Photos Copyright: Maggie May
Not long ago I wrote about a place that seems to lure every little girl and possibly boy into a state of bliss.
Amber bought a bear with her savings, on an other occasion, with her mother which she saw made from scratch, to her own specifications.
About a month ago, I asked her to start to think about what she would like for her Birthday and she had no hesitation about asking for clothes for her rainbow bear.
As it was holiday time, I decided to take both the girls to this special place, which was in the middle of a large shopping mall.
I took them on the bus and as I was used to hopping on and off with my free bus pass, the price of the girls' return fare was a bit of a shock straight away.
However, we set off to have a fun day and that was what we intended to do.
The moment we entered this *plastic* place I noticed it was like a snare for small children. I was immediately pounced on by a young girl shop assistant who was hoping for a large sale.
"Just looking'" I said.
I really hate to have an over anxious assistant hot on my tail.
I must admit that I would have given my eye teeth as a child, to be let loose in this shop because there were rows and rows of outfits of every description for these bears.
Although as a child, I wasn't poor by local standards, there was nothing like this and the war years had certainly limited any chances of luxuries like these and finances wouldn't run to it even if they were available. So I was thinking of how deprived I had been as a child and wondering if children really appreciated all the choice and luxurious toys they have today. Somehow I really doubt it.
Amber had no problem at all, choosing what she wanted. I had told her the amount that I was willing to pay and we worked out the cost as we went along through the rows and rows of clothes that stretched from floor to ceiling and filled the whole shop.
"Is it your Birthday?" asked the persistent shop girl.
When she was told there was a month to go, the assistant beckoned to her colleague and they both sang Happy Birthday with plastic smiles and theatrical gestures.
The minute the song was over the smiles switched off and away they went to find some other candidate to pounce on.
To dress a bear well, there would be a need for party dresses (or smart suits for a boy bear) casual skirts, tops and dresses, for the girl bears, never ending choices of footwear and even roller skates, for both. Nightwear and dressing gowns and sleeping bags, carrying slings, not to mention hats and scarves and football outfits were all on offer. There were toys for the bears to play with. I have never seen anything like it.
The little heap we came away with didn't seem to be much to look at but it was agreed that they would be put away for the month until Amber's proper Birthday and she readily agreed with that. I was secretly hoping that she wouldn't grow out of the bear phase till after her Birthday at least, because this is what seems to happen..... children get fed up with something very quickly and new things take their place.
However it didn't stop there..... Millie the youngest, was goggle eyed as she saw all the delights of this shop. She had mentally noted the colour of the bear she was going to have made and which outfits and accessories she was going to get the bear when her Birthday arrived later on in the year.
As we left the shop, there were other little children entering this Aladdin's Cave and like wasps around a honey trap, they got sucked in. Their poor parents didn't stand a chance.
The assistants sprang into action and so the cycle went on........