Head on back to my place... Bear Hugs from London last updated 06/03/2000

Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear both originated in England, so what better place than London to go in search of bears? My ex and I vacationed in London just about every year for 10 years. The September 1999 vacation to London just seemed to be a bit more bear-related than usual.

Prior to that particular trip, I checked out the London bear scene via the internet. I found information at http://www.bearhug.net about the London group Bear Hug, which boasts 350+ members. We werenít going to be in town on the dates of their "official" meetings, but I saw that some bears regularly gather at a couple different venues each week.

On Monday I bought a teddy bear puppet at Covent Garden. Itís the cutest thing. How refreshing to shove your hand into the furry beast and manipulate the bear to do whatever you please.

Wednesdays is Bear Night at The Stag. This bar is in an interesting circular building conveniently located between Victoria Station and Buckingham Palace. It wasnít very busy on the Wednesday we went, but it was relaxing after a long day of sightseeing. We only spotted about a dozen bears that night, including the very friendly and furry bartender.

We retired to the hotel early that evening to watch Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders (of "Absolutely Fabulous" fame) in a hilarious show on the telly called "Let them Eat Cake." Jennifer plays Marie Antoinette while Dawn plays her slutty servant. In this episode, we keep finding Marie bound and gagged, the latest S & M "victim" of the Marquis de Sade. He seemed to be very creative with the placement of fruit. Her highness was just grateful that her servant hadnít laid out melons for the bedtime snack. She deemed that a banana (or two or three) was quite sufficient.

On Thursday we took the train to visit Hampton Court Palace. Some big burly bearded guy, Henry VIII, had lived there. That guy went through six wives. I guess he never quite figured out what he really needed. And they say all he wanted was a son. Hmmmm...

On Friday I went to Kensington Market. Earlier in the week, a tour guide had pointed out that this is where the Spice Girls go for body piercing and tattoos. I ended up getting a small tattoo of a bear pawprint on my arm. Wow, just call me Fuzzy Spice.

With this queenís armís tattoo freshly bandaged, we headed over to The Kingís Arms, an old-style pub off of Oxford Street. Friday is Bear Night. We arrived about 8pm, and by 9pm the place was wall-to-wall bears. And lots of very hot ones at that. Woof! Definitely some of the best sightseeing of the trip. Again, woof!

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