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!

Quarry Bank Mill

Quarry Bank Mill is over 200 years old; it was built by Samuel Gregg in 1783. In those days life was very hard for working people in England and poor children had to go to work instead of school (this is still the case in some parts of the world today). At Quarry Bank they used to take children from the work house at the age of 9 and they would become apprentices and had to work until they were 18 years old for their keep.  Here is the house that they all lived in, ninety of them all together.IMG_1630There is an allotment garden outside the house that used to be tended by the children after they completed their long shifts in the mill. Nowadays it is tended by National Trust volunteers; the beetroot looked very tasty.IMG_1631We joined a group of humans having a tour of the house.  First stop was the school room. The children used to have lessons here on Sunday afternoons after going to church. Monday to Saturdays were spent working in the mill from 6am in the morning until 7pm in the evening.  They must have been very tired.IMG_1637 I tried my paw at writing on a slate with slate.  It was a tad difficult.IMG_1634 They started off learning to write letters by drawing them in a tray of sand. I didn’t try this as didn’t want to get sand stuck in my fur.IMG_1635The lady doing the tour didn’t want to be held up by people taking photographs so we quickly followed the rest of the group upstairs to the dormitory where the children slept two to a bed.  The beds were very small; poor people didn’t used to grow very tall then as they didn’t get enough nutritious food and had to work very hard. IMG_1641The children used to get to their dormitory by means of a ladder through a trap door and were shut in for the night. If they needed to do a wee or a poo they had to use a chamber pot and wipe their bottoms with some straw.IMG_1643Next we went into a room that would’ve been the boy’s dormitory but a table had been put there to show some of the remedies that the doctor would have used when the mill workers were ill. The leeches were used to draw out infected blood; they are still used today for some medical uses. IMG_1644This pot contains Brimstone and treacle. It was used for all sorts of ailments and made people go the toilet. I am glad I wasn’t around back then!IMG_1645Finally we went into the kitchen where a real fire was roaring. The guide told us all about the food that the apprentices ate, and that although they had a hard life it they had better conditions than some other mills.IMG_1649The porridge looked a bit thick. Apparently it was made deliberately like this as the children would have been taken some for breakfast while they were working.  A dollop would have been given to them in their hand and straight after eating it they would have to get back to work.IMG_1650The water pump where the children would have been able to wash.  It must have been very cold to use this in the winter.IMG_1653I didn’t feel inclined to try out the toilet.IMG_1655I did however try on a hat from the dressing up clothes that you often find in National Trust properties for children.  I think I look good in caps.IMG_1657The washing of clothes was carried out using ‘washing dollies’ which must have been very hard work. People didn’t change their clothes so often 200 hundred years ago.  The mill children had 2 sets of clothes each and put fresh ones on each Sunday for church and wore them for the following week.IMG_1658A walk down from the Apprentices’ house took us to Quarry Bank Mill.IMG_1660Some of the trees were a splendid orange colour due to it being autumn.IMG_1662This is the stream that feeds the giant water wheel which is still working at over 200 years old.IMG_1665No visit to a National Trust property is complete without a stop for some cake.  The Mill Café was so busy I had to sit upstairs in the overflow area, which is also a function room.IMG_1669With a full tummy it was time to look around the mill.IMG_1667The mill still has lots of the original machinery and is also a museum. This lady was demonstrating how cotton was turned into fabric before mass industrialisation. Here she is showing me how to ‘card’ the raw cotton and make it into fluffy cotton wool.  This has to be done before raw cotton can be made into thread for weaving.IMG_1671Cotton has to be spun round and round to make a strong continuous thread. It can be done totally by hand but takes a very very long time, so the spinning wheel was invented. IMG_1676The spun cotton was then made into cloth using a pedal powered loom.  The fabric could only be a wide as the operator’s arm pulling the shuttle across the fabric.IMG_1677

In order to make wider cloth in 1733 an inventor, John Kay invented the flying shuttle.

IMG_1679Spinning was also made more efficient with the invention of the Spinning Jenny which was invented by James Hargreaves in 1764.IMG_1682In another big room weaving was being done by lots of big powered machines which were being driven by the power harnessed from a water wheel and also steam engines.IMG_1683When the machines were running is was very very noisy.  I was very grateful to this kind National Trust guide who me borrow some protective ear muffs.  IMG_1687On another floor we found this giant carding machine that turns the cotton into cotton wool.IMG_1689The spinning was happening so quickly it looked as though all the reels were still.  IMG_1690This bit of weaving equipment looked like something for bears to stay away from.  The person setting up the weaving machine must certainly not be clumsy. IMG_1691Another toilet…IMG_1694There was an exhibition with boards with information about the lives of the workers and the working conditions.  Apparently it was hot and humid as that was best for the cotton, and dusty, which wasn’t good for the workers’ lungs.  I tried on a pair of Lancashire clogs that felt heavy and uncomfortable.IMG_1696The huge waterwheel was at first the main source of power in the mill.  IMG_1700Later steam engines were also introduced to increase production.IMG_1702Here I am sat on a water wheel shaft which shows how big it is. We got ‘photo bombed’ by a little dog!IMG_1706We didn’t have time to visit the house where the mill owners lived but finished our visit with a refreshing walk through the woods where the Gregg’s children used to play, but I don’t think the children that worked in the mill would have had much time or energy left for playing.IMG_1709

Quarry Bank Mill is a very interesting place with lots to see and think about.

More information: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/quarry-bank

Horace the Alresford Bear 9/11/18

BSCC Mascot duties at National Hill Climb 2018

I have been out and about the last few weeks ringing my cowbell for cyclists trying to go as fast as possible up very steep hills.  The most important hill climb of the year is the National, which took place up a very steep hill in Stocksbridge.  thumbnail_20181027_154135[1]We arrived the day before as Stocksbridge is 190 miles away from Bristol.  On checking out the hill we found many cyclists doing the same.  I concluded that the hill is too steep for bears.thumbnail_20181027_172052[1]The resting place for the night was the Dog & Partridge Inn, though oddly no dogs were allowed inside.  There were no specific rules regarding partridges or bears, so I went inside.thumbnail_20181027_165901[1]After a long journey I was quiet tired so after finding my room I climbed up onto the bed for a nap.thumbnail_20181027_170619[1]Twenty minutes later I was woken by someone else being shown into my room. Unfortunately it turned out not to be my room; I was in the wrong one, which was rather embarrassing.   After a toddle down the corridor I found the right room where I later settled down for the night.thumbnail_20181027_214943[1]Prior to a day of mascot duties it is important to have a good breakfast.  thumbnail_20181028_094933[1]I had to be carried up the hill by my human as there was no way that my little legs could manage the climb.  Here I am watching some of the young riders.   Another spectator spoke to my human and said she had thought at first that I was a human baby being shaken about.  I guess sometimes babies wear furry babygrows.thumbnail_20181028_113828[1]As cyclists reached the finish line at the top of the hill they all looked very tired indeed.  Fortunately there were people in yellow jackets catching them and helping them safely get off their bikes.thumbnail_20181028_122527[1]The other spectators were all very friendly.thumbnail_20181028_122657[1]I cheer and ring my bell for everyone as they are all amazing being able to cycle up steep hills.  My human’s son gets and extra big cheer – here he is whizzing off into the distance.thumbnail_20181028_133908[1]

Here’s a video clip – I am briefly in it at the start and end.

The weather was very cold and for about 10 minutes or so sleet started to fall.  I had to climb into a plastic carrier bag to protect my fur.  The cyclists had to battle the sleet as well as the steep gradient.  (Not a good quality photo – my human’s hand were freezing cold)thumbnail_20181028_140831[1]Due to humans with freezing hands we made our way down the hill, still ringing cowbells to support competitors on the way up.  At the bottom we found a little tearoom, Samuel’s Kitchen, which was warm and dry. thumbnail_20181028_144017[1]The race headquarters was situated in the Trek shop; a huge shop full of shiny new bicycles.  I tried out a few and thought this one would be good for bears if it came in a slightly smaller size.thumbnail_20181027_160028[1]I could see myself in the big silver trophy!

thumbnail_20181028_151432[1]All the riders names were displayed on big white boards and people were sticking their times next to them.   They all looked to have done very well.thumbnail_20181028_151502[1]Here are the three women that went up the hill fastest.  The one in the middle got first prize and received a special jersey.thumbnail_20181028_164229[1]After watching the presentations it was time for a curry with a group of cyclists from the Bristol Area.  I discovered that bears like curry.thumbnail_20181028_191104[1]

A great weekend though somewhat tiring for a small bear.  I was glad to get home and tucked into my own bed.thumbnail_20181029_000753[1]

Back to being just a normal Alresford Bear now for the winter.

Horace the Alresford Bear 29/10/18

Warsaw University Library Roof Garden

Recently I spent a few days in Warsaw, Poland. The apartment overlooked a very interesting green building covered in ivy. The University of Warsaw Library.

When I found out that there is a garden on top of the roof I had to investigate further. I didn’t understand much of the sign but humans were walking into the lower levels of the gardens so I followed.

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There were a few steps up to the lower garden so it took a while for me with my short legs.

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It was all very green and peaceful despite being in the middle of a big city.

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I had a little rest next to the stream.

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There are interesting structures waiting for plants to grow all over them.

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A great view at the top of the steps leading to the upper garden.

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I peered into the big round window and could see some statues plus lots of books and people reading at tables.

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The dome behind me lets light into the building.

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This circle of glass windows has a round courtyard at the bottom and lets light into the library.

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Excellent view across the river through the giant binoculars.

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Weird things on the roof that were probably to do with ventilation or heating.

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Another weird thing…

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I go stuck here for a while and had to ask a human to lift me down.

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The big arch of steps going up over the main structure was closed to bears. I think only staff can use it.

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Ice plants grow really well on the roof. It has taken the gardeners a while to find which plants like the rooftop environment. Also Poland is warm in summer but gets very very cold in winter so plants have to be very hardy.

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This looks a bit like I mght be on another planet.

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Tired legs are catered for with plenty of seating for bears and humans to rest and enjoy the view.

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In the next photo I am looking into the distance at the tallest building in Poland; the Palace of Science & Culture.

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Another smaller bridge that visitors are allowed to walk over.

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Can you spot me on the bridge?

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If you ever visit Warsaw this garden is really worth a visit and it is free to go in.

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More information here:

http://www.greenroofs.com/projects/pview.php?id=1095

Horace the Alresford Bear 17/9/18

Tredegar House and Gardens

Tredegar House near Newport in Wales was originally built a very long time ago on the remains of an older house. The Morgan family used to live there.

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I don’t speak Welsh so was very pleased that the signs were all also in English.

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Inside the house I discovered some interesting facts. Fans used to be used by ladies to send discrete messages. For instance waving it a certain way could tell someone to go away.

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I wanted to play Fox and Geese but no one would play with me….

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There was a range of hats to try on with an invitation to wear them while walking round the house.   They weren’t really my style so I put them back in the dressing up box.

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At the other end of the room I tried out the shadow theatre with a willing parrot.

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Upstairs in the bathroom someone had recently had a party.

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On glancing in the mirror I felt that perhaps my face was looking a bit squashed – the result perhaps of spending too long in the bear carrier bag.

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Bears and humans aren’t allowed in all the rooms. There was hole in the door of one closed room so I peeped in. It looked as though it needed decorating.

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The last Mr Morgan that lived in the house used to keep a crocodile as a pet.IMG_1546

The food on display in the kitchen looked very tasty but didn’t smell of food.  On further inspection I found it all to be plastic!

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This is a very old steam generating boiler that was used to steam vegetables and steam clean pots and pans from the kitchen.  I think it is rather splendid.

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This is a charcoal stove; the black pots were put over the hole to be heated.

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I think the Morgan family must have been very fond of jelly.

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A food mixer with wooden blades!  I have never seen one of those before.

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The Game larder was visible at the end of a tunnel.  I think the birds on the table were probably plastic like the food in the kitchen.

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Outside again I explored the gardens.  This is a very interesting sign.  Apparently the wren is the most common bird in Britain, though I don’t think I have ever seen one!

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There was a very smart insect house in the garden for solitary bees (the ones that don’t live in big hives with lots of other bees).

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The tent was a wonderful find as I was very much in need of a quiet nap.

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Very comfy

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I wasn’t alone for long though as was joined by a gang of creepy crawlies.

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I found the creepy crawlies a bit tickly so left the tent to take a walk around the lake.

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The tea shop had shut when I got there so I was unable to have the customary cake that I usually end National Trust property visits with.  However, I was delighted to find the shop still open and selling delicious Welsh ice cream.  Yum yum yum.

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If you would like more information about Tredegar House and Gardens see:

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tredegar-house

Horace the Alresford Bear 14/9/2018

Cruising under Bristol Suspension Bridge on the River Avon

I waited at the front of the queue as was very excited to be going on a criuse under the Bristol Suspension Bridge.

Our boat was The Bagheera which has a glass roof; very useful for rainy days.

Once out of the lock gates we headed up the Avon. I was jolly pleased to be allowed to take the helm of The Bagheera.

Here is a selfie of me as we approached the bridge.

A human lifted me upon to the roof. My human was worried that I might fall into the river so I wasn’t up thee long!

Several boats passed us as we headed towards Avonmouth.

Gromit certainly gets around!

We travelled as far as Portbury where the view became more industrial then turned around to go back to Bristol Harbour.

I enjoyed some refreshments during the journey.

Nearly back to Bristol Harbour I spotted the Clifton Rocks Railway which is now a ruin but 100 years ago used to take people from Hotwells up to Durham Downs and back.

I bravely went out onto the ledge while we were in the lock coming back into the harbour. The water level went up and the boat got higher and higher.

Once back in the harbour we travelled past SS Great Britain.

A very pleasant afternoon.

For further details see:

https://www.bristolpacket.co.uk

Stowe Landscape Gardens….where I ended up with very tired legs.

The entrance to Stowe is very grand.  The National Trust flag was flapping away on top of the arch.IMG_1458The sign pointing to the gardens was a very good use of an old garden fork.IMG_1459The humans wanted a good walk for some exercise (they do like exercise!) so decided to walk around the outside of the estate first of all.   We walked through a field of cows, and my human commented about how lovely it was to see the calves with their mothers.IMG_1461Further along I noticed a tall thin monument and climbed up on the fence for a better view.  It was Lord Cobham’s Pillar.IMG_1465Further along we arrived at a building that was called ‘Fane of Pastoral Poetry’.  My human explained that the building was a folly,  which is an ornamental building with no practical purpose.  At this point we stopped walking around the outside and went into the estate.IMG_1468

Here is a bit of history:  Stowe Landscape Gardens have been in existence for over 300 years, with various owners inheriting the estate over that time.  One of the owners,  the Second Duke of Buckingham and Chandos had extravagant tastes and was very poor with money management. After inheriting the estate, he was keen to undertake repairs on the house and gardens but ran up a debt of over £1 million with creditors.  When Queen Victoria visitednin 1845, in an effort to impress the Royal Family, the duke borrowed even more money to buy expensive new furniture for the house and areas of the gardens. By the end of the decade, everything broke down. Bailiffs seized the estate and a large auction took place to sell off the contents including many garden sculptures. (Source NT Website).
Here I am with a musician in the ‘Circle of the Dancing Fawn’.  A number of the statues are replicas as the original ones were sold off (see above).

IMG_1472This is the Dancing Fawn in the middle of the circle.  IMG_1474Further along we arrived at The Temple of Concord and Victory.  I wondered what the people that used to live here did there. IMG_1483After  walking a further 270 metres (I know this because the National Trust map lists the distances between the follies), we arrived at The Queens Temple.  It took me a fair while to climb up the steps as my little legs were starting to get very tired.IMG_1488My human decided to carry me for a while until we reached The Saxon Deities where she sat me down with ‘Sunday’ for a rest.IMG_1491I rather liked The Gothic Temple, which was surrounded by sheep.IMG_1498I went closer to get a better look; there was a wedding taking place inside.   A splendid place to get married!IMG_1492My human picked me up again and tucked me under her arm as I was starting to walk very slowly.  The estate really is very big and a few hours are needed to see everything.  Here I am having a rest while looking at the view from The Palladian Bridge.  I am quite difficult to spot as the bridge is quite big and I am small!IMG_1500Selfie of me on the Palladium Bridge.IMG_1504I rather liked the Palladium Bridge, so here is another selfie!

The Chinese house gets wrapped up in the winter to protect it from the weather.  wIMG_1507I had a look inside and nearly got stuck..IMG_1509My human took a photo of me from the opposite side.  The paintings inside all looked very old and faded.IMG_1510There was some maintenance work going on at The Temple of Friendship.  I tried out the lift as I don’t weigh more than 200kg.IMG_1513The water lilies and swans on the Octagon Lake made me feel very tranquil.  Stowe House is now a school for the children of rich people.

In the woods we found a swing big enough for at least four bears; it was such a shame that some of my relatives weren’t with me.I also  enjoyed a game of skittles.As we continued our wanders we passed many follies and statues,  this one is the Temple of British Worthies.

After crossing the lake to get a bit closer I paused for a selfie with Shakespeare.

My human’s legs were tired too so at this point it was decided it was time to visit the tea rooms.   Yum yum yum…..

Stowe Landscape gardens are well worth a visit but do allow plenty of time as there is lots to see with lots of walking involved (though humans can hire a buggy to drive around if they want to!)

For more information https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stowe

 

Mosely Old Hall

Mosely Old Hall is near Wolverhampton, so the humans stopped there for some lunch on the way home from Manchester to Bristol. I was jolly pleased.

In the woods we found a campfire all ready for lighting; though the weather was so very hot I don’t think anyone would have needed warming by a fire!

Someone had been busy making a special bear shelter out of sticks.

On finding the tree hide I was a tad worried as the sign warned ‘There is peril!’

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It didn’t seem too dangerous; I watched some small humans climb up and clambered up afterwards.

Here I am holding on tight at the top. A wonderful tree house.

Back in the meadow the bees were busy making honey.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I noticed the sign to the Mud Kitchen.

I found a wonderful place with lots of pots and pans for making mud pies and other muddy meals. Some small humans were enjoying themselves immensely on the other side of the table.

When the humans finally got me away from the mud kitchen (it was very good) we went inside the house. The house was built over 400 years ago in Tudor times, but it doesn’t look Tudor on the outside as the outside was bricked in 1870.

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We went into the house through a side entrance and I had to climb the very old stairs.

Just inside this door is a priest hole that King Charles II hid in 1651 after The Battle of Worcester.  It was a very small space so he must have been quite a thin king.

In one of the rooms a lady was demonstrating embroidery.  I tried my paw at creating a pin cushion.

Further up the stairs there was a chapel with a lovely blue ceiling.

I found out some very interesting information about the ‘thresholds’ in door frames. The name threshold is because the frame was built up to contain the thresh left over from the harvest that were put on the floor of the room to act as a sort of carpet.

The bed was very old so I didn’t have a nap on it!

In Tudor times herbal remedies were used when people got ill.

I was especially interested in the Bay. We have two bay bushes in our garden so must be well protected from any witchcraft.

Back downstair I sat and pondered for a while at the dinner table and wondered what life was like for bears 400 years ago.

I spotted a very interesting tea cosy in a glass case. The humans laughed and said it was a priest’s hat.

The knotted garden outside is very beautiful.

On the lawn I tried out my quoits skills.  I am quite good for a small bear.

Regular readers of my blog know that I nearly always end my visits to National Trust properties with some cake.  In this case a tasty flapjack.

I really do recommend a visit to Mosely Old Hall.  There are lots of interesting things to look at and the mud kitchen could amuse small humans for ages!

For more information:  https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/moseley-old-hall

Horace the Alresford Bear 10/7/2018

Dunham Massey

Dunham Massey is a very big estate with lots to see. We started off looking at the mill. It wasn’t running but I was still very impressed by the size of the wheel.20180630_131939489275152.jpg

The mill was not grinding flour but operating machinery for sawing wood; a saw mill. Even though it wasn’t working I thought it best not to get too close to The Dunham Ripper.

There was a slide set up with a bell at the bottom. To make the bell ring I rolled down a 2p piece. Ding!

There are lots of deer at Dunham Massey. It was good to be able to touch some antlers; they feel very smooth. The volunteer told us some interesting information; deer antlers are rarely found when deer shed them as the deer eat them as they are rich in calcium. Deer must have extremely strong teeth.

There were deer wandering about all over the estate. Some areas were for deer only as deer like a bit of privacy from humans.

I was very impressed with this huge fungi found growing in the deer park on a tree root.

In the house a little theatre had been set up to amuse children. I did a quick performance which made a couple of small humans smile.

I also tried on some royal clothing but I think I look better in a top hat or French beret.

These are fancy dress outfits from years ago. I rather liked the green medicine bottle outfit.

The lid of the medicine bottle was a red hat; this was in a glass case to keep it safe.

During the First World War Dunham Massey was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers.

There was a fascinating wind up gramophone in the ward playing music; after a few minutes the music got slower then it finally stopped.

Telephones look nothing like this nowadays; I think this is rather splendid.

This little truck would have been used to pump water in case of fire.

In the laundry area of the house I discovered an amazing iron heater.

These huge lumps of stone were used for squashing cheese.

In the gardens there were some lilies (Cardiocrinum giganteum) in flower that only flower once in their lifetime of seven years.  The flowers last for just one week.  I felt quite privileged to see them.

I was good to see lots of busy bees buzzing around the hives but none of the bees show on the photograph.

Here is a selfie of me with the back of the house behind me.20180630_162033885728279.jpg

Many geese live at Dunhan Massey.  They were having a gathering on the lawn behind the house.  They were looking at me a bit suspiciously so I kept my distance.

It was a very hot day so before leaving the estate I enjoyed an ice cream in the woods.

I enjoyed my visit to Dunham Massey; it is an excellent place with lots of interesting history, and plenty of space for a walk for those that like to get a bit of exercise.

For more information about Dunham Massey:  https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunham-massey

Horace the Alresford Bear, July 2018

Wightwick Manor & Gardens

My humans like to break car journeys at National Trust properties. On the way to Manchester we stopped in Wolverhampton to visit Wightwick Manor

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Having been in a car for a while we decided to have a walk around the gardens before finding the cafè. The rose arbour was very pretty.

The bees were very busy collecting nectar to make honey. I like honey.

I nearly fell in a rhubarb pot after climbing up to see if any rhubarb was inside.

I said ‘Hello’ and posed for a selfie with a lady campaigning in the kitchen garden.

There was a splendid insect hotel next to the greenhouse for bees that live alone such as bumble bees.

It was extremely hot inside the glass house. I rather liked the mechanism that opened the windows.

I came across a little bear sized house named the Grigg House. It is named after the heather that the thatch is made from which is Welsh ‘grug’.

There were seats inside and books for people to read. I just looked out of the window for a while and watched the world go by.

The highlight of my visit to Wightwick was driving one of the cars next to to café. I think quite a few humans would have liked a go but only small humans were allowed.

Lunch time. Yum yum yum.

Thr house was built in Tudor style but isn’t Tudor. It was built by Theodore Manders, a wealthy paint manufacturer in 1887. Mr Mander’s son later gave it to The National Trust.

Selfie time before going in to explore.

Years ago only men were allowed to vote in elections. The Manders family supported peaceful campaigns aimed at allowing women to vote.

Sometimes because I am a small bear I get to visit ‘secret’ places. The volunteer let me climb the stairs that allowed Flora Mander to quickly reach her private sitting room

In the morning room the table was laid ready for breakfast. The sweet peas from the garden smelt lovely.

People or cats weren’t allowed on quite a lot of chairs. Chairs wear out when being sat on all the time. I decided I was probably a person too so didn’t sit on the chair.

The snooker table was extremely green. It was as bright as the photograph shows.

I peeped through the hatch of the servery where an enormous chicken was waiting to be served.

Mr Mander stood for parliament and was a liberal MP.

From the gallery I had a good view of The Great Parlour, especially the stag’s head. I hope my head never ends up displayed anywhere.

In the nursery I found lots of distant relatives.

I chatted with these two for a while but they had already drunk the tea.

This chap was a mascot for Wolves football team. As you may know I am a part time mascot for a cycling team. We had a quick chat about pros and cons of mascot duties.

The one eyed dog looked a little sad.

We took a ‘selfie’ though I am not sure he understood the modern technology of mobile phones.

The chief maid had a very nice room.

In the kitchens I found some hats that humans could try on. I think this top hat makes me look very important.

I was fascinated by the pressure cooker in the kitchen complete with pressure gauge.

I was feeling rather hungry so time for a cream tea before continuing on our journey.

To find out more about Wightwick Manor go to: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wightwick-manor-and-gardens

Trip to Le Mont St Michel (France)

Since visiting St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall I have wanted to visit the mount with the same name in France, Le Mont St Michel.  I was delighted when the humans agreed to take me there while they were holidaying in France.

I climbed into the pannier ready for the journey.IMG_1345On the way we stopped to look at a very old windmill, Le Mouline de Moidrey. The sails were open and turning in the wind when we arrived, but by the time I had climbed out of the pannier they had been folded up.  The miller was having a break to eat his lunch.IMG_1357

The humans were hoping to cycle across the causeway to the island, but there were lots of signs indicating that no bicycles were allowed across between 10am and 6pm.

IMG_1445After locking up the bicycles I spotted a rather large deckchair and wondered whether any giants frequented the area. IMG_1360

There were also many brightly painted cows standing around.

IMG_1361Many coaches full of humans were arriving; and a horse and carriage was transporting some to the island.IMG_1363

Others were getting on a bus that had a driving seat at both ends.IMG_1370

My humans are keen on exercise so decided to walk across the bridge.  This way they were able to enjoy the views of the island.  My legs are too short to walk such a long way in a reasonable time so I climbed into the bear carrier.IMG_1368

You may notice I was facing backwards so was unable to enjoy the view, though I did wave to the passing buses. Once we got a little nearer I climbed out.  Mont St Michel looked very interesting indeed and I was very keen to explore.IMG_1372

Everything on the island is very old.  It has been inhabited by people for thousands of years. The Abbey was built about ten thousand years ago.  Here I am outside the gates in front of the draw bridge.IMG_1373

There were lots of shops selling postcards and souvenirs.IMG_1378

We went up some steps to look at the view; I rushed on ahead and surprised the humans when I peered out of a little window.IMG_1379

There were lots of steps for a bear with short legs.  Dogs are not allowed in the Abbey so just as well I am a bear and not a dog.IMG_1384

Once we were in the Abbey I stopped for a rest and said ‘Hello’ to a young seagull but didn’t get too close in case it thought I was food.IMG_1388

After climbing up even higher I peered over the edge (Karen held on to my legs).  Lots of humans were coming and going from the island.  It seems many people like to visit Mont St Michel.IMG_1389

I had to be very cautious while walking around.IMG_1392

There were lots of gargoyles up very high that were impossible to photograph with our camera but were very interesting to see.  Lower down I found a giant water tap in the middle of an animal face.IMG_1387

Another peer over the edge revealed a little house.IMG_1395

 

Inside the main Abbey there were many people seated and at first I thought a service might be taking place, but on further listening realised they were all on guided tours of the island.IMG_1396

In a little room at the edge I noticed a sailing ship hanging from the ceiling.IMG_1400

The next room happened to be the gift shop.  I tried on a knight’s tabard but it was a tad large.IMG_1402

Then I spotted the French berets. I like hats; a hat can transform a bear in seconds.  I tried on the beret and instantly I looked very French.  Unfortunately the humans wouldn’t buy it for me.IMG_1406

Next we entered The Cloisters which were really quite amazing.  The photograph doesn’t show the full beauty.  Sometimes memories of experiences are better than photographs.IMG_1411

In a very big hall there were two huge fireplaces containing many schoolchildren who were all looking up.IMG_1414

After the children had departed I went to have a look for myself. IMG_1416

Another room had some enormous stone pillars with gaps just big enough for a bear to squeeze through.IMG_1419

In the same area there was an enormous wheel.  This was used to haul things up from the bottom.IMG_1423

Supplies would have been strapped to a sledge with rollers.IMG_1426

Out of the window I could see the wooden track that the sledge would have travelled up to reach the top.IMG_1425

There are many beautiful Norman arches in the ceilings of all the rooms.IMG_1427IMG_1428 (2)

When it was time to leave the Abbey I had to go through a turnstile to get out.  (Humans have to pay ten euros each to enter the Abbey).IMG_1431

We went back into the hustle and bustle of the shops and cafes in the narrow streets.

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After walking back across the bridge to the mainland (actually I was carried!) we stopped for some refreshments before the cycle ride back to our base.   IMG_1440

The crepe tasted fine but was a tad small and the humans thought it was very expensive. I really enjoyed my visit and recommend others to go to Le Mont St Michel if in the area.

You might like to read my blog about the Cornish St Michael’s Mount now too:-  https://horacethealresfordbear.com/2017/04/03/st-michaels-mount/

Also here is some more information Le Mont St Michel:                                               https://www.ot-montsaintmichel.com/en/accueil.htm