Guernsey Teddy – Fragments

October 1995 in Guernsey, when I visited my grand-aunt Siggy and her husband Frank Stroobant, local war hero and writer (‘One Man’s War’), I bought a copy of “The Adventures of Guernsey Teddy” by Laurance Deane; the first book I ever read in English and I loved the short stories about the little bear that was such famous on the Channel Island. From that moment on my mind tried to come up with own stories about this teddy. Sadly, I never finished any idea, however, I started to write some adventures, even made some drawings to it, yet just one of those stories has survived.

***

Guernsey Teddy and the wedding at Little Chapel

Even before he opened his eyes, Guernsey Teddy heard the voice of Mrs. LePage who called him for breakfast. The little bear hastily hit aside the blanket, swung his short legs out of the bed and got up to scratch his muscles.

On not the slightest case he wanted to let her wait for him, since she and her husband, Farmer LePage, as well as their two children Mary and John had invited him in their comfortable house because his own parents had to visit some distant relatives in the high north of Alaska. Due to the cold weather conditions there, the little bear should spend his summer at Guernsey. Although he did not feel that enthusiastic  about this decision, the kind and somehow carefree way of the islanders dragged him into their spell.

And how many adventures had Guernsey Teddy already enjoyed during his first days?

The day after he arrived in St. Peter Port, John has shown him the meadows of the farm where they got attacked by a bull and just escaped with scarce need. At another evening, he and the LePage children went on a witch-hunt where they caught Winnie, the evil witch, and managed to convince her to become a good witch, who will help the islanders with her magic. During a beach excursion they discovered the cave of smugglers and provided their arrest.

The young bear glanced out of the window while he snatched for his navy blue jumper with the island name printed on it that gave him his nickname. The sun sat enthroned at the cloudless blue sky, the juicy green meadows extended up to the coast and the English Channel glittered seductively behind the curt rocks. He also spotted the little propeller operated mail plane far away at the horizon.

One fine day, he will ask the postman to join him while flying of the small island. One fine day, he will be able to see the whole beauty of Guernsey from above. One fine day… Lost in his dreams Guernsey Teddy put on his jumper and when he wanted to grab his French beret someone knocked at the door, pulled him out of his thoughts and entered the room.

“Good morning, John”, he welcomed the boy.

“Good morning, Guernsey Teddy”, the jolly boy replied, “Mum already awaits us with breakfast.” John turned around and strolled out on the narrow corridor that connected the room at the upper floor to return to the kitchen.

Guernsey Teddy grabbed for his French beret, yet he did not put on it. Father Bear once taught him that it was not polite behavior to wear a headgear in closed rooms. Nevertheless, leaving the French beret behind on the chair next to his bed was out of question. When they would leave the farmhouse after breakfast, he first had to run upstairs to collect it and that was something he did not want either.

He quickly stepped out on the corridor and followed John.

The smell of freshly brewed coffee hung in the air when he entered the kitchen. Farmer LePage and his two children already sat around the table which was covered with delicacies for their morning meal, just Mrs LePage still worked on the working disk under the small window, which lead out to the small herb garden. Now she turned around, in her hand she held a cup of hot honey-milk that she put next to his place. At the same time she wished him a lovely good morning, as well as the others did.

“Good morning”, Guernsey Teddy replied politely, let his French beret sink on a small wooden chest of drawers that stood next to the door and sat down between Mary and her younger brother John.

***

After breakfast when they all still sat together Farmer LePage and his wife exchanged silent glance and nodded to each other. While whether Mary not John saw it, Guernsey Teddy got aware of it because he thought about his parents and wondered what they were doing at this morning while he watched his foster parents.

Before he could let John know about it, Farmer LePage took a large mouthful of his coffee, cleared his throat loudly that fetched his children out of their own thoughts. The moment he had their attention, he said: “Your cousin Alec is going to visit us this weekend.”

“Yippee!” Mary and John cheered, beaming with joy.

For Guernsey Teddy their cousin Alec was just another name of a member of his guest family that he did not know yet, however, John had told him a lot of their adventures and so he was really keen to meet him in person. Nevertheless, he was not caught by their cheering, he wanted to wait until he knew Alec in person and could build up his own opinion about the crazy boy, however, when John was right, they would become friends easily.

From one moment to another Mary’s joy subsided when she remembered what the visit of her cousin would meant for her. Don’t understand me wrong, please, she really liked the lad with the strange humor but she knew very well that there was nothing she could do against the pranks the cousins would come up with. And the two of them had been awful in the past and this time, she most likely would have to face three of them. She also wondered where he should sleep because Guernsey Teddy monopolized the guest room and she absolutely could not imagine that her father would ask him to leave the room for a single night. Even her room would be no solution, she would fight to keep it for herself and she also had her doubts that it would be smart to let the two boys sleep in the same room.

And the way John fidgeted on his chair – he hardly sit still for a single second due to his anticipation of the coming adventures and pranks – Mary knew she was right about it why she drew her parents attention to it: “Where shall Alec sleep?”

“What do you mean, darling?” Mrs LePage asked surprised.

“Well, Guernsey Teddy’s staying in the guest room.” She answered embarrassed. “John and Alec in the same room, … well, I really don’t know if that’s a good idea.”

“You are right, darling. I haven’t thought about that.” Farmer LePage said. He could understand his daughter’s objections. “But we’ll find…”

“We could camp on the meadow!” John interrupted Farmer LePage because he suddenly thought that his parents might cancel the visit. “You’ve promised it the last time.”

“Accepted!” Farmer LePage said after he thought about it for a short moment. “Promised is promised and will not be broken.” But he did not really like this thought anyway, however, he would ask Clara, his cow, to glance an eye on them and maybe Guernsey Teddy also would take care that the farm would get a peaceful night. Maybe…

“When you want, you can pick up your cousin at the harbour.” Farmer LePage said.

“When do we start?” John wanted to know.

“Sorry, but Arthur’s collecting him because I’ve no time.” Farmer LePage replied. “He will arrive any minute.”

“What is such important that you can’t meet your nephew at the harbour?” Mrs LePage wondered. She knew her husband didn’t like to be alone with the two yabbos.

“I’ve to repair the fences on the southern meadow before the next storm will destroy it completely.”

Mrs LePage wanted to answer something but a knocking at the backdoor interrupted her.

***

All their eyes followed Farmer LePage when he stood up and left the kitchen. They could hear how he unlocked the backdoor, opened it and welcomed Uncle Arthur.  Just a few seconds later heavy steps came towards the kitchen.

John sneaked a look at Guernsey Teddy; by the means of the heavy steps he noticed that Uncle Arthur had not put off his boots as he usually did what only could mean that he was in a hurry. The cheerful gleaming in John’s eyes grew and even the young bear felt a rising exertion. The anticipation of a huge weekend adventure increased although the idea of a night in a tent did not really please him, however, this would change when he got to know Alec.

The kitchen door opened and the two men came in. Next to Uncle Arthur’s imposing figure Farmer LePage seemed to be small and thin. The sun-tanned skin, the severe face of the former fisherman as well as his attentive brown eyes and brown windswept hair gave him the look of a pirate captain but who knew him, also knew that this first impression was totally wrong, instead he was more like a teddy bear. His polite but bluntly way made him to be a guest seen with pleasure, not only on the LePage farm.  Yet, many islanders wondered why he gave up his beloved work as an independent fisherman few weeks ago. Some already have asked him about that strange decision but never got a satisfying answer. From that decision on he started to rent his boat to tourists, of course with him as captain.

***

This fragment is the beginning of the story, the only part that has survived the years and now, for the very first time it got typed into the laptop, although I know that I will never finish this story, at least not as it has started. I do know, that this is fan-fiction. But I like the idea behind the story and I am sure that one day it will be rewritten as part for the “Teddy’s Adventure Trip” series. But before I can turn my attention toward it, I wanna finish some other projects.

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