Mascot duties with Ancient Men Morris dancers in Cornwall

As soon as I arrived in Flushing I put on my baldricks

I borrowed a Morris dance hat while my favourite dancer called in to visit us. She is a woman which is a tad confusing as the group call themselves The Ancient Men.

Outside The Seven Stars I was pleased to meet up with the full-time mascot Lobby (a friendly lobster).

In order to get to Trellisick (where the dancers were performing later) it was necessary to first board a ferry to Falmouth.

The Flushing to Falmouth ferry is called Miranda and there was plenty of room for a small bear.

I waved to a few Ancient Men on the quayside. They had chartered a special boat just for them that was arriving later.

Most of the boats in the river Fal were not going anywhere.

It was a tad windy on the quayside at Falmouth with a risk of getting blown into the sea so I climbed into the bear carrier while we waited for the next boat to take us to Trellisick.

In the distance on the hill is Trellisick house and gardens that used to be owed by some very wealthy people. In 1955 they gave it all to The National Trust so now everyone can enjoy it.

We set about exploring the gardens while waiting for the Morris dancers to arrive.

The hydrangeas were very different to those in the garden at home. Huge blue blooms nearly as big as me.

On the grass a bear-sized hurdling course had been set up. I had a go but wasn’t very quick. Being a little clumsy I nearly knocked one hurdle over.

Many stately homes owned by the National Trust have special small houses for bears. It was a delight to find one at Trelissick.

From the front of the house there is an amazing view of the Fal estuary.

The sack race had been set up for young humans. I decided to have a go…

Phew; made it to the finish. A shame my human didn’t film me!

Fortunately there are deck chairs for people and bears who have just raced in sacks to chill out in…

The cafe was serving some jolly good food. Yum yum yum…

The sound of jingling bells meant that The Ancient Men had arrived. I found them next to the big house and found a good spot next to Lobby to support them

Some of The Ancient Men are women and they aren’t ancient. They first toured Cornwall 90 years ago and back then they were all men. All of the Ancient Men (and young women) attended Oxford university and every year they meet up for a tour.

At the end of the dancing it was time for a cream tea. Unfortunately wasps also like cream teas.

I ate my cream tea indoors as had no intention of sharing it with wasps.

Time flies when you are having fun. It was soon time to walk back down to the shore to catch the boat back to Falmouth. I paused for a photo with a tree fern. They grow well in the gardens along the Fal estuary.

While waiting for the boat to arrive I watched the big blue boat go back and fro across the river. The King Harry is held by chains and transports cars across the river.

Once on board The Enterprise 3 the skipper asked me if I would like to steer the boat for a while. It was quite hard work for a small bear.

On arriving back in Flushing the regatta carnival was taking place.

The Ancient Men(and young women) were in the procession and danced their way along the road.

Later I joined the Ancient Men for a drink. I am hoping to acquire a tankard for the next time I meet up with them!

Horace the Alresford Bear 29/7/19

For more information about Trelissick https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/trelissick

Fingle Woods

I was recently given the opportunity to take part in a special tour of Fingle Woods with The Woodland Trust. After parking the car we made our way to the start point at The Fingle Bridge Inn. I got myself a nice mug of tea and a flapjack and went and sat by the river Teign while waiting for the other guests to arrive.Once everyone had arrived we all walked across Fingle Bridge towards the minibuses that were waiting to take us around the woods. I paused for a while on the wall to look back at the view of Inn.I had a quick look at the map; the woods cover quite a large area (335 hectares).Once on the minibus I fastened my seatbelt. The bus travelled up a track past lots of conifers.We finally reached a clearing where the buses parked. Everyone walked a little way to the remains of Wooston Hill Fort that was built 3000 years ago. We were given a talk about it and about Fingle Woods. Apparently the last owners of the woodland kept 60,000 pheasants on the land which was not good for all the creepy crawlies (invertebrates) that lived there as the pheasants ate far too many of them. The view is spectacular. The guide pointed out two other hill forts in the distance.After getting back in the minibus and driving further through the woods everyone got out again to walk to an ancient charcoal burning platform.Before the conifers were planted oak trees were grown here and coppiced in order for charcoal to be produced.Conifers have been growing here for at least fifty years, but there are still some remains of charcoal to be found around the platforms where it was made.On the way back to the bus I came across a huge mound. On inspection I discovered that it was full of ants and was in fact a giant ant hill. I didn’t hang around!After another short bus journey going downhill we arrived at the bottom of the valley.  There are 13 little streams that run down through the woods into the river Teign.The next stop was at a clearing where 3 years ago a strip of the conifers at the edge of the path had been felled in order to start regenerating the natural woodland.  The ground plants usually present in a broadleaf woodland were all starting to return.  The ecologists explained that although the area under the conifers looks dead, the soil contains many dormant seeds (the ‘seedbank’). When conditions become favourable, the seeds germinate and everything becomes green again.  Eventually, over a period of many many years, they are hoping to restore the whole of Fingle Wood to a broad leaf forest.There were nesting boxes for birds, and dormice.  I did see a few birds but I think the dormice were all asleep.It is a relaxing experience just to sit and listen to the gurgling and bubbling of water.On returning to The Fingle Bridge Inn it was time for lunch.  There was a buffet provided for all the people (and bears) on the tour which was very yummy.After eating I had a look at the butterfly chart and spotted a butterfly that I had seen fluttering around earlier; I think it was called a pearl bordered fritillary.I also got to look at a couple a dormouse nests. The day finished with a chocolate brownie.

Fingle Wood is owned by a partnership of The Woodland Trust and The National Trust.  It is a really lovely place to visit.  The Fingle Inn is also a great place to have some refreshments in a beautiful setting.

For more information see the following:

https://finglewoods.org.uk/

http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/wood/5663/fingle-woods/

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fingle-bridge/features/fingle-woods

http://www.finglebridgeinn.co.uk/

Horace the Alresford Bear 6/7/19

 

 

Adventure in Sardinia

The first place I stayed in was on the west coast of Sardinia; Porto Alabe.I have never seen such big prickly pear cacti; not even at botanical gardens. This one was in flower too.The beach was fairly quiet with just a sprinkling of sun umbrellas.I found the first day rather hot and wanted to cool off. I was very tempted to use the outdoor shower, then remember what happens to me when I get wet!I climbed into the olive tree to shelter from the sun for a while.The lounger was even better, a place to relax in comfort. I nodded off for a while.Meal time I decided to cook some spaghetti in a tomato sauce.Yum yum yum (even if I didn’t cook the spaghetti for quite long enough!)The flowers on the coast were all in bloom and very pretty.I wanted to climb up to the Nuragic monument but my little legs were too tired so I just sat on a rock and looked at it instead. There are lots of them in Sardinia; built over 3000 years ago.On returning to the apartment I found a special bear-sized bath but didn’t stay for long in case someone turned on the tap.A good thing to eat when in Sardinia is pizza. This one the first of many. Yum yum yum..

Bosa is a very interesting town with very old houses painted different colours on a hillside next to the river.

The Streets are very narrow.

There are also many cafes selling very tasty gelato. I am not good at holding cones so had mine in a little dish.

Here I am at another beach further along the coast; Maimoni. I thought about using the snorkelling mask but decided against it.This is the best place for a bear…There were beautiful sunsets at Porto Alabe due to facing west.After a drive along the coast along through the mountains we reached Alghero. Alghero old town has lots of interesting narrow streets, and restaurants serving delicious food, such as this paella.Boats go from Alghero port to visit caves inside cliffs, so I jumped in one for a ride as I have never been inside a cave with stalactites.There was lots to see from the boat.An enormous cruise liner was moored up in the bay.The boats pull up at a jetty at the entrance to the cave, Neptune’s Grotto.I purchased my ticket..Inside the cave was quite amazing. After staying a week on the west of the island it was time to move to the south, which involved a drive across the island, though a tunnel and down a very long winding road to Cala Gonone.There was a wonderful view of the sea from the balcony of Casa Anna.

The back garden was very pretty with an enormous pizza oven.

I cooked indoors as we only needed a small amount of food.

Supper on the balcony. Yum yum yum.

The sea at Cala Gonone was crystal clear and very calm. I could even see a few fish swimming about.

Too hot for a vintage bear though. I have to look after my fur so chilled under the parasol.

One morning I woke up early so went out onto the balcony to see the sun rise.

I do enjoy gardening so tended the back garden while we were there.

There are ‘Giant’s tombs’ in several places in Sardinia. Finding one involved first driving the car to a place in the countryside.

I could see the Giant’s tomb in the distance in the ‘maccia’. Maccia is the collective name for all the wild plants that grow on the uncultivated land.

After quite a long hot walk we arrived at the tomb. I was very careful not to fall in.

All the tombs have the same shapes of stone at the front. This is over 4000 years old.

Back at Casa Anna I posed for a selfie with the bougainvillia.

All adventures come to an end. I tried on some caps at the airport hoping one might fit but I do have an odd shaped head. This one with the Sardinian flag on looks good from the front!

Glad I remembered my passport for going home!

I enjoyed Sardinia but it was rather a warm place for a small bear covered in fur.

Horace the Alresford Bear 24/6/19

(All these photos were also posted live on my Facebook page)

The River Avon Trail

A lovely sunny day so decided to go on a local adventure and walk along the River Avon.

I was jolly pleased to get to Beeses Riverside Bar as was feeling a tad hungry. The ferry boat was very busy taking visitors to and fro.

I clambered in and sat near the life ring just in case….

When we reached the other side there were lots of people waiting to cross back again…

Beeses was very busy with lots of happy people sitting in the sunshine.

I managed to find a quiet spot right next to the river to enjoy my cream tea…

A boat went past and I gave the occupants a little wave…

On the way back I made friends with a young labrador who was also using the ferry…

Just after getting off the ferry I noticed an interesting sign. It inspired me to walk further along the trail…

Legs were a tad tired when I arrived at Hanhan Lock so was jolly pleased to find The Chequers Inn to stop at for more refreshments.

When I finally arrived back home after walking nearly 7 miles I was ver tired but had enjoyed a lovely afternoon out.

Morris Dancing on my own….

On May Day this year I was unable to get to Oxford to join the celebrations so did a little dance on my own.  Here I am:-

Three years ago I had great fun at Oxford dancing with Oxford Morris.

https://horacethealresfordbear.com/2016/05/02/may-day-morris-dancing/

I also met up with them in the Wye Valley during their ‘Ancient Men’ tour:

https://horacethealresfordbear.com/2016/08/02/rendevous-with-ancient-men-oxford-university-morris-men/

I do hope to go to Oxford May morning again one year but my humans are not keen on the very early start.

Horace the Alresford Bear 9/5/2019

Exploring Dinefwr

I was delighted to be able to spend a couple of hours exploring Dinefwr in Camarthenshire on the way home from our holiday.  There are very little people that live on the estate in houses in tree trunks.

There was even a washing line with teeny weeny washing hung out to dry.  I didn’t spot any teeny weeny people; they must be quite shy.

Or perhaps they stay hidden as I found another much bigger door in a very old tree trunk…..

Before going inside the house I had to have a ‘selfie’ photo!

Through the window was a view of a knot garden and some flower beds waiting to be planted.  I am sure it will look quite splendid once the gardeners set to work.

There was a lady busy dusting the floors so I gave her a helping paw.

In the library I found an interesting book but there wasn’t time to stay and read it (which would have involved staying several weeks).20190330_122256843830246.jpgHere I am sitting in ‘The Bard’s Chair’.   (Actually it is a replica, which is why I was allowed to sit in it)

There was an information board stating that there are white cattle at Dinefwr.  I was hoping to find them.

Oh dear; not quite what I was looking for!

During the war part of Dinefwr was used as a hospital.  We have a stone hot water bottle just like those; it is used to keep the rabbits warm in their hutch in winter.

The butler wasn’t allowed to empty slops into his sink.

An interesting machine for cleaning knives – it looks a bit like a tombola.

I had a quick game of ‘Four in a row’ with my human , who went on to win.  I wasn’t really concentrating well as my tummy had started rumbling telling me it was lunch time.

A tasty bowl of Cawl.  Yum yum yum….

In the shop next to the café some of the children’s books were in Welsh, reminding me that we were in Wales.

The sun was shining outside so we set off to explore the grounds of Dinefwr, where I was hoping to somewhere find some white cows.  I found a very old true that had a special hidey hole just right for bears.

There were some wooden sculptures of animals dotted around the park.  Here I am with a wooden badger.

The house looked liked a fairy tale castle from the deer park.

Unfortunately I didn’t see any deer except this carved one.  A sign said that the Dinefwr deer are shy so they must have been hiding somewhere.

After leaving the deer park I took a stroll across a board walk through the bog wood.

There were many ferns growing on the branches of the trees; for some reason I felt that a dinosaur might appear at any moment.

After being carried up a quite steep hill I arrived at Dinefwr castle.

There were good views from the top of the castle so I had a good look around to see if I could view any white cows, but didn’t spot any.

Humans were enjoying wandering around.

I was jolly pleased that my humans were hungry again and wanted to pay the café another visit before we continued on our journey.  Carrot cake.  Yum yum yum….

I could have spent much longer at Dinefwr but we only had a couple of hours to spare.  Next time there is a chance to visit I will hopefully see a deer and a white cow!

Horace the Alresford Bear 1/4/19

For more information about Dinefwr see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dinefwr

 

Three Bears in Treleddyd Fawr Cottage

It is not often our humans decide to take three of us along with them on holiday. Growler is very old and doesn’t get out much these days so they thought he would enjoy a break, and Nye, although a bit mischievous as times is small so doesn’t take up much room and he is always smiling like me. We were absolutely delighted when we arrived at our home for the week, which was 200 year old Treleddyd Fawr cottage, near St Davids in Pembrokeshire. The cottage looks like something from a postcard.

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Treleddyd Fawr is owned by the National Trust who rent it out to people as a holiday cottage.

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We all posed outside before going in.

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Growler had a little rest while Nye and I opened the door.

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Our kind humans had already got the fire going for us to warm our fur. We were careful not to get too close and moved further away after the photo had been taken.

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The comfy blue chair…

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…and the comfy blue sofa.

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After warming up we went upstairs, which took a while. We really liked the stair runner, which was made nearby from Welsh wool in a mill at Solva.

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Finally we reached the top. Human sized stairs are hard work for small bears.

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A lovely bed awaited us for a well earned rest.

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I think I am looking a bit squashed face again; I must ask the humans to be more careful with me when I am in the bear carrier.

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The cottage walls are very thick and the windows quite small, though we enjoyed the view of the blackthorn in flower.

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When the cottage was built Velux roof windows had not been invented. The National Trust fitted two in the roof at the back of the cottage. We were very impressed with them as they gave an excellent view of the sheep.

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I climbed out onto the roof for a better view. (Sometimes I can do things that humans cannot as I am very light).

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Growler was very relieved when I returned. He was worried that a gust of wind might have blown me away.

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We sat for a while upstairs in the ‘dressing room’ area on a bench that must have been designed for three bears.

There are some photos on the wall of how the Treleddyd Fawr looked prior to it being renovated.

This one shows a very old Welsh clog that was found during the restoration.

When we returned downstairs Nye found it in exactly the same place as shown in the photograph. Nye being a tad mischievous tried it on.

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We enjoyed sitting on the bench in the garden listening to the sheep baa-ing and birds tweeting.

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I was curious as to what was behind the red door. The humans had been through it a couple of times…

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….a washing machine and tumble drier. Very useful for humans, though sometimes they decide bears need to go in them. Fortunately the humans only used them to wash some of their clothes.

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The humans also were keeping their bicycles in the utility room, and seemed very pleased to have somewhere safe and dry to store them.

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Next to the cottage is a very deep well. The National Trust have wisely put a grille in front to make sure bears or people (or dogs, as dogs holiday here sometimes too) fall down. We had afternoon tea on the platform next to it; close to the kitchen door so not too far for us to carry the china. The barabrith that we bought in nearby St Davids was very yummy.

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Afterwards I did all the washing up.

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There are two wood burning stoves at Treleddyd Fawr. Here we are watching a logburn in the biggest one. There are the remains of a bread oven next to it and the chimney up above is very big and wide. The National Trust restored the fireplace with a new oak lintel which was grown at Colby Woodland Garden nearby. (See my blog: https://horacethealresfordbear.com/2019/03/27/colby-woodland-garden-in-early-spring/ )

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Treleddyd Fawr cottage is quite famous.

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For breakfast each day I made porridge with local honey.

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Three bears eating porridge!

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Whilst the humans were out one day we played hide and seek. Nye went first but we soon spotted him in the bread oven.

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Next It was Growler’s turn. We took a little longer to find him.

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I found a special hidey hole in the bathroom (which used to be a dairy). The others discovered me when I sneezed!

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When it was Nye’s turn again we nearly gave up. Due to his small size and being quite flexible he had managed to squeeze himself into the bread jar.

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There was a cupboard in the hall containing some board games. We were delighted to find Scrabble there. Growler won every game; he is old and knows many words.

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Grower being very old often takes naps. He made himself at home on the bench seat.

The week went by far too quicky. Treleddyd Fawr cottage is a splendid very interesting place for a break ‘away from it all’ for bears and their humans. We were sad to wave goodbye but are left with many happy memories.

If you would like to stay at Treleddyd Fawr cottage see:

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/treleddyd-fawr-cottage-wales

Also the cottage has featured on BBC television on ‘National Treasures of Wales’

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02bj3fp

Horace the Alresford Bear 30/3/19

Colby Woodland Garden in early spring

Being a bear I am fond of woods and I also enjoy gardening; so decided to visit Colby Woodland Garden during my stay in Wales.

It was quite early in the year for many of the flowers but the camelia behind me was in full bloom in the walled garden.

Unfortunately the doves were not at home.

A lovely little stream ran gently down from the summer house to a small round pond. It wasn’t deep but I was still very careful not to fall in.

Many primroses were in bloom….

The apple blossom also was also starting to appear.

….and a few frittileries.

Sunbathing in early spring is delightful.

While walking around the woodland I came across a very odd looking tree stump. From the distance I thought it was fungi but closer inspection revealed many one penny pieces stuck firmly in the bark.

I crossed over the stream very carefully though nearly fell through the gap a couple of times.

An opportunity for climbing can never be ignored…

I made it!

From the distance this fallen tree looked a bit like a giant crocodile. Humans had carved a criss cross pattern on it to stop it being slippery making it safer to climb on.

Some of the rhododendrums werein flower. This one had blooms nearly asbig as my head.

I was looking forward to my customary post visit tea and cake but was somewhat dissappointed to find the café closed.

If you like a cup of tea and cake after exploring probably best not to visit until after 6th April when café opens.

For more information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/colby-woodland-garden

Horace the Alresford Bear 27/3/19

Aberdulais with Nye & Growler

Growler and Nye (who promised not to cause any mischief) came along with me to visit Aberdulais falls and waterwheel.

Nye and Growler studied the map to make sure we didn’t get lost

There was a huge water wheel which would have been used to power machinery to roll steel that would go on to be plated in tin.

We had a look at the waterfall (while a human held onto our legs!)

Growler is ver old and stuffed with wood shavings so we didn’t want him falling in.

I climbed up for a closer look at the channel that diverted water from the waterfall to the water wheel.

Here we are inside the ruins of the tinning shed…

We stopped to take a selfie…

Growler and Nye wouldn’t get in the cart with me. Nye was keen to get to the café as was hungry.

The cafe used to be in the Old School House. Unfortunately that got recently flooded so now it is based in the shop. We had hoped to have bara brith but they had sold out so settled for cream scones instead. Yum yum yum….

While eating I spotted the caps for sale. I do like hats so we all tried them on.

If you want to find out more about visiting Aberdulais have a look at:
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/aberdulais-tin-works-and-waterfall

A train ride to Dawlish

A great thing to do while in Torquay is a train ride along the coast to Dawlish, especially if like me you like trains.  Here I am waiting for the train, another slightly blurred photo but at least I am in focus.img_1759The first train to arrive was destined for Manchester.   People and bears have to be careful at railway stations that they get on the correct train!img_1760A few minutes later the train to Exeter arrived and I quickly got on, no time for photographs!  We were soon on our way and within about 15 minutes after travelling along the edge of the river Teign we reached Teignmouth.img_1761The train track is right next to the sea and the view is amazing.  img_1763Here is a glimpse of ‘Elephant Rock’ which is just before Dawlish Warren.img_1765We got off the train at Dawlish Warren in order to walk along the coast path to Dawlish.img_1776There were lots of splendid buckets and spades for sale in the beach shop but the humans didn’t seem to think it was digging weather.img_1772There was lots of space on the beach, with just a few dogs and their humans enjoying walking on the sand.img_1779While walking back towards Dawlish a few trains went by; I waved to any children on board.  Children do like to wave from trains.img_1787The red cliffs are made of sandstone and over the years get washed away by the sea.img_1788Back in 2014 a whole section of the track ended up suspended in midair when a section of the seawall collapsed during a ferocious storm.  (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26042990).   I went down onto the beach to have a look at the rebuilt bit.   img_1790On reaching Dawlish I was keen to find the famous Dawlish black swans.  img_1794Jolly pleased to find one; easy to spot with a bright red bill.img_1796A few more black swans were resting or foraging on the grass.  They have white feathers underneath their wings.img_1802I watched this pair for quite a while as they swam up and down dabbling around in the water.img_1809Here is some more information about the black swans: https://www.dawlish.gov.uk/waterfowl.phpimg_1815My tummy started to rumble as it was snack time.  Jolly pleased to find a splendid little tea room ‘A Piece of Cake’ serving freshly made scones.  The cheese scone was delicious.img_1821The humans popped me into the bear carrier to get back to Dawlish station to make sure we didn’t miss the train back to Torquay.  We got there just as the train was arriving.img_1824I found a seat but didn’t stay in it long as couldn’t see out of the window.img_1826Fortunately being a bear I was able to clamber up onto the table to look at the view.   img_1832

The train soon arrived back in Torquay.    A splendid afternoon out – great for bears and humans and I think children would probably enjoy too.

Horace the Alresford Bear 7/1/19