Room 41 @ THE NICE ROOMS presents
Five Nights in Nutwood
By Gary Radice
Date of Article: 17th February 2017
If you are viewing The Nice Rooms Webzine on a tablet / Kindle etc. then Desktop Version is recommended
"For generations of people, Rupert Bear forms part of their childhood mythology, representing a tender world of innocent adventure and kindly impulses"
Rupert Annual: 1961
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the stories of Rupert Bear, he inhabited a world where English speaking anthropomorphic animals co existed seamlessly with humans in a place called Nutwood - A place that was frozen in time and completely devoid of political correctness and any health and safety regulations whatsoever.
For no other reason than for the sake of this very contrived article, and with a nod to several stories lifted from the annuals, The Nice Rooms sent a reporter to Nutwood to get an exclusive interview with Rupert. Cue some diary notes that the reporter made..
AM: Arrived last night. I'm not actually staying in Nutwood. The nice people at the webzine have paid for me to stay in a house in a small fishing village called Greyrocks Cove, a good two train journeys away that appears to have been taken over by a Scouts' and Guides' Jamboree.
Pros: Very cheap to stay here and probably why they've put me up here.
Cons: Nothing to do here. The warning signs were there though when I first arrived; I had asked a porter pushing a trolley at the Greyrocks Cove station 'what the word on the street' was. He just stared at me and said "No Parking."
According to some local gossip this place is home to a rare foreign butterfly (although why a butterfly would be deemed foreign to Greyrocks Cove if Greyrocks Cove was also considered its home beats me) I guess that's about it as far as the excitement goes around here....
I've made a decision.. I've decided that I'm going to try and move to Nutwood for the rest of the week. The chances of me getting an interview with Rupert will be much greater that way. Decided to stay in Greyrocks Cove tonight but will ask about the best central places to stay when I get to Nutwood this afternoon.
I'll try and claim back my living expenses later but I've heard The Nice Rooms boss doesn't pay for articles so what chance have I got getting him to pay for digs in an expensive place like Nutwood?
PM - Actual journey to Nutwood was not too bad. I had to change steam trains once but at no time did anyone ask me to produce a ticket. In fact there were no places to buy a ticket from anyway!. I'm not sure about the logistics of how it's all done, but you are always guaranteed an empty carriage and a window seat on the train.....Nutwood looks a very picturesque place. Almost immediately I was approached by a badger when I arrived. He shook my hand and introduced himself as Bill. You can't go anywhere around here without someone approaching you. I very much doubt this place will rub off on me but everyone seems so very jolly - very jolly indeed.
Bill didn't know where Rupert was but thought it would be topping if I could join him and his chums in a game of Rugger on the common. Why not ? Good way of meeting everyone and I thought it was a no brainer - I mean, who's going to tackle our prop forward Edward Trunk? ...We will win !
We lost. - I'm not going to lie, I didn't attempt to tackle Bill Badger when I should have done - the chances of me inhaling bovine TB bacteria from him or someone taking a pot shot at him with a rifle from distance played on my mind throughout the match.....
And there was no way I was going to enter any scrum with that Raggety guy either.
Took a bus into the centre of Nutwood like Rupert and Gregory in the picture... The rumours are true....You just have to approach a bus stop and a bus appears in the distance.
Found a letting agency called Fox Brothers and put a wad of money down on a massive place in Nutwood.. Freddy and Ferdie Fox appear really nice guys. I can't see the place today as it's getting decorated apparently, but Freddy showed me a black and white picture of the place pre decoration....I asked how it might look post decoration and Ferdie added some water to the same picture - Lo and behold: the black and white image magically turned to colour !! - I'm sold on the place. I can pick up the keys tomorrow. Can't wait.
AM: Forget all those 'butter wouldn't melt' pictures of Rupert you may have seen such as that one of him sitting on a swing. I'm not kidding when I say this bear gets up to all sorts of dodgy things to the point whereby I'm genuinely concerned for his safety. Arrived back in Nutwood this morning from Greyrocks Cove with all my stuff and a dog called Algy (Apparently he tells everyone he's a pug but I remain unconvinced - It's the face thing.) approached me with some news.
Algy told me (without being asked) that last night that he had seen Rupert walking off with "An old professor and a dwarf servant" - His words not mine - I'm getting worried about Rupert and really need to tell someone in authority but first I need to pick up my keys.
I waved at Algy as he went on his way. (Not sure why I waved - waving to people as they go on their way is becoming a habit with me and I've only been here one and a half days.) On the back of what Algy just told me, I thought I'd better make haste - I reckoned that I needed to cold call Rupert sometime today - just to see if he's OK and hopefully get that interview for The Nice Rooms webzine...
Stopped in my tracks as I was climbing a stile near a place where Rupert Bear often roams because someone was shouting out to me. I spied Rupert - He was 100 feet up in the air and hanging on to a flimsy looking string that was attached to a small balloon. He shouted out that if he "held on tight, he'd sail along at quite a height." .. - My honest thoughts ??... I think this bear is talking shite. nonsensical
Rupert sailed off into the horizon towards a castle (that I'm sure wasn't there a minute ago but it must have been)..Right......I'm keeping with my original plan: Off to pick up keys to my place first then go to Rupert's to express my increasing concerns about him to his parents. It will be both a bonus and a relief if Rupert is in after what I've just seen. but if he is in I'll try and get that interview.
PM: Arrived at Rupert's cottage really angry. I had turned up to collect my keys this morning to learn that both Fox Brothers had been nicked by Constable Growler. Apparently, the Squire of Nutwood returned from a holiday in Sandy Bay this morning only to find out that he had been looted of all his silver and his place was being rented out behind his back to complete strangers like me...I really could have done without this. That's most of my money gone.
.I somehow knew Rupert wouldn't be in but at least Rupert's parents were at home when I eventually got there. Mr Bear told me Rupert wasn't due back for several hours .(."and the rest judging by what I saw this morning..")
Although I hadn't contacted them beforehand, Rupert's parents appeared to be expecting me. Weird ! Mrs Bear had made lunch and was putting it out on the table just as I arrived. - Meal was nice but ruined somewhat by Mr Bear smoking his pipe at the table. Later, I had a hard time keeping a straight face while sitting in the garden... Mr Bear was wearing plus-fours...What the hell !??
Mr and Mrs Bear didn't seem too bothered about their son. They said something about Rupert telling them at the end of each day as to "where he's been, who he's met and what he's seen." At least I tried.......OK now I need to find a place to kip tonight. I'm without bed or money...Mrs Bear kindly said I could stay with them without me even asking...Offer immediately accepted.
AM: Last night at Rupert's was a bit of a disaster. Entertainment consisted of Mrs Bear asking if I wanted to do some dot to dot puzzles and Mr Bear thought it would be a good idea if we did some origami.....If that wasn't bad enough, at no time did they ever show me where I was sleeping. In fact they went to bed and left me in the lounge without saying a word. It was freezing! The settee was uncomfortable so I ended up sleeping on a bright yellow rug (with a black underside) that was situated near the hearth......I think I'm allergic to Mrs Bear's roses too that she kept in a vase on the fireplace....I was sneezing all night.. and talk about weird dreams ! - I had a weird dream to end all weird dreams last night. Thing is - it all seemed so real...
I was flying through the air with Edward Trunk on a magic carpet (It looked very similar to the one I was sleeping on) when we spied a couple of girl guides called Beryl and Pauline; the latter of whom was in a tree. (Don't ask..) I remember waking up in a cold sweat and turning the rug over that I was sleeping on in order to get comfortable...And when I finally awoke this morning I was stuck to the rug. I'm talking 'really stuck - like glue' stuck.......Totally surreal situation - I'm walking around with a rug stuck to my side and, despite the best efforts of Mr Bear, did so until a couple of hours later..
PM: That rug is off at last! I thought Mrs Bear had gone to ring the fire brigade at one point but a Chinese conjurer and his daughter turned up instead (..er...who else ?) Anyway they did something magical - They freed me ! Just as I'm about to leave Rupert's cottage, Mrs Bear tells me I missed Rupert last night. He did return after all but left very early morning again on another adventure. She wanted to tell me about Rupert's return at the time but had spent half an hour searching for me and her hearth rug before she gave up looking and went back to bed. (Eh ??) Despite the really bad night I was willing to accept Mr and Mrs Bear's offer of kipping at the cottage until the end of the week due to lack of finances...But sadly they didn't offer..
AM: Slept outside last night. - Had very little sleep - I was woken up first of all by a dog wearing glasses and playing with fireworks. A spark from one of them burnt the side of my face...He just ran off...Then half an hour later I was woken again by some homeless guy who insisted on engaging in chat for a few hours. I found out his name was Gaffer Jarge. Now in another life I may have thought that his name was mildly amusing but when you've played rugby with people called Podgy Pig and Rastus Mouse and Gregory Guinea Pig, I guess his name doesn't sound strange at all.
I managed to get some information from Gaffer about Rupert as he apparently often speaks with the bear about his escapades. .Not sure if he was drunk but he told me about a time when Rupert was picked up by a gigantic bird and went on one helluva trip...I reckon either Gaffer is off his head or Rupert is very vulnerable.....or both!.....
Managed to get some sleep eventually in a lovely walled garden that sheltered me from the cold.....I'm no gardener but if I ever meet the person who owns this place to I'm going to ask them how their garden grows the way it does this time of year - (Also loved the little silver bells dotted around the place although they woke me up with their sound a couple of times) - Anyway.. I had started to climb over a wall to get into said garden but a very loose stone had made me lurch and sent me crashing from my perch. (Basically I fell into the place) and, for some strange reason, when I woke up, I decided to wade through a stream that flowed under a tunnel in order to exit out of the garden....So now I'm homeless, penniless and wet.
PM:..Not sure if I had been inhaling something strange in the garden but I'm convinced this afternoon above the woods, high in the sky, I saw an airship gliding by. Dangling from a trapdoor there was a chair. Some person or persons were sitting in it - I could only make out a yellow scarf and a cowboy hat.. I give in. This Rupert guy is a danger to himself and others. I'm obviously not going to get an interview with him and I'm due home tomorrow.
Arrived home - interview-less. Slept on Nutwood common last night and have now got a cold.. After much deliberation was told to ring my own local social services department this afternoon to express my concerns in regards to matters concerning Rupert's health and wellbeing....Unfortunately the phone call went downhill pretty quickly:
- "Safeguarding Department please.."
- "Adults or Children?"
.. "How old is the person in question?"
- "He looks 10 but is actually 90 this year"
...Very long silence.....
Let's hope my failure of securing an interview in Nutwood doesn't ruin my chances of getting the Sodor gig..