THE HYNDLAND PADDINGTON - AND OTHER STORIES
Updated: Oct 14
In which Paddington Bear OVERLOOKS THE TRAFFIC FROM HIS WINDOW ON THE WEST
Hyndland. An area of Glasgow forever doomed and blessed to be preceded by the word leafy.
No surprise, really. It's a handsome locale, and one whose jumble of shops and cafés are doing a not bad job of standing up to the anywhereisation of the typical British high street.
Indeed, about the worst you can say in this regard is that Hyndland is home to a branch of Oddbins, and that therein is probably sold a fair share of craft beer.
Leafy, then, it's nice is Hyndland. But it's not bohemian.
For that you'd need to shift half-a-mile or so further west to, somewhat ironically, a high street half-choked by Waitrose and Tesco. Marks & Spencer and Iceland. Pret a Manger and (missing apostrophe and all) Waterstones, as well as no end of banks and barbers.
INTRODUCING THE HYNDLAND PADDINGTON
But let's reverse back. Past the little park. Past the pub/café/restaurant/theatre that was once a church/church/church/church.
Soon, you'll be in the heart of the district and ever so close to a curious and celebrated attraction: The Hyndland Paddington. A home-knitted version of Michael Bond's polite little bear from Darkest Peru, this incarnation was created by Nan Shearer in May of 1981.
The regular Paddington Bear toy was conceived by the mum of TV's Jeremy Clarkson. Here is Nan Shearer's Hyndland version, complete with numerous correspondence.
THE ACCIDENTAL BEAR
"I had just moved in with my late husband Leslie," Nan told the Daily Record in 2014, "and a friend’s daughter came to play. She left Paddington sitting in the window and we didn’t notice it until weeks later when we took it down.
“The next thing I knew, I was stopped in the street by the minister’s wife who said she had taken her grandson to see him and he wasn’t there. So he went back up.”
The Record went on to report:
For the last 33 years, postmen have delivered thousands of letters and cards, some simply addressed to Paddington Bear, above Peckham’s, Glasgow. Other well-wishers have left jars of marmalade outside Nan’s door while one even sent Paddington a wedding invitation. Nan had to decline but sent a tea towel with a marmalade recipe as a gift.
The bear has become such a well-known sight that earlier this year Nan was asked if he could be included in the city bus tour.
She said: “The route changed and the buses now pass my window. They asked if they could say a few words about Paddington. I agreed and I’ve even been on the tour twice.”
Nan, who swaps Paddington’s outfits to mark the changing seasons, says she especially loves getting cards and letters from young fans.
ANOTHER LATERAL INFLUENCE
The Hyndland Paddington, or even an approximation of him, doesn't wind up in the Neverland in Shadow story. But, like the pop songs that have offered a required kick, he helped maintain the drive to create something even fractionally as decent and arresting. It's always a treat to see him.
SILLY OLD BEAR
Although The Hyndland Paddington has stood at his post since 1981, the character is of course way more advanced in years. The marmalade-guzzling little ursine took his bear bow in 1958, in Michael Bond's children's novel A Bear Called Paddington.
Fourteen more books followed, culminating in the last of the series, Paddington at St Paul's, completed shortly before the great writer's death on June 17 2017.
Here's the lot:
1. A Bear Called Paddington (1958)
The first edition (1958, Collins, UK), boasting a warm illustration by Peggy Fortnum that captures Paddington's penchant for messy situations.
2. More About Paddington (1959)
A bonfire, a decorating task and a missing marrow. What could possibly go wrong for the industrious Paddington in this, his second collection of adventures and mishaps.
3. Paddington Helps Out (1960)
Meaning well as always, Paddington finds himself in a variety of muddles and messes as he assists at, variously, a picnic, an auction sale and a launderette...
4. Paddington Abroad (1961)
5. Paddington At Large (1962)
In this adventure, Paddington gets into yet another sticky situation as he makes toffee in Mrs Bird's kitchen.
6. Paddington Marches On (1964)
7. Paddington at Work (1966)
8. Paddington Goes to Town (1968)
9. Paddington Takes the Air (1970)
10 Paddington on Top (1974)
A first day at school, becoming a vacuum-cleaner salesbear, and negotiating an inflatable dinghy onto a busy London double-decker: precisely how much more mishap can one bear handle?
11. Paddington Takes the Test (1979)
12. Paddington Here and Now (2008)
13. Paddington Races Ahead (2012)
14. Paddington's Finest Hour (2017)
15. Paddington at St Paul's (2018)
PADDINGTON at the CINEMA
Now, thanks to two ace feature films, Paddington is a bona-fide film star.
Technology has made the convincing getting-on-screen of characters like Paddington (and Tintin) eminently possible. But the Paddington films actually succeed thanks to terrific direction, storytelling and casting.
The elegant poster for the film's UK release is subtly emotional: located in a strange and wintry new world, a pensive and polite Paddington appeals for warmth and acceptance in pre-Brexit Britain.
FIVE FELLOW LITERARY BEARS
Paddington is nothing if not fair-minded. And it's in this spirit that, rounding off this post, the selected list of fellow literary bears below is presented.
Aloysious (Brideshead Revisited)
Baloo (The Jungle Book)
Disney's 1967 creation is most people's go-to Baloo, but here's a take from 1895, as seen in Rudyard Kipling's The Second Jungle Book. This Baloo was drawn by the author's father, John Lockwood Kipling.
Iorek Byrnison (His Dark Materials trilogy)
Rupert (the best thing that's ever appeared in the Daily Express)
Winnie the Pooh (no introduction necessary)
What is it with bears and silly messes? Winnie the Pooh and his clearly irresistible pot of Hunny - illustrated, of course, by E.H. Shepard.