London personal reflections

Paddington Bear spotting in London

There are 50 Paddington Bear sculptures currently displayed around London through the end of 2014. Each bear is a unique design from celebrities like Emma Watson, Stephan Fry and Andrew Lloyd Weber. The sculptures were unveiled on November 4 and the London exhibit runs through December 30, 2014. The new movie Paddington opens today in the UK.

Paddington Explorer
Paddington Bear Explorer – Piccadilly Circus, London


We have seen advertisements for the Paddington movie in the London Underground stations and on the sides of double decker buses since our first night in London. After seeing my fifth Paddington Bear sculpture, I googled “Paddington Bear London statues” to learn about the exhibit.

There is even a Paddington Bear Trail map.

Paddington Bear Trail
The Paddington Trail London for 50 bear sculptures.


Kelley is a first grade teacher. Finding teachable connections to inspire young readers is a continual objective in the classroom. Paddington Bear is a good role model for kids. He is well-mannered and always addresses a person as Mr., Mrs. or Miss.

Paddington Bear loves marmalade. Kelley does too.

Paddington Hyde Park
Paddington Bear Marmelade, Hyde Park, London

Last week, when I was in Ireland, there were news stories on TV about how Paddington Bear in the new movie Paddington is too skinny and looks too much like a fox.

There are plenty of foxes around London too. On our first night in London this week, Kelley spotted a fox walking alongside Westminster Abbey. For me, that sighting established a sense of good fortune for the trip. I feel a surge of positive energy when I find myself in the presence of wild animals.

Last year, when I was walking around City of Westminster in London on a 22-hour overnight transit layover, a fox trotted out of St. James’s Park, across the road, and paused on the sidewalk in front of me as I was walking to Buckingham Palace on a dark night. Urban Foxes of London (March 15, 2013).

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey


It is Thanksgiving Day in America. I am thankful Kelley and I still have each other after all these years. We have grown older together and we have had the good fortune to experience many years of travel to places we enjoyed.

Paddington Bentley
Paddington Bear Bentley, Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London.

This week in London is our 25th wedding anniversary trip to revisit the city where we stayed for part of our honeymoon in 1989. The hotel where we stayed then is now Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences. Twenty-five years later, I am writing this piece sitting in The May Fair Hotel looking out to central London’s oldest trees in Berkeley Square as Kelley sleeps soundly in bed. The trees of Berkeley Square were planted over two centuries ago.

Berkeley Square tree
Oldest trees in central London, Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London were planted 1789; 200 years prior to our wedding date in 1989.

Frequent travel can be hard on a relationship. I have always had wanderlust. Kelley is more rooted as a home body person. My need to travel takes over my spirit after I spend several weeks at home. Balancing the need to travel with the need to maintain a stable family life at home is challenging.

Is there a secret for making a travel relationship work over the years?

Paddington Bear is a good role model for relationships too. Be polite, be considerate and remember that each of us basically has an invisible note pinned to our psyche that reads:

“Please look after this bear. Thank you.”


  • JustSaying November 27, 2014

    Sincere gratitude for all the masterminds at Boarding Area. I can literally say that BA has changed my family’s lives. We travel more gloriously than we ever dreamed and we do it for pennies on the dollar thanks to the expert advice. Thank you for all my family!

    Happy Thanksgiving and Thank You to all our troops serving away from home today. The long standing tradition of the military to deck out their dining halls and open them up to family members is a strong reminder of how we view our obligation to world peace. We are especially grateful on this day for their sacrifices.

  • Rapid Travel Chai November 30, 2014

    Read about the bears as I was flying out of London a few weeks ago, missed those, but did see the poppies.

    I have nothing successful to add on the relationship end, we do try to have separate trips for her, I call ‘spousal harmony trips,’ where she chooses everything but that is not a guarantee of success.

  • Ric Garrido November 30, 2014

    @Rapid Travel Chai – We arrived at the Tower of London to see the last few hundred poppies being removed. That was spectacular imagery from the photos I saw. There are so many war monuments in London and there were poppy wreaths on nearly all of them.

    We went on a Paddington Bear Trail adventure for our last 24 hours in the city. At 3:30pm on Friday afternoon we were able to get a list from the Tourist Info office at Tower of London showing the locations of 50 bears.

    We had found five bears by chance in places we visited. In our final 24 hours in London we found and photographed 24 more bears once we knew where to look.

    We couldn’t find the one in Covent Garden, although I have since looked up its exact location.

    We would have seen two more bears, but when we went to the luxury boutique shops on Bond Street, Kelley was enticed into a store and spent the next hour receiving facial and skin treatments. That went from free London entertainment to a very expensive night.

    Her trip, her desires. Good thing the hotels were free.

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