Wednesday, 31 December 2014

We're Going On A Bear Hunt

If quizzed, Louis will say that he hates walking.  So, over the years I've learnt to be very sneaky indeed if I want to go for a stroll with him.  It has to be dressed up in an entirely different guise.   The  NSPCC's  Paddington Trail looked like the ideal opportunity to explore London on foot.   'Do you want to go on a bear hunt?' I asked my son.  He readily agreed. Ha! Sucker!

Since seeing the movie last month, Lou's been a fan of London's most famous furry immigrant.  They are, after all, both intrepid travellers so it was easy to predict that they'd bond.  Our quest to find some of the 50 statues dotted around London, commenced at Paddington  Station of course.   With GPS enabled on the phone and a downloaded bear map, the first eight, including the fluffy blue 'Bearing Up' were easily bagged during a lovely walk along the waterways nearby. Our goal of finding thirty bears and having a leisurely lunch seemed easily achievable.  We didn't count on meeting someone who Louis described as even nuttier than me.  Now that's quite a tall order.

Next stop was Baker Street, a tube stop chosen more for its link with another one of Louis' heroes rather than its proximity to statues.  It was here that we chanced upon Ashley, an enthusiastic Chinese student, who was looking for bears too. 'My friend has just phoned to tell me that the one in Regents Park is being taken away at 1pm'.  she told us.  It was 12:57 and I was willing to give that one a miss as a consequence.  But I was outvoted.  What followed seemed like a two hour version of 'Challenge Anneka' which took us to the furthest reaches of Regents Park just a stones throw away from Outer Mongolia.  Just two more bears were bagged.

We were then persuaded by the more seasoned bear hunter, to come with her to Piccadilly in search of more statues around the West End. Alas, it was a near fruitless exercise.  We lost Ashley at the last stage of a journey to Hamleys which unfathomably involved hopping on more crowded tube trains than I could count and running up and down the escalators.  'Chop, chop!' I was instructed enthusiastically.  'Keep up!' There was no allowance for age or a still healing knee joint.  It was like having my own personal initiation in Parcour.  All this frantic activity resulted in just two more bears being ticked off our list. Alas, there is no chance of a return visit. The trail ended yesterday and anyway we are heading back to Devon today.

Here's the second missing person plea in two days.  Ashley, is studying a Masters in Museum Studies, maybe at UCL.  She has boundless energy, loves art and is a bear afficionado.  If anyone knows her, tell her that we were honoured to meet her and there is a lovely picture of her and Louis with Ian Botham's bear on my blog.


  1. Looks fun! Maybe walking is something you appreciate more as you get older? Happy New Year Julie (and Louis)...Keep up the fun, good natured and inspiring blog, please!

  2. Cheers me dears - A happy new year to you both too! I'll try to keep you entertained and those brain cells ticking over in 2015.

  3. Looks like great fun. We went on a rhino hunt in Chester a few years ago and had a fab day.
    Hapy New Year to you and Louis. xx

    1. And you. Hope to see you again in 2015 xx

  4. Sounds like fun! The movie comes out here on Jan 16.