Well I wrote this story a long time ago, but it’s Dr Johnson’s birthday tomorrow, so I’m sharing it with you again, I’m sorry the photos are so crappy, but that’s not my fault!

Oh dear… where to start?!

Well, Pauline and Doctor Bob took me to London the other day to enhance my editorial knowledge and  skills. We walked along the river  from the Tower to Fleet Street, where all the big newspapers used to be published.  I noticed Pauline was a bit distracted…worrying that she may have forgotten to include important things in a book she’s written called All Along the River! Too late now, it’s gone to press…mwah ha ha!

I had my photo taken at Dr Samuel Johnson’s statue…he wrote a famous dictionary and is  one of Pauline’s  great heroes. She has a little bust of him on her desk. 

Bust of Samuel Johnson

Dr Johnson in bronze.

It’s hard to spot me, but I’m a little blur at his feet.

 Dr Johnson's statue.


Then we stopped to inspect the sculpture of Samuel’s equally famous cat, Hodge,  who was very fond of oysters (yuk!) He’s sitting on the dictionary with an empty oyster shell.

We visited his old house (Sam’s, not Hodge’s although they lived together). I was allowed to sit on his special chair. Pauline and Dr Bob couldn’t as they weighed far too much.

Here I am on the special chair that belonged to Dr Johnson.


Oh yes, and you get a pound off the entry fee to the house  if you are very  old…no names no pack drill! I got in free because we pretended  I was under 12 (I’m  really  13 and one  month).

We saw a library with a couple of the great man’s own books  and way up in the attic was the  huge DICTIONARY!!  I looked up the word LOO because we had been searching for one all morning. It was there, but  the word didn’t actually mean toilet back then. I think  Dr Johnson called it a privy. 

For some reason  Pauline was very taken by the word ‘mall’, which originally meant a sort of hammer. So a  mall was  an alley where people used to hit a ball with a mall, in a game  a bit like croquet. Then it just came to mean a walkway.

In the 1950s a mall was a closed off street, but then it morphed into the monstrosities we have today I don’t like them at all, because I tend to get lost.


Looking up the word LOO in the dictionary compiled by Dr Johnson.


1805 edition of Dr Johnson's Dictionary.


Dr Bob was thinking about lunch by this time  so we went to one of Dr Johnson’s favourite inns…Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, for beer and pies.  Before we went in  I was given a lesson about the kings and queens of England, as lots of them were written on the wall outside …all the ones who have reigned since the inn was rebuilt in 1667  (an earlier building burnt down in the Great Fire Of London). I only knew about Elizabeth II. It didn’t have anything to do with editing so I was a bit bored to tell you the truth!

A boring old history lesson on our Dr Johnson day.


You can see Dr Johnson’s favourite chair inside the pub, but even I wasn’t allowed to sit on this one. I wanted a lark pie, which Pauline  had told me about, but  it turns out they don’t have them anymore.  I didn’t bother having anything after that  because  I was so disappointed.   Also, beef ones are a bit suspect these days, what with mad cows.

Pauline & Dr Bob ate pies. I had a cup of tea.


Now I have to say that I learned a lot from Dr Johnston, and my editing skills really improved!  Soon afterwards I was in Bloomsbury and I spotted a mistake on a huge sign. Can you see it? I wrote to the Lord Mayor, but when I went back to London  a few years later he still  hadn’t fixed it! 

Well the next day something truly terrible happened to me. I am still far  too upset to write about it, but I will soon. I may be using some very rude words about my so called guardians, Pauline and Dr Bob….words I’m not even sure Dr Johnson had in his dictionary. Let me just say that I’m lucky to be here!!


PS…if you would like to leave me a message, write one in the box below. But as I always tell you,  do the little sum before you press  SUBMIT, otherwise your message will vanish, and that would be such a shame.

  1. Well, Editor Des, you have surpassed yourself. An interesting and very humorous blog. I laughed reading every paragraph. What fun! You are one lucky little bear, being allowed to sit on Dr Johnson’s special chair. Wow! I’m intrigued by the closing sentence “… I’m lucky to be here.” Can’t wait to find out what that’s all about.

    • Pauline

      Thank you Madalyn. I’m glad I made you laugh, as long as it wasn’t actually me you were laughing at..people do sometimes.

      I am building up to writing that next blog. I just hope Pauline won’t delete it, as it really doesn’t show her in a good light!!

  2. Wonderful editing Des, I did enjoy reading your article. You may end up having a sculpture made of you with the inscription ” He is a very fine bear,a very fine bear indeed ”

    I am rather concerned about the Drama you experienced in London.Please write your next blog soon.

    • Pauline

      Thanks Godmother Vonnie. My confidence is quite low at the moment, despite finding the error on the sign. I’m so glad I will be seeing you again soon. Lot of love Des xxx
      PS I am quite a fine bear!

  3. Esmeralda Mac, who is a mouse with a lot in common with you, would like to express her support. She once managed to escape from being trapped in a folding chair by the simple expedient of singing, but she knows that most toys only communicate supersonically. She has a singing chip embedded in her back.

    • Pauline

      Oh, I’d quite like to meet Ms Mac-Mouse. So would Dr Johnson’s cat Hodge I suspect.

      Yes, I too communicate supersonically and only those IN SYMPATHY WITH MY SOUL can hear. And anyway, some people are deaf to anything that does not concern themselves and their own pursuits. Love Editor Des.

      Excuse me Des, I think that last sentence was a little harsh. Remember I can always EDIT your work (Ha ha) as you are still only an apprentice. Pauline

  4. Oooooo, lunch looked lovely! 🙂


    • Pauline

      Yes, I do like a nice pie on a cold day! Des went hungry but it was his own fault!

    • Pauline

      Yes Vikki; no cake but I do like a nice pie on a cold day. Des went hungry but it was his own fault!

  5. I’m sure Pauline is truly sorry and has apologised profusely for that unfortunate incident. Glad you had a lovely visit to the Great Wen. I’ve seen mall spelled maul, and then only referring to a great big hammer, the sort you knock fence posts in with. I suppose a mallet is a small mall.

    • Pauline

      Thanks for your thoughts on the word ‘mall’ Mr Mike. Just as well I didn’t have a big hammer when Dr Bob finally arrived at the hotel. Pauline did apologize, but the damage to my psyche was already done. Nobody likes to be forgotten!!! Editor Des.

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