Saturday, 10 January 2015

Fictional Food Adventure: Reading A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond.


Dear Paddington.

I am charmed, delighted, amused, heartwarmed and entertained. These books are very special, but I never quite knew how special til I read them for myself over this winter. I knew lots of details about Paddington, because he is a very famous bear. But I had not grown up with the stories. And I kind of didn't know I needed to read them. (Yet another heartfelt thank you to Jane Brocket and Claire Nichols.) I started at the very beginning, a very good place to start. And I am still going. 

I have read the first two as chapter books, and then listened to them read by Stephen Fry. I'm sure you can all imagine what his voice talent brings to the flavour of Paddington. I bought the cds online, brand new and pristine, and launched into listening when on my own in the car. It was always a shame when I reached the destination and had to leave the car! Then I told Andy how much I'd been enjoying them and he wanted to listen too, so we spent all our Christmas journeying with Paddington and shared the giggles and guffaws and grins. 

I also bought the classic 1970s tv series on dvd as a little extra Christmas present for Andy as he loved the first episode as a child and watched it over and over again - just the one episode as it was featured on a selection video. 
Then along came Mummy's birthday in early January and her chosen treat was to go and see Paddington at the cinema and by now I was full of appreciation for the real spirit of Paddington and was so delighted to go too, as it was an afternoon I was not at the library. Once we were in our seats I passed Mum a lunchbox full of Marmalade sandwiches, from my handbag, filled with such scrummy marmalade made by my Mum-in-law, using the best fresh white bread and salty butter. It was a treat and a half. 
When we eventually pulled ourselves away from the cosy cinema, (every last bar of the credit music fully appreciated, of course,) I went back out into the world with a freshly warmed heart, riding on the crest of the wave of good feeling. The film was a real celebration of Paddington. When I first heard that they were making this film, I was a tiny bit appalled and wondered why they felt the need. But it did need to be made. It is just another way to appreciate a wonderfully drawn, loveable character who you have to make room for in your heart, just like the Browns did.

Of course, there were changes to the story, details tweaked, conversations altered, plot completely created anew, because it is a film, and not a book. But, these filmmakers treated our dear Paddington, not only with respect but with true love. The essence of that sweet bear pervaded the whole cinema, just as the smell of orange fills your home when making Marmalade, as I am at this second. While I type, the Sevilles are cooling ready for us to slice up. 

And we will all savour Marmalade sandwiches forever more. 

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