“We’re having a party,” Lilac announced.
“What kind of party?”
“Why?” The other bears were clamouring.
“Well I don’t know why, except that it’s the date on the invitation from Fawndear,” she replied.
“But how do you know we’re having a party?” Beech demanded.
“I read about it,” she said proudly.
“Did the invitation come in the post?” Birch queried.
“No. It’s on the blog,” she smiled.
“What’s a blog?” Lulu asked, because she was the youngest, and she could ask those sorts of questions without looking silly.
“It’s where LT writes about us on the computer,” Lilac explained.
“Writes about us?” Tupelo looked baffled, “Why does she write about us?”
“And what’s a ‘puter?” Lulu added.
“A computer is a magic box that links us up to lots of people around the world, and they can all see our photos and learn all about us. If we’re really lucky someone will adopt us, and we’ll get to live in exciting new homes,” Lilac told them.
“Oooohhhhhh,” they all chorused.
“So is it a tea party?” Maisie asked, getting all the tea stuff out.
“No,” said Lilac, “Not a tea party.”
“Is it a party with goody bags?” Oakley asked excitedly, getting out the goody bags.
“No,” she shook her head, “No goody bags.”
“Is it where we pretend it’s a teddy bears’ picnic down in the woods?” Birch started grabbing baskets and flowers and toadstools.
“Err, no, not like a picnic.”
“So what kind of party is it?” Beech demanded impatiently.
“It’s an imagination party.”
“A what?” Oakley looked puzzled.
“There’s stories and we go places in our imaginations,” she smiled, getting out a book.
“Shall I begin?”
“Yes please,” said Lulu, “I love story time. Except when it’s bed time, it’s not bed time is it?” she looked anxious.
“No, it’s not bedtime,” Lilac told her.
“Okay then,” she smiled, “You can start.”
“Once upon a time there were seven bears…”
“Oooh, ooh, is it us?” Tupelo interupted.
“Be quiet and you’ll find out,” she said in her best school mistress voice.
“Yes Lilac,” he said dejectedly.
“Anyway, once upon a time there were seven bears. They were very lucky, because where they lived there were lots and lots of books, and one of them could read. They went on lots of adventures in lots of books but one of their favourites was Peter Pan.
“Peter Pan was great fun, and the boys took it it turns to be Peter, John, Michael and Captain Hook. Oakley had a pirate hat, and they all wore it when they played Captain Hook. The girls would take it in turns to be Wendy and Tinkerbell and the crocodile. As Peter Pan was a book with mostly boys, it made it quite difficult to share out the girl parts, and Lulu never wanted to be the crocodile, much preferring to be Tinkerbell, but they usually worked things out so that everyone had a part they liked.
“They would play in the Garden and pretend they were in the Darling’s bedroom. Then they would play in the Woods and pretend that they were in the Lost Boys home. They would play in the Pond and pretend it was where Captain Hook’s ship was, and they would chase each other all through the forest glade, pretending that Captain Hook and the pirates were after them.
“They would play for hours and hours, for days and days, but do you know what the really best thing was?”
“No,” breathed Lulu, spellbound.
“That being little bears they would never have to grow up, just like Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. And they all lived happily ever after.”
“I like that story,” Beech proclaimed.
“Yes, can we go and play now, can we, can we?” Oakley begged.
“Well we can, but only after we’ve told everyone how much we liked them visiting us for our party,” Lilac told him.
Then they all got up, grabbed their costumes and ran away to play. I wondered where that alarm clock had gone…