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Adventures of LOOKCHIN : The story of a very good friend

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    Seagull writes:

    16 August 2010
    I woke up feeling in a particularly good mood, for no easily explicable reason… unless… perhaps today will be the day…
    Deep blue sky, heaps of cumulus clouds. Shouldn’t be too much of a challenge to take some photos for my “Skyscape” 365 photo project. May as well get them on the computer right away and see what they look like…

    Do I really believe in omens? But it does look like it doesn’t it? – Those two fluffy ears … surely that’s a teddy bear head in the sky in the centre of the photo!
    It was 10:33 in the morning.


      later that morning …
      A van drew up with the delivery of a box that had travelled all the way from the USA!

      Perhaps Lookchin’s creature friends had seen the omen too, for there they were, already unpacking the box …

      … and moments later Lookchin emerged to welcome hugs and kisses, and even Sea Troll himself was present to greet Lookchin on his return to Scotland!

      No one thought to photograph a very emotional Aunt. Oh well, sniff sniff, he’s a big bear now… well-travelled and independent, though with lots of friends (of the most positive, ethical and excellent kind, naturally).


        A photograph of Lookchin’s Dad had appeared on CVF, and I wasn’t sure how Lookchin would react to seeing it. Perhaps he would feel homesick and wish he’d returned directly to Trondheim? But no, he seemed delighted that Jan-Olav had enjoyed such an amazing Summer Trip. He didn’t even question whether or not he might have been allowed to accompany Jan-Olav, had he been in Norway at the time. Lookchin's friends, on the other hand, seemed to find this theoretical question of absorbing interest.

        The discussion centered on the visit to the North Cape, and it emerged that Sea-Troll had been there twice. Unfortunately he was unable to produce the essential tourist photos of him at that globe thingy. “I’m very lightweight” explained Sea-Troll, “and would have been blown away, even on the June visit in 2003”. A photo sitting at the officers’ table at dinner that evening was offered instead. Berns, the duck, was disappointed to see that Sea-Troll hadn’t been issued with a uniform on that voyage, though Sea-Troll pointed out to anyone who cared to listen that it was of historical interest to see the TFDS flag. Hearing this, Lookchin immediately wanted a copy of the photograph.

        “I’m no where near as photogenic as you are, Lookchin” mused Sea-Troll despondently. “ You could have been a world-famous super-model you know. Look at this - I bet you’d look better than him in a bath-robe….”


          Just then, some more images of the North Cape appeared on the forum, and the bear and his friends spent the rest of the day choosing their favourite.

          In fact, this activity served to keep them entertained for several days.

          The weather in Norway had looked superb in Jan-Olav’s photos, but in Scotland it was a very different situation. Lookchin looked wistfully out of the window. Yet again, the wet weather was making outdoor excursions impossible.


            Lookchin realised that, although capturing the mood, there was insufficient sky in the photograph for Aunt C to use it in her Skyscape project.
            “ I’ve only been in one of yours” he complained plaintively “Guess how many of Aunt E’s I was in”.

            From his tone of voice anyone could tell it was quite a lot!

            But all attempts at using inter-aunt rivalry to get his own way were doomed to failure. His Aunts were just too nice and too sister-like and supportive of each other for that.

            “Look how grey the sky looks, Aunt C” he suggested encouragingly.
            But the ploy of making sure his tail protruded from beneath his sweater (something Aunts generally find cute) didn’t work either.

            Eventually, on the 23rd of August to be precise, Lookchin did indeed appear in the Skyscape Project in a photo of the “rain on window” type. But it hadn’t been all rainy weather. In fact the day before had been a really nice sunny day and he’d been able get out for some fun and relaxation in the park.


              "inter-aunt rivalry"--oh that is TOO funny!!!!!!!


                The silly things that Bear comes out with to get attention!
                But he is just so amusing when he gets excited about something, isn’t he. I must admit that cute tail showing-off definitely weakened any remaining “mustn’t spoil him” resolve I might still have had left.


                  Playing in the Park (aka hanging out with Berns)

                  The valley park has a stream running through it, the Braid Burn, that I generally consider to be a safer place for Berns to go swimming than the Water of Leith. In fact it is actually used for a Duck Race at the annual Family Fun Day. But after all the rain there’d been it seemed much fuller and faster flowing than usual, and the vegetation thriving to such an extent that the bank was only accessible in a couple of places. But I’d promised Lookchin that he could go swimming with Berns…

                  It had all started a year ago when Jan-Olav had posted images of a stream in a park in Trondheim, I’d said Berns would like it –posting a photo of the Stockholm Water Festival official souvenir duck –Lookchin saw it…”some sort of date” was mentioned and messages were passed to and fro…


                    Here is Berns testing out the water in the valley park burn, where it’s a bit shallower near the line of stones you saw in the first photo …


                      Satisfied with the water conditions, he negotiates the “rapids” and sets off swimming downstream.


                        Meanwhile Lookchin takes up a good viewing location and waits expectantly for Berns to appear.


                          “Here he comes” growled Lookchin.

                          (I know, I know, growled sounds far too unhappy or annoyed, but I don’t know the word for contented happy bear noises.)

                          “Look at me, look at me” quacked Berns as he passed by…

                          …and then Berns always stopped and turned round to make quite sure Lookchin had indeed seen him and was suitably impressed!


                            Goodness knows how many swim-pasts took place! And before you ask, I don’t know if Lookchin actually went swimming himself, or even got as far as sticking his paw in the water. He was still finding it cold after all the hot weather at Aunt E’s, you can see he’s wearing his sweater in all the photos, and his bath towel is nowhere to be seen. But his enjoyment was undiminished.

                            Eventually I saw Berns with Lookchin on the grass, thoughtfully keeping a safe distance until he had completely drip-dried so as not to get Lookchin’s favourite sweater that his Aunt E had knitted for him at all damp.


                              Later I found them sitting contentedly on a nearby seat, but typically Lookchin didn’t stay still for long.


                                Sure enough, soon he was jumping up and down, leaning provocatively over the seat and generally showing off.

                                “Look at me, Berns, look at what I can do”.
                                I couldn’t help thinking that this was taking the phrase “hanging out with Berns” a bit too literally!