When a holiday isn’t a bear necessity

PUBLISHED: 13:36 30 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:36 30 March 2017

Thalia is desperate to take one of the class bears skiing.

Thalia is desperate to take one of the class bears skiing.


We’ve nothing exciting in the diary, and seems it’s not good enough for Jo Malone’s family.

“I need to go skiing,” poplet Thalia announces.

I’m not sure about this ‘need’.

Turns out that according to Thalia, everyone in her class at Hethersett Old Hall School has had one of the class bears to stay and she’s convinced that’s only because they’ve taken them skiing.

I vaguely remember this from the days when number one daughter Sunny, was at HOHS.

Barnaby was the best-travelled bear ever and it seemed everyone apart from us had a holiday to take him on. The idea was easy; you came up with a suggestion for the bear, asked the teacher and he came home with you.

So from beaches in France and mountains in Switzerland to Disneyworld in America, Polynesia and Australia, that lucky bear, and his suitcase of outfits went everywhere. He probably collected enough bear miles to buy his own jet.

The school year went on and on and Sunny became increasingly despondent that we’d never have anywhere to take Barnaby. Finally we decided that adrenaline was actually what he needed and we took him skydiving. He loved it, Sunny loved it and school loved the scrapbook of photos.

Bears – and maths monkeys – feature prominently at busy bee Keola’s school too, but you never know when your child is going to come home with a fluffy friend to entertain for the weekend.

It does mean there’s no need to try to invite a bear on holiday before discovering that someone else is going somewhere far more exciting and has already claimed him. But it does make us realise that our weekends involve nothing exciting compared to the weekends at Keola’s classmates where – according to the scrapbook - bear/monkey goes to parties, bowling, to zoos, castles, cycling, to London and on zipwires, and that’s just on day one.

It does mean our hearts sink when she comes out of school clutching the class bear or monkey. We know we can’t disappoint her excited little face and have to think up something far more adventurous than it watching her at gym.

But Thalia is adamant that we can only have Barnaby if we’re going skiing. I double-check with our mummies’ What’sApp group.

Seems that’s not the case at all. If you’re going on holiday you can ask if he’d like to go, but you can have him at home too. Phew.

But a week at home with the bear, even after I’ve promised a teddy bear’s picnic, isn’t anywhere near Thalia’s ‘Barnaby on holiday’ dream. So I’ve come up with an idea.

I’m inspired by the time we were going to Australia with Sunny, then eight, and drove from Norwich to Heathrow. It clearly seemed a long way.

“Are we in Australia now?” she asked as we parked the car.

We’ll take Barnaby for an adventure – such as the teddy bear day at Bircham Windmill on April 29 – and as it’s at least an hour away from us we can tell Thalia we are on holiday.

Perfect – until Keola overhears my plan.

“That’s not a holiday. Why can’t we go on holiday? Why can’t we go? Dad said we could…”

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