"Looking for Linda" said Boogle in a questioning tone of voice. "What's that all about?"
Scruffy shook his head "You've clearly not been paying attention, have you? Or didn't you bother to read the archive posts?"
"Archive posts? What's that supposed to mean?" added Cuddles.
Teeny Tiny Bear had to struggle to make himself heard - it was always tricky being the smallest - but eventually he persuaded the others to quieten down." "Looking for Linda" is a song title - don't you remember? It's easy to remember and also a bit of a play on words - anyone looking for Linda's blog on Google should find it quite easily, and hey - there may be people looking for song lyrics who randomly stumble on our story - and might enjoy it!"
Nigel was clearly disgruntled and the others looked at him to find out why. His reply surprised them at first but when they stopped to think about it they realised - as so often - that he was right.
"Well chaps, first of all I have to say I am getting very cold." Ahhh. He was of course making a valid point - it was a few days now since Linda had whipped off his purple jumper and enthusiastically decided to knit him a nice little home made one. He'd not liked to complain but ever since then he had been shivering. Scruffy very quickly gave him a big hug and promised to find him at least an old sock to keep him warm for the time being.
"Secondly," went on Nigel, "you say "our story" but it's been ages since this blog mentioned anything at all about us. Linda keeps hinting we are up to things and promising to write about us but take a look at what it's been lately - pain, pain, pain...I know she must be in agony but surely writing about us would be a pleasant distraction? (As ever he was right - for days Linda had been thinking that she needed to shift the emphasis, employ some distraction techniques, perhaps even write a few poems...)
The Teddies immediately broke into a squabble at this point, so much so that they completely forgot they actually had a new friend with them who must surely be wondering what was going on. As ever it was Teeny Tiny Bear who reminded them all to include Spotty in the conversation.
When Linda had come home from hospital the first few days had been really difficult. She had looked forward so much to being in her own bed with all her own things around but actually it was more difficult than she had imagined. It sounded a bit mean to say it but in hospital when something went wrong it was somehow okay to complain. Not in a nasty way - just to say for example "I really wanted that cup of tea but they must have forgotten about me 'cos it never arrived..." And it was also alright to ask someone to come and pick things up that had got dropped - a book, glasses, lip balm, the remote control etc etc. Now she was home it was much much harder as it was her lovely family looking after her and she didn't like to criticise them or complain.
Without realising it Linda had got quite fed up and the pain had got worst. Several of the blog posts had become more about the pain and how she was feeling - less about what was going on. And much much less about the Teddies.
It had been her son Dave who'd introduced Spotty to the gang of Teddies. He'd had him when he was a baby himself, and Spotty had been all over the place often keeping him company in his cot or when mum and dad were away. Of course Dave was way too old to need him for that now but unlike many of the other soft toys from the Anderson Household Spotty had never made that long lonely journey to the Oxfam shop. Instead he had stayed safely under Dave's bed, waiting for a moment like this when he would once again be really useful. Perhaps now was his time to say something.
Very often when people - or Teddies - are really closely involved in a situation, when they know and love the person concerned or in pain so much, it is hard for them to know how best to help and sometimes they cannot understand what is going on. But it seemed that Spotty had been quietly watching what had been going on and they all looked to him now to hear what he would like to say...
Spotty opened his mouth to speak. He felt a little out of place amongst the Teddies as he is in fact a Dalmation Dog - but a very small one. Not quite as small as Teeny Tiny Bear who stood alongside him for moral support -knowing how hard it can be to speak up when everyone else is so much taller than you...(and feeling ever so slightly jealous of Linda of course who would never be in that situation again...)
"The thing is this..." said Spotty..."I can see how much you all want to help, it's always the same when someone is ill and especially when someone has had something done as enormous as this. And it's not just us Teddies that want to help either - look at all her friends commenting on the blog too. You know I have worked out her password and hacked into her email account too - she has lots and lots of messages there. And that strange bleeping noise we keep hearing - that's all text messages.
"Well I wish she would at least answer them and stop them disturbing my sleep" said one Teddy who shall remain nameless ;-)
Spotty carried on. We all want to help but the thing is we all know what would help us in that situation. Look at Nigel over there - he's happy just with an old sock to keep him warm! Sometimes we'd never guess what someone wants and what will make them feel better - apparently tonight Linda suddenly wanted an ice pack on her back! After all those weeks of hot water bottles! I guess we have to keep asking.
But the other thing is when someone is in that much pain sometimes they honestly don't know what they do want, which can be even more frustrating. So they get cross and irritable, and fed up with being asked. Like I said - it didn't matter so much in the hospital but here at home it is difficult as they really don't want to seem to be selfish or ungrateful."
The other Teddies had a bit of a think about this - it didn't make sense straight away as they knew that all they and everyone else wanted to do was help. How could anyone be ungrateful - or worse of all start crying - when people were just trying to help? But then one or two of them who had been reading the blog occasionally - when the tv was off perhaps - remembered the post Linda had written the other night. "From the heart" or something it had been called and frankly one of them (who will remain nameless but doesn't like his sleep disturbed by mobile phone bleeps...) had thought it was a little bit over emotional. Isn't it about time to get a grip, move on, stop analysing and worst of all crying?
"Ah..." said Spotty. "Never underestimate hormones! Surgery, pain, hormones, can all do funny things. Haven't you noticed how Linda still talks nonsense? Only last Tuesday she said to Dave that she was very nervous as today was her operation day! One minute she is boiling up, the next she is shivering, she is very tired and very tearful - it will take a while but things will be back to normal soon enough. I do have one more quick question to ask you though...."
"Go on..." they said - almost in unison
"Why are you all sitting up here? True you are nice and tidy and you can see things are okay - but don't you think she'd like you back in the bed for a cuddle? I've seen that big black and white cat there - the one that moves - but I am sure she would like you to take turns too!"
So now we leave the teddies plotting how to construct a rope ladder down the side of the wardrobe door and back into the bed, Nigel - brainy as ever - seems to have his eye on the cashmere cardigan - watch this space.... and Linda is determined to finish his new jumper :-)
For Callum, Rachie, Dave and everyone else who wanted to know how the Teddies are getting on. Any names or resemblances to persons living or dead are of course entirely co-incidental.
More from me tomorrow xxx