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!

Westonbirt Arboretum (including accidental collection of Burdock burs)

There are many many trees to see at Westonbirt Arboretum. To begin I went up to see the tree tops on the high trail.

It was very interesting to see the trees high up.

Further along there was a good view of the wood works where people were busy making things.

There is an interesting information board on the walkway explaining how trees get their nutrients and water up to the leaves at the top.

I was hoping to climb up even higher to a platform around a tall tree’s trunk but unfortunately it was closed for maintenance.

At one point bees were busy and as the walkway was in their flight path I didn’t hang around.

At the end of the walkway there is a splendid sculpture featuring three dogs.

The day was very hot so I spent a while sitting under a very big tree.

There was also a very tidy bivouac.

I think this was my favourite tree in the Arboretum.

It is a Japanese Paper Maple.

The young trees are kept inside little fenced areas to keep them safe. This one is a honey locust tree.

There was a strange carved house for little people. A wizardry type of chap with a woodpecker on his head were above the door for fairies.

I was very surprised to come across the Gruffalo’s child wandering in the Silk Wood.

Somehow I managed to get caught up in some burdock. It is like the prickly side of velcro and my fur is the soft side.

Thankfully I managed to get free.

This is a special composting station where wood chips used for mulch are stored. The heaps get hot which sterilises them.

To start with I thought these flowers were crocuses growing at the wrong time. My human thinks they are some kind of anemone.

Sometimes you just have to lie under trees.

The view from the ground made me feel very small.

Another young tree safe it its cage. This one is a Japanese Maple (Westonbirt Spreading Star).

There are many miles of paths in the Arboretum. I think I travelled about 6 miles. (I did spend a little time in the bear carrier)

Many trees from all around the world big and small.

I was jolly pleased to find some honey bees…

I did rather jump when I spotted The Gruffalo! He is actually very friendly.

Mouse was busy with an acorn.

Fox let me have a little ride.

Then Owl was so busy being wise and thoughtful he didn’t lend a wing and help me up!

La

Squirrel was a happy fellow

And Snake fortunately didn’t eat me.

After so much walking about my legs were getting very tired and tummy hungry so we headed back towards the cafe.

I settled for cinnamon bun and some ice cream. Yum yum yum…

When I got home I discovered that I still had burdock burst stuck on my fur. The burdock plant is very good at distributing its seeds that way. I shall plant them in a pot and see if they grow baby burdock bushes.

Horace the Alresford Bear 11/8/2020

For more info about Westonbirt see:

https://www.forestryengland.uk/westonbirt-the-national-arboretum

Lacock Adventure

Nye was very excited to come along to Lacock with me.

Lacock is a very old village in Wiltshire.  Here I am admiring a splendid wood framed house.

We spotted what looked like a green castle in a garden but on climbing up onto the wall realised it was a topiary.

There was also a topiary whale. Can you spot it?

One house had a stall outside selling all sorts of home jams and meringues.

Amongst the jam we found a jar of Lacock honey. Honey is good for bears so we bought it.

Further up the road we spotted a little stall outside a cottage with lavender bags for sale.

Nye chose a little bag and we popped a pound through the letterbox as instructed.

Further along there was a trug full of very beautiful vegetables for sale.  Again we popped some money through the letterbox for some green beans and summer squashes.  Fortunately the humans were happy to carry them as they were rather heavy for small bears

Before going into The Abbey grounds we stopped at the National Trust Stables cafe for some chocolate cake. Yum yum yum….

The Abbey gardens are very pretty and many summer flowers were in bloom. 

There were also lots of apples in the orchard.

We said ‘Hello’ to the Abbey cat.

Nye spotted a big pond disguised with green plants and lilies growing all over the top.

We were pleased to discover a life ring at hand just in case anyone falls in.

The sheep in the next field were a bit shy and moved away when we went to greet them.

Here we are in front of Lacock Abbey…

We found a ‘Monastic drain’.  I peered down and there was a very big cavern underneath.  (For more information about the drain see the link at the end of this blog)

Before entering the Abbey to see The Cloisters we paused for a selfie.

The Cloisters at Lacock are a masterpiece and very beautiful.

Some of the filming for the Harry Potter films was carried out in Lacock’s Cloisters.

The Cloisters really are very special and well worth visiting.

As we walked back to the carpark I noticed this sign which is very true. We all need nature.

Horace the Alresford Bear 4/8/2020

For more information about Lacock see: 

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lacock-abbey-fox-talbot-museum-and-village

For information about the monastic drain see:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/content/articles/2006/01/30/lacock_abbey_drain_feature.shtml

Ashton Hill Woods

It is always good to explore new places. Ashton Hill Woods are actually fairly near to our home but we haven’t visited before.

Off down the path we went through the woods.

We stopped and climbed up onto a wall to see the view

It was very exciting to reach the Big Tree Grove.

The big trees are Californian Redwoods and were planted over 150 years ago.

Selfie time!

We stopped and ate the cherries that we had brought along for refreshments.

At times there were two strange bears walking just in front of us!

Nye is very small so it is necessary to keep a close eye on him in the bracken in case he disappears….

We decided to search for fungi…..

Found a lonely very tall mushroom!

At the edge of the woods there was a gap in the wall….

On climbing over we found some very well manicured grass and hills to roly poly down.

Whee……

We were having great fun but the humans called and told us we were on a posh golf course!

Back in the woods I climbed up a tree. Nye needed a paw to get up too.

He made it in the end!

We enjoyed exploring Ashton Hill Woods; a peaceful place.

For more details see: https://www.forestryengland.uk/ashton-hill

Lytes Cary

Lytes Cary Manor House has really lovely gardens

The large patch of various types of thyme was very pleasing to the eye.

I think I look good with purple!

After visiting the gardens we set off on the woodland explorer trail.

There was a very big bug house so I didn’t get too close just in case very big bugs had moved in!

Soon I came across a good opportunity to practice my climbing.

Someone had been busy building a bear shelter.

I stopped to listen to the bird song as suggested and my human got a video clip.

Then sadly her phone went off, the battery had run out, so we didn’t get any more photos.

We finished the woodland trail then walked around some fields while trying to work out what crops were growing. The visit ended with cake and a flask of tea; I am sure you can imagine me sitting with my Victoria sponge!

An interesting place to visit if you are passing by.

For more information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lytes-cary-manor

Horace the Alresford Bear 20/6/2020

Barrington Court

It has been a busy week for me visiting National Trust gardens; the humans should have been on holiday but ended up having to holiday from home and visit some fairly local places.  The first thing I noticed at Barrington Court was a sign saying only one gardener had been looking after the grounds during the ‘lockdown’ period. 

Everything looked fine to me but the grass was quite long in the orchard.

I was  very keen to see the gardens…

For a few minutes I had to shelter from the rain.

There were lots of marigolds in the kitchen garden; marigolds attract insects that eat aphids so I presume that is why they were there.

Cherries; yum yum yum!

Some of the flowers in the kitchen garden were probably being grown to cut and put in flower arrangements such as the Sweet William here.

I was very impressed with the pears being grown against the wall.

There were normal pear trees too; I think these will be delicious at the end of summer.

I was very careful not to fall into the pond.

A rather wild looking scarecrow was busy keeping birds away.

There was also a very busy gardener working very hard in The White Garden.

I liked this splendid path so much I just had to sit and look at it for a while.

The bees on the flowers are also fascinating to watch…

On leaving the gardens we discovered Strode House, which was built in the 17th Century as a stable block. It now contains a holiday apartment which must be a lovely place to stay.

I spent a while looking at the garden.

Here I am in front of the Tudor House, Barrington Court. It was one of the first large houses that the National Trust acquired.

I didn’t get too close to the moat.

While exploring the woods it was good to find that honey bee hives were nearby.

I kept well away from the hives. Bees are best left alone to make their honey.

There was a very strange multi-faceted sundial with a lion sat on top on the lawn in front of the house.

After all the exploring I was quite hungry. I had a very peaceful lunch sat on the lawn outside the shop (which is closed at the moment).

Barrington Court is well worth visiting especially if you like gardens with beautiful paths. I hope to go again sometime.

For more information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/barrington-court

Horace the Alresford Bear 18/6/2020

Kingston Lacy gardens & woodland walk

Today I visited Kingston Lacy for the first time ever.

There was a sign explaining that due to the estate being closed for a few months because of the coronavirus some of the garden areas had become a bit wild and overgrown. No problem for me as I like wild places!

Here I am resting in front of the house.

This sign urges humans to take off their shoes and feel the earth beneath their feet. I do that most of the time and love it.

I was very tempted to climb on these then noticed the sign….

It is wonderful to stumble upon bear sized shelters when exploring.

Another chance for a little rest in the Japanese Garden.

I climbed up onto the fence to view the other half of the Japanese garden.

There is a very beautiful meadow full of oxeye daisies and surrounded by bamboo.

I nearly got lost in the bamboo; it is much taller than the sort we have at home.

Sadly some of the flower beds are empty at the moment but they have been weeded and no doubt will soon be full of bedding plants.

The perennial deliphiniums were looking quite striking.

I’m not sure that this poppy should have been in the rose garden but I thought it looked amazing.

I didn’t expect to fine a sarcophagus at Kingston Lacy. The humans assured me that it wasn’t a real one.

Before going on the woodland walk I ate some lunch. I don’t always have cake!

The Woodland walk has some interesting activities along the route. Stepping stones; much easier for bears and humans with long legs. I have short legs.

I spotted a huge tree that must have fallen during a storm.

Someone had carved special bear sized steps into the side of it.

More splendid fungi….

This was an interesting activity found next to the path. Making faces with twigs and leaves.

I do like walking through woods.

The next activity was to build a little house with bits of wood and bark.

Further into the woods I found yet more fungi.

After completing the woodland walk my legs were quite tired and I felt in need of refreshment. I headed towards the stables cafe where takeaway food and drinks were being served.

I opted for locally made Purbeck icecream. It was delicious.

Kingston Lacy is a really lovely place and I do think children especially would enjoy the woodland walk.

For more information see https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy

Horace the Alresford Bear 17/6/2020

Stourhead in the time of coronavirus

I was very lucky to visit Stourhead yesterday. Since the coronavirus started spreading amongst humans National Trust properties have been closed, but last week they started to re open just letting in a few people at a time. The tickets have to be booked and my human was online at 2am in the morning to get tickets for our visit.

Humans have to stay 2 metres apart all the time nowadays in order to stop the coronavirus from spreading. We waited to go in at specially laid out 2 metre apart bollards.

Once inside the first beautiful sight was a large patch of ox eye daisies.

We had to cross a bridge over the road to get into the main estate.

A lady at the ticket office asked for our names and ticked us off her list. She wished us a lovely afternoon.

Here I am in front of the house. At the moment only the park and garden are open.

There are some really lovely rhododendrons at Stourhead.

We had to follow a one way route. The follies that adorn the estate were all closed but I had a little peak in the window of the Temple of Flora.

There were signs to stop people going the wrong way.

I was very excited when we reached The Grotto. Bears like grottos.

The statues and grotto are over 200 years old. This statue is of a nymph.

I like the window in the grotto with the view across the lake to the Palladian Bridge.

There was a big hole in the ceiling to let the light in.

At the other end of the grotto I found the statue of The River God.

Further on on our walk around the lake was the Gothic Cottage; a really pretty little house that I would like to live in.

I climbed up and had a look inside.

Next folly on the walk was The Pantheon. This can be seen from the other side of the lake. The follies all appear in view at various points around the lake walk.

At The Temple of Appolo a statue was missing so I filled the gap for a little while.

I had to be very careful not to fall in the lake when crossing this little bridge.

I stopped for a while to look at the view across the lake. Here I could see The Temple of Flora and The Boat House.

After passing a water wheel (off limits today) and a field full of noisy sheep another grotto appeared. This one lead up towards the woods.

There were little Bear sized caves in the grotto walls.

In order to get back to the main estate I had to toddle through a creepy tunnel going under the road above.

There are lots of geese at Stourhead but they all started to walk away when they noticed me.

We found a perfect place for a little picnic with wonderful view.

Before picnic though I had to visit the Bristol Cross for a selfie, as I do live in Bristol nowadays.

The hillock that the Bristol Cross stands on is a splendid place for roly polies.

I would in normal times have cake in the cafe, but Karen’s homemade carrot cake is just as yummy; the tea from the flask is good too. I might get used to picnics.

Stourhead Garden was designed by Capability Brown over 200 years ago. It is a beautiful place and well worth a visit.

For more details see https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead.

Horace the Alresford Bear 16/6/20

Blaise Castle Estate

Today I visited Blaise Castle Estate in Bristol to look for the castle. There is museum there too in the big house but that hasn’t yet opened.

Behind the big house I found a delightful thatched building which in times gone by was a dairy.

At the start of the walk through the Woods there was a little house which looked a bit like something from a fairytale.

I was jolly pleased to find a bear sized rope swing.

Sometimes in woods I just like to sit and listen to the birds.

At a clearing I thought at first that I had found a sandpit to play in but it turned out to be a golf course.

Back in the woods it was just as well I am not tall as I had to squeeze underneath a fallen tree.

A stream runs through the valley; here I am posing on a bridge.

Climbing uphill is always quite challenging for me due to my short legs.

Finally we found the castle. It is actually a folly and not a real castle but it looks quite splendid on top the hill.

I stopped to read the information sign about the hill; it was a forty hundred of years ago.

Around the hill there are a few man made caves which are good for bears.

After all the exploring I was glad to sit on a bench and eat my packed lunch. No cake today!

For more information see: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/museums-parks-sports-culture/blaise-castle-estate

Horace the Alresford Bear 8/6/2020

Free to a good home….

My human doesn’t actively look for bears anymore as quite alot of us already live with her. However today when she was walking to visit grandhuman she saw this sad unwanted bear sitting on a hedge.

She didn’t hesitate to rescue him as knew that we would make him welcome.  On reaching my grandhuman’s house he was put straight into her the bear jacuzzi to make sure he was clean.After 30 minutes he clambered out.The ‘Free to good home’ bear with no name then had to spend a while on the washing line to dry quickly in the wind.He didn’t seem too bothered and after his fur had fluffed up again he looked like a new bear.My human asked for name suggestions on social media and someone thought Hugo would suit him.   When back at our house he was introduced to me and some of the other bears (and a rabbit) who live here.Hugo volunteered to spend some time in the window.  (We are all taking turns sitting in the windows as part of the ‘Bears in Windows’ thing that is going on during the coronavirus pandemic that is affecting humans all over the world. The idea is for children to see us when they go out for exercise). Hugo is enjoying waving to children and admiring the blossom on the crab apple tree.
A happy ending for unwanted Hugo.

Horace the Alresford Bear 21/4/2020

Making jam tarts with my grand human.

My grand human is very old. She is 93 and her memory doesn’t work properly anymore. I helped her make some jam tarts today. First of all we made the pastry.

My grand human then rolled it out.
We used cutters to create the tarts. 
I let my grand human put the jam into the tarts as jam and fur don’t go together very well.We put them into the oven and after about 20 minutes they were cooked.After letting them cool on a rack I put them all on a pretty china plate.Shortly afterwards it was tasting time.Yum yum yum; though my grand human thought the pastry was ‘a bit hard’.  We will have to try again sometime!Horace the Alresford Bear 2/4/2020