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!

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

Fun visit to Shaldon & Teignmouth

The first thing on the ‘to do’ list for Shaldon was to find the smuggler’s tunnel to Ness Cove. It was signposted and easy to find; I think perhaps it would have been well hidden when it was in use for smuggling.

The tunnel was quite long and dark and included steps.

At the end I emerged into the cliff edge where some steps led down to Ness Cove.

Here I am in Ness Cove.

I was a tad worried about going back up again so climbed into the bear carrier.

The humans thought tea and cake would be good. We soon found a cafe.

The carrot and walnut cake was delicious. Yum yum yum….

Across the other side of the estuary is Teignmouth and a passenger ferry takes people there from Shaldon.

I watched the ferry coming into land.

There were quite a few dogs on board but no bears.

When I got on the friendly Captain was very keen for me to sit up by the helm for a photo. During the voyage he told us all about the elderly bears that he had rescued from 2nd hand shops.

Here I am looking at the view.

The Captain gave me a special badge which I will pin onto my Morris dancing baldricks.

After getting off the ferry I got to meet the Captain’s most recently rescued Bear.

There are fishing huts and boats all along the river bank. From there we walked into central Teignmouth.

Teignmouth selfie…

The humans walked along the coast for a while then back to Shaldon over the bridge.

The Teign estuary looked very tranquil in the winter sunshine.

I do like visiting the seaside in winter and very much enjoyed Shaldon and Teignmouth.

Horace the Alresford Bear 4/1/2020

Dyrham Park; decorated trees & robins

The humans took me to National Trust Dyrham Park today where I spent most of the time in the bear carrier. It was very cold and windy. The deer didn’t seem too bothered though.

The formal gardens behind the house are sheltered from the wind so there I climbed out of the bear carrier. Humans had been busy decorating trees with ribbons.

Apparently it is a tradition dating back to the 17th Century.

I selected a ribbon and tied it on a nearby tree. Can you spot the robin who was watching me?

He was very friendly and let me take a close up photo…

After saying goodbye to the robin we headed off to warm up in the café where I enjoyed a festive spiced scone.

I bought the humans a couple of felt robins in the shop before getting back into the bear carrier for the cold walk back to the carpark.

It is cold at Dyrham in the winter but still a great place to visit.

Horace the Alresford Bear 14/12/19


Arlington Court; carriages & wilderness!

There is an interesting National Trust property in North Devon; Arlington Court. Years ago the Chichester family used to live there but in 1949 Rosalie Chichester gave the house and grounds to the National Trust.

At Arlington there is a carriage museum. Years ago before trains and cars were invented horses had to pull ppeople about in carriages. It must have been very hard work for the horses.

We were able peep inside one…

A very ornate gold carriage was hidden away in the dark with no photograph allowed. This carriage is The Speaker’s carriage and used to be used by The Speakers of the Houses of Parliament for special events. It was very big and ornate. Here we are peeping out; the carriage is behind the curtain!

Upstairs there was a little seat sprung llike some carriages. We weren’t quite heavy enough to make it bounce.

We tried on some splendid riding boots that made us both much taller.

Nye has a problem with hats sometimes…

There was a little carriage on display that would have been pulled by a very big dog.

Before exploring the rest of the estate we enjoyed a cinnamon bun in the tea shop.

In order to go into the house I had to climb up and push a button to ring the doorbell.

The house has lots of cabinets housing the collections of shells, model ships and pewter that the last owner Rosalie Chichester collected. We spent a while chatting to a bear in one of the rooms and forgot to take any more photographs!

Outside in the kitchen garden a wondeful habitat had been created for insects.

The formal garden is very pretty with a round pond in the middle.

We wandered on further and got quite excited when we saw signs pointing to ‘The Wilderness’. We found a great place for bears and humans that like to play (such as children). We played ‘Poohsticks’…..

Nye’s stick won!

Someone had been busy building a shelter out of sticks and branches.

After leaving The Wilderness we walked for a while along the banks of the river Yeo. The water gushed into the Yeo from the lake, we didn’t get too close.

After walking past the lake we came across a bird hide. Not for birds to hide in but for humans and bears to hide from the birds and watch them.

We noticed a couple of ducks in the water but didn’t stay long enough to see any birds.

Before leaving we had some fun exploring in Monkey Puzzle Mania.

We think Arlington Court has something to interest everyone; museum, tea shop, monkey puzzle mania and the bit we liked best the wilderness.

For more information see:

Horace the Alresford Bear 19/10/19

Re-visiting Watersmeet followed by a ride on the world’s steepest & highest water powered railway.

It was good to visit Watersmeet again but this time with my little brother Nye. The river Lyn was in full flow and gushing down the valley.

The rope across the river with lots of odd shoes dangling from it was a tad ppuzzling.

Further upstream next to the shoe line Nye found a sign which explained the shoes. They hang where a bridge used to be and a local charity are raising funds to build a new bridge.

We continued on up the path next to the river and found a bridge to cross to the other side. The water was very fast flowing; not somewhere to fall in so I kept a close eye on Nye.

To get to the tea rooms we crossed a bridge at the bottom of the waterfall that many visitors come to see. We posed for a selfie on the bridge while the humans held onto our legs to keep us safe.

On arrival at Watersmeet Tearooms we spent a while looking at the roof tiles. Back in 2016 I sponsored a tile (wrote my name on the back of it) and I wondered where my tile ended up. You can read about my tile here: https://wp.me/p2Recl-sC

Freshly made red pepper soup for lunch. Yum yum yum.

With full tummies we climbed up some steep steps to see another waterfall. Neither of us wanted to fall in!

After walking back down the valley we ended up in Lynmouth.

There is a very interesting funicular railway that goes up the cliff from Lynmouth to Lynton. When one carriage comes down the other goes up and it is powered by water. We decided to have a go.

It was a bit scary as the carriage travelled up the track pulled by a very thick cable with another carriage coming down at same time.

We waved to the people coming down a their carriage passed.

At the top there is an amazing view of Lynmouth.

There is also a cafe at top where we celberated having been on the world’s steepest and highest water powered railway at a table overlooking the sea.

An excellent end to an adventure.

For more information about Watersmeet and the cliff railway see:



Horace the Alresford Bear 16/10/19

Gordon’s Cabin; Mortehoe

We recently tagged along with the humans to stay in an old 1800’s linhay (a sort of barn). It was turned into a holiday cottage by the National Trust in 2016.

Inside was very luxurious with a huge bed with plenty of room for two small bears to have power naps.

The humans left us a while then put us both on a shelf!

We found an old picture with an umage of the linhay in early 1900’s wirh a horse and cart outside.

There was also another book about someone who grew up in the area that we busied ourselves reading.

There is a very well equipped kitchen at Gordon’s Cabin, so making our porridge was a pleasure.

Yum yum yum…

The humans went out and left us ‘home alone’ a few times but we found plenty to do.

We did take a little stroll up to the village.

The humans took us along to Woolacoombe which is a mile or so along the road.

They didn’t take us on their coast path wall to Bullock’s Point as ‘didn’t want to carry us’. It was listed as a challenging walk so not suitable for us to toddle along behind. A shame as we missed some spectacular scenery including this:

We did get to go to Arlington Court though (half an hour’s drive from the cabin) which is a great place for bears

Gordon’s Cabin is a splendid place to stay for a peaceful break and for exploring North Devon.

Horace the Alresford Bear 15/10/19

Dunster Castle & Watermill (NT)

After a few days of October rain the River Avill was in full flow.

This was good news for the water wheels that power the mill.

I kept a tight hold on Nye going over the bridge just in case he fell through; the river below would have swept him easy in seconds if he were to fall in.

We found some excellent dry land stepping stones in the woods.

The gardener was nowhere to be seen so we tried out the bear sized gardening mobile.

Our tummies were beginning to rumble for food. We had a trip down the hill to the town to one of the many teashops for our lunch.

On returning to Dunster Castle we resumed exploring. Nye was sure he saw a pixie peeking out of the Pixie Well but I missed him.

The path up to the castle is quite steep bit we are fit bears…

We stopped for a little rest at the top!

Nye couldn’t resist climbing a very tall palm.

I was quite relieved when he climbed bback down again.

The table inside the castle was laid ready for a big banquet.

It was quite surprising to find a modern ‘Hygena’ kitchen installed in the castle. It was put in by the last ownerve to make life a bit easier for the servants. The Victorian kitchens are still in the castle but we didn’t get to see them as weren’t in time for the tour.

We managed to gave a quick game of ‘four in a row’….

There was also a selection of hats to try on. I think the cap suits me….not sure about Nye though; I think he needs to grow a bit!

We sat for a while warming our fur in the conservatory.

Before leaving we sat on the wall and wondered what it must have been like to live in a castle.

A great day out for humans and bears.

For more information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunster-castle

Horace the Alresford Bear 15/10/19