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January 14, 2011, 01:43 PM

Fever Bears

By Lawrence Skilling

Old teddy bears from Collector's World, Norfolk [photo Chancellors

Surrey, UK - I recently bought quite a lot of things from the auction that was held owing to the closing of the Collectors World Museum in deepest Norfolk. My motivation was the large amount of church furniture that was for sale; the museum had its own chapel, a religious themed library, a Dickensian Parsons cubbyhole and a cafe fitted with church pews.

That was the initial plan, once there however, I got sucked into buying ever more random pieces of flotsam . . . aircraft propellers, boars heads, 1930s track bikes, 1960s mannequins and Napoleonic ships wheels. As I raced hither and thither, bidding on increasingly incongruous off-topic items (Fijian throwing clubs, anyone?), trying to load my rental van at the same time which had to be returned 3 hours later to a depot 150 miles away, and also trying not to think about getting to this dinner party 5 hours later 250 miles away, I found myself repeatedly getting lost in the museums 'Time Tunnel'. This was a maze of passageways in the main building, many only a couple of feet wide, with various booths and displays showing everything from dangling clowns to a mocked up ancient dentist practice complete with screaming patient.

The teddy bears shown above were in their own little dead end which I kept inadvertantly returning to. The roof above them had holes in so they were all soaking wet and the fairy lights that provided light flickered on and off as the water streamed over the electrics.

I got back in time for my various appointments and only had to leave a few very small and a few very large items behind (the small items were all stolen before our driver was able to collect, but at least the giant urns, church doors etc were still there).

That night, worn out and wasted I suffered an attack of recurrent malaria which knocked me out for the next two days. If you have ever had this you will know that the delirious half-waking nightmares are the worst part, never mind the sweats and the chills. For me, it was the soaking wet, clammy old teddy bears. Surrounding me, covering me up and making sure that I never got out of that particular cul-de-sac of The Collectors World 'Time Tunnel'.

Antique Church Furnishings


Story Type:  Feature

ID: 57080

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