Last night, I crawled into bed, turned out the light, heaved a sigh of relief to be abed at last and reached out for
my bedtime chum. No, sadly not Mr B, who insists on sleeping downstairs in his riser / recliner chair but Hop, my nightly comforter, my furry friend, my reminder of the power of hope and love and light...
Regular readers may remember that, back when Lockdown had just begun and I was feeling particularly isolated, the Rascally Trio sent me a loving present in the shape of their own Jellycat bunny rabbit. He arrived with a poem,
carefully written out three times over, promising me that any time I was feeling sad or lonely an instant remedy was at hand. After a thorough wash, they had hugged said bunny and so filled him with good wishes; all I needed to do was to hug him really tight
myself in order to feel all the hope and love and light, whether “morning, noon or night.”
I don’t remember ever having a comfort toy when I
was a child. This may well have been because my Little Sister and I shared a single bed, sleeping head to toe like fidgety sardines. I used to tell her bedtime stories in a bid to keep her awake so that I didn’t have to turn over and face the night terrors
alone. Bless her, she tried valiantly to stay awake for me but invariably gave in, however exciting (or otherwise) my tall tales. The Darling Daughters, on the other hand, took comfort to extremes by inviting so many toys, of various descriptions, into their
beds that it was often quite difficult to find a human head on each pillow to kiss goodnight. Our Boy, even at an early age, was clearly too cool for teddy bears and insisted on going to bed with both arms lovingly wrapped around his Martin Chivers Super Football.
Each to his own, that’s what I say...
Despite my lack of childhood experiences of the comfort factor offered by a cuddly toy, I have become extremely attached
to Hop. I have taken to sleeping with him tucked under my chin, while holding and gently stroking one of his long, floppy ears. Sleep comes more easily with Hop close by.
Imagine, therefore, my distress at being unable to find him last night. I pushed back all the bedclothes, threw the spare pillows across the room, searched under the bed - without success. Hop had, well, hopped off who knows where. I slept a trifle
fitfully and dreamed of Hop, loping about a forest reminiscent of the one in the tale of the Gruffalo, searching for home.
In the light of the morning, I
conducted a more thorough search but Hop was nowhere to be found. How can a small, fluffy rabbit just vanish into thin air? Was it my fault for not taking greater care of him? Had I, perhaps, grown a little casual in my regard for him? Had he hopped off in
search of a more deserving recipient for his hope and love and light?
It being Wednesday, I had arranged to have lunch out with the Lovely Linda while dear Kay
kept Mr B company. She would give him lunch (cheese and onion sandwiches as requested), Kay said, as well as cleaning the inside of the downstairs windows and hanging the laundry out on the line once the washing machine had completed its wash cycle. Everybody
needs a Kay in their lives.
I returned at 2 p.m. refreshed and sun-kissed from sitting outside the Highdown Café with a tuna and cucumber sandwich, a rather
large latte and - most importantly - the Lovely Linda. Kay was hauling sheets and pillow cases out of the washing machine ready to hang out on the line when she made an exciting discovery. “Look what I’ve found!” she said. It was like the
“Daddy moment” in the film of the “Railway Children” - “It’s Hop!” I cried, “It’s my Hop!” Oh, you’d have had a tear in your eye, believe me. You think not? How very hard-hearted of you...
Poor Hop looked bedraggled and more than a little woebegone. He had obviously become tangled up with the sheets when the bedclothes were changed and ended up in a 60 degree
white wash, when his label clearly stated he was “hand wash only.” Fortunately he didn’t appear to be damaged by his adventure; I hung him out to dry on the washing line, pegging him up by his long ears which did seem somewhat undignified
but what else could I do? I’m going to bring him in shortly and allow him a cosy sojourn in the airing cupboard, after which I am hoping he will be dry enough to join me in bed tonight.
I’m sure he must have missed me as much as I missed him. Hope and love and light - we all need some of that these days, now don’t we?