About karenlovestodance

I love to dance and I like to buy clothes in charity shops, though on one occasion I bought a teddy bear called Horace instead!

Dyrham Park in winter

A chilly wind blows at the top of Dyrham Park in winter.  

Fortunately I have my fur to keep me warm.

There are also trees that bears can shelter in.

The gardens near the house are more sheltered from wind.  I was pleased to find Percy the Park Keeper’s wheelbarrow Bear sized….

The sun came out very briefly, just enough to warm my tummy fur a tiny bit.

I posed for a selfie in the splendid Christmas wreath.

I was starting to feel a bit chilly so headed to the hot food hut to get some lunch.

I opted for a cheese and onion pasty and a nice cup of tea,  and very much enjoyed them sat in the courtyard.

I will probably visit again soon!   For more information about Dyrham see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyrham-park

Horace the Alresford Bear  5/12/2021

Working in a small branch library (Marksbury Rd)

I occasionally work in Bristol libraries. Today I did a few hours at a small branch library known as Marksbury Road Library.

The books are issued to readers using a ‘wand’ that scans their barcodes, and when they are returned the barcodes are scanned again. I was pleased to see someone had been reading about Winnie the Pooh.

The books have to be put back on the shelves after being returned. I put Winnie the Pooh on display. It is good book for young and old humans to read.

I spent quite a while shelving books, it is important that they get put back in the right place. The books are all quite large for a small Bear to carry about

I decided to look on the computer to see if Bristol libraries copy of ‘Horace the Alresford Bear’ was on loan. It was on loan, but was quite overdue. I think the borrower must have liked it so much they decided to keep it!

Libraries are really great places, full of interesting books with lots of wonderful children’s books too. All the books are free to borrow. I certainly enjoyed working in the library today, and I think the lanyard does look very good on me.

For more information about Bristol Libraries (there are lots of them) see: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/libraries-archives

Horace the Alresford Bear 30/11/21

Exploring Alderley Edge Woods

I love exploring new places. Alderley Edge is ‘up north’ in Cheshire, a few miles from Manchester.

There are lots of strange cracks and crevices in the rocks, and many mines in the ground below. Rumour has it that a wizard lives at Alderley Edge, it’s a place full of mystery and intrigue.

The cracks are big enough to shelter small bears.

The woodland has a diverse ecosystem, with many different sorts of tree. Autumn is a good time to find fungi, this bracket fungi was too far away to photograph up close though.

I had a long climb up to some interesting looking rocks through tree root steps….

Here I am peering over the top while humans called ‘don’t go to close to the edge Horace’….

My human clambered down with camera to take the photo.

Some more bracket fungi….

I thought this fungi was an excellent specimen of Hoof fungi.

You may know that I like to visit ancient stone circles. Here I am with the Druid Stone Circle, but it isn’t a real one like Stonehenge but thought to be folly put there about 200 years ago.

The Pilkington sisters bought the woods, with Cheshire County Council contributing a quarter of the cost, then gave the woodland to the National Trust in memory of their parents.

There certainly are lovely views at the top.

Before leaving I sat quietly for a while in the woods wondering if the wizard might appear, but suspect he hides away in the caverns below the ground.

Do visit Alderley Edge if you are in the area, such a wonderful peaceful place with lots of history and legends.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/alderley-edge-and-cheshire-countryside

Horace the Alresford Bear 16/11/21

Autumn at Dunham Massey Deer Park

We arrived at lunch time so I had a bite to eat in the restaurant before exploring

The trees look wonderful in Autumn.

I sat for a while by the lake and thought to myself it would be good to be able to paint a picture of those trees.

Autumn is a great time for mushroom spotters.

After walking a little while I found some of the deer that live in the park.

Some of them were quite near the footpath .

This little fungi seemed to be hiding inside the log.

The trees behind me looked especially vivid in the late autumn sunshine.

I really enjoyed my trip to Dunham Massey, the last time I visited was in July 2018 when there was a heatwave, so this was a totally different experience.

https://horacethealresfordbear.com/2018/07/10/dunham-massey/

Horace the Alresford Bear 14/11/21

Levenshulme Market

In Levenshulme, Manchester a market is held every Saturday.

I said ‘Hello’ to a friendly sausage dog on the ‘Goody Paws’ stall. They were selling some tasty looking dog treats and very stylish dog collars.

I had a little sip of wine from one of the tiny wine beakers on the ‘Vinobuono’ wine stall.

…..then afterwards had a nice chat with the friendly proprietor.

I really like the way clothes pegs and pom poms had been made into little people on the ‘Junk to Funky’ stall.

I bought a little fairy to take home with me 🙂

The ‘Rhubarb Tabard’ was stall selling rather splendid knitted hats.

I think I look very handsome in this one.

My tummy started rumbling so it was food time. I bought a very tasty mushroom burger at the ‘Food Rebels’ stall.

Followed by a cup of mulled cider from ‘Market Tavern’. Yum yum yum….

Before leaving I had another peek at the sock gonks that were sat at the end of the peg people stall….

I had a little chat with some patchwork bears for sale at the ‘Stitch Sisters MCR’ stall.

I enjoyed my visit to the market, it had a good atmosphere and the stall holders were very friendly.

Levenshulme Market is a social enterprise run by the local community. For more information see: https://www.levymarket.com

Horace the Alresford Bear 13/11/2021

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Halloween trail at Tyntesfield

Today we followed lots of spooky pumpkins around Tyntesfield and found a wonderful display of pumpkins squashes and other produce grown in their kitchen garden. Here are the photos….

We hope you enjoyed our photos.

For more about Tyntesfield see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tyntesfield

Horace the Alresford Bear 31/10/2021

Osborne – where Queen Victoria lived.

Queen Victoria was the Queen’s great grandmother. She lived in a very splendid house, Osborne on Isle of Wight. Nowadays English Heritage look after the house and grounds.

The gardens are very well looked after and had a purple and yellow theme.

We perched very carefully on the wall to look at the garden on the lower terrace.

We went into the house which was very interesting, but there were lots of humans looking round and it was rather difficult to take photos. We did however get a photograph in The Durbar room.

The Durbar Room was finished in 1891 and decorated with intricate Indian style carvings and quite amazing.

Once back outside we set off to see The Swiss Cottage.

We had to go up steps outside the cottage and along a balcony to get upstairs.

The table was set ready for afternoon tea.

Opposite the Swiss Chalet we discovered a gardener’s tool shed.

On peering through the wire fence we could see lots of small carts and wheelbarrows.

The little carts and wheelbarrows used to belong to Queen Victoria’s children, she had 9 altogether. They were all personalised with the initials of the princes and princesses.

Each of Queen Victoria’s children had their own gardening plot. We wondered if they would have grown pumpkins like the ones growing there today……

Further along we found a children’s play area with a little house that looked a bit like the Swiss Cottage.

We never miss an opportunity to whoosh down a slide, due to our soft fur we usually travel quite fast. Our human calls slides ‘sliders’ because she comes from Bristol, but as we are from Alresford we use the correct term ‘slide’.

Next we set off to find the beach. There are some lovely wood carvings next to the path. Nye posed for a photo with the red squirrel. (We have seen several red squirrels on the Isle of Wight but haven’t been able to photograph them

Queen Victoria’s bathing machine was rather fascinating. She used to get changed into a bathing costume in it and then swim from the beach.

It would have been lovely to see inside, but the front was all closed up.

There is a beach cafe just along from the Bathing Machine, where very delicious ice creams were being served. We did wonder whether Queen Victoria had ice cream at the beach.

Osborne beach; there is something calming about just sitting and looking out at the sea.

The autumn sun came out and we were able to warm our fur and not get too hot.

After leaving the beach we set off to find the ice house. If Queen Victoria did have ice cream, her kitchen staff would have had to make it fresh using ice from the ice house. Here it is!

We walked down a tunnel to view the deep well in the ground where ice was stored to keep it frozen.

I climbed up to get a closer look but Nye stayed away, he didn’t want to risk falling through the railings into the deep hole,

It was nearly time for Osborne to close and we suddenly realised we hadn’t seen The Walled Garden. So glad we remembered, as it the corner of the walled garden there were three topiary pigs.

Such a lovely afternoon with lots to see including the sea. We do recommend a visit to Osborne if you are on Isle of Wight.

For more details see https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/osborne/

Horace the Alresford Bear 1/10/2021

Newtown National Nature Reserve; a very special place

The National Trust cabin is a really splendid place to stay at Newtown, Isle of Wight.

It’s very cosy inside.

We like an adventure so set off to explore the Nature Reserve.

I had to help little Nye through the gates.

It wasn’t long before Nye found a tree to hide in.

We sat in a tree for a while to look for red squirrels but didn’t see any.

We were rewarded shortly afterwards when one appeared on the path. Unfortunately squirrels on nature reserves are very shy of bears and humans and it dissappeared into the trees before we could take a photograph.

At the salt marshes we sat and rested for a while and watched a little egret (too far away to photograph with ordinary camera).

Nye climbed up into a tree for a better view.

It was very exciting to spot the bird hide at the end of the boardwalk.

We had to wait outside for a human to open the door for us to go in.

Once inside I borrowed some binoculars and had a much better view of the little egret and other birds.

There are small man made lakes in the salt marshes which used to be used as salt pans to harvest salt from the sea.

We said ‘hello’ to a friendly swan in the harbour before heading back to Newtown cabin.

Exploring is hungry work, so the buns didn’t stay on their plates for very long!

For more information about Newtown and the Nature Reserve see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/newtown-national-nature-reserve-and-old-town-hall

This is where we stayed: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/newtown-cabin-isle-of-wight

Horace the Alresford Bear 28/9/2021

Calling at Alresford for lunch, with another visit to where we were made)

We were very happy to be able to stop for lunch at the town of our manufacture today. The Town Mill where many of our younger relatives were made is now a gym for humans to keep fit.

We wandered on through the town to find the Town Mill where we were made. This is the stream that used to feed the mill when it had a water wheel many years ago.

Further down the road we found The Town Mill, now flats which look very nice. Me and Nye were both made in the building behind us.

We did a short bit of the Riverside walk as didn’t have lots of time. Here we are in front of the very pretty Fulling Mill. Woollen cloth was felted here many years ago.

The Felting Mill is very picturesque.

We didn’t have time to stay long so returned to the High Street to find somewhere for lunch. Watercress soup and scones made from locally grown watercress was delicious, we had this at The Courtyard Cafe which is reached via an alleyway.

You might like to read about my previous visits to Alresford.

https://horacethealresfordbear.com/2016/08/23/returning-to-alresford-on-the-watercress-line/

https://horacethealresfordbear.com/2015/06/28/going-back-to-my-roots/

Horace the Alresford Bear 27/9/2021

Polesden Lacey; with a gold room and very tasty bangers & mash!

Polesden Lacey is a very grand house in Surrey.

I don’t always go inside houses but went inside this one to see the gold room. The walls are decorated with real gold leaf and very shiny.

The ironing was done by servants with flat irons that would’ve been heated on a range. I’m not sure why the mannequin is missing her head!

At the back of the house there is a sloping lawn.

As readers may know, I like to do roly polies on grass banks.

Weeeeeeee……

The sundial clock was an hour behind time as sundials stay in Greenwich meantime.

This is my favourite photo from my visit.

On one of the walls in the garden there were lots of containers containing succulents incorporated into the wall.

The rhubarb was looking good in the vegetable garden.

I was keen to say hello to the chickens so hurried through the wildflowers meadow.

I could only see one very big chicken; I think the others must have been hiding.

Just along from the chicken enclosure the bees were very busy buzzing in and out of their hives.

I found a very interesting sign about how gardeners could progress from being a gardener’s boy living in a boggy to head gardener with a house. It took many years and lots of knowledge and hard work to become a head gardener.

The rose garden had nearly finished being in full bloom and many needed to be dead headed. It must take a very long time doing this at Polesden Lacey as the rose garden is huge.

A pet cemetery always makes me feel a little bit sad. It seems Mrs Greville liked terriers.

Before ordering my lunch I tried out this bicycle for size. It was slightly large!

Here I am tucking into sausages and colcanon mash, the best I have ever had. Colcannon mash is made to an Irish recipe and it was delicious.

Before going home I chose a plant for our next door neighbour as a present for looking after our rabbit.

I hope to go to Polesden Lacey again oneday for more sausage and mash, it would be great to eat it in the gold room but I don’t think that would be allowed!

For more information see https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/polesden-lacey

Horace the Alresford Bear 9/8/2021