Wednesday, January 13, 2010

form, clean, snow-bear

Posted by PicasaThe little group of trees and shrubs in the centre of Berkeley Road is known locally as The Village Green. That is because it is in fact registered as a village green despite the fact that there is no grass on it as there is on most village greens. It is also a lot smaller than most village greens. For a long time it was carefully tended with the help of the Council by Col Tony Wade, who lived beside it and who died 18 months ago. Nowadays the Council looks after it once or twice a year. The Scots pine in the foreground will never amount to much because it is so precariously rooted, but it remains an ornament. With the snow forming uniform shapes on its branches, it looks like a formal tree in a Japanese picture. In the Spring there are daffodils among the bushes. And sometimes, if the Council gardeners spare them a mass of lesser celandine.
Walking in the snow has cleaned the soles of my boots and extracted every little bit of mud or grit that usually insinuates itself into the patterned grooves in the rubber.
Teddy bears are usually brown or black. This is because they are called after President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, whose bear hunting expeditions and one in particular in 1902 which involved an American black bear, were widely publicised. There is therefore something anomalous about a teddy bear made of snow. Unusual though. The snow teddy, in a corner of the The Grove this afternoon, is the size of a grown man. A man , surrounded by children, is, in fact, putting the finishing touches to the bear's nose, and at the same time looking the bear straight in the eye.


Roderick Robinson said...

The photo suggests one has reached a fork in the road. However the road on the left looks more like a drive-way to someone's house. If this is so and if the photo had been taken from further away it would probably have seemed quite humdrum. Instead a form of drama, typical of road forks, has been artificially created, a tribute to your cropping eye. If it is a genuine fork then the further away shot might be even more dramatic. Luckily photographers don't have to engage consciously in such contingent verbal reasoning. Is this clear?

Lucy said...

My teddy was white. He was a Chad Valley special issue, designed to promote the British Coal Board's clean fuels. His companions sat in the coal sales office in the family haulage/coal firm, holding pennants proclaiming these products. He had a little loop sewn into his paw to hold the flag.

Interestingly, at probably much the same time, or not long after, Tom was employed by said Coal Board to do clever things with British coal. His first boss was Jacob Bronowski, who developed Bronowski's briquettes, a relatively clean-burning product made from coal dust from mechanised mining, which were known to us as one of the things our dad sold in the coal yard. So Bronowski is a remote connection on two counts, which has a satisfying circular synchronicity about it if one cares to see it. I remember, as do many of my generation, the solemn ritual of sitting down en famille to watch 'The Ascent of Man', and understanding nothing of it. Some thirty years later I watched it again with Tom and understood a very little more.

I don't know what happened to White Ted in the end ( he being the second of his kind I had, as I believe I have written of before). I think he may have been passed on to another generation.

I think I may have broken a record here in terms of the most verbose and irrelevant comment ever.

Lucy said...

Drat, I got so carried away there I forgot to say how much I liked the read Steiff bear on the Christmas card.

Unknown said...

BB In fact the road does fork and then continue on either side of the "village green" and of the house which you can see behind the green. The forks emerges parallel with one another in Little Mount Sion, the street which runs parallel with Mount Sion and and at right angles to the two separate strands of Berkeley Road. So I think my cropping has probably only emphasised the drama of the fork while not interfering with the facts.

Lucy: I remember Jacob Bronowski's
series on tv. I remember the briquettes too. Interesting how things connect I would never have associated Jacob Bronowski with teddy bears.