After the Big Show, everyone was clutching chocolates, bouquets of flowers, thank you cards and bottles of champagne. Me? I was put in charge of a slightly musty smelling teddy bear and a bag of clothes belonging to her.
First of all - the show. It was brilliant, amazing, stupendous, fantastic, fabulous. Please feel free to add your own superlatives. I do realise that not all of you will have been lucky enough to be sitting in the audience
for one of the four performances over this weekend, but surely you can take my word for it? It's not as if I am biased or anything...
Grandparents are allowed to be biased in any case, it's part of the job
description. Fortunately for Mr B and for me, we don't need to do any pretending because our Jack and our Hazel were amazing in "Grease". I asked Jack, who looked the essence of a Fifties leather-jacketed, cool teenager, whether he thought he would like to
have been a teenager in the Fifties. He said not if he had to apply layers of gel to his hair every day.
It was Hazel who landed me with the bear. She was carrying arm-fulls of flowers from admiring family,
friends and fans so I suppose a bear was a Bit Too Much. Plus I was standing handily by, basking in her glory and making sure everyone knew that the Golden Girl who played Sandy with such passion was my grand-daughter. Be that as it may, I suddenly found myself
with a bear in my arms.
Now I do know a bit about this bear's history. Known as Limey, she is the Limelight Theatre Group's official mascot, bought (or should I say, born) in the Build a Bear shop in Basingstoke
three years ago and presented to the Truly Rather Amazing Stephanie, the founder of the youth group at a lovely party in her beautiful garden. I seem to remember she cried when it was presented to her. It seems a lifetime ago.
Limey had several moments of fame, most notably sitting on the Mayor's lap at a Limelight performance and following this up with - wait for it - an appearance at an actual Council Meeting. We never had bears at the Council meetings I attended over my
many years in local government. It certainly would have enlivened proceedings. I even wrote a story about Limey's exploits which I will post on this website in due course for your delectation. Or, if not that, at least for your background information.
That was more than three years ago which is a long time in a teenager's life. Teddy bears are, it has to be said, the Stuff of Childhood and our Limelighters are growing into young adults. Hence the bear mascot has rather
disappeared from the scene over the last year or so. I suspect, given the slightly musty smell I mentioned earlier, that she has been stashed away in the bottom of someone's wardrobe, possibly in the company of several pairs of old trainers, for at least the
last six months. Now, it seems, she is to be my responsibility. It is one I shall not shirk.
Limey comes, as I told you, with a bag full of clothes. There is a Santa Claus outfit, a nurse's uniform, a pink
tutu, a hula hula skirt and sparkly white jacket with a fur collar to mention just a few. I have tipped them all out on the sofa as I write and an Idea is forming in my head.
I have decided that I will bring
Limey out of the shadows. I will make her shine again in all her previous glory. For the next month, I shall post a photograph of Limey on the BAOS Limelight Facebook page, in a new outfit every day. It will be my New Project. As if I needed another one but,
hey, Hazel thinks it's a pretty cool idea. Yes, that's what she said, folks - "That's really cool..." OK, I do understand that in teenage parlance that can count as anything from non-committal to extravagant praise. Also she was surrounded by friends at the
time so the fact that I was apparently happy to take on responsibility for Limey was no doubt a bit of a relief. If, in fact, she actually heard what I was saying in the midst of all the excitement.
I still don't know what came over me. You are doubtless asking yourselves if I am quite, quite mad.
All I can say is, just bear with me...