Osborne – where Queen Victoria lived.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The table was set ready for afternoon tea.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Horace the Alresford Bear 1/10/2021

Newtown National Nature Reserve; a very special place

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

It’s very cosy inside.

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

I had to help little Nye through the gates.

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

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

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

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

Nye climbed up into a tree for a better view.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Horace the Alresford Bear 28/9/2021

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

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

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

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

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

The Felting Mill is very picturesque.

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

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

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

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

Horace the Alresford Bear 27/9/2021

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

Polesden Lacey is a very grand house in Surrey.

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

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

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

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

Weeeeeeee……

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

This is my favourite photo from my visit.

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

The rhubarb was looking good in the vegetable garden.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Horace the Alresford Bear 9/8/2021

Box Hill – a tad challenging for a bear with short legs.

My human announced that Box Hill is somewhere cyclists like to ride up. She is a cyclist but didn’t have her bicycle with her, so thought it would be fun to go walking there instead.

There is a splendid view of the Surrey countryside from the top, where we started the walk.

Stepping stones sounded fun so we followed the blue arrows.

We went down many many steps that were all a bit muddy and slippery due to the rain. The bit of river that had stepping stones was rather disappointing. Due to lots and lots of rain the river level was high and the stones were all completely submerged.

Fortunately there is also a bridge to cross the River Mole.

Selfie by the bridge…

There was a sign by the bridge stating that the original bridge had been put there by the Ramblers (in memory of members who died in the war).

The stepping stones route continued along for a while next to the River Mole.

Then after crossing a road bridge over the river it was time to climb back up to the top of Box Hill. All very tiring for a small bear….

It all got a bit much for me so at the first opportunity I climbed into my human’s bag.

Back at the top again I posed on the triangulation station. I really like the way those two words go together – ‘triangulation station’….

Exercise makes bears very hungry so it was wonderful to find the cafe at the visitor centre still open and even better selling Danish pastries. Yum yum yum.

I am glad I went to Box Hill as I often hear about it and have wondered where it us. We drove down the road afterwards as my human wanted to see the route cyclists take. She said she’ll stick to Cheddar Gorge for her hill practice.

For more information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/box-hill#Overview

Horace the Alresford Bear 8/8/2021

Avebury Stone Circle & Manor Gardens

Avebury Stone Circle is the largest stone circle in the world. I was a very fortunate Bear to be able to visit the stones.

There were lots of sheep visiting the stones too.

I set off to explore all around…

The Stones made me feel very small. A human lifted me up for a photo sat on this one.

Here I am looking very small indeed. The Stones have been at Avebury for about 4000 years.

There is a big trench all around the stones which was dug about 5000 years ago.

I couldn’t resist a roly poly down the bank!

I sat for a while and wondered about the history of the site and how different life was for humans when Avebury was built.

Avebury Manor is right next to the stone circle so after walking around the stones we visited the garden.

There are many herbs in the garden, including lots of sage.

I rather like the smell of sage.

I do like trees that have special sitting places for bears…

There was what I is a space inspired sculpture just outside the manor house.

The bees were enjoying the allium flowers. I didn’t get too close….

I peered into the well but couldn’t see the bottom, it seemed to go on infinitely. The grill on the top stops creatures falling in.

The composting area had lots of signs about the composting process. I would like to have a go at making compost at home but the humans aren’t keen as once in the past rats moved into their compost bin. I didn’t see any rats in the Manor Gardens.

The ornamental pots next to the pond are just the right size for bears.

We walked down a lavender lined path to leave the gardens. The lavender was starting to go to seed but smelt wonderful.

Avebury is a special place.

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

Horace the Alresford Bear 6/8/2021

Stonehenge with Growler

Growler is very old but not as old as Stonehenge. It was built by humans about 5000 years ago. They moved huge lumps of stone without any modern inventions. We read about Stonehenge on various signs at the Visitor Centre.

There was a big lump of stone near the entrance showing how they may have moved the stones. Some children tried to pull if along while we sat on it. It didn’t move!

There were also some small thatched houses showing the sort of homes the people who built Stonehenge would have lived in.

There was quite a long walk to see the Stone Circle.

Growler was feeling tired bit kept up as he was so looking forward to seeing Stonehenge.

Finally we arrived and saw the wonderful sight of Stonehenge

We posed for a photograph with the Stones.

Further on we stopped for a rest as Growler’s legs were getting tired.

The Stones were part of a temple and are positioned to face the rising sun on the longest day on one side.

On the other side they face the direction of the setting sun in the shortest day. Modern day humans put the arrow on the ground to show the directions.

Growler was very impressed.

In the fields surrounding the Stone Circle there are many ancient barrows. When prehistoric humans from the area died they were buried in the barrows as they thought it important to be buried near Stonehenge. We stopped for a rest next to some of the barrows.

In order to get to the gate back to the Visitor Centre we had to walk through a cow field.

Once through the gate and in the wood Growler was too tired to walk any further so climbed into the bear carrier for the walk back to the carpark.

We all really enjoyed seeing the ancient Stone Circle, including the humans.

For more information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stonehenge-landscape & https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge

Horace the Alresford Bear 12/7/2021

Somerset Lavender

We visited Somerset Lavender Farm on a wet Sunday afternoon. The humans thought there wouldn’t be many other humans there due to the weather.

It is free to go into the lavender field but the owners request donations, so we posted a few coins in the box.

We clambered up onto a dry stone wall for a photo.

Then we sat a while and admired the beautiful lavender field with a huge umbrella sheltering us from the rain.

When the rain stopped we were able to explore in the field.

We are both quite small bears; the lavender plants are much bigger than us.

I stopped to take in the lovely lavender perfume

At home there are a few lavender plants in our garden, Nye thought it would be nice to add a deep purple variety to our collection so we chose one to buy..

We went to the shop to pay for our new plant.

Inside the shop we found lots of lavender goodies. We bought a Somerset lavender diffuser for our humans, and a piece of lavender shortbread to try. Lavender isn’t a usual part of a bear’s diet but we rather enjoyed the flavour of it in the shortbread.

Before leaving for home we stopped for one last photograph.

A lovely afternoon despite the rain.

For more information about Somerset Lavender see https://www.somersetlavender.com/

Horace the Alresford Bear 11/7/2021

The Confetti Fields

There are fields in Pershore where a company grows flowers to make real confetti. Today we were delighted to have an opportunity to visit. Here we are with white deliphiniums behind us.

The deep pink deliphiniums were a sea of colour.

We stopped to take a closer look at the pale pink deliphiniums.

The flowers make a great background for photographs of small bears. Here we are with the blue delphiniums.

Nye spotted a rather splendid tractor so we went to try it out. The engine didn’t start which might be just as well.

Tractors have very big wheels.

We had a rest on some hay bales.

The wildflower field was also in full bloom. Bees were busy visiting many of the flowers collecting the nectar to make into honey. Bears like honey.

As you can see the flowers were quite a lot taller than us.

Little Nye nearly disappeared at one point.

Next we spotted the mini replica of an old bus. It was bear sized so I clambered into the drivers seat and tried to start the engine, but I think it didn’t have any fuel in.

We both went upstairs to see the view from the open top.

There were bear sized seats upstairs too.

It was time to go home so we had one last look at the flowers.

We bought a bag of confetti for the humans to throw at their niece when she gets married in August, and a pot of local honey. Yum yum yum.

The confetti field are only open for a couple of weeks each year, and lovely to visit if you are in the area.

For more information see: https://www.confettidirect.co.uk/flowerfields/

Horace the Alresford Bear 28/6/2021

Blickling Estate

We entered Blickling through the large walled garden.

Very large artichokes were growing there; we stopped to admire one.

When we arrived at the splendid house we posed for a photograph. Nye needs to grow a bit taller.

We had a peer through one of the windows and decided it would be interesting to explore indoors.

The queue wasn’t too long so we joined the end.

Inside we found the giant colander that we had seen through the window.

The old 1930’s radio looked rather special.

The library was lined with ancient books.

It must have taken someone a very long time to read them all.

Before continuing our exploration with had a rest.

We followed the orange narrowed walk, first going past the house.

Nye thought the gate closing thingies were good very small bear swings.

The lake had lots of fishing platforms; we sat and watched for a while but didn’t see any fish.

It was fun trying to hide from the humans in the field.

The walk was very long but we kept going.

We passed a castle.

Finally we got back to Blicking house.

I wanted to help out the gardeners but Nye pointed out that the cafe would be shutting soon and that we needed cake.

The doors of the big house were all closed up.

What a relief that the Muddy Boots cafe was still open. Yum yum yum…

Blickling was our last outing in Norfolk, we have had a wonderful holiday.

For more information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blickling-estate

Horace the Alresford Bear 22/6/2021