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

 

Free Greetings Card Offer

My human has decided it is time to create a new range of the greetings cards that feature me. Before doing this she needs to reduce the stock of the old designs so we will be giving away 3 cards with every purchase of my books or packs of greetings cards.

Please visit my greetings card shop or book shop to take advantage of this great offer (valid July & August).

Horace the Alresford Bear (July 2018)

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

 

Cotehele Daffodil Day

The humans often stop at National Trust properties to break journeys when travelling.  On this very cold March day the car pulled into Cotehele.  IMG_1205 - CopyWe had no idea that it was a special day but were quite delighted to find that it was Daffodil Day.  There was an exhibition displaying the many different varieties.IMG_1291 Daffodils were strung up in a garland outside the old packing shed.IMG_1210Years ago sheds like this were used to pack up flowers and fruit to be taken to markets to be sold.IMG_1207 - CopyThere were lots of old fruit trees in the Old Orchard.IMG_1213The trees in the Mother Orchard were younger (planted only ten years ago) and had little pots around the bottoms of them for small bears to sit in.   It started snowing while I was having my little rest; hence the white specks on the photograph.IMG_1217Amongst the apple trees that was a huge hand as though there might be a giant underneath the ground.  I think a manicure was needed as one the nails was broken.IMG_1218 - CopyAt the edge of the field a large building housed a cider press.  I like cider but as I am only quite small I only have a few sips to taste it now and then.IMG_1222 - CopyI was pleased to find a glasshouse as although snow can be fun it also makes fur wet and cold.  Glasshouses are usually warm.IMG_1225 - CopyThere were lots of seedlings growing in pots.  Some of the pots were empty; the gardener told us that a mouse had been nibbling them.IMG_1223 - CopyThe snow continued to fall as we walked on around the gardens. IMG_1228 - CopyThe Prospect Tower was closed for maintenance.  Maybe we will see it next time we visit.IMG_1229 - CopyThe  beautiful blooms of the camellia didn’t seem to be troubled by the snow that was still falling.IMG_1231Here I am with the Cotehele House behind me.  It is about 500 years old.IMG_1235We went into the house and found arts and crafts for sale.  I had a chat with one of the grey knitted bears.  IMG_1236 - CopyThere was a splendid bear sized chair for sale too.IMG_1243 - CopyOn our way to the rest of the house I walked through an archway lined with daffodils.  IMG_1244 - CopyOnce inside again I warmed my fur for a while by the fireplace.IMG_1247 - CopyThere was a little chapel just inside the door with a posh fence half way across.  Apparently in the old days the rich people that lived in the house would sit one side and the other side was for the poor people who had to stand and came in through a different entrance.IMG_1250 - CopyI sat at the organ but decided not to play it as I thought ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’ might not be appropriate.IMG_1248After going up some stairs I arrived at a little hidey hole that had a tiny window. IMG_1256 - CopyI peered through and could see the room downstairs.  It was a spy hole!IMG_1254.JPGMy legs always get very tired climbing the steep stairs of stately homes.IMG_1261 - CopyOutside it was still snowing so I was glad to be indoors.IMG_1263 - CopyIn the kitchen there was another fire keeping visitors and the National Trust volunteer guide warm.IMG_1267 - CopyI thought it was probably time these vegetables were made into a stew.IMG_1268The sink was very interesting indeed.IMG_1273 - CopyUnfortunately I fell in.  It was just as well that there was no water in the bottom.IMG_1272 - CopyThe humans helped me out and pointed out to me that there was a little fireplace underneath which would have been lit to heat the water in the sink.IMG_1276 - CopyNext to the sink there was an enormous stone oven where many loaves of bread must have been baked.IMG_1278 - CopyUp above on the wall was a big shovel that reminded me of the ‘pizza peel’ that we have at home.IMG_1280The kitchen had buckets (made of leather) which would have been jolly useful had there been a fire.  IMG_1283I had a last look at the house before we set off to walk down the valley to the Quay.IMG_1293On the way I sat for a while in a little thatched shelter and watched the snow falling.IMG_1295A little stream ran down the valley.  I think lots of the plants were still asleep for winter but there were a few primroses braving the cold.IMG_1298At  Cotehele Quay I was hoping to see a very old barge build in 1899 called the Shamrock.  However, it has been put in a tent to protect it.IMG_1301I persuaded one of the humans to lift me up and I had a quick peek through one of the holes in the tent.  The Shamrock did indeed look very old.  IMG_1300Further along the quay I was pleased to find a seaworthy boat.  The Little Charley.IMG_1304We walked on to see the waterwheel which was being driven round and round by the water dropping on top of it.  This is still used to grind wheat into flour.IMG_1312I wasn’t in luck for a freshly baked bun though as the baker wasn’t there.  IMG_1307There was a very interesting little outdoor cupboard near the mill where many years ago people used to keep butter in order to keep it cool.IMG_1316The thought of flour, butter and baking made me feel extremely hungry.   The Edgecombe Tearoom is an excellent place for hungry bears. 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Another very interesting place for bears and their humans to visit.

Horace the Alresford Bear 27/03/2018

For more information about Cotehele see:  https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cotehele

The Roman Baths in Bath

I don’t have baths very often as I get rather too soggy if I am in water for any length of time.  I very much wanted to see The Roman Baths though as they are very old; people have bathed in the hot spring water that comes out of the ground for over 1600 years.roman9  The water is a bit green looking and not very inviting for swimming.roman5I could hear music playing so peered over the wall.  A busker was busy singing away but nobody seemed to be listening to him.  I thought he sounded quite good.roman16I sat and watched for a while.  There were lots of tourists walking around and taking photos.  roman4While following the arrows that guide visitors around I spotted another pool through the window.roman3Here is a model showing what the baths would have looked like in the 4th Century. roman17In the museum there are some very old pieces of stone from the temple that used to be on the site in the 4th Century.roman19Here I am next to a ‘theatrical mask’ sculpture made of Bath stone.  The sign said it was probably from a large tomb and that the person buried in it may have been connected to the theatre in some way.roamns21I thought for a moment that there were real romans still wandering around then realised that it was films being projected onto the walls.romanThis cabinet is full of lots of things made of pewter. They were thrown into the spring in the 4th Century as offerings to the Goddess Sulis Minerva.roman8This is a roman drain.  I didn’t look too closely as really did not want to fall in.roman1While I sat watching the hot water running into the pool I overheard some comments about me.  Such as “Look how sweet”.  I seem to have that effect on some people.roman7It was possible to see the reflection of the people up on the higher level in the water.  No one swims in the water these days as it contains many minerals and isn’t considered safe.  Humans can bathe at Bath Thermae Spa which is nearby (indeed I did go there later, but had to stay in the locker).roman6I had a brief conversation with a Roman craftsman (though I think he might have been an actor).roman2Sometimes I feel very small…roman11This is The Hot Sacred Spring that Romans used to throw offerings such as the pewter ornaments that are on display in the museum. roman13I was able to walk over the ruins of the really old baths using a glass bridge, but I didn’t quite trust it so shuffled along very slowly.roman15Before leaving I returned to the pool side for a selfie.  I wonder how many of my Alresford relations have been to The Roman Baths!roman12

To find out more about The Roman Baths see:  https://www.romanbaths.co.uk/

The Matthew of Bristol

The Matthew is a replica of a ship that was sailed from Bristol to Newfoundland in 1497 by John Cabot. The modern Matthew was built in 1997 and sailed to Newfoundland to commemorate the 500 years anniversary of Cabot’s journey five hundred years earlier.
IMG_1201On the way to The Matthew I bumped into John Cabot.IMG_1197He spends all his time now watching the ships in the harbour.  IMG_1183On reaching The Matthew we found that it was ‘free to board’ which is excellent news for anyone interested in historic ships especially if they don’t have much money.IMG_1180On the front of the ship there is a white dog that I think might be a greyhound.  It looked rather like he might be holding onto a small surfboard.IMG_1175Once on board I climbed up the steps to the front of the ship.IMG_1138I promptly rang the ship’s bell, which momentarily caused lots of people to look at me.IMG_1142I was about to come down the stairs when a volunteer lady who helps look after The Matthew told me I must turn around and come down backwards as I might fall going face first.IMG_1133I took her advice and safely reached the bottom.  I stopped for a little rest, sitting in the life ring in order not to get my bottom too soggy.IMG_1150There is an excellent view of the old steam cranes from The Matthew.IMG_1146Here I am inspecting the steering rod.  It is incredible to think this little ship has travelled 2271 miles across the ocean.IMG_1153There are many piles of rope everywhere.  Ropes are very important in a sailing ship and are used to raise, lower and control the sails.  I think I might just get all tangled up in them if I tried to use them.IMG_1156I peered out of one of the little port holes, being careful not to get stuck.  I could see some water below so quickly pulled my head back.  Water is a big problem for me as I soak it up and cannot swim.IMG_1176Before leaving I put a donation in the box.  I like The Matthew and the money helps to maintain her.    IMG_1167I am hoping the humans might take me on a cruise on The Matthew one day.

For more information about The Matthew see: http://www.thematthew.co.uk

 

Dyrham Park in Winter

Dyrham Park is quieter in winter as some humans don’t go out in the cold.  I am fortunate to have fur to keep me warm.IMG_0990The herd of deer certainly aren’t bothered by cold weather; they were enjoying the winter sunshine.IMG_0992After exploring the deer park I strolled down through the woods towards the big house.IMG_0996There was no chance of getting lost as there was a very big sign post.IMG_0998I didn’t see many birds but it might be that birds are afraid of bears.  IMG_0999After my walk my legs were feeling a tad tired so I stopped for a rest and enjoyed the warmth of the winter sunshine on my fur.IMG_1001In the formal gardens behind the big house a group of volunteers were busy working.IMG_1010Being a very helpful bear I decided to assist the gardeners for a while. IMG_1011It wasn’t long before my wheelbarrow was full up.IMG_1006The gardens still have some colour even in January.  The dogwood was very colourful.IMG_1015I would have liked to get a bit closer to the waterfall but there was a little fence along the lawn to remind people not to walk on it.  Walking on grass that is wet can make it all muddy. IMG_1020A hazel bush that must be in a slighty sunnier place that the other hazel bushes had lots of wiggly catkins dangling from it.IMG_1026I went into the stables but the horses weren’t at home.  The bale of hay was rather prickly to sit on for very long.IMG_1028In the shop I wondered about buying myself a hat.  My human often wears a cap; this one was rather large though and not quite me.IMG_1033The brimmed hat restricted my vision too much.IMG_1039Locally produced honey is always good.  IMG_1043I decided to buy the honey; much better for a bear than a hat.IMG_1047After so much exploring it was time for lunch.  The venison pasty was very good for bears.  Yum yum yum.IMG_1052National Trust properties always seem to have a 2nd hand book shop.  At Dyrham they keep the thin books in the sink. I hope no one turns on the tap.IMG_1055I found a very useful book to read while the humans browsed all the other books.IMG_1058In the cold store there was some food that looked quite appetising until further inspection revealed that it was made of plastic.IMG_1062The large bowls were all empty but when the house was lived in long ago they would have been used to keep things cool.IMG_1066Before going on our winter tour of the house I put my honey in a locker to keep it safe, and to prevent me from accidently swinging it into an antique vase.IMG_1069Inside the house there was work going on.  Some beetles had been nibbling away at the floor in The Great Hall, so some boards had been taken up for repairs and restoration.IMG_1073Another room was very odd.  The walls were covered in 300 year old gilt leather. IMG_1076I had a closer look at the leather.  Someone must have worked very hard decorating it, but I didn’t like it. IMG_1077After emerging from the house I was delighted to find snowdrops.  I like snowdrops; they make me feel that spring is coming soon.IMG_1082Here is a selfie of me in front of the house. IMG_1087When it was time to leave, there was a bit of a challenge for me.  Cattle grids (or perhaps deer grids) are not very bear friendly.IMG_1092Karen rescued me as the bus that takes visitors from the car park down to the house and back was approaching and needed to cross the grid. IMG_1091We didn’t get on the bus.  My humans like to walk, but my little legs were tired after such a lot of exploring so I had a lift back up to the carpark in the bear carrier.IMG_1095Dyrham Park is an interesting place for humans and bears to visit even in winter.

For more info. about Dyrham Park:  https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyrham-park