An UnBEARable Journey

By Kev Le Chat

{Illustration by Miki de Goodaboom)

Kev le Chat here everybody, with another teddy bear tale…As you may know, I travel the world performing, and when I’m not performing, I look for Teddy Bears for “Go Teddy!”

Well, some weeks ago, I was beginning a very long journey back to Spain. It began with a train. The first of several. Now, this train was a local train, and wasn’t late at all. It got me into Swindon station perfectly on time, late at night.

Swindon station at night normally has hardly any staff, so I was surprised to find an usually large amount, milling around the help desk and the platforms.  I asked one of them if he knew if the late service to Paddington ( yes, Paddington!) had a buffet car onboard, where I could get a coffee. He immediately apologised and went and fetched me two bottles of water. When I offered to pay,  he said “Oh no, it’s been a terrible day, and you’ve had a lot of inconvenience”.

Now, I was very happy to get the free drinks, but rather confused. I hadn’t had a terrible day at all!  I sat down in the waiting room and well, waited. I suppose that’s what they’re for.

I looked up at the screen that tells you about all the trains, and noticed that virtually every one heading in the direction of Wales, was delayed, and some by a large amount. I decided that the man who gave me the water thought I was heading in that direction. Funny really, I don’t look Welsh. Well, except for my pet dragon.

I’m kidding I don’t have a pet dragon.

Yet.

Anyway, MY train looked like it was going to be on time. But then the screen changed, and a horrible message appeared:

DUE TO SOMEONE JUMPING IN FRONT OF A TRAIN MANY SERVICES WILL BE DELAYED

This was terrible! I now understood why there was so many staff at the station – to deal with the chaos a sad incident like this causes.  I looked at the screen again. This time, there was a slight delay to my train, about 5 minutes.

Now, I was quite excited about going via Paddington, because  I had a mission. I had heard that there was a ‘Paddington trail’ there, with wonderful statues, celebrating one of the most famous bears in the world! I could almost taste the marmalade sandwiches, as I imagined taking lots of photos for GoTeddy!

I looks at the screen again. Now it was 17 minutes late….oh dear. It was now around 22.30.. Eventually, it arrived, as promised, 17 minutes late. Also, as promised, the buffet car was closed.

As we hurtled through the night towards London, I sat back and relaxed. Plenty of time to wander around Paddington station and take photos, I thought, before I have to head to Victoria for my train to Gatwick airport.

Then, the train slowed….and stopped. Near Didcot Parkway. An announcement revealed that this was in fact where the poor person had been hit by a train.

We didn’t move for some time, and eventually, after long delays, I arrived in Paddington station more than an hour late, and with barely minutes to catch the night bus to Victoria. I sprinted out if the station without seeing neither hide nor hair of a bear!

Also, I missed the bus. Then it started raining. Eventually, a bus arrived and I got on. It dropped me somewhere near Victoria station, which seemed to be surrounded by workmen and barriers. So much so, that I couldn’t find a way in! After about 15 minutes of circumnavigating it,  I found an entrance! I had already missed my train, so was in panic mode. I started to walk in…and was stopped by two rather stern-looking security officers.
” The station is closed, Sir”
“What!?” I exclaimed, “but it’s a main railway station in the capital city, and it’s raining out here!”
They were unmoved.
“It’s closed for cleaning.”
“Well, can’t you clean around me?”
But they were having none of it.

So there I was, no Paddington photos, cold and wet outside Victoria station, hoping they would open early enough to get the next train.

In the event, they did. At a quarter to three in the morning, fifteen minutes before my next possible train. I ran towards the platform barriers, and inserted my ticket. The machine spat it out.  Of course, my ticket was specifically for the earlier train! Nightmare!

I was determined however…I decided on a different tack, and went to the manned barrier instead, gambling on the possibility that the guy was as tired at that time of day as I was, and I vaguely waved my ticket at him. He let me through!

So it came to pass that my final train did in fact deliver me to the airport in time. But as I wandered through the terminal, I was a bit down that I hadn’t managed to get any photos of the fabulous Paddington trail.

But then suddenly, I came upon the Harrods store, and there, in front of me, dressed as a Harrods doorman, was the biggest Teddy Bear I’d ever seen!  He was delightful, and I immediately took his picture. However, my delight didn’t end there, they sold LEMON CURD! Well,  everyone knows that bears and Kev le Chat LOVE lemon curd, so I bought two jars to take back to Planet Goodaboom. As I wandered through the shop, I also found…a HUGE pile of Paddington Bears!  What a lovely surprise after such a stressful day!

Harrods Big Bear S

One thought on “An UnBEARable Journey

  1. What a fantastic story Kev Le Chat….I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! Wonderful art work Miki….good to hear Lemon curd reached planet Goodaboom….a happy ending!

    Like

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