The Workshop Of Dreams

Posted by Erik 'The Hat' Bear
Posted on
Category: Film & Television63 Comments


programme that is quickly becoming one of our all-time favourites is The Repair Shop. It is the gentle TV show that has become a massive hit, with millions of viewers tuning in each week to get their fix [sic]. If you have not seen it, we can tell you it involves members of the public bringing in family heirlooms that have seen much better days but, nonetheless, hold great sentimental value. The experts at the workshop then restore the item to its former glory while also reducing viewers to tears with the story behind the treasures. They have experts in furniture, clocks, upholstery, pottery, clock-work toys, metal-work, wood-work but, needless to say, our favourite are the two bear ladies; Julie and Amanda, and the stories they unveil…

It seemed a winter’s evening like every other as Mary busied herself in the basement of a shared house, waiting for husband John to return home for tea. As the Second World War had ended nine months previously, the outside air was no longer filled with the acrid smell of cordite from fallen explosives. Yet, chilly nights like this were still thick with pungent locomotive smoke drifting down from London’s nearby King’s Cross station. A sharp rapping on the front door had Mary running upstairs.

At first, she saw no one. But as her eyes fell to the step, there was a brown paper carrier bag. Inside was a bundle of fabric. And suddenly the fabric moved. Mary held her breath as she peered into the bag, now getting a better look at the baby inside, a tiny girl, small enough to be a newborn. When John came home soon afterwards, he was stunned; first to hear the unfamiliar mew of a baby, then to see his wife cooing over the child.

Next stop for the baby was an institution in Lewisham, where her mother came forward, not to claim her but to relinquish parental rights. Undaunted, the couple fostered her until an adoption process was completed, naming their new daughter Lesley. One of the first gifts Mary bought her was a teddy bear, which became Lesley’s lifelong confidante, taking pride of place on her bed.

Almost 20 years later, when Lesley was about to get married and leave home, she realised her faithful companion Ted was looking a bit worse for wear. Cautiously, she set about him with some soap suds and a nail brush, then set him in front of the electric bar fire to dry. Distracted by something, she came back too late to save him from harm and Ted now had charred paws.

She was distraught but couldn’t face disposing of the ruined bear. Instead, she kept him in a bag for more than 50 years to stop him disintegrating before bringing him into the Repair Shop.

It was a case of returning Ted to his best life. For Lesley, he was an emblem of all the love that her mum and dad had lavished upon her from the moment she was left on their front step. Bear ladies Julie and Amanda identified Ted as a Chiltern bear, made in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, during the 1940s, and set about restoring him.

A new future now awaited Ted as he would be put proudly on display in Lesley’s home.

“Ted has been in a bag for the last 53 years because I was frightened of him falling apart,” Lesley explained. “Today he is wonderful. You would never know that I had toasted him. My parents always knew Ted was my comfort blanket. They would be pleased that he can come out again where everyone can see what a wonderful little bear he is.”

The Repair Shop returns to BBC1 at 8pm tonight. They also have a book out; The Repair Shop: Tales from the Workshop of Dreams by Karen Farrington and Jay Blades. It is in all good bookshops now, priced £20 in hardback.

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Erik 'The Hat' Bear

I am fairly new to this writing on a blog malarkey so you will have to forgive me until I get the hang of it. I have asked if I can write on here but I still don't really know what I am going to be writing about. Watch this space, I guess…

63 Comments on “The Workshop Of Dreams”

  1. With all of our venues in England being closed due to the lockdown restrictions we have offered our venues to be used to shelter those less fortunate who are unemployed, homeless, alone or in any way socially isolated. We’ve basically asked if we can let our regulars back in.

  2. Maybe if we all put as much energy into the people that care about us in real life instead of worrying about the fake lives and views of people off the internet, we wouldn’t all be single depressed alcoholics!!

  3. I wish I could say that my little Dorothy Dumpling was being kind to me these days, but I can’t. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not as bad as she was, but she just can’t resist giving me a little smack now and again. My human says it’s a sign of affection. I have my doubts.

  4. “Bing-Bong!” Welcome to Thankful Thursday, today I am thankful for all my friends, my lovely hoomans, for somewhere smashing to live, for an endless supply of fishy treatos – also thankful the Fat Controller is busy and out the way.

  5. It was a Special Pencil Case. There were pencils marked ‘HB’ for Helping Bear, ‘BB’ for Brave Bear and a ruler for ruling lines for the words to walk on. But Eeyore was saying, ”This writing business. Pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me.”

  6. Rolf report 12 Nov

    Some days, it’s the right thing for my humans to make a film of me doing clever things. Some days it’s the right thing to just take a simple photo of me in my black cat magnificence. Today would be a photo day in solidarity with beautiful black cats everywhere.

    Rolf x

  7. It is the 50th anniversary of the dynamiting of a beached whale in Oregon, left to an inexperienced deputy who overestimated the amount of dynamite required. The resulting explosion threw rotting blubber 250m away, and flattened the new car of the expert who advised against it.

  8. I have to fly to Moscow today on urgent business. I’m leaving Big G, Andre and Kim in charge of the flock (and Birkenhead) while I’m gone. Enjoy lockdown and see you when I return.

  9. I don’t know why the country is in such as mess at the moment. It’s almost as if being in government requires more than coming up with misleading slogans, false promises and appalling lies.

  10. I applied for a job on a cute little farm the other day thinking I’d be all pretty in little dungarees feeding the animals. Anyway they called me back and it’s a slaughterhouse. I didn’t take it!!

  11. If you Do Not want people to make really obvious Jokes about UKIP Gammons, Do Not make it easy to make really obvious jokes about UKIP Gammons.

    Gammon Advice there.

  12. My hair is in two little buns, so I look just like Princess Leia. You know, if Princess Leia was in her late thirties with three kids, 50lbs heavier, and her hair was almost completely grey.

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