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My Pandas

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Bears in the Window 3

2012 proved to be an exceptionally busy year for The Bears in the Windows and for my husband, Jim!

It began in January with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic when Jim ‘volunteered’ to build a cardboard model of the doomed vessel for me. I expect some of you will think that this would be quite a straightforward task but, if you do, you obviously have never tried to build one!

Then, in February, the bears marked the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne, a time of mixed emotions for her Majesty as it was, of course, also sixty years since the death of her beloved father, King George VI. This time, Jim’s contribution was to make a model of Treetops where Princess Elizabeth was staying when she learned that her father had died in his sleep. That month, the bears also celebrated the bi-centenary of the birth of Charles Dickens, a window which was a lot of fun to create as I tried to include as many of the great writer’s works as I could. Once again, Jim came to the rescue with a very realistic miniature guillotine so that I could re-create a scene from A Tale of Two Cities. How many more did you spot?

In May, Jim and I had the pleasure of being only a few feet from the Queen as she arrived at a reception at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. In the weeks leading up to the Diamond Jubilee weekend at the beginning of June, this memorable event was the inspiration for all sorts of equine and ursine tributes to mark Her Majesty’s 60 years of love and devotion to the people of Britain and the Commonwealth.

In July and August, the London Olympics gave the bears the opportunity to pay tribute to the astonishing ability of the British athletes and amazing characters like Usain Bolt as well as showing off their own athletic prowess! Of course, they also had to replicate the unexpected part the Queen played in the opening ceremony which showed Her Majesty’s wicked sense of humour. During the games, Jamaica celebrated 50 years of independence which I felt the bears had to mark as I worked for several years on that beautiful island in the sun.

After his heartbreaking defeat by Federer at Wimbledon, Andy Murray proved all the sceptics wrong, first of all, by winning an Olympic gold medal and then, the following month, the US Open, his first Grand Slam. A visit to Dunblane in September, when Jim and I were thrilled to have the opportunity to shake Andy’s hand (I didn’t wash mine for a week!), was the inspiration for the bears’ tribute to the talented Scot’s amazing achievements.

To begin with, I thought that last year would be a hard act to follow until I discovered that, amongst 2013′s anniversaries and special events, were the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, the release of the film version of Les Mis, Barack Obama’s Inauguration, the 100th anniversary of the opening of New York’s Grand Central Station, the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation, the birth of a royal baby and also the possibility of hearing the patter of tiny black and white paws at Edinburgh Zoo! If you’re a regular visitor to Dalbear Road, you’ll know that Edinburgh’s pandas , Yang Guang and Tian Tian, provided me with endless window opportunities throughout the year, from their 9th birthdays in August to a black and white Christmas.

I’ve no doubt that, as the year progresses, the bears will find lots more special days to celebrate, so I’m confident that my unique form of street art, which attracts people from around the world, will continue for many more years to come.

The Bears in the Windows get a real thrill when people stop to say ‘Hello!’, leave a card or post a comment on their blog and so do I! So, if you’re already acquainted with them, I hope you’ll keep dropping by to see what they’re getting up to and, if this is the first time you’ve met the bears, why not make it your new year’s resolution to meet them in the fur one day very soon. They'd definitely like to meet you!

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Bears in the Window 2