The teddies win

Death row was looking particularly tragic today.

They stared at me with their black little eyes and eerily fierce expressions.

I tried to look disdainful but probably ended up on the wrong side of indecisive.

“What’s the matter?” my mother said, walking into the middle of the stand off.

The matter? I think. The matter?

I’m 27-years-old and I’m sitting on the floor, surrounded by cuddly toys.

“Not sure they’re all going to go in,” I say, forcing a sad smile while fighting the urge to kick Mickey Mouse in the direction of the dog.

“Sure they will,” she says.

And that’s how it’s been since my lovely and entirely charitable mother learned her only daughter was about to go within 100m of disadvantaged children (forget that I’ve lived in Liverpool for two years, you can’t go handing out cuddly toys in Croxteth you know)

Besides the zoo there was a pile of Mr Men toothbrushes, children’s toothpaste, football-themed pens, flowery hair clips, alphabet books and writing paper.

Surprisingly, I managed to cram most of it in.

I had to make an eleventh hour decision not to pack my hair straighteners but hey, when my fro is taking over my face I’ll probably be secretly chuffed some little kid in Ecuador has clean teeth and a cuddly Winnie the Pooh.

And so the packing passed almost without incident.

There was one moment when I climbed onto a vacuum bag in a bid to squeeze out the last gasp of air, overbalanced and smacked my forehead on the sharp corner of a wooden shoe rack.

I now have an intriguing cut and a lump just below my hairline, which I’m sure will be cheerily reassuring for my new Galapagoan family.

Flying at 6am tomorrow.

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