Posts Tagged ‘bears’

Mitzi and Teddy Hit Montreal, Eh?

Sunday, October 20th, 2013
Teddy Tedaloo tries the famous smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz's

Teddy Tedaloo tries the famous smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s

Right, that’s it – I’m moving! I’ve been to a lot of cities (and I’ve lived in a lot of cities), and I will say this: if you like food – good food – and food from every conceivable place on the planet, you’ve got to be in Montreal. If you want someone to cook it, you’ll find a restaurant that has it. If you want to cook it yourself, you’ll find a supermarket that has anything you’d ever want or need – and you don’t have to go broke to get it either.

Alas, poor Yorick!

Alas, poor Yorick!

After all this high praise, I’ll be polite and not discuss the Quebec drivers. I think someone must’ve really got on the wrong side of these guys.

I’ll also be polite and not bang on about the traffic jams or the endless road construction or the collapsing overpasses. (You didn’t hear any of this from me, you got it?)

But hey, Montreal has mayoral candidate Richard Bergeron! In fact, we even ran into him (though not with our car). It felt as if we were meeting an old mate, what with his mug being plastered on every street corner in the city. Oy, and what a mug! Now I ask you – would you buy a used Chevy from this man?

Dodgy mayoral candidate for Montreal

Dodgy mayoral candidate for Montreal

Mind you, I’m thinking I should have a chat avec Monsieur Bergeron about the complete load of bollocks I was given crossing the Canadian border. I must have been saddled with a seriously bored border control agent, since he appeared to want to hang about and chew the fat with me all afternoon, grilling me about everything from who my friends in Montreal were to who owned the vehicle I was driving. (You’d have thought I was the driver who had an arm dangling from the rear of the car!) Heck, I’m surprised the guy didn’t ask what brand of antiperspirant I use! I notice he didn’t ask my famous bear Teddy Tedaloo any questions. Like, what’s up with that, eh?

It was all I could do to keep our Ted from biting him. (I have no idea what the penalty is in Canada for bears biting border service agents, and I didn’t wish to find out.) All I can say is, if you lot want tourist dollars to be spent in your country (or province), this is definitely not the way to go about it. And here I thought it was the American border agents who go all John Wayne on you when it comes to entering the country. Oddly enough, I had a very warm welcome on the way back when crossing into New York. Maybe the fellow was a fan of mine. He did address me by my first name as if he knew me.

I guess it’s a good thing I wasn’t heading up to Canada for the book launch of my new novel The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray. Can you imagine the panic that would have ensued at the border crossing? I mean, the book hasn’t even been published yet! (That doesn’t mean you can’t pre-order it from Amazon – so what are you waiting for?) I’d have been taking my life in my hands if I hadn’t come armed (maybe “armed” isn’t the right word to use in this context) with an autographed copy for the border services agent. Hey, maybe that was his problem – I didn’t give him a free book! You’d be amazed by how weird people can get when they meet an author and aren’t given freebies.

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo high above Montreal

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo high above Montreal

Anyway, it’s not me who’s important here.

Teddy Tedaloo at Musee des Beaux Arts

Teddy Tedaloo at Musee des Beaux Arts

The official star of the show was Teddy Tedaloo, whom everyone was expecting. Our official Quebec hosts in the section of Montreal known as “Peter’s Bottom” (I’m not even going to try to explain this) were initially his friends, not mine. In fact, our host was a fluffy white cockapoo with a penchant for raising his hind leg whenever it suited him. He and Teddy got on like a house on fire. Mind you, everyone gets on with Teddy like a house on fire. Even a trip to the Musee des Beaux Arts was filled with members of the Teddy Tedaloo Admiration Society. One of the security guards insisted upon a formal introduction, offering Ted a hearty handshake along with the compliment that it was good to see a bear who appreciated fine art.

As for me, no one was really that bothered save for my new best friend at border control. Having said that, if he’s reading this, he’d better not be expecting a free autographed copy of my new book any time soon!

As for Montreal, I can’t wait to return and get cracking with some serious eating!

Visiting the King(s) in Memphis

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo visit Graceland

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo visit Graceland

It’s pretty much impossible to visit the American South without at least stopping by to see the King. Celebrity bear and bestselling author Teddy Tedaloo of Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) fame just had to pop over to Graceland to pay his respects to the man who sang with such affection about teddy bears – and he took me along for the ride.

Ted had a blast checking out the home and the life of Elvis Presley. Being a creative artist and famous entertainer himself, I must say he was a tad envious of all those accolades “Elvis the Pelvis” received for his work. As for me, I think the writing was on the wall when I ended up having chocolate sauce spilled all over my trousers and shoes as we took a break for some ice cream in the Graceland ice cream parlour. So much for all my published books and fame (not fortune)….

I spent the rest of the day feeling…well…sticky. And on a hot summer’s day in a southern state with ants, this is not a good thing.

Hanging out on Beale (Mitzi Szereto with Teddy Tedaloo)

Hanging out on Beale (Mitzi Szereto with Teddy Tedaloo)

I had considerably better luck the following evening when we decided to visit the other king: namely B.B. King. Unfortunately he was out of town (he was probably out searching for that thrill that’s gone), but his nightclub was up and running for business on busy Beale Street, where I fared far better with an order of barbecued ribs than I did with Elvis’ soft serve. It was also Hog Night, so the bikers were out in force, showing off their nifty two-wheelers (and occasionally three). We even saw a werewolf biker.

Teddy Tedaloo gets down with the blues at B.B. King's

Teddy Tedaloo gets down with the blues at B.B. King’s

Or at least I think it was a werewolf. Perhaps that microbrew I drank was stronger than I thought.

I should tell you that Memphis is not exactly a town full of shrinking Southern violets. On the contrary, some of the ladies are quite, shall we say, forward. One afternoon as we were leaving a downtown parking garage, my friend was asked by the female parking attendant in a very no-nonsense soulful drawl: “Is that a tongue ring?” – followed by the demand: “What’s that for? Let me see it!” When my friend complied by sticking out her tongue, she was then asked: “Is that for sex?”

Only in Memphis.

Unfortunately Memphis has a very high crime rate. And unfortunately yours truly became yet another statistic of it. Was I robbed at gunpoint? No. Was I carjacked? No. In fact, I was safely sequestered (or so I believed) inside the living room of my friend’s house when the crime was committed. As I was chilling out with a glass of wine, little did I know that only a few feet away just down the hall my bath poof was being murdered by a dodgy local character who goes by the name of Udo. I mean, you only need to look at him to see the word CRIMINAL written all over his furry face. Talk about being caught in the act!

Wanted by Memphis Police Department

Wanted by Memphis Police Department

Out of respect for our lovely hostess, I didn’t bother telephoning the police. (However, she doesn’t know that I plan to sue for compensation.)

I suppose there’s a bright side to all of this: at least I didn’t take my bath brush with me. I dread to think of its fate had Herr Udo got hold of it.

As the locals can be heard say, Lord have mercy!

 

Normal for Norfolk: The Literary Collaboration of the Century

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)I guess it was inevitable that I’d finally end up being completely usurped by my famous celebrity sidekick bear Teddy Tedaloo. His popularity has continued to grow over the years, and many of my fans and readers have been going over to his camp. Obviously I don’t wish to begrudge him his successes – he deserves every bit of it! But what’s a lowly author to do when she discovers that her star is waning while that of her bear’s is waxing?

Why, write a book together, of course! I’m referring to the release of our new venture Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles),  billed in the publishing industry as a “quirky crime novel.” It’s the first in our new series featuring the diminutive ursine protagonist and unlikely hero Thelonious T. Bear – a Mini Cooper-driving photojournalist teddy with a fondness for deerstalker hats, cologne, and real ale.

Unfortunately for the hapless Thelonious, he keeps ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time, which accounts for why the spotlight of suspicion shines upon him in a murder enquiry. The fact that he’s far too small and far too short to be battering grown men with crowbars and hauling their dead bodies around makes little impact on the man in charge of the investigation: the bumbling Detective Chief Inspector Horatio Sidebottom of Norfolk CID.

At the risk of sounding like a book publicist, if you like your crime and mystery a wee bit different, you’ll definitely get your shilling’s worth with Normal for Norfolk! Did I mention the flatulent dachshund, the tobacco-cured rock guitarist, the beekeeper, the celebrity TV chef, the whisky-drinking old granny and the 21st century’s answer to the Kray brothers? They’re in here too. There’s even a grumpy vicar. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if the county of Norfolk appoints Teddy and I their official authors laureate!

Not surprisingly, the novel is taking off big time with the ursine community. Ted’s furry friends (and even those who aren’t so furry) are rallying around the novel like gangbusters, giving it some major paws (and claws) up. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve been putting my eggs into the wrong baskets all this time. I mean, here I’ve got a slew of Facebook friends and Twitter followers, and yet I’m not getting nearly the amount of cheering and celebration and recognition that Teddy is. Hmmm… Funny, that.

Mitzi Szereto & Teddy Tedaloo (photo credit Eric Schneider)

Mitzi Szereto & Teddy Tedaloo – The hottest literary partnership of 2012!

As for my new literary partnership with Mr. Tedaloo, some of you might be thinking that I’m trying to get a free ride on someone else’s coattails. Sure, we’ve seen it before – writers who can’t come up with their own stuff and freeload off someone else’s labours, even latching on to a bigger name to gain some glory for themselves. I’m afraid that in this particular instance I might be guilty of the latching-on business. But times are tough, and it’s not easy trying to make a living as a writer. To stay alive as a writer, one must expand one’s literary horizons – and expanding my literary horizons is something I most definitely do.

It’s always good to keep folk wondering (and hopefully wondering with anticipation) what you’ll come up with next! As for riding on coattails and all that, I should tell you that Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) was in its inception long before the film “Ted” showed its face in cinemas or was even being spoken about. Besides, our hero Thelonious doesn’t use foul language like (ahem) a certain animated bear. Which is not to say you won’t find some foul language in the novel. When you have Vinnie and Desmond Clark, two thugs from Bow, East London featuring prominently in the book, you’re bound to run into that sort of thing. So for that reason I’ll give our novel a PG rating.

So go on, you lot. Buy your print or e-book copy of Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) now, because if you don’t…well, maybe Teddy and I will need to have a friendly word with the Clark brothers. And I don’t think you really want that, do you?

(Watch the book trailer!)

Bats in the Belfry (A Date with Colin Farrell)

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
Mitzi Szereto with Teddy Tedaloo take over Belgium

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo take over Belgium

Belgium. It evokes many things: chocolate, waffles, beer, the EU, Colin Farrell

Yes, I said Colin Farrell. If you’ve seen the Irish gangster film “In Bruges” you’ll know what I’m talking about. Oh, and by the way, don’t use the French “Bruges.” Use the Dutch “Brugge” – unless you want to piss off the Dutch-speaking majority around these parts. The filmmakers either didn’t know this or, considering the derogatory comments made about the city by the characters in the film, clearly didn’t care!

So why Brugge? Why not Brugge? I mean, Paris is just sooo yesterday. Everyone goes to Paris. Brugge is smaller and more manageable, and so much cleaner. In fact, it’s one of the cleanest and tidiest places I’ve ever been. Only in Brugge would I run into some random woman from Texas whose name also happened to be Mitzi. Only in Brugge would the captain of our canal boat ask if Teddy needed a seat belt. Only in Brugge would we be given garlic bread by a couple from Oxford. You just can’t get this in Paris!

Teddy Tedaloo at the pump

Teddy Tedaloo at the pump

Okay, enough propaganda. The real reason we went to Brugge (and Belgium in general) was for the Kriek (cherry beer). Being an ignorant foreigner, I figured Kriek was Kriek. Was I ever wrong. There are many kinds of Kriek, and they vary in taste and quality. I have it on expert authority (a local) that the best Kriek is Lindemans or Liefmans, the latter of which Ted and I enjoyed tremendously at an authentic Belgian pub in Brugge (one of those hard-to-find places that wasn’t heaving with tourists).

Brugge as seen from the top of the Belfry

Brugge as seen from the top of the Belfry

As for those bats in the belfry I mentioned, I surely had a slew of them in my head that didn’t come from the Kriek. You see, I decided to undertake the arduous climb up to the top of the famous Belfry. I still can’t quite fathom why I had to pay eight euros – hell, they should’ve paid ME to climb up there. At least Ted was in a good mood. Mind you, he didn’t have to do the climbing; he left that to me.

All that schlepping around seeing the sights and trying to figure out maps with Dutch street names can make a person (and a bear) thirsty, and there’s only so much beer you can drink (even if it’s Kriek), especially when you’ve only just had breakfast, so I wisely carried a little water bottle around with me. Anyway, one lunchtime I bought a Belgian waffle from one of those shopfront windows, choosing to eat it while sitting along the ledge of a water sculpture that consisted of two horse heads, one of which had water coming from its mouth. By coincidence, this location happened to be where all the horse-drawn carriages started their journeys. I soon noticed that the drivers were using a bucket to collect water from the spewing horse-mouth in order to provide their horses with a refreshing drink. Noting the empty state of my water bottle, I found myself envying the horses and wondered if the water might be suitable for human and ursine consumption…

…When along came a trio of Italian tourists. They spent a moment contemplating the horse mouth, whereupon the more authoritative of the group took it upon herself to refill her empty water bottle. I sat anxiously by, waiting to see what would happen when she drank the water, indicating that I was most interested in the results of her venture. The signorina partook of her spoils and smiled encouragingly at me, giving the product her stamp of approval. I waited to see if anything would happen to her, such as violent convulsions or instant death. (Horses probably have heartier constitutions than Italians what with all that grass and hay they eat.) However, all was well and the trio moved off to other adventures, at which point I deemed it safe to fill my own bottle, though I got a really dirty look from one of the horses.

Teddy Tedaloo checks out the local chocolate supply

Teddy Tedaloo checks out the local chocolate supply

Did I mention that we went to the chapel known as Bloedbasiliek? It so happened we arrived right on time to receive a blessing from the priest over a scrap of cloth claimed to have some drops of Jesus’s blood on it. (Hey, everyone else was doing it!) This is the same chapel from “In Bruges” where one of the hit men goes up to the altar to touch the relic. In fact, I’m certain I saw a hit man go up to receive his own blessing after Teddy and I had ours – some Euro-gangster dressed in an expensive suit and wearing blue-tinted shades. All he needed was to carry a sign that said “I’m a dodgy European gangster” and he couldn’t have been more obvious. I won’t mention the Beware of Pickpockets signs posted all over the place. So much for being watched over by a higher power…

Teddy Tedaloo enjoys some Kriek with his mate Metteko in Brugge

Teddy Tedaloo enjoys some Kriek with his mate Metteko in Brugge

I should add that the minute it became known we were going to visit Belgium the invites came pouring in (not for me, but for Ted, whose social calendar was booked up before we’d even boarded the Eurostar!). First we met up with his mate Metteko in Brugge, where our happy group consumed plenty of Kriek (what else?), followed by plenty of Carbonnade (Flemish beef stew), all the while being serenaded by gypsy musicians from Slovakia, their lively rendition of a Russian ditty prompting the two bears to dance their paws off at the table.

Teddy Tedaloo enjoys yet more Kriek with his mate Berthus in Brussels

Teddy Tedaloo enjoys yet more Kriek with his mate Berthus in Brussels

The next afternoon in Brussels Ted met up with his mate Berthus for cake (and later, Kriek). It turned out that the waiter at the cafe was a big fan of the two furry gents and insisted on being photographed with them, afterward giving Ted a big paw shake (with yet another waiter getting into the act) as we left. I guess the first waiter was trying to make up for having told me en francais that they didn’t have any toilets and I should use my glass. It took me a few beats of forgotten high-school French to pick up on what he was saying, at which point I realised he was having a laugh. Or at least I think he was…

As for the Kriek, I’m going to check online for a supplier – one that will give me a bulk discount!

For a quick video tour of Brugge, click here!

A Valentine Bear’s Wedding

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

For those of you who don’t follow society events, you’ll be kicking yourself that you missed the major event of the season, if not the century!

Teddy Tedaloo and his lovely bride Ninny

Teddy Tedaloo and his lovely bride Ninny

I refer to the recent Valentine’s Day wedding of my beloved bear and the co-star of Mitzi TV, the famous Teddy Tedaloo. Just about everyone who was anyone was in attendance (except for Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who was not invited due to his species-ist beliefs and his continued inability to get the site functioning properly). All the socialite bears were there, not to mention HRH herself, Queen Elizabeth II. Man, there was so much bling in that church you needed sunglasses!

Family portrait

Family portrait

The Queen, sweet old dear that she is, gave a little speech after the Archbishop of Canterbury did the whole formal nuptials thing. (Judging from HRH’s expression, I’ve a suspicion she was hoping her grandson and future granddaughter’s wedding this spring would at least equal in prestige and grandeur that of Teddy and Ninny’s.) Liz is a huge fan of Ted’s and even has a paw-print autographed photo of him in her private quarters at Buckingham Palace, so of course she wouldn’t have missed his wedding for the world. And with a bit of tinkling of the ivories by that other famous queen Sir Elton John accompanied by the delightful tones of Kylie Minogue, how can anything possibly go wrong?

Champagne

You just had to ask, eh? Well, the champagne was a-flowing and Ted was a-drinking… so much so, in fact, that he passed out in the coatroom just after the wedding cake was sliced up and consumed (he had three pieces). His bride thought he’d done a runner, only to discover that he’d fallen asleep! Apparently someone’s coat had fallen on him and – bears being bears – Ted thought it was time for hibernation. Poor Ninny was in a right state, until the groom resurfaced some time later, wanting to wrap up the evening as quickly as possible so that he could hurry home to change into his pajamas and watch Coronation Street featuring Leanne and Peter Barlow’s much-publicised “blessing.” (Unlike Teddy and Ninny, things didn’t turn out so great for Leanne and Peter.) Ninny, however, managed to convince Ted to take a quick spin around the dance floor first, though he still managed to get home and in his PJs in time for Corie.

Mitzi Szereto and her date Caramelo

Mitzi Szereto and her date Caramelo

To say it was a bittersweet moment for me, as a mum, would be understating the fact. You see, Ted’s an only bear, and to watch him taking his vows in front of all those people, well… I shed quite a few tears, believe you me. Thank heavens I had the comfort of my date, the very handsome Caramelo, who’d flown in all the way from Dubai to attend the wedding, along with his mum, who was Ninny’s Maid of Honour. Sure, it’s early days yet, but I think it’s safe to say that things with Caramelo and myself are progressing along quite nicely. I just hope that I’m not his rebound girl, because he was sort of interested in Ninny first.

Sexy Ninny

Sexy Ninny

As  for the happy couple, the last I heard they were heading off to enjoy their honeymoon, which, if this glamour photo of the blushing bride is any indication, should be a red-hot one, indeed!

Adventures in America (Vapour Man Attacks Rhode Island)

Sunday, January 31st, 2010
Mitzi Szereto in Rhode Island

Mitzi Szereto in Rhode Island

My bear (the famous Teddy Tedaloo) has recently decided that he wants to move to Vermont. Why Vermont? Well, we hear there are plenty of bears there and, being the single mother of a young bear, this sounds like just the place (providing we can afford American health insurance, which looks increasingly doubtful).

Indeed, I can envision us living in a cosy little upmarket log cabin-style house with high-beamed ceilings and wood-burning fireplace, located on a nice parcel of gently rolling land, and not a neighbour within sight or hearing distance. Apparently the price of real estate isn’t too bad there either and as long as I have high-speed broadband, who cares how far away things are? Now if there are any cute quirky little lads who happen to be single and within driving distance (bonus points to those who own a nice motorbike), we might be in business! (Note: I’m willing to put up with an American accent if said lads tick the right boxes. Hey, what can I say? I’ll make sacrifices for love. Besides, Ted needs a positive male role model who’ll take him to ballgames and such. Okay, nix the ballgame shtick, we can’t stand that crap.)

As for why we’d settle on New England, well, why not? It’s somewhere neither I nor Ted have ever lived. In fact, I recently returned from a visit there, though I didn’t make it over to Vermont, but spent my time in Rhode Island and Connecticut. Rhode Island is nice, but it’s in the hurricane zone. Connecticut is nice, but it’s too expensive and too full of New Yawkers. As for Massachusetts, forget it – that caw-caw accent would make me suicidal (please, no hate mail from you Bostonians, okay?). So it looks like Vermont is top of the list for now. I’m sure I can root out enough quirky content and characters to keep Mitzi TV going. And there’s bound to be a novel in it somewhere, too (perhaps even an erotic one, if things go well). If it’s anything like Rhode Island where I walked into a random Barnes & Noble and found a copy of my new book In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales, then it must be a good place.

Mitzi Szereto in Mystic, Connecticut

Mitzi Szereto in Mystic, Connecticut

Would I be willing to leave behind the bright lights of Londontown for the peace and quiet of New England? You betcha! Would I be bored silly? Heck no! I tell you, it’s all happening in New England. Take Providence, for example. Providence has the best falafel I ever ate – and I don’t even like falafel! And there are adventures galore to be had at Providence Airport – or, should I say – Theodore Francis Green International Airport or whatever in heck they’re calling it this week. When it comes to ferreting out potential terrorists, they make the Heathrow security team look like a bunch of squealing girlies.

Last week I was minding my own business waiting to board my flight for Fort Lauderdale when along came this security dude armed with a really butch-looking test tube and some kind of pH stick he was waving about in a threatening manner. Oh, man, he was tuff stuff. All I know is, the bloke sitting next to me in the departure lounge must’ve been on some no-fly list, because that bottle of water he was hanging onto was confiscated and given a right going over by Mr Security Dude. Apparently, this test tube paraphernalia wasn’t intended to get people high (as we’d hoped), but was there to test if any suspicious vapours were emanating from our bottled beverages. It appeared that my fellow passenger Mr Vapour Man had set off some alarm bells, because that pH stick became intimately acquainted with the contents of his plastic water bottle. Talk about rude!

The point is, excitement can be found most anywhere. Or maybe not…

Right, well, I guess I need to start contacting some real estate companies in Vermont (and setting that plan in motion to rob a bank to fund this venture). As for the other part of my master plan, interested parties – that means you cute quirky little single lads in New England (or elsewhere, if you can convince me that you’re what I want/need/desire) – may apply for the position of being Teddy’s positive male role model by sending a CV to me care of my website. Photos and gainful employment required.

Mitzi Szereto on Watchaug Pond, Rhode Island

Mitzi Szereto on a frozen Watchaug Pond, Rhode Island

A Bär in Bern (A Teddy Bear’s Holiday)

Thursday, June 25th, 2009
Beer in Bern

Teddy Tedaloo enjoys a beer in Bern

What does a bear do when he visits Switzerland for the first time? Why, pay a pilgrimage to Bern, of course!

Aside from being the country’s capital city, Bern is famous for being a longtime historical hangout for bears. In fact, bears have been kept as mascots since the 1500s (apparently in tribute to an ancestor who’d allegedly been killed by some hotshot royal). However, their digs, known as the Bärengraben, are not exactly the Bel Air Country Club. I guess they don’t call it a “pit” for nothing. Although there have been improvements over the years, it still wasn’t the kind of place I’d want my bear to live. (Plus I had my suspicions that the bears who resided there didn’t practice the same standards of hygiene as my dear Ted.)

So frankly, I was a bit concerned about taking him there, for fear he might get upset or depressed. It proved to be a moot issue, however.

Ted’s introduction to Bern consisted of my having to dash into one of those space-capsule public conveniences (it cost me a franc too!), where we were greeted by a bloodied hypodermic needle in the trash bin. I must say, this wasn’t exactly the kind of welcome I’d been expecting. And things got worse. Okay, so I found a post office (which I needed), but finding the bears was proving to be a more difficult task. I asked a nice Swiss lad if I was going in the right direction. Turned out it didn’t matter, as he informed me that the bears weren’t even at home. I was crushed. And I could tell from the muted snarls coming from inside Teddy’s backpack that he was none too chuffed about this piece of news either. Of course, it’s always best to corroborate information – especially information dispensed by strange young Swiss lads on the street, so we headed in what I assumed was the direction of the river, where I happened upon a gentleman in a business suit.

The news wasn’t good. Not only were the bears not there, but their haus was being transformed into a bear park, which wouldn’t be open until this autumn. Apparently the locals realised that chez bear wasn’t up to scratch and decided to do up their digs, kitting it out to be more homey and romantic (soft lighting, scented candles?) in order to inspire Herr and Frau Bear to make some little bears. Although excellent news for the furry residents (whose existence I began to doubt), Ted was inconsolable. We’d travelled by train from Zurich just so he could meet some distant Swiss relatives – and they weren’t even there!

What now?

Well, nothing’s worse than a bear with a sore paw, even if said sore paw is only figurative. I thought I’d cheer him up by taking him to the Parliament building. I’d heard it was worth a look, the interior in particular being of some merit. So we hiked on over, only to be stopped by the guard outside the main entrance, who informed us that the Parliamentary session was now over and no one was allowed inside for a look-see save for those on government business. We could, however, return the following Wednesday. Well, fat lot of good that did, as we’d be back home in Blighty by then.

Poor Teddy was really in a strop by this time. Bloodied syringes, a shut Parliament, and no bears; drastic measures were called for to jolly him out of his bearish mood. What’s a mother to do? Why, take a bear for a beer of course!

Off we went to the river, where I reckoned on finding a nice riverside cafe to chill out with a Swiss beer or two. Not wanting to miss a good photo op, we stopped off on a bridge to take a few piccies, only to be accosted by a curious fellow who started rambling on in German at Ted (Ted doesn’t speak German) and shaking his paw. Now I’m not quite certain who’s to blame here, me or Ted. Having spent an entire week in the land of holey cheese, I have to say that the local peculiar folk all seemed to take a shine to me, Ted or no Ted. I was beginning to worry. Why was I attracting every nutter in Switzerland – from Zurich to Luzern to Bern to Schaffhausen? I mean, what in hell was that about? Had word gone out that I liked the country so much that I was considering finding a Swiss husband just so I could stay there? I must admit, I saw a number of cute lads who appealed to me and I was sorely tempted to pack a few into my suitcase, had it been large enough to accommodate them!

Oh well, I guess I’ll have to go back with a bigger suitcase.

Odd characters and missing bears aside, luck was finally on our side. Not only did I find a nice shady table at a lovely little riverside cafe, but the beer I ordered was a bear beer (or “Bare” as it was spelled for some reason known only to the brewers) – in fact, it even had a picture of one of Ted’s relatives on the glass! Things were definitely on the up, and we spent more than an hour just chilling with our bear beers and watching the flow of the river’s pristine water on a perfect summer’s day in Switzerland.

Shop BearSwiss ParliamentBear PubView from Cafe