They may blossom and bloom for a few months, or flourish for a lifetime, but friendships can lay down their roots in the most unexpected of places.
I’m not game for many things, so found my inner frown furrowing rapidly as Daddy bought Raffie some prize draw tickets at a classic car show. Every single one turned out to be a dud. Trying to explain the logic of spending £2 on this to me is difficult, but almost impossible to a two-year-old.
Lighting up her cigarette, the lady running the stall took pity on us and pointed loosely with her lighter at the lucky dip bags, suggesting we might like to try one.
And despite my suspicions, it was good advice. I don’t ever remember there being an elephant in Winnie-the-Pooh, but Raffie pulled out a bag containing a purple Disney glove puppet to his enormous delight.
We had only been at the show about half an hour. Long enough for Monkey, Ted and Raffie to climb into a racing car and get behind the wheel. But this was before we’d been to the lucky dip. Therefore it was the elephant who took his place on the running boards of a beautiful vintage Bentley.
It was then that Raffie and elephant heard a voice behind them. “Is he enjoying it?” asked a smiling man who appeared from behind the boot. “O yes, it’s lovely,” we all chimed. “O good,” he replied, “it’s my car.”
After some embarrassment and apologies on our part the very nice man let Raffie sit in a car easily worth far more than our house. And courageously he was more than happy to let a two-year-old and his elephant pull at the steering wheel, wooden dashboard and gears of his 1935 Bentley. “Just like Daddy’s car!” he squealed. Sadly this is something of an exaggeration.
Monkey and Ted stayed in my change bag, but I don’t think they minded, having already had their turn in the driving seat, and Ted had the chance to ride a motorbike briefly too.
Raffie adores elephant, subsequently naming him Teddy. He gives him biscuits, kisses his nose and we found him sound asleep in his cot that night, still holding his trunk. But day or night Monkey and Ted are never far away, and as a third Musketeer Teddy completes them, the fun-loving Porthos to their Athos and Aramis.
So we have the kindness of strangers to thank for turning an ordinary day into a special memory. And further Winnie-the Pooh investigations revealed that Teddy is in fact a Heffalump.
But either way, Raffie’s thrill of discovering love at first sight remains unsullied. And elephant or Heffalump, he could have done a lot worse.
Another blogger who’s been getting out and about is Celesse, and you can read about her family’s adventures on her lovely blog here http://www.nommonster.co.uk/