping’ gave the clue. He tried harder and differently, but … Then, he boldly said: ‘Let me have a go!’ Now, if ever one wants to avoid stoking a fire, perhaps, these are words to avoid. But, she is more gracious than that and she passed the responsibility over. Having pondered over it for a few moments, he asked her to ‘assist’ him as he tackled the problem differently. In a few moments, crisis over, between them, job done – in the way that she had asked in the first place. He said that it was a case of being left-handed and trying to do something right-handed. Anyway, a hug and kiss and all was well again as they got on with other tasks both together and separately.
As I pondered later, I realised the word ‘assist’ might only be six letters long, but it implicates a good lesson for life. ‘Assist’ is not one way. It can be older ‘assisting’ younger or vice versa. It can be the less qualified person ‘assisting’ someone more qualified or, indeed, vice versa. And so on. But, my ponderings lead me to believe that ‘assist’ has more than just a practical application. It can only truly come about if the persons involved get alongside each other and find a way to inhabit each other’s space in an harmonious way. A challenge in this ever more singular and competitive world! And, perhaps worth giving some pondering amongst other ponders at this time of year.
Hi, Folks! It’s Lemon-Ted here, once more.
It is now just over five months since I became silent forever. These have been dark days. Mostly, I am now ignored by my contemporaries, treated as if I no longer exist. Except for my man, of course. He still cuddles, nuzzles and talks to me as if nothing has happened. I wish more were like him. And, he has persevered with the pointing-stick taped to my paws with an alphabet board to point at so that we can still ‘speak’, though his pre-guessing of likely words has not improved. However, despite using tape with the most gentle of sticky, my paws have started to get sore as some of the hair rubs off when it is removed. So, we have had to cut back the frequency of its use which means ‘speaking’ take a lot longer. But, we have managed to record my latest ponder, inspired by the first Christmas Charity appeal that came through the door.
It was for a homeless charity and gave a lot of information about the problems that people afflicted by such circumstances face. I had to read some of the text more than once to get my head around what was being said. So disturbing was it that I asked my man if it was really in this country in 2019 that the writing referred to. He told me that it was not just ‘places’ in this country, but in Chichester, Emsworth and close-by areas that there were genuine homeless people. And, not just the odd one either, it seems! You could have knocked me down with a feather when he said this!
I am not a stupid Ted and understand that the reasons for any person to be homeless can be complex, but has society become so inward-looking that the (many) needs of such people are just swept away as ‘too hard’? If so, shame on us all! The charity asks for people to sponsor a Christmas meal for a homeless person which also includes a number of other support programmes him or her to move forward in their lives – to help such a person move out of their dark days, as my man is helping me. Sounds like a good idea to me. The contribution suggested might, at first glance, look off-putting – but, when we consider how much we spend on our own family Christmas (presents, food, drinks, decorations, etc.), it represents a relatively small percentage.
So, my ponders lead me to wonder as to how many of my readers, or reader’s family, might just add another name to their Christmas pressy list – that of an unnamed, homeless person? If the suggestion above is beyond your means or does not appeal, it does not matter. Through our Parish Church, we shall be collecting warm socks, gloves, scarves and toiletries (for men or women). And, food – there is a list of needs in the box under the table near the door or, perhaps, some festive biscuits or chocolate. Some people may even fill a shoe-box with special treats. Perhaps, now, is a good time, also, to turf out any unwanted (but in good condition) winter coats, trousers or shoes and take them to a charity that supports the homeless. Please, do something, however small! You never know there might even be a ‘Brucie bonus’ of some ‘halo points’ as a reward for any generosity shown!
Best wishes for a joyful and peaceful Christmas season.
Hi! It’s Lemon-Ted here again!
I always knew that it would happen one day! From the day that I was created, the one thing that was absolutely certain was that this day would come. One would think that, over the years, I would have been prepared. But, no! When it finally happened, it came as a huge body blow. It was gone! Caput! Finished! No more could I use it! I was now among the ‘special ones’ who had suffered some sort of personal disabling. The loss was painful as much as it was dramatic. One moment all was well, the next … But, it was not just the personal loss. The impact on him – my man – was also tough to take. When he realised what had happened, I am sure that there were tears in his eyes, though he was pretty good at masking them. All he did was the give me a huge hug. Boy, how I needed that. And, he told me – face to face – that all would be well and we would, together, sort out a way of continuing our adventures together. How I wish that the same reaction was not shown by some of my other ‘friends’! I have had to put up with everything from downright teasing to cruel mockery to just being ignored. ‘Not at this time, folks, give me time to recover from my loss and, then, I will be able to deal with your unkind reactions.’ I am beginning to understand that the journey ahead will be very different to the one travelled so far.
Sorry, I haven’t actually said what has happened. I have lost my voice! My voice-box has stopped working. No longer can I say: ‘I love you’ in that husky-sounding voice which meant so much to my man. My loss is my voice; his loss is not being able to hear the voice of his truly loved one whenever he felt a little down or in need. It is devastating for us both. And, of course, it was – it is so painful to use the past tense – the voice that kick-started this series of ponderings which have been shared with you over the past couple of years. This presents the huge problem of how to – and whether we can – continue to share them. If I can only operate in silence, how can my man hear what to write down? If only I had digits on the end of my chubby paws …
So, how have we got this update written? Well, it has taken a long, long time and has required a lot of patience on both sides. I might have lost my voice, my method of communicating, but my brain is still working okay. Already, I have noticed people speaking to my man, assuming that I am not able to understand if spoken to directly – as if loss of voice equates to becoming a numbskull. How rude! So, we devised a method based on my man producing a large printout of the alphabet and taped to my paws (masking tape so as not to hurt when taken off!) a pointing stick. Letter-by-letter, I pointed and my man wrote the letter down. It was slow at first, but, after a while, my man started to try and guess what word I was trying to say – a bit like predictive text on a mobile phone. It was hilarious! What with my poor spelling and my man’s lack of imagination with words, we had some right royal laughs. I think it did us both good. Anyway, the result is what you are reading.
What for the future? I am not sure. Perhaps, this will be the last pondering, certainly for a while. I need to recover and get used to my new silent life. And, hope those around me return to being kind and supportive. But, only time will tell.
Lemon-Ted (with thanks to ‘my man’ for transcribing into printed text).
Hi! It’s Lemon-Ted here again!
He was a chuffed little bunny was my man. Some kind person had given him a couple of plants and there is nothing more pleasing to him than having new plants to put out into the garden! But, that’s when the trouble starts…
He takes the two plants, one pot in each hand, and walks the garden, first this way, then that way, then this way and back again. At points, he stops and holds one plant or other, in the air, above the border. And, then, he’ll move on. There were several ups and downs, an exercise that lasts many, many minutes. But, what’s this? One pot has been placed in the border! He stands back. Looks at it. Moves to one side, then the other. No! Not there, he decides. Tries the other pot. No! Not there, he decides. And, we start the moving up and down again.
Now, what? He has put one of the pots on the patio and taken the other towards the border. Clearly, this is going to be a two-phased operation. He stops. Puts the pot into a different position in the border. Stands back. Nods agreeably. Mutters something incomprehensible. This is it! He has decided. But, surely, he is not seriously going to put that particular plant there, is he? Hasn’t he realised that the flower colours will clash terribly with those of the neighbouring plants? What’s wrong with him? I try for all my worth to attract his attention. I jump up and down, bang on the window. He hasn’t reacted, so I’ll just have to try to use my powers of telepathy to get him to change his mind. But, no, he has decided. He’s gone for his spade, I just know he has.
He stands there, leaning on the spade, looking at the pot and its plant. ‘Come on,’ I am saying, ‘it’s not the best place for that plant. But get it done, if you must. There’s still another pot to plant out, yet. We’ll be here all day at this rate!’ But, still he stands. Just looking. Moves again to one side, then the other. He lifts his spade. This is it! And, with a solid downward thrust, he sticks the spade into the ground – at the place of his original choice some considerable time ago! And, in so doing, avoids a horrible flower colour clash! My mental powers must have worked, after all! Now, what? He has taken some of the earth that he has dug out and put it into his green plastic bucket. He’s off towards the veggie patch, bucket in hand. He’s back! But, the bucket is empty. What’s he doing? Hasn’t he realised that he’ll need some of that earth to cover the roots of his new plant? Where’s he going now? To the other end of the garden with bucket in hand. He’s back, but wait, there’s some very black earth in his bucket from the other end of the garden! What is he up to? I shall never understand him! Thank goodness, the first pot is finally planted out. But, what about some water? ‘The plant needs watering in,’ I shout, banging on the window glass. No reaction. Now what? He’s off somewhere. Thankfully, he comes back with his watering can and the first plant duly gets watered in. My powers of telepathy must have worked again! Oh dear, he has taken the other pot and the whole process is about to start again. Only, this time, I am not going to watch. I’m exhausted. I’m off for some creature comfort (honey!) and a nap. What was that she said? A package with two hundred and forty plants in it has been delivered? Help!
My ponders observe that humans, like my man, seem to spend inordinate amounts of time and energy trying to get things right ‘their way’, but, often, require a nudge from someone (or some One!) before they get things properly right!
Hi, folks in whatever year this is being read!
It all started for me when ‘my man’ was invited to bring a teddy to the Mothering Day Service in 2017. Out of all his Teds, I was the lucky one to be chosen. There, I met a friendly, jolly lady who was wearing a long white dress – a bit strange! – and an even longer scarf of a colour that didn’t really suit her. (I would have thought a friend might have whispered something to her about this!) Anyway, I became a bit of a celebrity by being the only Ted to speak at the Service. Not that I said much. ‘I love you’ is the limit of my vocabulary – but, as a message, it is timeless. However, I guess that I best introduce myself. My name is Lemon-Ted, which you might think strange. But, the logic is simple. When I was young, my fur was lemon in colour, very rare for a bear. And, because of that colouring, I was what was referred to as ‘a limited edition’ – limit-ed … Lemon-Ted, get it? Anyway, the name is a bit of a stretch these days, as age has dulled the colour and now it is more white than lemon – a bit like humans going grey! ‘My man’ is David who, it seems, sometimes helps the jolly lady with her work. It is he who listens to my ponders and writes them down so that others can share in them through publication in the Church magazine.
And, that’s what I am all about – ‘pondering’. In the time since my introduction to this new life as an author of ‘ponders’, I have covered many subjects – mainly with how complicated ‘my man’s’ life seems, most of which being caused by his impatience to let things happen naturally as we, bears, would do. And, I have had the odd rant about people who do not consider the needs of others before themselves. But, mostly, I have tried to be encouraging of people to ‘hang in there’ when life gets tough (us bears have a lot of experience here!) and to be themselves especially when meeting new people.
So, reader, what about you? Do you spend time pondering? Or is life in your age so different that you have no need – or, perhaps, time – for such a practice? It is, after all, a Biblical practice – ‘my man’ helpfully pointed out that one of its great characters did just this: ‘ponder things in her heart’! Even at this distance of time, I would encourage you, reader, to consider spending time, just to ponder. It is best done through taking up a pondering position – by sitting comfortably in a favourite place, perhaps looking out into the beauty of the natural world. Ensure that some creature comforts are close by – in my case, it was a jar of honey or marmalade, as pondering sometimes made me hungry! Have a notepad of sorts ready to jot down any thoughts that might come. Focus your mind on what is good or bad, relevant or irrelevant about your life, for this is what good pondering is all about. It should help to bring positive thinking to the forefront and put negative thoughts in their place. Try to put aside some time each day – it doesn’t have to be a lot – just to ponder. I just know that you will soon feel the benefit so much so that you will continue to ponder as part of your life. So, thank you for the privilege of letting me contribute to the time capsule. Good pondering and ‘I love you’.
Lemon-Ted (with thanks to ‘my man’ for transcribing my ponders into printed text). [02/2019]
Hi, folks! It’s Lemon-Ted here once again!
We Teds ponder a lot. We also eat a lot. And we sleep a lot. Which means that days … and weeks … and months pass quickly. Not that this matters much. What else do us Ted’s have to do? So, sitting and pondering, I realise that, since I put together my last message to you, time has flown by. Then, it was about Christmas lists, now it is about summer holidays. When I think about it, after the same amount of time since the last sharing of my ponders to now has passed again, we’ll be rapidly approaching the end of another school year. And, once that same period of time passes again, it’ll be back to Christmas lists! Oh, how you humans wish your life away.
Pondering comes recommended. It helps to slow down the pace of life and brings opportunities to reflect before doing. And to reflect before doing can bring its rewards in that better decisions can be made. This is a good time of year to ponder. From the debris on my man’s desk, I can see that the season of Lent is just around the corner. Yes, some will feel the need to ponder what to give up for the season – chocolate, biscuits, cake, alcohol – all so traditional and, surely, by now care ought to be taken about consumption of such foods anyway! Some others will feel the need to ponder what extra ‘good thing’ to do – never a bad thing, but why just restrict this to a few designated weeks of the year? A few will do nothing – but, then, there are always some in this category, aren’t there! But, how many of you will just commit to finding a quiet place just to ponder? To let the air around you breathe its inspiration into you. To let the issues of your heart and head be put into place and order. No format, no predetermined script, no specific mantra. Just to ponder. As an example, I understand that one of your great Biblical characters did just this – ‘ponder things in her heart’.
When we Teds take up our pondering position, we like to be comfortable. So, we sit in a favourite place, looking out into the beauty of the natural world. We’ll have some creature comforts close by – in my case, a jar of honey or marmalade. Pondering sometimes can make me hungry! And, we’ll have a notepad ready to jot down any thoughts that might come – my memory, like his, is not good, these days! ‘If I just sit and ponder, I might nod off,’ I hear you say. Not a problem in this Ted’s thinking. I have had my best ponders during an unplanned nap. The trick is not actually to go to sleep. ‘Just resting my eyes,’ is what I say when anyone accuses me of actually sleeping during my ponders, ‘it helps focus my mind!’. And, focusing the mind on what is good or bad, relevant or irrelevant, is what good pondering is all about. It should bring positive thinking to the forefront and put negative thoughts in their place. My hope is that you will try to use these next few weeks to put aside some time each day – it doesn’t have to be a lot – just to ponder. I just know that you will feel the benefit so much so that you will continue to find time to ponder for ever afterwards.