Our village pop-up cinema is showing Paddington this coming Tuesday and patrons have been invited to bring Paddington with them. When I became pregnant with my daughter 36 years ago, my parents bought a Paddington Bear for the baby, not knowing what sex it would be – the baby that is, not the bear. At great cost for the time, they purchased a delightful bear that was made in the UK and which was as big as the eventual baby girl.
Paddington wears a red duffle coat and has a blue sou’wester and genuine blue wellingtons. Once, he had a label which said ‘Please look after this bear’ but one of our many Jack Russells chewed it off and also put a hole in the sleeve and almost chewed the loops over the wooden toggles.
The bite marks have been invisibly repaired but the label is gone forever. I did think my clever graphics daughter, my cover designer and owner of said bear, could re-jig an exact replica of the label and all would be well in Paddington Land.
Anyway, back to the story…
I wanted to take Paddington to the movie and so we then had to think where he may have been stored because of selling the family home, of my daughter living at the farm for the last ten years and of a zillion plastic storage boxes stacked on top of each other.
I seemed to remember baleful eyes staring out from one particular plastic box and was able to put my hands on the container in what we call the Bunker at the farm. Sure enough, Paddington lay inside – sealed in a plastic bag in a plastic box. (I know – I am cruel and disgraceful!)
I lifted him out into daylight and he smelled of all things plastic and musty and I determined then and there, to re-condition him for his journey to the theatre.
Firstly he had to be undressed. The coat was perfect but the hat had age stains so I decided to wash both by hand in a eucalyptus wool mix. I then stuffed the sou’wester to dry in shape and hung the little duffel coat on a hanger over the bath so it could drip and dry.
Whilst this was happening, there was the problem of Paddington’s own smell.
Should I bath him?
after seeing the trailer of the movie, ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-d-V9jXYDE ) I thought, ‘Best not’.
I sprayed him with Wee Away on the principle that it removes the smell of dog wee and MUST therefore work on musty bear smells. When that had dried, I sprayed him with Bosisto Eucalyptus spray.
The final ‘insult’ to his bearness was to be sprayed with my body spray. Whilst that was damp, I got a stiff brush and groomed him all over and he really looked more like the Paddington we remember.
His wellingtons are a problem though. They have retained the plastic storage smell and I’m just hoping two days in the sun and fresh air will remove the odour. They have served our family well – arriving on Paddington’s feet, used for my daughter in her first forays out of doors and subsequently my son, on his first ever walking adventures.
… the clothes have been pressed and Paddington has been dressed again and considering he has travelled around Australia with the family and then been stored for the last fifteen years in a plastic box, he’s looking pretty chipper.
Here’s to enjoying the movie…
(PS: How fortuitous that a repeat Graham Norton Show last night featured Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters and Nicole Kidman talking about Paddington!)