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Re-housing a Collection

A few days ago I got the go ahead for another exciting chapter of my life. My first purchase of a house. A real house. Not some green plastic-y one associated with that 8 hour long board game. 
I won't be the first, nor the last, however, that upon getting such news fills them with a sense of dread. The painstaking task of emptying hundreds of cardboard boxes, littering the floor with polystyrene for the process to then be reversed a few weeks later into the nice shiny new home. 
They weren't going to pack themselves. And so I got to it. 
The first obstacle I came up against is the way some of the polystyrene inserts cocoon the figure in such a manor that it's a 5 minute job just getting it to slot in. 

Once I get into the flow of it though, they start going in quite easy and it becomes less of a chore, and more of a pleasant experience. These Bears we've come to love and call our own, sit there on a shelf for thousands of hours and now and again we may pay a little more attention to one in particular, but for the most part they're all there to make up the army. 
As I'm packing them all away individually there are little memories that I recall. It could be to do with the painstaking time it took to obtain it, or the place where I was when I got it, nevertheless, it's fun to have these little moments.

The very first

One that especially sticks with me is associated to the Bear Ariel. 
This was my first ever bear that I took with me to a social gathering regarding the Bad Taste bears. It'd been announced around October time that Pirahna studios and Peter Underhill would be in attendance of Clowns n' Things in Peterborough, roughly a 45 minute drive from where I was living at the time. 
I remember feeling giddy that I'd perhaps have the opportunity to attend, but also feeling uncertain of the logistics of it actually happening due to the fact I was only twelve years old. 
It certainly wasn't easy trying to convince ANY family member to take me, as i had only been collecting for a few months and my collection stood about 10-15 bears strong, and so most of my family members I imagine expected it to be 'just a phase'. In the end after much badgering and whining, my father took the plunge and said he'd take me, I imagine just to get me to shut up. 
So there I am, relatively far back in the line on a drizzly Saturday towards the end of November, with a bleach blonde highlighted bowl cut sort of thing, and a grin from ear to ear as I stand next to a revolving glass cabinet with some stunning designs on display. There were posters up all over the shop, depicting November's Bear Of The Month, DJ. 
 

Apologies for the dodgy photograph.

I, along with my irritated father, were stood in the moderately long line awaiting to get my rarest bear signed. That bear, as I've mentioned already, was Ariel, although the posters had worked their charm on me and I'd managed to successfully spend more of dad's money on a spanking new DJ figurine hoping to get a scribble on more than just one bear. 
An hour and a half later I was at the front of the line, my mind was racing, mainly thinking 'what on earth am I going to say?! I'm only twelve!'.
It's worth pointing out that 95% of the people that were attending the signing were 10 years my senior and more, with the remaining 5% being made up from children being dragged along by their bear frenzied folks! 
It's tough to recall exactly what my words were, and to recite any of Pete's for that matter. What I do have though is an awesome memory of my first ever signing, some fifteen years ago, and I like to think that the mantra of 'Good Luck' which Pete scribbled on the back of my rarest figurine back in 2002  contributed to my journey I've had since then. 
Anyway, I've still got loads to pack up, so I better get a move on! Keep an eye out though as I'll be uploading the new layout once they're all back out on display in a few weeks time!
Kyle (Tooner)