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Life Missions

(2 out of 5 complete)

To meet other hand made bears

To visit teddy bear museums and shows

To see real bears in the wild or in bear sanctuaries

To have teddy bears picnics

To meet Threadbear and visit the Teddy Bear Clinic

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Travelog for: Hector

Teddy Bear Clinic, South Africa - 17th September 2008

By: MrsC

At last we get to go to the Teddy Bear Clinic!

The bears were hugely excited; they never slept all night...
Fi had to calm them all down and put them back in the big boxes.

Her friend Lara came to help with transport. Luckily the big boxes managed to fit in... Threadbear and Gracy guided boxes in from the back...


...and I sat this side... all done, we can go!


Half an hour later we reached our destination. We went upstairs to get some help with the boxes... here we are at reception.


Whew! It was hard work getting all the boxes up here...


Ohhh....it’s rather dark in here with all the doors closed...


It is nice and bright in the waiting room though!


This is the office of the psychologist...lots of bears in here... looks a little boring this side, but the other side was painted with brightly coloured puzzle pieces.


The bears that we brought today will be distributed amongst all the different branches of the Teddy Bear Clinic. There are four of five branches. Even though every surface possible is covered in bears, the whole clinic is tinged in sadness. Fi doesn't like to stay there long, so we just said hello to everyone quickly and then goodbye.

Gracy had some work to do in the building too so we went with her upstairs to Bigshoes...


Bigshoes is another children’s clinic that has four divisions. Gracy had come to deliver some soft toys for the Abandoned Baby Clinic (an outpatient department).


This clinic is nice and bright and has a happier feel to it... we dropped of the toys and had a little wander around.


This is where they do medical examinations. They do a general check, DNA testing and HIV status. Some of the older babies get given soft toys if they are crying or upset. That is why Gracy brought two big boxes of the nicest, softest, fluffiest toys.


There were no babies in today though. So we had fun in one of the cots...


This clinic is nice and bright because it is in a nice sunny spot. We went outside for a bit...


The building is very old and is in need of lots of repair. It has been painted recently on the inside though, so it looks a whole lot better.

We had a little adventure, looking around the hospital as Lara had never been there before.

The building is known as the Transvaal Memorial Institute -TMI for short. Is was exclusively a children’s hospital that was run by the government. Once the huge New Johannesburg Hospital was built in the late 1970's, the children’s hospital moved over there.



This building became a children’s outpatient department. It is now exclusively occupied by NGO (Non Government Organisation) Children’s Clinics. (And although it is stilled called the TMI - the province has changed name from Transvaal to Gauteng)

This is a list of the clinics in the building. Gracy will be back soon to drop off more toys. Maybe she will let me come with her....


* Posted Sep 28, 2008, 10:06 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Johannesburg, South Africa - 21st September 2008

By: MrsC

Fi has silkworms and we are all completely fascinated by them!
They get fed mulberry leaves several times a day (there are so many of them the leaves never last long!) and they are getting bigger and bigger - I can't believe how fast they grow!


* Posted Oct 1, 2008, 8:46 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Johannesburg, South Africa - 24th September 2008

By: MrsC

Today was Heritage Day in South Africa. It is a National Holiday. As well as that, someone decided it would be a good idea to make it National Braai Day too.

A BRAAI is the South African name for a barbeque. Traditionally it is the only meal most men will 'cook' (they do the meat, the important bit!)

Fi had friends around for the day, so she made it a bit more special. It was a lovely sunny day so she set the table outside under the silver birch trees which have lovely new green leaves...


The smell wafting over was mouth watering!


Hmmm...oh...oh...oh... I am trying not to drool! Fi's husband let us have a smell of a pork chop...


Oooooohhhh! And he let Bullet have a little taste! Hey! What about me?


Fi made some easy mielie bread. (Mielie is corn/maize)


1 can of creamed corn
1 small packet self raising flour (500g)
1 can evaporated milk
Pinch of salt

Mix it all up, pop it in a loaf pan and bake at 180°C (350°f) for an hour.

Delicious warm with fresh butter...I had a whole slice!

There were also baked potatoes, salad and garlic bread - the table was groaning... and after a while so was I because I ate too much!

* Posted Oct 1, 2008, 9:18 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Johannesburg, South Africa - 26th September 2008

By: MrsC

Wow! Look how fat the silkworms have grown!


* Posted Oct 1, 2008, 9:29 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Toy Collectors Fair, South Africa - 28th September 2008

By: MrsC

Fi confessed that she had wanted to take me to what was billed as 'Africa's largest Teddy Bear Fair' but she had misread the date and missed it. To make up for it, she said she would take me to the Toy Collectors Fair instead as there would probabbly be bears on show.

So off we went. It had been such a quiet morning that they stall holders were already packing up but we managed to find a few bears!


The middle one in the back row was born in 1901 and comes from Columbia...


Some of these were really old too...




We found a lady who makes handmade bears!


This is just a wig for fun, not a permanent hairstyle!


She makes other toys too...


I made a friend, his name is Noseworthy!


Hmmm...is that one over there a dog or a bear?


Whatever he is, there is a pattern to make him!


What a pitiful pile of pandas....


Well, that was all the bears we could find. But I want to see more!

* Posted Oct 1, 2008, 9:56 am Last edited Oct 1, 2008, 10:57 am by MrsC [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Johannesburg, South Africa - 29th September 2008

By: MrsC

Silkworm update!

This lazy lot are still eating and eating and growing and growing...


But this one is spinning a cocoon!




None of them would spin at first, so Fi moved them into other boxes so they were less crowded as they like to have a nice secluded spot (which is impossible if you share one box with 63 other silkworms!)

As soon as they were moved, they started spinning like mad...


* Posted Oct 1, 2008, 10:25 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Bears ETC, South Africa - 29th September 2008

By: MrsC

OOOOHHHHHH! Bears, bears and more bears!

Fi took me to a Teddy Bear shop at her local shopping mall.

Here I am meeting an Olympic champion, who is currently residing in the window display.

He is a prize winning bear made by one of the ladies that runs the shop. He looks so strong!


I really like this guy... he lives on the top of a display cabinet.


I met some fellow handmade mohair bears...cute noses!


They give classes in bear making on the weekends. (Maybe Fi should attend?)


If anyone doubts their abilities, Gift, who works at the till, shows customers his FIRST attempt at bear making...very impressive!


There are bears in every corner!


This is a handmade South African bear...


A hand made New Zealand bear...


Handmade German bears...


And some fellow handmade British bears...


These handmade bears were made by talented South African artists. They are being raffled to raise funds for the Teddy Bear Clinic! Fi had better buy a ticket...


Here is a close up of the 'African' Bear.


You can buy all sorts of bear making accessories here.



They sure pack a whole lot of bears in this tiny little space!


* Posted Oct 1, 2008, 10:55 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

TMI, South Africa - 2nd October 2008

By: MrsC

Todays the day! Time for Gracy to take the toys and distribute them amongst the children's clinics... she asked if we would go with and help her.

Fi ran up to the Teddy Bear Clinic first to borrow a trolley as we had lots of boxes.


This was the crew: Bullet, Threadbear, myself, Gracy and NormaNikkers.


Our first stop was Sunshine Centre. We gave them two boxes of soft toys that they will distribute as Christmas presents.


Our second stop was the Thusanani Children's Foundation (they were so excited to hear about us that they have signed up on the ToyVoyager website!)

We gave then two boxes of soft toys too...


We also dropped another box off at the Bigshoes Clinic.

Our last stop for donating soft toys was The Toy Library this was the very first charity Fi ever collected toys for.

There were some children who were quite excited to see us but Fi never took photos of them.



Our last stop was the Teddy Bear Clinic to drop off some curtains, late comer bears and the trolley we borrowed!

Her job here is done. She will be headed home soon, and the others will be leaving too...wonder when it's my turn to travel?

* Posted Oct 20, 2008, 11:02 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Hennops Pride, South Africa - 8th October 2008

By: MrsC

Last night we had friends around for dinner and decided that it was high time we went out into the country for a picnic and some relaxation.

So this morning Fi ran around like mad - shops only open at 9am on a Sunday - buying salad ingredients and cold drinks. At 10 am, we met up with the friends and were on our way. I thought we were in for a long trip but it only took us a bout 20 minutes, maybe half an hour, till we reached our destination.

It was a place called Hennops Pride in the Hennops River Valley. You can camp there or just do a day trip. There are 4 x 4 trails if you are interested and plenty of swimming pools.

We found a nice spot to sit, unloaded the TON of supplies and wandered down to the river to have a look....

This is the Hennops River....and me in the middle of it!



That was fun! I found a really cool tree to climb and called the others to join me...



Then we lay around reading for a bit, swam in the pool, walked about in the veld looking for interesting things with the kids... African land snails, centipedes and eeek! Scorpions!

We came back after the scorpions and saw that lunch was almost ready...


There was also potato salad, regular salad and Portuguese bread with homemade jam...yummy...and to top it all off...ice cream!

Then it was time to lie around doing nothing for a bit....


After all that laziness, one of the dads decided to take a walk up the hills with the children... it was so dry... and the grass had been burned so their feet were pitch black when they got back! We wisely just climbed another tree to watch them.


Then it was time for another swim then we packed up and went home - all vowing that we would do that more often!

* Posted Oct 20, 2008, 1:45 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Clearwater mall, South Africa - 18th October 2008

By: MrsC

Ooooh! How exciting! There is an exhibition on at Fi's local shopping mall called BEAR FANATIX...sounds right up my alley, I am sure you will agree.

It took her ages to get ready this morning; I really thought we were going to miss it! She told me to calm down. The mall was way to busy on a Saturday morning for photos, if we leave it a bit longer it will be quieter...oh man.....

At last we got there. In the centre of the mall is an eating/playing/socializing area that has a retractable roof, so it can be indoors or outdoors. The Teddy Exhibition was held here.

Lots of the stall holders were happy to have photos taken and others were very worried about their copyrights so we took photos where we could. We had met some of the stall holders a while back and they recognised me! Ha ha ha - I am famous...

See if you can spot me again in each photo.








The Teddy Bear Clinic was also there selling the raffle tickets for the handmade bears I met the other day.

This cute guy is  a mascot for one of the local rugby teams - the Blou Bulle (blue bulls)


And this one led the South African Olympic Team to China this year...


These are embroidered bears that you can buy kits for. The photo doesn't do justice to the amazingly intricate stitches.


Wow! That was a lot of bears for one morning...need to go home and nap....

* Posted Oct 20, 2008, 2:39 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

The seven seas, South Africa - 23rd October 2008

By: MrsC

The children were on mid-term break and were visiting some friends for a pirate party. We were allowed to go with, but first we had to help make some hearty pirate grub!

I think I'll skip the octopus....


...look, a flotilla of pirate ships...


Yo ho ho! A band of scurvy sea dogs!


All aboard and we'll sail the seven seas...



This lot sure know how to have fun... after an afternoon of eating and swimming, and eating some more - we headed back to Fi's place.  It is always good to go home.

* Posted Nov 2, 2008, 7:55 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

The River Cabin, South Africa - 24th October 2008

By: MrsC

Oh happy day!

The children were invited to a Teddy Bears Tea Party, that is one step up from a Teddy Bear's Picnic...and they let me, me, me join them!



Aren't the seat covers so pretty?


I had a lovely cup of tea. Since I been in South Africa, I have been drinking the local brew Rooibos (red bush) tea. The best thing about it is that you have it with HONEY...schlurp....


The children each brought a bear. It was a very overcast day, which was lovely as it brought relief from the heat, which has been unBEARable... we sat outside and had a chat without fear of burning to a frizzle....


After a bit I felt the need to explore, so I went inside the cabin. The first thing I saw were all these bears! I climbed up the ladder and introduced myself.


Not a smackeral of honey in any of these jars - how disappointing!


There are lots of pretty displays in the room...


Hmmm...'Happy Birthday"...that means cake in my book!


Aha! I was quite correct....


I'd better not help myself, Alicia might get upset...


This is the Jukskei River that the River Cabin gets its name from.


I need a little rest. I only have little legs and I have had quite a walk around here.


I wonder if anybirdy lives in here?


I can tell nobody lives in here... this is a play house!


Oh my poor little legs! I climbed up to have a seat and a rest and this is what I found.


Fi took pity on me and carried me back up to the cabin...what a lovely view from here....


Oooh! Look!!!!


What a pleasant afternoon. I don't really want to leave either - I may just pout like the children did!

On the way out we saw another buck.


Home James!

* Posted Nov 2, 2008, 8:27 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Haunted House, South Africa - 31st October 2008

By: MrsC

...ghoulies and ghosties and long leggety beasties and things that go bump in the night....

Tonight is Halloween, and although it is not traditionally celebrated in South Africa there are a few parties going on...one of them in this very haunted house!

A skeleton hangs from the door, bats hang from the ceilings and cover the walls, cob webs cover every surface. The guests are Jack 'O Lanterns and demons...


....chain rattling ghosts and wicked witches (Wicked! Stop grinning Norma!)


The tables are littered with bones, and rats scurry past...


Ohhhhh.....what a Haunted House this is......


Bubble, bubble toil and trouble...the disgusting smell of entrails and tumours fills the already rancid air (fortunately they taste just like spaghetti and meat balls - I'm starving!)


Help...help....help....cries a ghost trapped in the cobwebs....


Beware the haunted sewing machine...the devil steals your souls and sews them into his cape......mwah ha ha......


What? Of course I'll be able to sleep tonight... maybe you should leave the light on though....

* Posted Nov 2, 2008, 9:04 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Randburg Sports Ground, South Africa - 6th November 2008

By: MrsC

Today we went to watch Fi's son play in his last mini cricket match of the season. It was an amazing sight. There are about twenty games going on at the same time on one field! The field is circular and the teams spread out around the perimeter - kind of like a clock, here we are at half past four  ;)  That's our boy batting (in the blue shorts) 


They won their match but scores are not kept at this level. They are encouraged to play for the love of it, not for winning - they save that for later when they go up against us Brits!

It was a sweltering hot day (38°C / 100.4°F) and there was NO SHADE and Fi got sunstroke (she really can't handle the heat - I can't believe she lives in Africa!) Well that put paid to any plans for the next few days....

* Posted Jan 15, 2009, 8:42 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Lone Wolf Spur, South Africa - 15th November 2008

By: MrsC

As a special treat we all went out this evening to a family restaurant called the Lone Wolf Spur. Spur is a franchise right across the country. It has an American Indian theme though they are basically a steak house.

Hmmm...I'm starving, I wonder what's to eat?


Ooh! Pizza...wait, ribs! No, fish fingers....aarggh!


Yeah baby! Hang on, that's bigger than me! Who wants to share?


We were sitting outside as there is a huge play area for the children. Don't the lights look pretty? (Okay, okay - and a bit fuzzy...)


Naturally, as we were sitting outside, it started raining... so we went inside to the other play area. We watched a bit of a movie with Shane till we got bored and then played computer games with Natalie for a while.


...and then we climbed the wall...no really!



Fi can we have five Rand please?


* Posted Jan 15, 2009, 9:11 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

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