Tigger as a Spitfire ace as Heffalump reads The Daily Sketch 8 May 1945
Covid-19 has brought the best out in many people. Ordinary people doing ordinary things are now appreciated in a way which, in the rush of economic activity and social hedonism, had previously been ignored. We clap cleaners, carers, doctors and nurses, we volunteer to help the less able and more vulnerable and we let our creative juices flow as we battle to entertain or home school children. Jokes circulate the internet faster, with deeper poignancy and greater acerbity. Tweets or Facebook posts outstrip the dreaded coronavirus, going viral in days. Major Tom walking up and down his garden is viewed two million or more times, men and women from NHS singing ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ in Llandudno’s Venue Cymru, which had been turned into a temporary coronavirus hospital, is so popular that even Paul Simon has to add his comments.
Way down the list of viral posts – liked twelve times – is the daily activity of the padded soft toys, Tigger and Heffalump in Broad Haven.
Back around the start of the lockdown, the house at the bottom of our lane reflected the panic buying of toilet paper when shoppers like East African locusts stripped the shelves bare of paper products starting with loo rolls. The house owners set up a montage of Tigger and Heffalump in black masks climbing out of their bathroom window stealing toilet rolls. It gave me something to smile about on a day when the UK announced 708 Covid-19 deaths. Two days later, the two characters are dressed in Red Cross uniforms as if to help stem the virus’ toll of 439 deaths. Black days.
Perhaps encouraged by the need to stimulate or motivate their children, the household gave their children the freedom to express new ideas which they would perhaps never have had at school. Each day onward, the family would decide on a new theme, dressing Tigger and Heffalump in suitable clothes and accessories.
Tigger and Heffalump became: gardeners armed with spades and trowels, window cleaners with a ladder and cloth, surfers in mini wet-suits, chess players moving the pieces throughout the day, sunbathers in dark glasses enjoying the hot dry Pembrokeshire spring, parachutists, polar explorers, Merlot drinkers, dentists, boxers, table tennis players, pirates, garden gnomes, chimney sweeps and so on. Every day something new, something different.
Table tennis on 20 April
Snake charming on 22 April
Walking the plank on 12 May
Their antics have given us an additional pleasure as we walk down the flower-filled lane. There is the excitement of wondering what the two characters will be up too. We started to photograph them sometimes. As April turned to May and we arrived at Lockdown Day 46, Tigger and Heffalump made it onto Facebook. By the standards of our quiet village, occupied, or rather not occupied in these pandemic days, by second-homers, apostate retirees from distant towns and counties, and a very few genuine locals, it went viral with twelve viewers! The reason? Tigger had become a Spitfire ace while Heffalump read the Daily Sketch of May 8th 19145. Fantastic! Comments on Facebook ranged from:
- I know it’s brilliant. They were boxing a couple of days ago. Something different every day – it does raise a smile,
- Absolutely brilliant – it’s a daily treat to walk past their house !!!
- Got to say – love it when people go the extra mile! Thank you whoever did it – joy to a lot of people!! Bloody well done!
- Excellent!! Carl Evans look what Tigger is up to today!!
This is my tribute to a single household which makes the lockdown that little bit more enjoyable, giving me and many villagers something to look forward to when we go down the lane to Broad Haven’s beautiful beachfront.