Mr. Cornelius, a diehard Downton Abbey fan, was beside himself the other day when four members of the Crawley Clawley family accepted his invitation to tea.
He’d been going on and on about how much he’s enjoying Season 5 because it’s mainly about love, romance and secrets. He likes the warm and comfortable relationship between Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes, is happy Isobel is hooking up with Lord Merton (nice digs!), is relieved Tom Branson said goodbye to annoying Miss Bunting, loves that handsome Atticus is eyeing up Rose, and is tickled pink about Dowager Countess Violet’s secret past with RussianPrince Thing-a-ma-jig.
While Lady Mary’s hotel assignation with Lord Gillingham had Cornelius tsk-tsking for a few days (scandalous! loose woman! how risqué!), he gradually came around and revealed his own secret: he’s had a crush on Lady Mary since Season 1 (boy can she rock a pair of opera gloves).
He’s not intimidated in the least by either Tony Gillingham or Charles Blake. They can jostle all they want for Mary’s affections. Cornelius will charm her with his secret weapon.
It’s no secret we’re more than a little mad for Paddington here at Alphabet Soup.
The resident bears were extremely excited about the new movie (have you seen it yet?) and Michael Bond’s latest novel,Love from Paddington. The lovable bear from Darkest Peru is fast winning new fans on this side of the pond, marmalade sales are booming, and plush Paddingtons are flying off the shelves. Yay!
Recently, we happily read about a Paddington Bear who’s been in the same window of a home in Maidstone, Kent (about 35 miles SE of London) since 1970. He was purchased by the Waite family a month after they moved into the house, and has been charming and cheering up passers-by ever since. I can easily imagine myself purposely walking by the Waite house in Sittingbourne Road whenever possible just to catch a glimpse of him.
Now an adult, Sittingbourne resident Tracey Cooper first saw Paddington when she was six. Through the years he made such an impression on her that she decided to write a poem to thank him and the Waites for the joy they’ve brought to the community. There’s nothing like a beloved bear to warm your heart.
PADDINGTON BEAR — a poem about myself as a child
Bundled into the car again, this girl of six,
Travelling from Lordswood, Chatham (out in the sticks).
Cutting through Boxley and fields stretching wide –
A regular car trip, our “Hospital Ride”.
Turning left at Penenden Heath and heading straight on,
We approach Sittingbourne Road, on the outskirts of Maidstone.
Swinging right at the end, we start to roll down the hill,
Past neat rows of houses with empty window sills.
Then all of a sudden, we look and he’s there-
Standing dutifully in his window, it’s PADDINGTON BEAR!
Dressed in his outfit that is suitable for the day,
Our little furry “weather forecaster” gives up his time to play.
He proudly does his duty with his shoulders pulled back,
Awaiting some eager faces to notice his shorts or plastic Mac.
I can’t help but feel affectionate towards this wee brown bear,
And dread the thought of passing by and finding him not there.
It’s thirty years later, and I am still looking with my Son,
Through a steamed-up car window, (I’m a sentimental mum!)
To find Paddington still standing there, in clothes all shining bright,
Has his jumper now got holes in? Or his Wellingtons feel too tight?
Does he have the same family, with children now all grown?
Is he tied into the deeds so that he will never lose his home?
Has he ever been photographed, his story put to print?
If you find a few minutes would you kindly try to fill me in.
Transferred to Medway Hospital, my trips are more remote,
But I still look out for my old, old friend, with his smile and duffle coat.
Naturally Paddington answered Tracey with a little poem:
I watch for my friends
As I look from this place,
So as you pass by
I’ll know your kind face.
The bear in the window is so well known, that should the Waites ever move, they’ve decided Paddington should remain at his post. You just never know when someone might need to see his friendly furry face.
Michael Bond, who created Paddington, my most favorite bear character in all of children’s literature, turns 89 today!
Thought we’d celebrate by taking a look at his latest novel, Love from Paddington (HarperCollins, 2014), the 14th chapter book in his beloved series featuring the marmalade-loving, well-mannered, endlessly charming “rare sort of bear” from Darkest Peru.
Thanks to Mr. Bond, we now have vital proof that bears are indeed good letter writers. LFP contains 15 of Paddington’s letters to his dear Aunt Lucy describing how he met the Brown family at London’s Paddington Station, and about some of the unexpected “misadventures” he gets into (for he’s “just that sort of bear”).
This is the first of the novels to be written in Paddington’s own words, so expect to be totally delighted and amused by his endearing personality and refreshing innocence. Who else could manage to wallpaper himself or saw a table in half while constructing a magazine rack? What happens when he climbs atop a horse, plays a game of cricket, or attends the theatre for the first time? Let’s just say it isn’t every day a marmalade sandwich lands smack dab on a bald man’s head.
It’s hard to pick a favorite episode, but I do love the time Paddington helps out at the barber’s. If some bear accidentally shaves some man’s hair off, the least he can do is glue it back on — and, of course, make further amends with his knowledge of antique Spode Blue Italian bone china (how I love a bear who knows his crockery!).
The man had told me not to touch the top of his head, but it was too late. Whereas it had been covered by a mass of thick black curls, now there wasn’t a hair to be seen. He was completely bald!
There was only one thing for it. I reached for my tube. Mr. Sloop had said his floor was covered with unwanted hair, so I wouldn’t be short of material to repair the damage.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, but there were so many different kinds of hair, and so many different colors, it didn’t go as well as I had hoped.
Whatever the mishap, Paddington always lands on his feet and things work out in the end much to everyone’s relief. Love from Paddington is a great way to whet the appetite for the other books in the series, where these stories are described in greater detail. Those who’ve already read the previous books will enjoy hearing Paddington’s unique take on these somewhat sticky adventures, enjoying yet again his strong sense of right and wrong, his capital bargaining skills, his admirable hat-raising politeness, his enduring kindness, his unmatched appetite for chunky marmalade sandwiches, and his masterful hard stare.
Written to coincide with the Paddington movie release, the book contains wonderful pen-and-ink drawings by Peggy Fortnum and R.W. Alley. Ms. Fortnum was the first to depict Paddington on the page back in the late 50’s, and Mr. Alley, Paddington’s current illustrator, has been drawing him since 1997. I think there have been at least 6 different illustrators through the years, but it’s nice to have the first and the most recent represented in this book.
I’d like to think that part of Paddington’s enduring appeal is the theme of unconditional acceptance and tolerance. He is an immigrant, after all, and an ursine one at that — yet the Browns happily welcome him into their home and he becomes a member of the family just like that. Good manners (often lacking in these crazy times) never go out of style — something I’ve always loved about this bear. Could you resist him if he tipped his hat at you?
I can’t begin to tell you how happy this photo of Hugh Bonneville and his Paddington statue makes me.
I mean seriously. It’s Paddington Bear AND Downton Abbey rolled into one! *swoons*
The London Trail officially opened last week, with 50 Paddington statues scattered around the city. It’s fun to see all the different designs, the many “possibilities” of our favorite bear from darkest Peru.
I think “The Journey of Marmalade” is my fave, but here are a few others I especially love:
Visit the Paddington Trail website to see all the bear statues, notes about their designers, and a map of where the statues can be found. At the end of December, all the statues will be auctioned off for charity. How cool is that?!
Have a chunky marmalade kind of week!
(Tip your hat whenever possible.)
ETA: Today’s Hugh’s Birthday!
Now we must definitely have marmalade sandwiches today in his honor! Happy Birthday, Hugh!
The other day while out golfing and playing tennis, several of our resident Paddingtons heard some exciting news: there will be a special Paddington Bear Storytime at Barnes and Noble stores across the country at 11:00 a.m. this Saturday, November 8, 2014!
In anticipation of the new Paddington movie (whose opening has apparently been pushed back to January 16, 2015 instead of Christmas Day as we previously reported), local B&N stores will be giving out free movie tickets to storytime attendees while supplies last. These tickets can be used anytime between January 16 and March 31, 2015.
Barnes and Noble has just released a new, exclusive edition of Paddington (picture book) that includes Paddington’s Scrapbook (chock full of little-known facts, travel souvenirs, photos and letters), illustrated by the fabulous R.W. Alley, of course!
AND, if you just happen to be lucky enough to live near the Brentwood, TN, Barnes and Noble store, note that Nicole Kidman, one of the stars in “Paddington,” will be reading from the Paddington B&N Edition on Thursday, November 6 at 4 p.m. Both these B&N events are of course free and open to the general public.
Have you been wondering who took Colin Firth’s place as the voice of Paddington? It’s 34-year-old British actor Ben Whishaw. Apparently Michael Bond’s daughter is ecstatic — saying he has captured Paddington exactly as she had imagined him to be (Paddington is computer-generated in the film).
Check out the new movie trailer and judge for yourself:
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I gotta admit — he’s really starting to grow on me.