At the tail end of last summer we went to Cornwall and stayed at Havens, whilst there Isabelle came across a person that has been a part of her life ever since, that person was an elephant and its name was Anxious.
There were other numerous costumed characters that were there to entertain but Iz only had eyes and ears for a giant pink elephant in a blue polka dot dress. She would dash to great the elephant if she saw it on site, queued to have her photo taken with it and inevitably came home with her very own cuddly toy version.
Damn those pesky marketing and merchandise folk! To be fair the only other alternative would have been to have kidnapped the person in their suit and that just wouldn’t have been practical on so many levels, they’d have taken up far too much room in the car for starters.
We might have numerous versions of Peppa and George, they look almost like a troupe of piggy Russian dolls, and even had a fling with characters from In the Night Garden but as soon as Anxious came into her life, that was pretty much it. It’s like she’s Andy and Anxious is her Woody. in fact I’d probably say the pair are more Thelma and Louise. Put it this way I think we can safely say that it was the best £12 we have ever spent.
Of course they say an elephant never forgets and Iz she never (like ever ever) forgets to ask for her Anxious wherever she is going, whether it be in the car, out in the garden or especially to bed. We’ve had a couple of moments were Anxious has gone AWOL or she’s been left round at Grandma and Granddad’s (thankfully Southend variety, Nottinghamshire versions would have been unimaginable). Cue screaming tyres to quell the potential of screaming child.
It’s been difficult but we’ve had to think the unthinkable, what happens if Anxious is left behind or lost? Shudder. We are seriously looking at getting a Monty’s Double, a doppelgänger, a cuddly Anxious of the same size and stature.
Certainly that day is looming where Anxious Mark I is going to have to have her own bath or trip in the washing machine, despite wearing labels saying surface wash only, as she’s filthy as hell. When she went with us to hospital when Isabelle was last in I’m surprised she wasn’t riddled with MRSA! This week alone she’s rough and tumbled it in the garden, been in numerous beds…including the dog’s and practically been used to clean the floor in our local supermarket when Iz and Anxious tried their own impromptu version of Bolero.
Certainly we really want to have a plan be when her head becomes severed mid-wash or…god forbid…the colours in her dress run. I know this tale all too well as in my dim and dark past I too had my own Anxious but this was no elephant this wasa ghost of the friendly kind, Casper.
I’ve never had the most colour so I don’t know if I took a liking to it because it looked more anemic than me or what but it would go everywhere with me in my pushchair, cue Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid style montage with Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head playng in the background. Until one day, Casper had gone. My mum had told me that Casper had crossed to the other side…crossed to the other side of the supermarket more like! He was lost, never to be seen again.
To be fair I don’t think Iz cares that Anxious is covered in dirt, she’s a toy that she gets great pleasure from and has been through the same scrapes she has. They are best of buds and like Bagpuss to Emily, it doesn’t matter if she gets a bit tired and dog-eared she’ll still love Anxious.
We will keep one in reserve for times of break glass in case of emergency moments but if ‘Imposter Anxious’ (think The Elephant Man Who Haunted Himself) took over I’d kind of feel like we’d lied to Iz and that the pink animal’s eyes she’d been staring into where not the same as those she’d shared some of her first adventures and journeys with.
They’d been made on the same production line but like the T-800 (in Terminator 2 onwards at least), like Johnny 5 from Short Circuit our Anxious was different, she’s absorbed all of those experiences into her very stuffing. She smells of many things but most of all she smells of Isabelle, even if it’s a mixture of blood, sweat and tears.
She is not simply a stuffed animal, she is the Elephant Newman!