The creator of Paddington Bear, Michael Bond, has passed away.
I have to be honest - I wasn't a huge fan of the bear when I was a child despite having a soft toy of him.
However, I do have a story to tell. Michael Bond's writing plays a significant part in it.
Back when I was first learning to read, I was at a school fair and there was a second-hand book stall. I picked up one of the Paddington Bear books on sale and bought it.
I don't recall the title, but I can vividly remember the cover picture. It was of Paddington holding an unlight firework behind his back. If I am correct - the bear was looking up the sky.
The fireworks within the story played a part in this personal memory.
As I was reading the book, there was a part where Paddington is confronted by a child with a Guy Fawkes dummy. He held out a cup (I think!) with money and asked Paddington 'Penny for the Guy?'
Only, Paddington didn't think the child was asking for money. Instead, the bear thought he was being offered a penny.
So he took one.
I found it hysterical. I remember reading the part out - and having a hard time doing so while laughing - to everyone within earshot.
I've always said that the first book I ever read without alone was a novel of Disney's Pinocchio, but I've always remembered the Paddington book as the first book that triggered a laugh out loud emotion.
It was the first thing I thought about when I heard of Mr. Bond's passing.