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Bagpuss awoke and yawned, he didn’t realise how long he had been asleep but it had been a long, long time. The others didn’t seem to mind, professor Yaffle the carved disginguished bookend in the shape of a woodpecker was also prone to taking the odd nap. Madeleine the rag doll patted him, ‘old furry catpuss, you have been asleep, come and see what Emily has bought you’.

Bagpuss looked over at the empty jar Emily had left. It was covered in dust and had a small peeling label on the front. The mice from the mouse organ had already rolled it across the floor convinced it was a fabulous glass house made for a very important snail. Paddington who had been listening from the corner of the room disagreed and gave the mice a hard stare. It’s a jar for marmalade said Paddington as he removed a large marmalade sandwich from underneath his hat. A whistle from behind the mouse organ disagreed and Tiny Clanger stepped out. No matter how hard he whistled he just couldn’t get the rest to understand until Parsley the lion who had been listening intently sat up and started to speak only to be interrupted by Dill who raced across the floor chasing his tail.

The ‘ching’ of the door drew everyone’s attention and they all looked up to see good old Mr Benn step in followed by Pugh, Pugh, Barney, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub the Trumpton Firemen. Even they were puzzled by Emily’s object and it was only when Hartley the outspoken hare and Zippy started to argue that they all realised what it was.

But before they could finish the door opened and in stepped a grim looking man.

‘I’m here to inform you all that on this day April 3rd 1987 this shop ‘Childhood’ and all its contents has been declared unworthy and is to be closed with immediate effect. All characters are to be disbanded and all found objects to be destroyed along with imagination, innocence and manners.’

Emily’s shop, ‘Childhood’ closed its doors and lay dormant for several months until a development firm moved in and ripped out the Victorian frontage and replaced it with a large glass window. It’s new owners, four armed turtles opened the doors of its new refurbished shop ‘Brats’ and business was never better. It was louder, brasher and you could see children racing around screaming and kicking all day long. During a special Power Rangers event children became so excited they were sick and it took a lot of cleaning by the Pokemon’s to put the shop back in order the next day but they all agreed that such mayhem was great fun indeed.

All went fine until one day in the year 2000 a familiar grim looking man stepped in to ‘Brats’.

‘I’m here to inform you all that on this day April 3rd 2005 this shop ‘Brats’ and all its contents has been declared unworthy and is to be closed with immediate effect. All characters are to be disbanded and all your attitude is to be retained for future generations.’

Overnight ‘Brats’ was gutted and remodelled into a shop not unlike every other shop in the high street. It was called ‘All Growed Up’ and contained everything a young adult from the age of three could ever want. Gone were the toys and tools of imagination, gone were the calming stories and soft comfort of being shielded from the world. In was gritty realism, mobile phones with access to an uncensored adult world, a overpowering message that fame was in your grasp and the only thing that mattered was you. Manners was swept under the carpet along with respect for others, tolerance and humility. Shelves were stacked high with arrogance, violence, sex and disrespect for others and the shop thrived. The shop was so successful it became a chain of stores and can be found in every corner of every town in every country to this very day.

Emily’s ‘Childhood’ shop still exists, it’s deep in us all if you look hard enough but it’s voice is still, unable to call and be heard against the clamour of daily life. But for those that know, it never leaves and you can open the door and step in, just close your eyes and your there.


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