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


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.


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. IMG_1302

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

Montacute House in winter

Not so many humans visit National Trust houses and gardens in winter, but although there aren’t any flowers, they are still very interesting.  Montacute  House has lots to see and  do .20171223_132531.jpgThe Wibbly Wobbly hedge was fascinating.  I could see all sorts of faces in the wibbly wobbly bits, with noses poking out here and there .20171223_200340.jpgBehind  the wibbly wobbly hedge there was a fence that had been designed to deter bears from getting too fat .20171223_113033178453238.jpgThe entrance to the ice house was a bit creepy.  Years ago servants from the big house had to visit the ice house to get ice to keep food cold  as fridges had not been invented .20171223_1129072109123391.jpgI peered into the deep hole where the ice collected from ponds was stored .  I was glad that there were railings as the hole looked like it went on forever .20171223_200135497296256.jpgOn the top of the house there were lots of stone animals.  Humans that live in Somerset call them ‘hunky punks’.  You can just about see them in this photo .20171223_1145101725357244.jpgI sat by the fountain for a while and watched the fish swimming around .20171223_113407I leaned over to get a closer look which got the humans rather worried that I might fall in.  Within seconds my feet were being held just in case a gust of wind blew me into the pond .20171223_1959231763560868.jpgThere were a couple of lovely little houses at each end of the garden .20171223_195807348555698.jpgSomeone had thoughtfully set up a special place for bears to rest in this one .20171223_113840Inside the other little house I made a paper lantern .20171223_114955481662944.jpgOne of the humans lifted me up to hang my creation on the lantern tree.  It was covered in fairy lights to be lit up once dark.  I would have liked to have seen Montacute in the dark with all the lights twinkling but we weren’t able to stay that long .20171223_195504136289537.jpgThis is a banqueting house where the household would sometimes have meals.  It must have been very hard work for the servants carrying everything from the big house to the garden for them .20171223_121236777374869.jpgI think I look quite important sat at the banqueting table.20171223_195147Montacute House and garden is surrounded by parkland.  In the park area I discovered a tree just right for bears to climb .20171223_1204071739976832.jpgI climbed very carefully as a fall would have resulted in me having to go in the washing machine, not one of my favourite pastimes.20171223_1952552028193646.jpg

Another tree had horses made from old tyres hanging from it.  I would have liked to have swung as high as the children using the swings but the mud below and more thoughts of the dreaded washing machine put me off. 20171223_234734.jpgOn entering the  House I had to put on some special blue shoes that looked rather like shower caps.  They were to prevent people and bears bringing dirt  into the house via their shoes .20171223_122648383691909.jpgSomeone was in the middle of a game of patience but had gone off to get a cup of tea or something .20171223_122345857168362.jpgThere were  prickly teasels on lots of the chairs in order to stop humans and bears from sitting on them.  A good deterrent; I wouldn’t want one of those stuck to my bottom !20171223_194923In one of the bedrooms there was a bath inside a cupboard .20171223_122941I was drawn to the room at the top of the house by the lovely smell coming from it.  The floor covering in the Tudor hall was made of plaited rush and for some reason smelt of honey.  20171223_1244320.jpgI spent a couple of hours exploring Montacute and ended up very hungry.  At the end of the visit I was able to tuck into a big bowl of cauliflower curry in the café .   Yum Yum Yum…….20171223_1306051773797821.jpg


For more information see:  https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/montacute-house













Allan Bank (Grasmere)

Before reaching Allan Bank I had the opportunity to sit and watch the Herdwick sheep for a while.  They fascinate me;  some of them look just like my human’s grand dog, Buster, who is a Bedlington Terrier.2017-09-05 14.44.17At the entrance to the gardens I posed for a photo with a willow squirrel, and hoped that I would see some of the real red squirrels that live in the garden.21559083_10156593917664112_1467079706145136111_nThere is a splendid view from the garden of the hills surrounding Grassmere.21617718_10156593919164112_6279813793134488086_nHere I am just before going into the house.  I could see the lake from here but forgot to get a photograph.21743303_10156593919119112_6055135191512495958_nNational Trust properties often have a room containing books for sale.  I read Rupert and the Magic Seeds while the humans browsed.  I think Rupert wears rather silly trousers.21617723_10156593918159112_1193428318581948777_nThe next room was set up as an art room, with tables suitable for full grown humans and small humans and bears to have a go at painting.  I did a quick self portrait.21743251_10156593918264112_8188677610596476755_nAfter going upstairs a guide suggested that I might like the play room.   The inhabitants were certainly very pleased to see me.21616348_10156593919349112_8375959351855927551_nI had a little ride on a wooden horse that rocked but didn’t go anywhere.21743027_10156593918374112_6039467563541670217_nThere were lots of hats to try on.   I don’t think I would make a very good police bear.21557760_10156593918609112_5503919330935027852_nTwo of the resident bears put on a special afternoon tea for me.  21751398_10156593918549112_738024538769168282_nBefore saying my farewells I tried out the blackboard.21616204_10156593918504112_5703185503387161730_nAllan Bank has a special room for knitting.  I did a few more rows of someone else’s knitting and would have continued but the humans said we needed to get some cake before the cafe closed.  I like cake.21616130_10156593918664112_1757181676148201231_nThere was also a great selection of games in the knitting room that visitors can play.  The croquet set was just the right size for me; I struggle somewhat with full size croquet mallets.21762192_10156593918844112_3815827628223995753_nNext to the games table there were lots of knitted animals from the Beatrix Potter stories.  They all seemed very busy but Jemima Puddleduck  quacked a few times to me.21617585_10156593918759112_5909433856682224540_nCuddly squirrels were for sale in the next room.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to see a wild red squirrel (though the humans have promised to take me to Brownsea Island oneday where red squirrels also live).   I started reading ‘Squirrel Nutkin’  but didn’t finish as didn’t want to miss cake. 21557510_10156593918904112_3960484443673277051_nWe made our own cups of tea and put some money in the donation box, then bought some cake at the cafe counter.21762170_10156593917909112_8964648287786139318_nIt was a huge piece of very yummy carrot cake.  21617616_10156593917769112_5706970000453997021_nOn the way out I posed for another photo.2017-09-05 14.41.03

I very much enjoyed Allan Bank as there was so much there to do.  It is a great place for bears and human children.

For more information about Allan Bank see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allan-bank-and-grasmere

Speke Hall

I felt rather sleepy following the car journey to Liverpool so I was delighted to find beds in the kitchen garden.  I had a ‘power nap’ for ten minutes.IMG_0901Refreshed from my nap I inspected the produce.  The squashes were growing very well.IMG_0902When we reached the entrance to Speke Hall I paused for a ‘selfie’.  Speke Hall is very old; it was built in Tudor times.IMG_0904There is a courtyard in the middle of the house, and just above the door I noticed a hole in the eaves.  The guide said this used to be used for ‘eavesdropping’ or in other words listening in on the conversations of visitors to get some idea about whether they were safe to let into the house.IMG_0911The walls between the timber frames of the house are made of ‘wattle & daub’.  Wattle and daub is made by weaving twigs with wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and straw. (source:Wikipedia)   IMG_0908The inside of the house is mostly Victorian as the house was renovated and updated over the years.  There was a banquet laid out in the dining room including some rather delicious looking desserts.IMG_0913I was pleased to see fire hoses at the ready in case of fire.IMG_0916In one room behind wooden panelling there was a ladder leading to a ‘priest hole’.  A priest would have lived in the secret room at the time when it was against the law to follow the catholic religion.   IMG_0917In the kitchen downstairs I was very tempted by a large salmon until I realised it was plastic!IMG_0931Before leaving the house I decided to try on a few hats.  I think this one makes me look very important and a bit silly at the same time.IMG_0927I felt more at home in the cap, and the humans said I looked quite ‘dapper’ in it.IMG_0928The mop cap clearly isn’t right for bears.IMG_0929After leaving the house we went outside to explore the gardens.IMG_0934Here I am at the back of the house.IMG_0936Beyond the formal garden there are some woods including a willow sculpture which I explored.IMG_0946I played a little tune using a giant glockenspiel, but could only reach the bottom three notes.IMG_0949I should have wondered about the possibility of giants when I measured my height.  The sign behind my head said ‘baby giant’.IMG_0945I clambered around on some big tree trunks, one of which was inhabited by fairies (you may notice the door).IMG_0943It was quite hard work for a small bear.IMG_0939Just as well I found a chair to rest in, though the chair was exceptionally large.IMG_0950The very large chair suddenly made sense when just around the corner a house came into sight.  Someone was sound asleep inside, snoring very loudly.  Someone with very big feet.  A giant!  I didn’t hang around for long in case he woke up, he may have been a ‘big friendly giant’ but I wasn’t taking any chances.IMG_0954Giant feet need huge shoes!IMG_0960Once out of the woods I explored the maze, keeping an eye on the woods in case the giant had woken up.IMG_0962All the excitement made me quite hungry.  Wet Nelly yum yum yum.21369437_1473932956034098_5053894757992462935_n

For more information about Speke Hall see:  https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/speke-hall-garden-and-estate

Making Pizza

To begin I fried some garlic in olive oil and added a strained tin of tomatoes.  This was then left to simmer.IMG_0844While the tomato sauce was simmering I chopped up all the other toppings.IMG_0853Grated the cheese, taking care not to grate my paws.IMG_0863By this time the simmering tomatoes were ready to be blended into a sauce. IMG_0867My human bought the pizza dough for me earlier in the day at a local baker’s shop.  It smelt jolly good.IMG_0871As I rolled out the dough it seemed almost as though it was alive as it kept springing into different shapes!  I would have liked to pick it up and toss it about as I have seen happen in pizzerias but didn’t want to risk getting dough all stuck in my fur.IMG_0882Before putting on the topping I carefully brushed olive oil all over the base.  IMG_0886Next I covered the base with the various toppings.IMG_0890At this point it things went a little bit wrong.  I forgot to put flour on the board and struggled to lift the pizza.  Sorted it in the end using the bottoms of three cake tins.  My human put the pizza into the oven as I didn’t want to scorch my fur.  The oven was on its highest setting (250c fan) with a special pizza stone in it onto which my pizza was placed.  My human says we need a pizza peel to do this next time (a flat bit of metal with a handle)IMG_0892I must say the final result was delicious.IMG_0895

I hope my human buys more pizza dough soon!

The fresh pizza dough was purchased at:  http://www.marksbread.co.uk