My sister, who picks brilliant presents for children (having two adorable ones of her own) sent Eve a lovely gift for her birthday. It was a giftbox containing the wonderful children's book "Giraffes can't dance". If you have not come across it yet, I can highly recommend it as a delightful book, and the others by the same team are similarly charming. They have not quite exceeded my love of Julia Donaldson (Gruffalo, Sharing a Shell etc) but it comes close.
The giftbox came with a height chart and a small cuddly giraffe. Eve loved the book and the giraffe. There is a part in the book that describes Gerald (the giraffe) learning to dance and Eve would grab Gerald at this point and do the actions, including swishing his little tail. Gerald became her absolute favourite toy.
Last week her godfather was passing through town so off we went to meet him for an early supper. She wanted to show him Gerald so he came with us. I was a bit distracted in the cab (we were sharing it with another Dad, see previous post) and I was a bit rushed getting out of the taxi and realised too late that the beloved Gerald had been left behind. I didn't worry too much. The trusty Amazon would come to the rescue and I could just buy another one. I told Eve that Gerald had gone on holiday to London to see her cousins and would be back soon.
Getting home that night, what I expected to be an easy task turned into something quite different.
Amazon has every version of the book imaginable but no giftbox with Gerald. No matter, a couple of bookshops in the UK and New Zealand had it. Except when I went to their websites they were out of stock. It turns out that the cuddly Gerald was a special limited edition and is no longer sold.
With an increasing level of panic I turned to Ebay. Nothing in the US. Nothing on the HK site. I finally found someone who had 4 copies, seemingly the last 4 in the world, in the UK. All I had to do was register and pay, it even had the helpful "buy it now" tag so I could be assured of a new Gerald, although if the truth be known I probably would have bid an obscene amount of money to get my hands on it.
Except I hit a bit of a problem, you can't register on the UK website if you live overseas. It sent me to the HK Ebay site to register, where the whole registration process was in Chinese. By now I was starting to get really worried. Will Eve grow up always hating me? Will she always feel insecure that one day I might forget her and leave her in a taxi? Will she never trust me to tell her the truth again?
I managed to change the registration page to English, whay hey, and then registered. It sent me my confirmation email, which then sent me to a confirmation website that was, drum roll here folks, entirely in Chinese!
Back I went to the UK site and struck upon the brilliant idea of registering under my parent's address. Except it already had me registered via the HK site, which I couldn't read or confirm the registration, so, in effect, I could bugger off.
I started to sob.
Then I remembered that a good friend of mine is a bit of an Ebay-er. One phone call later, she had ordered Gerald and he was being sent to her.
He arrived today, she gave him to me whereupon he went straight into my handbag to ensure I didn't leave him behind in the restaurant. He is now sitting on the dining table where Eve will see him when she wakes up.