The Morley family is in crisis. Foul Min Esquire – 56 years old this year – has had some work done, as the Americans would say.
In other words, he’s had a makeover. I’m not a believer in tweaks or tucks or tugs – as anyone who has met me can tell – but when it comes to the best of bears, it’s another matter.
Foul Min, also known as Fet and Diamond Eyes, is the only bear to have survived cuddly toy pogroms in our household.
Unlike brother Robert’s Dinky cars, or David’s Marvel Mags, Foul Min had no inherent value, other than sentimental.
He was my bear originally. Being blue didn’t help. I’m a Liverpudlian. Genetically programmed to recognise red and white. He was booted out of the cot as soon as I could get a kick on target. I was the Charlie Adams of pram penalty-takers, so poor Blue nearly ended up in Goodison Park – from Anfield.
Besides, the only bear I had ever loved, a highly-flammable straw-filled one, had been taken away by the binmen.
I’d rescued him twice but arrived to see him tied to the back of a retreating dustcart, his one working arm rising and falling in mournful farewell like a parody of Captain Ahab’s death scene in Moby Dick. There he goes.
Min’s fared better. He’s been lost and found in places as diverse as a deckchair at the old Cleveleys Woollies and on the swings at the old Jubilee Gardens. He’s had umpteen makeovers, courtesy of Ma, armed with replacement fur, cotton, large needle and anaesthetic – a glass of Baileys. When Min’s eyes fell out, probably after my talking dolly croaked to him in extremis “I pray the Lord my soul to take”, he was kitted out with diamante eyes. You should have seen the delight on Robert’s face when he realised his teddy could draw blood. Min became a weapon of mini destruction.
With age came stability but, as with ageing Hollywood idols, the time came when a makeover went too far.
Having passed to the care of Cloe, Rob’s daughter, and living in civil partnership with Angelina Ballerina (that’s Min not Rob), Min was living the good life in the Languedoc when he was patched up by Ma and kitted out with legwarmers to stop his legs buckling. (That’s what marriage to a balletic mouse does to you).
Consequently he is now estranged from both Cloe and Angelina and Ma is applying for kinship care custodial rights.
Why this salutary tale? Because I am told the road safety bears who have graced the Illuminations since Yogi was a cub have been “Laurenced”.
Lights-speak for creative consultant Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen tweaking their design.
He thought their hot pants look needed a makeover. It’s under wraps but I hope he hasn’t gone too far. Bispham Cliffs is not ready for burlesque bears, and nor am I.