Cold weather has arrived, the humans decided to go for a wintery walk at Dyrham Park. There was a giant wreath in front of the house which made me look rather small.
I wandered off for a walk around the gardens. It is good to keep moving when the weather is chilly, it helps to keep bears and humans warm.
The gardeners were ‘resting’ the grass next to the waterfall and pond, so I couldn’t get close to the edge. They do this as during busy times the grass gets worn away by the many humans walking all over it.
The gardeners were very busy in the formal gardens and had lots of pots placed ready for planting.
They had plans to tell them exactly where to put the pots. I don’t know what was in the pots, we will have to visit again in spring to find out!
Wheelbarrows always look better with small bears inside…
At the Old Lodge there was a Christmas tree surrounded by very large presents. The boxes were big enough to contain big teddy bears.
Two rather splendid tractors were in the children’s play area. Fortunately there were no children around so I was able to try them both out…
I liked the red one best.
I had a potter about in the mud kitchen, which made me start thinking about real food.
The humans bought me a very tasty cheese and onion pasty in the tea room which warmed me up and filled up my tummy nicely. Yum yum yum.
I visit Dyrham quite often as it is near Bristol where I live and have blogged about it several times. If you wish to see my other blogs just type ‘Dyrham’ into the search box.
After being seated a waitress brought three plates full of treats for me to share with just one human. Yum yum yum.
After eating as much as my tummy could manage I went over to the fountain where warm spa waters emerge from the ground.
Small cone shaped cups were available for visitors to sip some of the spa water. Back in the late 17th century aristocrats came here to ‘take the waters’ as they believed that the mineral rich spring water could cure illnesses. I had a sip, it just tasted like warm water!
Before leaving the Waitress kindly put all the leftover cakes in a box for me to take home and share with my friends.
I only live a couple of miles from the Clifton Observatory, but I have never been inside. The humans aren’t keen to visit places when they are busy, but on a Thursday in October it wasn’t busy, so in we went.
On arrival we were quite hungry, so headed for the 360 Cafe to get a bit to eat.
The cafe has outdoor seating on the top with amazing views of Bristol and The Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Wallace dressed as Isambard Kingdom Brunel also lives up there.
I enjoyed a focaccia toastie with a splendid view.
After eating we went to get tickets to see the camera obscura and the giant’s cave.
I had to climb up lots and lots of steps right to the top of the tower to the camera obscura.
I carefully read the instructions for using the camera.
Then went into the room and closed the door.
The humans opened the door to take this photo of me, and the image on the big circle of stone disappeared as it does need to be dark.
With the door firmly shut I pushed the lever around which moves the mirrors right at the top which reflect the images of outside onto the circle.
I could see the Suspension Bridge and cars and people going across it. The camera obscura has been there since 1828, a very long time.
After spending quite a while with the camera it was time to venture down through the rocks of the Avon Gorge to The Giant’s Cave. Legend has it that local giant Goram lived in the cave.
There were lots and lots of steep steps that went down through the rock.
At the bottom there is a balcony in the side of The Avon Gorge. It is made of a steel grille, and it is possible to look down through it. I was a bit worried that my paws might fall through, or that 8 humans might suddenly join me.
I teetered as far as I could without standing on the grid and had a look at the view of the Suspension Bridge and the River Avon below.
There is net all over the balcony to stop birds nesting in the cave. My human took this photo of me and then I was keen to get back to the cave!
If you live in Bristol or are visiting The Observatory is definitely worth a visit, but the cave isn’t for the faint hearted. You also need to be reasonably fit as there are many steep steps, I should have counted them but I was busy holding on to the railings!
My humans had a wedding to attend in Provence in France and decided to take me along. For the first part of the journey, on a coach which left rather early in the morning (3am) I did pillow duties.
The coach eventually arrived at Gatwick Airport; we were flying to Marseille. The humans thought it would be quick to fly there, but unfortunately it ended up taking a very long time. I enjoyed a tasty croissant and a hot chocolate while waiting to be called to the departure gate.
I got through passport control and to the gate where humans and bears wait to get on aeroplanes. Unfortunately, it ended up being quite a long wait. The first aeroplane had a mechanical issue and we all had to move to another gate.
After boarding the aeroplane it was announced that the humans who control the air traffic in France had gone on strike. I had to sit in my seat for 5 hours before the aeroplane finally took off. It wasn’t too bad for me as I am small, but the humans found it rather uncomfortable.
I spent quite a while tucked in the backpack after we landed at Marseille. My human was very tired and had forgotten to take photos of me. After more travelling in a car we eventually arrived at the hotel in Chateauneuf le Rouge, and at about 1am I climbed into bed happy to have finally arrived but very tired. There were no problems in getting to sleep!
I slept for so long I missed the hotel breakfast, but the kind humans brought me breakfast in bed.
It didn’t take me long to get into holiday mode.
The humans were keen to explore Aix en Provence, where they would later be attending a family wedding. I went along with them as I do enjoy exploring new places. Here I am by the fountains,
A famous painter called Cezanne lived in Aix en Provence, his statue is in the square. I wondered whether he ever painted small bears.
France is a good place for food. I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch sat outside in the sunshine.
I also very much enjoyed my breakfast the morning after. The problem with buffets is knowing when to stop eating!
The hotel was just up the road from the small town of Chateauneuf de Rouge. I went for a stroll around while the humans attended the wedding at Aix en Provence. I didn’t go to the wedding as my human didn’t have a suitable bag to hide me in!
I spent a while in the library, where I realised I do need to improve my French,
In the woods there was an exercise trail, which was a tad challenging for a small bear and kept me busy for a while,
While out exploring I made friends with a giant grass hopper.
The day after the wedding the celebrations all the guests were invited to a brunch. I was delighted to be taken along.
The cake was probably the best cake I have ever tasted. Tarte Tropezienne; yum yum yum.
We left Chateauneuf de Rouge and set off towards the coast, eventually arriving at a campsite near Frejus, Plage d’Argens. The humans had rented a mobile home.
The campsite was next to a nature reserve and very near the beach, as we found out on a short walk before supper.
The humans cooked a yummy meal in the mobile home which we ate outside on the deck,
The next day I joined the humans on a long walk around the nature reserve, Les Etangs De Villepey. We found some flamingos which we spent a while watching from the hide.
My legs got quite tired with all the walking, so the day after I spent warming my fur by the pool and keeping an eye on the humans.
In the South of France prickly pear cacti thrive. I have heard that the pears are edible, but they looked a bit too prickly to me.
Following a short drive along the coast, past St Raphael, we found an island with a giant chess piece castle on the top. It is called Il d’Or.
It was very hot so I climbed into the pine trees to find some shade.
I very much enjoyed the tarte pomme that was part of my picnic.
One of the things I enjoy about France is the bread, and on campsites they bake it fresh every day.
Another fun day out was to St Tropez. In the high season it is a very busy resort, but in October when we visited it had quite a peaceful atmosphere. I enjoyed looked at all the big boats in the harbour and watching some of the yachts sail out to sea.
I found a pattiserie selling lots of different versions of the Tarte Tropezienne. The recipe on display looked quite complicated so I don’t think I will be able to make one.
On our last day in the South of France I had fun exploring a castle on the beach.
On the way back to Marseille airport I offered to drive a while for the humans, but they were concerned that I might not have great visibility due to my small stature.
The aeroplane going home was on time, and also was flying to Bristol where I live which was very good news.
Even better was that I got a whole seat to myself!
I had a lovely time in the South of France, the temperature was just right for small bears in October, and I won’t forget the Tarte Tropezienne!
I like to experiment with different sorts of food. I like traditional red beetroot so decided to make a donation for some of golden beetroot that was on the Tyntesfield produce stand. It was grown in their kitchen garden.
I packed it up in a brown paper bag and put some money in the donation pot.
Later at home the beetroot had a good wash.
I popped it all into a big saucepan and simmered it for about an hour.
After straining off the water and letting it cool a bit I removed the skins. The skins just slide off cooked beetroot very easily.
All ready now for slicing up.
I sliced them all up, added a little balsamic vinegar and put them in the fridge ready to have for lunch the next day.
The glory of golden beetroot is not getting stained paws while making beetroot sandwiches.
Nye joined me for lunch as he rather enjoys a bit of beetroot. He added some horseradish sauce to his sandwich. We both agreed golden beetroot is delicious.
I heard my human saying “Horace is too big to take on a bicycle mini tour”. While the humans were asleep I curled up small in one of the panniers. I popped out just as they had started the Taff Trail in Cardiff.
The humans pedalled away along the trail and I just peeped out at the view. I climbed out to look at Castle Coch….
They cycled up a steep hill and stopped for a while outside the castle. We didn’t go in as the humans had a long way to ride.
They did stop for a bite to eat, and shared a tasty cheese and tomato roll with me.
After quite a long while going along tracks and roads through Pontypridd and Methyr Tydfil we reached the Pontsticell reservoir, where there are lovely views of the Brecon Beacons.
The humans kept pedalling, the ride got a bit bumpy in a few places as the Taff trail follows a gravel track up and around the reservoir. They got a bit tired cycling on the gravel, and after going the wrong way up a hill decided to continue on the road instead of the trail to get to Brecon before it got dark! Fortunately there was one pub still serving food, and after checking in to our B&B we went the George Hotel for some supper.
I was very pleased to be able to sleep in a bed and not the pannier!
The B&B that we stayed in cooked a yummy Welsh breakfast. We stayed at The Old Castle Farm Guest House.
The humans didn’t want to cycle over any more big hills so set off to Abergavenny along the Brecon Canal towpath. Here I am at The Brecon Basin, where the canal begins.
In the early 19th century horse drawn trams used to transport goods such as coal, limestone, timber, farm produce and beer to the canal from Hay on Wye, and the goods were then transported onto Newport by canal.
Here I am sitting on a wooden horse sculpture pulling a coal wagon at Watton Wharf.
As we went on along the canal we came across a family of swans that were following a narrowboat. I think they may have been hoping for some food!
The bicycles, or indeed no one could get through the Ashford Tunnel unless on a canal boat so we went around a diversion. Back in the 1850s the horses that pulled the canal boats were walked around on the outside, while men had to lie on the top of the boat and walk their legs along the tunnel walls to propel the boat along.
I spent a while reading about the tunnel. Fortunately there was text in English as well as Welsh. I only know a few Welsh words.
Further along the the humans stopped at Llangynidr where there are five locks quite close together. There was a little stall selling Welsh wildflower honey. As you probably already know I rather enjoy honey so I bought a jar.
A man who was a Canal and River Trust volunteer gave me a sticker.
I watched a canal boat going through one of the locks. It must take a while to get through five!
At Llangynidr there was water available for dogs, humans and bears. It is important to stay hydrated when the weather is hot so I refilled a water bottle there.
As we continued along the canal I spotted Rosie and Jim.
I would quite like to go on holiday on a canal boat, but I think sometimes they can be difficult to steer. This one was trying to turn round but seemed a bit stuck…
We left the canal path at Abergavenny, where we went to the train station as the humans had tired legs and didn’t want to cycle all the way back to Cardiff. At Abergavenny Station the Whistlestop Cafe serves made to order toasties. The cheese and tomato one was very yummy indeed.
I did enjoy my mini tour of Wales, and I don’t think I was too much trouble in the pannier as I don’t weigh very much, though I think I may weigh a little bit more now after all the food that I ate (I wasn’t doing any pedaling to burn it off!)
As the human took this photograph a flash of lightening appeared followed shortly after by a loud clap of thunder and heavy rain. Quite fitting for an Abbey and Town that inspired Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula!
We hid for a while inside the bear carrier until the rain went off, then had another look at Whitby Abbey. It was built about 1400 years ago.
The sunshine returned so we walked down the 199 steps. Some of the people coming up looked a bit tired.
It was good to sit on the harbour wall for a while and dry off fur, we did get a little bit wet before getting in the bear carrier during the earlier thunderstorm.
There was a vast selection of rock in a shop that only sold things made of rock. The human said rock is bad for teeth so we didn’t buy any as we want to keep our teeth.
Nye and myself had a bit of a disagreement about whether we should go to the beach as more rain clouds were gathering in the sky. We just happened to be outside the ‘Arguments Yard’. Can you spot the cat?
We did go to the beach and were very lucky not to get caught in another storm.
Nye thought it a shame that all the beach huts were locked up as they would make great rain shelters.
We would have to make do with huddling under the eaves if the rain reached us; we could see it falling further around the bay.
Having come down the 199 steps earlier, we had to go up them again. Rather challenging for two small bears already tired from walking to the the beach.
The good news was that next to Whitby Abbey there is a YHA cafe, and it was still open and serving cake. An excellent reward for climbing 199 steps.
Whitby is a great Yorkshire seaside town with something for everyone. Dodging rain and thunderstorms certainly made our visit more interesting.
The humans rented a National Trust cottage for a week to explore Lindisfarne and surrounding area. We spent quite a while sitting in the cottage window watching all the people visiting the island as our cottage was on the route to The Abbey and next door to Naitonal Trust shop.
We went out very early to see the Island before all the tourists arrived. Access to the island is restricted by the tides. The causeway to the island is covered in water twice a day and is only safe to cross when the tide is out. Here we are looking at Lindisfarne castle from the harbour.
Upturned boats are used by fishermen as huts.
This one was our favourite hut.
We walked across the meadow to get a better look at the castle which is perched high up on rock.
All the spring flowers were in bloom. This photo was taken from the Gertrude Jekyll Garden which is across the meadow from the castle.
The weather changed quite a lot while we were on the island. On the 2nd day it was very windy but that didn’t stop us going out to explore.
We found lots and lots of cairns built on the beach.
It seemed like a good idea for us to build cairns too, but it did take a while. Big pebbles are very heavy for small bears to move around
Finally we finished them.
On another day we went going back to the Gertrude Jekyll garden to take some more photographs for the blog.
Gates are sometimes a tad challenging to small bears.
There is a little shed in the corner of the garden full of gardening tools.
We enjoyed identifying some of the plants. The purple plant is Nepeta, sometimes known as catmint, there is some in our garden at home.
The sweet peas had a lovely perfume
After having a rest on the bench in the garden we set off to explore the Lime Kilns
Limestone was burned in the kilns to reduce it to lime which was used as fertilizer and in mortar and limewash for buildings. It was very hard work for the men that worked there around 150 years ago.
There were numerous kilns which would have been heated up using coal.
This is the bottom of one of the kilns.
The carts carrying the limestone were dragged up to the top to be dropped in by men to spare the horses the heat coming up from the kilns. The tops of the kilns are now all fenced in to stop people and other creatures falling down the holes.
We spent so long looking at the lime kilns the castle was closed when we got there! The humans had seen it one day while we were busy sitting in the window of the cottage and said the inside was worth seeing, so do go in if you are ever on the island.
We climbed up to the door just to make sure it really was closed,
The door was indeed shut, however it was a good place to have a rest after the climb.
Here we are having another rest after walking back down from the castle.
We managed to visit Lindisfarne Priory while it was still open. Some monastic bears were waiting for humans to adopt them in the English Heritage gift shop.
There isn’t actually very much left of the Priory. A very very long time ago, about 1400 years ago, a monk called Cuthbert lived here. When Cuthbert died he later became a Saint.
We spend a little while exploring the remains of the various rooms.
Apparently when the Priory was no longer in use the stone was taken to build the castle and local houses.
We could see The Castle from the Priory.
Lindisfarne is a great place to visit, but if you stay on the island as we did, you have to be mindful of the tides and plan outings off the island accordingly!
On this occasion we certainly weren’t going anywhere as the causeway was submerged.
The Ship Inn is one of the pubs on the island, and we very much enjoyed the fish and seafood stew that we had there one evening.
The evening before it was time to leave we went down to the harbour one last time.
We watched the sunset and listened to the sound of the seals singing.