First published 02 December 2012 - 10 years ago to the day!
It all began, as things often do ~ in fact, as things always do; one minute it seemed that Carousel had no Doorstops in the shop, whatsoever, and next minute the shop was suddenly full of them.
Just which of the Corduroy Doorstop families came first remains a matter of some dispute. The local historians of Shalford are inclined to the believe that it was the Cord Teddies but others have pointed to reports in the national press indicating that it was the Cord Dogs, otherwise known as The Cordies that came first ~ particularly in view of the Cordie Dogs being the Queen's favourites.
Either way, they arrived, each completely unaware that their two doorstop families were closely related one to the other and, truth to tell, each with a little, if not quiet-hostility, then what can perhaps otherwise be best described as a certain standoffishness towards one another.
The three Cord Teddies ~ Cord-Roy, Cord-Roger, and Cord-Rose ~ whose first names, incidentally, were their second names and whose second names were their first names 'cos that's just how they do things in Doorstop Land, where everyone is of one accord, so to speak, and which makes it all the more unusual that the two families should initially display any initial unfriendliness towards one another; it being a matter of record that rarely is there discord, at least according to the tales of cordiality we hear from Doorstop Land... Anyway, the three Cord Teddy doorstops were quite confounded when they first espied the three Cordie Dogs ~ Cord-Rover, Cord-Rex and Cord-Ruaridh (pronounced by mere mortals as Cord-Rory but spelt 'Ruaridh' because he considers himself to have somewhat dubious connections with the Emerald Isle where, for reasons best known to Emerald Islanders, is exactly how it is spelt ~ in a manner and style that no-one could possibly remember even if they are Irish ~ quite fiendish really.
Cord-Roy made it his business to step forward and say quite directly to the three Cordie Dogs,
"Excuse me, if you don’t mind, excuse me!"
The three Cordies stopped in their tracks, nonplussed at such a bold request.
"Y-Yes," responded Cord-Ruaridh (pronounced Rory for reasons set out above), who, despite appearances to the contrary, had quite a good head on his shoulders for such situations and was well known for his quick repartee. "You are excused and we don’t mind in the least," he answered, quick as a flash, his initial astonishment put, for the time being, to one side ~ his left side, to be precise, where he thought it wouldn't get in the way.
"Don't mind in the least, what?” Cord-Roy asked, with something of a puzzled look. This wasn't going exactly as he had planned.
"We don't mind whatever it is that you don’t want us to mind when we excused you. Isn’t that just what you asked for?" Cord-Ruaridh (pronounced Rory) replied politely and, he thought, rather cleverly, even though, in thinking it, he knew that he shouldn’t really pat himself on the back for being clever, although, truth to tell, he couldn’t really pat himself on the back because he couldn’t reach his back, which was something of a relief, but it was only a relief at this very moment, because, if he was honest, there were times when he would like to be able to reach his back, but enough of that...
"Whatever!" said Cord-Roy, a little dismissively, as he found himself losing all interest in the conversation, after all, he thought to himself, didn't he have a great deal of potential door stopping to engage in; he couldn’t waste time bandying words in such a manner, could he? The very idea!
So it was that the two Corduroy Doorstop families first became aware of one another.
As time passed that day, they eyed each other with some puzzlement from different parts of Carousel.
The Cord Teddy Doorstops ~ Cord-Roy, Cord-Roger and Cord-Rose ~ grouped themselves behind the greeting card stand whilst peering intently at the Cordie Dog doorstops. The Cordies ~ the Queen’s favourite doorstops ~ Cord-Rover, Cord-Rex and Cord-Ruaridh (pronounced Rory, as already explained a tiresome number of times) all gathered near the marbles trying not to give the impression that they had lost any of theirs.
The two groups of doorstops would have looked very sweet and rather cuddly if the situation hadn't been quite so serious. As it was, some time passed before any more words were exchanged, although each of the two groups did tend to mutter amongst themselves whilst looking somewhat suspiciously and nodding rather pointedly at the other group and then rolling their eyes to the ceiling with a few, what sounded like exasperated 'tuts', sighs and knowing nods in the direction of the others.
Eventually, Cord-Roy shuffled forward only to be met, in a similar shuffling fashion, by Cord-Ruaridh (pronounced Rory, for the umpteenth time of telling).
"Hello," said Cord-Roy, in a manner that many might have thought rather sheepish if it wasn't for the fact that Cord-Roy was a Teddy and it's difficult for teddy bears to appear sheepish in much the same way that sheep find it difficult to appear teddyish.
"Hello," Cord-Ruaridh (pronounced…oh! enough of that) responded, in the private, though mistaken, belief that he was dominating the exchange.
"Have you just arrived?" Cord-Roy asked, politely.
"No," answered Cord-Ruaridh ( pro... cede without further explanation regarding pronunciation), "We've been here for some time. Have you just arrived?"
"Certainly not!" exclaimed Cord-Roy - "We've been here some time and a bit more."
"A bit more what?" Cord-Ruaridh wondered aloud.
- "A bit more than some time."
"But you don’t know how long 'some time' is, do you?"
- "You’d be surprised at what I know"
Cord-Ruaridh gave a look that said he’d be surprised if Cord-Roy knew anything at all judging by the conversation so far but refrained from saying so, saying instead,
"Where are you from?"
During this brief exchange, some further shuffling had taken place and Cord-Roger and Cord-Rose were now either side of Cord-Roy whilst either side of Cord-Ruaridh were Cord-Rover and Cord-Rex, all looking very supportive.
The Cord Teddy doorstops responded all together:
"We are from Lake House, Woodside Park, Catteshall Lane, Godalming," they all sang out in unison and with much dramatic effect.
"WHAT!" exclaimed the Cordie Dog doorstops, also in unison and with even more dramatic effect,
"That’s where we are from!"
The Cord Teddy doorstops blinked in utter astonishment, “WHAT!” they retorted, looking from one to the other. Cord-Roger looked in a bewildered fashion at Cord-Rose. Cord-Rose looked despairingly at Cord-Roy and Cord-Roy stood looking dumbfounded. Eventually, he composed himself sufficiently to enquire of the Cordies generally, “But how did you get here?
Cord-Rex saw his moment to utilise his oratorical skills. Edging forward with as much swagger as he could muster he announced, "Andrea sent us. She just took us from the shelf, packed us in a box and said, 'You're off to Carousel in Shalford, you lucky little doorstops' and off we went and here we are.", he concluded with a final flourish of his paw.
If the world had suddenly stopped turning it would have been much less of a shock to the Cord-Teddy doorstops. For some time they just gawked. Eventually, Cord-Roy swallowed hard and stuttered out, “B..b..but, but Andrea sent us, as well. She took us from the shelf, put us in a box and said, ‘Now then, my sweet little Cord Teddies, off you go to Carousel in Shalford. It'll be an adventure for you and mind you behave yourselves and try, always, to uphold the doorstop code ~ to never let a door close that's meant to be open.' and that was it; off we went and here we are."
Try as they might the two sets of doorstops could not make any sense of it and so they just accepted it ~ Fate had thrown them together and that must be how it was meant to be.
To be continued…