Rescuing a relative from a Totnes charity shop

I recently found myself strapped in to the back of the car on a cold winter’s morning (hence the blanket).  The humans were heading off on another dance weekend, and they do like to take me along too.20170106_101700On the way they stopped at a small town called Totnes for some lunch.  Here I am in Totnes High Street. 20170106_130125There are quite a few charity shops in Totnes;  Karen always has to look in charity shops just in case there might be something there that could be useful (like a new dress).   I followed her into the Cancer Research UK shop.20170106_135539We noticed a familiar face sitting on a chair next to a heap of abandoned cuddly toys.  He was sat staring into space and looked rather worried.  I remembered how I felt when I spent a few days sat on a charity shop shelf.   I said ‘Hello’ to him and he told me that he had been made in the Station Mill at Alresford and how sad he felt that his human had abandoned him to a charity shop.  I asked if he’d like to come and live with some of his Alresford relatives.20170106_162459Jesse had a £12 price label attached to his Alresford Crafts label, which seemed a small price to pay to rescue him.  Karen took him to the shop counter to pay for him.  The shop assistant wasn’t interested in our story but stood aside for us to take a photo.  20170106_162329Once outside the shop Karen found a suitable bear carrier for Jesse.20170106_130343It was then time to get something to eat.  We went back down the hill to Maisie’s Cafe, a lovely little tearoom, where Karen treated us both to tea and cake.20170106_162120I think Jesse is going to like living with us 🙂

Horace the Alresford Bear 10/1/17

For more information about Maisie’s Cafe see their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Maisies-1608959262723707/

 

 

 

 

Greenway – Agatha Christie’s holiday home

I felt like a very special bear indeed when given the opportunity to visit Greenway, a house where a very famous Author, Agatha Christie, used to live sometimes. img_9350As we went into the house I noticed a huge painting on the wall of Agatha when she was a little girl cuddling a doll.img_9360Further on in the drawing room someone had abandoned a game of dominoes…img_9362No one was playing the piano so I clambered up and gave a rendition of ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’.  Unfortunately that is the only tune I know how to play; I really should learn some more as I often seem to come across pianos.img_9364In the kitchen there was an old manual typewriter with an invitation to try it out.  I managed to type my name, though it is not as easy as using a computer keyboard.  img_9368Upstairs on the landing I spotted three Aspidistra plants (they take ages and ages to grow). They were sat on top of a very interesting bookcase which was made for Agatha Christie’s children, and it was full of books written by her.img_9372I am always very interested in toilets.  This mahogany seated one was inhabited by a little green frog, which was something of a surprise!img_9374The toilet roll had ‘government issue’ stamped on it, and it looked more like the paper Karen uses to line cake tins.img_9381I had a peep in Agatha’s dressing room…img_9382The view out of the window was beautiful, I could see the boats going up and down the River Dart.img_9383Behind glass there was a complete collection of all the first editions of the books written by Agatha Christie.  She must have been a very busy lady.img_9385The bear sat on the sofa in the library looked as though he needed some other bear company as he only had dolls to keep him company.  I said ‘hello’ to him and wished him well.img_9387There is graffiti on the walls of the library painted by an American Lieutenant during the 2nd World War. img_9393In the inner hall I found a really old Motorola mobile phone.  It was quite big and very heavy and was made in the mid 1980’s.img_9395After looking around the house I was a very hungry bear so had some lunch.  The baked potato was extremely yummy.img_9398I made sure that the door remained closed on the peach house to make sure that no naughty squirrels came in.img_9411I like terraccota flower pots!img_9400The cucumbers were all knobbly and didn’t look like the ones that Karen buys in the greengrocers shop.img_9404We went on to explore the fernery, which is an excellent place for bearsimg_9413img_9416I climbed up to have a closer look at the broken pot, but only as far as the sign that said ‘no further please’.img_9422There were also some pet graves in the fernery.  I think the pets that lived at Greenway probably had very happy lives living in such a lovely place.img_9420I was delighted to come across a bear sized tractor.img_9426We walked through some woods until we arrived at an area known as ‘The Battery’.  I climbed up onto the wall and could see Dartmouth in the distance.img_9431I stopped and had a little rest against the wall and then wondered about the large iron thing with a hole in that was right in front of me.img_9439I had a look inside, though the humans told me that it wasn’t a wise thing to do!img_9436I realised then that it was an old cannon.  I felt safer at the other end.img_9442Just along a woodland path from The Battery we found The Boathouse.img_9443The Boathouse is a perfect place to sit in the sunshine and enjoy the view of the river.img_9447The lower floor of The Boathouse has a special plunge pool.  The plunge pool is being repaired and restored at the moment so we were unable to see it.  I am sure we will visit again when the work is finished.img_9449The house looked lovely in the sunshine as we walked back up the path…img_9450I stopped and had a rest for a while in one of the deckchairs…img_9464…after which it was time to leave.  We will be back 🙂img_9470

To find out more about Greenway go to https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway

Horace the Alresford Bear 17/10/2016

Lanhydrock

Lanhyrock is an enormous house where very rich people used to live.  We entered through a very splendid gatehouse.img_8995Before we went into the house I noticed some small humans rolling down the grass bank.  I decided to have a go…img_8924Jolly good fun it was too!img_8925I could have happily spent more time playing ‘roly-poly’ but the humans said we needed to visit the house before it closed.img_8921The first thing of interest to me was the napkin folding table.  I decided to have a go…img_8929…and made a hat that I though might be good for wearing while cooking.img_8927Further along a corridor I came face to face with this chap. I’m sure he moved a little bit while I was watching him so I kept well back just in case….img_8930I tried out the typewriter in Lord Robartes’ study.  It was quite hard work typing each letter with my paws.img_8935In the nursery I spotted a couple of bears playing football  and called out “Hello”.img_8936Two more bears were on a shelf in the nursery library; they were keeping a close eye on all the visitors looking around the house.img_8938The Robartes family must have been very worried that a fire might break out.  I discovered this huge hose hung up on one landing….img_8942….plus three very impressive red buckets.img_8943Lady Robartes’ used to enjoy honey with her afternoon tea in her private sitting room.img_8945I was delighted to find a piano with a sign inviting people (and bears) to play.  I played my version of Teddy Bear’s Picnic, after which my paws were very tired.img_8947 On entering the kitchen a large cake caught my eye.  A room guide announced that the Victoria sponge was edible, but that it had been on display for a few weeks, so I decided not to try it.img_8949In another kitchen room someone was in the middle of shelling peas; I think they must have gone for a tea break (shelling peas is hard work).  img_8950Scullery maids  would have spent all their time washing up pot after pot in this sink without any rubber gloves.  I’m glad I’m not a scullery maid.img_8952There were joints of meat of all shapes and sizes sat in a big cabinet with wheels on the bottom. img_8953I think I could make a good vegetable stew with this lot.img_8955Bread was all made in the kitchens of Lanhydrock in this huge oven.img_8958Yum yum yum…. img_8959 I always enjoy a bit of grinding with a pestle and mortar, especially cinnamon which smells almost as good as honey.img_8967The tool in this photo is a special device for cutting up giant cones of sugar.   img_8968In the dairy I tried my hand at making butter.  img_8974The handle has to be turned round and round and round and round very fast until the cream eventually turns into butter.  My paws soon got tired.img_8975In another room there was a special table made out of marble with water running all around it.  It is for keeping things cool, and setting jelly.  The jelly made me feel suddenly very hungry, but I wasn’t allowed to eat it.  Karen said I could have a treat later.img_8977The treat was very yummy indeed.img_8979The gardeners must work very hard; I spent a while admiring this dazzling display of begonias.img_8984 Away from the formal garden there is a magnificent tree with lots of holes for bears to hide in.img_8990There is lots to see at Lanhydrock and I think we probably could have spent longer there but the staff were shutting everything up as they wanted to go home for tea.   Perhaps my humans will take me again one day.

For more information about Lanhydrock see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lanhydrock

Horace the Alresford Bear 24/9/16

Boscastle

I was a tad worried when Karen mentioned that the accomodation that we were going to stay in at Boscastle used to be a pilchard cellar, but our apartment, The Clinker, turned out to be very pleasant.img_8919The best thing about The Clinker was the window with a special seat for bears right in front of it.  I spent quite a lot of time sat here while the humans did long walks (they say I am ‘too big’ to take everywhere)14199392_1113856785375052_5268541012461105980_nI saw many dogs (and humans) of all shapes and sizes walking by.  I even saw some bears.  When I spotted a little Merrythought bear outside looking up at me I ran downstairs to say hello.  He’s called Severn Bear and travels about extensively with his humans.  They took a photo of us together for Instagram.

I waved to Severn Bear as he continued with his travels…14237645_1113857352041662_6335049357608771698_nThere was an interesting book in The Clinker with lots of photos of the places where the humans walk but don’t take me…14183934_1116573961770001_4219155113023618212_nOne evening Karen announced that she thought the tide times were right to see the Boscastle blow hole in action (a place where water squirts out of a hole in the cliff).  I was very excited and waited patiently in the new bear carrier for transportation.14291624_1113357358758328_1431872615531993758_nWhen we arrived at the view point there were a few gushes of water, but not anything spectacular.  Karen thought it was probably better at some tides than others depending on the height of the tide etc. I still enjoyed watching the waves.14183927_1116964495064281_7559560088952004658_nThe next day I posted a postcard to my Grand human on the way to the shops.14237488_1114644868629577_5969731953731499556_nFortunately there was still room for me in the bag after stocking up on a few groceries.

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I climbed out of the bag to take a closer look at this building.  It is The Harbour Lights cafe, and it was swept away when Boscastle was flooded in 2004.  It was rebuilt to look exactly the same as before.14316709_1114645935296137_5424543781386011345_n

After returning from another long walk the humans took me along to the National Trust cafe underneath our apartment with them.  Yum Yum Yum14330122_1116829405077790_5331512404814311674_nRight next door the The Clinker there was a very old Lime Kiln. It isn’t used for heating lime anymore and makes an excellent hiding place for bears.img_9146The day that it rained was a bit of a problem as I didn’t have any wellies with me (I borrow Paddington’s at home).  I wanted to go for a little walk, so borrowed human walking boots.img_9160Here is a selfie of me at the end of the harbour.  img_9158I was feeling quite tired as the boots were quite heavy.  I kept going though as I wanted to give some money to the man collecting for National Coastwatch;  they keep an eye out for boats or people in the water or walking the coastpath that may need assistance.  img_9169In this photo you can see the white lookout station on the left in the distance. Boscastle is a splendid place with lots to see.  I was quite sad to wave goodbye at the end of our stay. img_9211

To find out more about National Coastwatch see http://www.nci.org.uk

Horace the Alresford Bear 10/9/16

Visiting Doc Martin’s village (Port Wenn/Port Isaac)

When sat on the back of the sofa I have noticed that the humans do seem to like watching a television show called ‘Doc Martin’ about a grumpy but lovable GP who lives in a fishing village in Cornwall.  In the series the village is called ‘Port Wenn’ but in real life it is Port Isaac, and Doc Martin doesn’t really live there at all.  We set out to find the buildings used in filming the show.  As soon as we’d walked down the hill I spotted Doc Martin’s house – if you are a fan you will know which one it is!img_9067-copyThe humans weren’t sure where to look for the other buildings, so we popped into a shop called ‘May contain nuts’ and bought a little map.  I hoped that we would return to same shop for pasties later as they looked delicious.img_9090-copyWe soon found the village school, which used to really be a school but nowadays is a hotel and restaurant.img_9070-copyimg_9087-copyNot far up the hill we found the school teacher Louisa’s house.  It was actually a holiday house.  I climbed up onto the window sill for a photo.img_9082-copyWe then set off to find Aunt Ruth’s house.   I had to stop and study the map for a while.img_9099-copyOn the way to Aunt Ruth’s we passed a cottage with an excellent name.  I wondered if there was lots of honey inside.img_9103Aunt Ruth’s house was up the hill a little bit; it was for sale.  I thought it looked like a good house for bears.img_9106My legs were getting tired so I climbed back into the bear carrier in order to find the pharmacy.img_9141Here I am perched on the windowsill for a photo.  I held on tight as a dog was looking rather interested in me.img_9107The pharmacy shop is really a confectioners.  The humans went inside and bought ice creams – pharmacies don’t usually sell ice cream!img_9110Next we went up the hill to get a closer look at Doc Martin’s House. I stopped on the way to look at the school from the other side of the bay.img_9113On arrival at Doc Martin’s house there was quite a queue of people outside waiting to see him.img_9119I climbed up the front steps to see if he was actually there!img_9115No sign of him today – the people were going to be waiting a very long time.img_9121Going back down the hill I wondered if we could get a cup of tea at Bert’s Cafe.img_9122Bert wasn’t in so we went back down to the harbour.  I think I look good in yellow boats.img_9132Was jolly pleased when the humans went back to ‘May Contain Nuts’ and bought pasties for lunch.  img_9137

Yum yum yum.

Horace the Alresford Bear 17/9/16

 

Watersmeet; walk, cake & roof tiles

img_9235Watersmeet rates very highly in my mental list of places that are good for bears and their humans to spend time.  It is good just to sit and watch the river gurgle down the valley.img_9221In some places the river Lyn gets quite frothy as it tumbles over rocks.  I didn’t sit too close as I really don’t like getting soggy fur.img_9214I am quite an adventurous bear though, so when I spotted this log across the river proceeded to clamber to the middle of the river.img_9232My humans were getting a tad concerned that I might fall in but I felt quite safe and sat for a while.img_9227We followed the river for a couple of miles down to a place called Lynmouth where the river flows into the sea.img_9237Here is a selfie of me sitting on the bridge.img_9240I was very interested in the boats that were in the harbour.  I like to read the names; one day I might find a boat named after me!img_9243There is a very interesting railway at Lynmouth that takes people to Lynton which is at the top of the cliff.  The railway is powered by water, and when one engine goes up the one at the top comes down at exactly the same time.  img_9247I would have liked to have a ride, but there wasn’t time as we had to walk 2 miles back up the valley again and get to the tearoom before closing time for cake. I like cake.img_9252We walked back up the valley to Watersmeet on the other side of the river.  I had to stop and admire the lovely view.img_9258I was very pleased when I finally spotted the tea room, and extremely happy that it was still open.img_9260We had to cross on a  wooden bridge over a big waterfall to reach the cafe. Here I am sitting on the railings, though a human was holding my legs to make sure I didn’t tumble over the edge.img_9264Yum yum yum chocolate brownie and a pot of tea.img_9267After filling my tum I had a look at the signs hanging on the front of the tearoom.img_9289The lovely old building needs a new roof and the National Trust are fundraising by getting bears (and people) to sponsor slates for the roof.img_9290I decided to sponsor a slate. My name will forever be up in the roof of the Watersmeet Tearoom, or at least until it needs another new roof (quite a long time I would think).img_9283By the time I had finished writing my slate (I can only write slowly with my paws) the tearoom had closed.  I posed with my slate on the steps.img_9285I think perhaps I should have written ‘Watersmeet is a good place for bears’, but there wasn’t much time, and I am not sure that there was room for another word on the bottom line.img_9287On the way back up to the car park right at the top of the hill, I stopped for a while and watched another waterfall.img_9296Watersmeet is indeed a beautiful place.  I hope to go again oneday.

Horace the Alresford Bear 15/9/16

For more information about Watersmeet see https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/watersmeet

Lynton/Lynmouth Cliff railway see http://www.cliffrailwaylynton.co.uk

 

Kilver Court Secret Gardens

The humans took me and my grand human to Kilver Court Secret Gardens in Shepton Mallet today.  They are hidden behind a shopping centre, and after paying the entrance fee in the garden centre shop (though bears go in for free)  we went in through a gate and were quite surprised.  We found  a big lake with lots of little duck houses dotted all over it, and a huge viaduct in the background.   It was very pleasing to the eye.20160904_150249.jpgWe walked through some woodland and came to a little house where people get married, though no one was getting married so I was able to pose for a selfie.20160904_150715As I toddled along the path I was surprised to spot a flamingo on the lake.  It was quite pink but I don’t think the camera captured the colour very well.20160904_150806It is just as well that I am not keen on swimming, as there were several signs requesting visitors not to go into the lake.20160904_151339Close up the viaduct was enormous. Trains don’t use it anymore.  I wondered whether it would be possible to walk across it.  20160904_151606I was drawn to a sign mentioning bears in the herbaceous border.20160904_151539.jpgThe rudebeckia was looking splendid.20160904_151626On the lake shore there was a thatched boathouse with small tethered boat.  I climbed in for a photo shoot.20160904_152137Further on round the garden some of the paths were quite challenging for my short legs.  20160904_152736This is the view from a little bridge going across the stream.  It was very peaceful.20160904_152837After all the walking I was jolly pleased to find a seat where I was able to snooze for ten minutes before exploring further.20160904_153246.jpgThe dahlias were in full flower and looked very bright and cheerful.  I’d like some dahlias in our garden at home but it is already full of plants!20160904_153414There was a ‘knotted’ garden with lots of low hedges that I particularly liked.  I think I look quite tall in this photo.20160904_153546I couldn’t resist climbing up on a wall to smell the sweet peas.20160904_153724On the way out I bought some new plants that would just about squeeze into our garden at home.  The yellow daisies (osteospernums) were reduced in price as it is the end of the season and they don’t always survive winter if the weather is too cold.   My humans thought we’d give them a chance.20160904_154225As soon as we got home I planted them in our front garden.IMG_8722

Horace the Alresford Bear 4/9/16

More information about Kilver Court Secret Garden http://www.kilvercourt.com/gardens

 

 

Returning to Alresford on the Watercress Line

Last year we paid a quick visit to Alresford while on the way to France in order to see the place where I was made.  (https://horacethealresfordbear.com/2015/06/28/going-back-to-my-roots/)   I was very keen to go again and ride on one of the steam trains that run on the Watercress Line, and as Growler is very keen on engines, wanted to take him along too.   We were ‘over the moon’ to find last weekend that we were indeed going back to Alresford, along with Growler & Nye (who had been wanting to see where he was made too).

We arrived at Alton Station in order to get on the 10.50am train.14095825_1098221353605262_936611039445953557_nAfter buying our tickets we went onto the station platform to wait for the train to arrive.IMG_8509The train arrived at exactly the time that the timetable said that it would.IMG_8508Nye and myself helped Growler on to the train and we found a comfy seat.IMG_8511I undertook the very important task of showing our tickets to the ticket inspector.IMG_8517As the train left the station we decided to climb up onto the table for a better view. Growler used a special seat which also doubles up as a human purse.

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We got off at Ropley station as there were some interesting things to look at there.  The yew topiary has been there for more than 100 years.  IMG_8552Dogs used to have to have tickets to get on the trains at Ropley.IMG_8551We had a little rest on a platform bench for a while…..IMG_8546…until we spotted a train coming in on the opposite side of the tracks.  Very quickly we crossed the bridge to the other side of the track to watch it being filled up with water. We didn’t get there quite quick enough to get a photo of the water filling, but here is the engine and the big tube they used for filling it up.IMG_8559There is an interesting room up some stairs at the station where people and bears can see into the workshop through a big glass window.  In the same room there are also lots of tables and chairs with some activities for young humans such as pictures to colour in.  I was particularly delighted to find some hats for bears to try on. I found a splendid station master’s hat.  Here I am modelling the hat in the ticket booth.IMG_8555I also made friends with the station master’s cat.IMG_8557The time had nearly arrived for the next train to Alresford to arrive, so we waited safely in the back pack on the platform.  IMG_8565This train had carriages with red seats which I rather liked.IMG_8570As the train moved off we soon got into our positions on the table in order to see the view from the window.

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On arrival at Alresford we were all very excited.  We remained on the train briefly for a photo from the outside.IMG_8579We then walked down to the end of the train to see the engine moving to the other end of the train.IMG_8587It was here that dear old Growler had an accident with his nose.  He was so excited about going on a real steam engine he climbed out the bag too quickly and caught his nose.IMG_8585Fortunately Karen had some plasters in her bag. We performed a quick bit of first aid so Growler was still come up into the engine cab with me.IMG_8592I tried my paw at shoveling coal but it is very hard work for a small bear.IMG_8593We stayed well back from the fire.  I am particularly at risk due to having acrylic fur.  Dear old Growler doesn’t have much fur anymore.IMG_8588We sat for a while on special seat for bears.IMG_8590After climbing down I had a closer look at the outside.  The engine was called ‘Cheltenham’, and was one of the most powerful locomotives to operate in the UK.  There is more information here:  http://www.watercressline.co.uk/article.php/27/925-cheltenham IMG_8603I was then delighted to be invited up for a look at the signal box.IMG_8602The signal lady kindly got me a chair to stand on in order for me to reach the levers.  IMG_8597She said that the tea towel was very important and had to stay on the correct lever.IMG_8599I decided to get a souvenir of my experience so treated myself to a new raincoat in the gift shop.IMG_8636The humans were hungry as it was lunchtime, so we headed to Alresford High Street to Tiffin Tea Rooms.  While waiting for lunch we comforted Growler about his nose and applied another plaster to make sure he didn’t lose any woodchips from his snout.IMG_8604I ordered watercress soup, which was very yummy indeed.20160820_133548(0)After lunch it was time to take Nye to see the building in which we were both made. It used to be The Town Mill, but has been converted into flats.IMG_8612Nye was happy to know that he had been made in a lovely location. IMG_8608We had time for a short walk along the River Arle before catching the train back for the return trip.  IMG_8614I said ‘Hello’ to a family of swans.IMG_8617My little legs were starting to get very tired after such a busy but exciting day.IMG_8625We said ‘goodbye’ to Alresford before heading back to the station to catch the train back to Alton.IMG_8627There aren’t any photos of our return journey.   We were so tired we fell fast asleep as soon as we sat in the carriage.IMG_8630

We have very happy memories of a splendid day and would like to visit again one day.

Horace the Alresford Bear 23/8/16

For more information about The Watercress Line see  http://www.watercressline.co.uk/

Fungi, hats & fun at Newark Park

Yesterday my humans took me along to a rather wonderful place owned by The National Trust known as Newark Hall.  We arrived early before the house and gardens opened so set off for a walk around the estate.  We started off walking through some splendid woods.IMG_8329

I decided it might be fun to hunt for some fungi.  It wasn’t long before I found a small specimen.IMG_8333

I became a tad worried when a dog came to say ‘Hello’ while I was studying the fungus.  Fortunately he soon bounced off to join his humans and didn’t try to pick me up with his teeth.  I have had incidents with dogs so I am rather cautious of them.

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The dog’s human stopped and spoke to us for a while, and pointed out a wonderful specimen of fungi called Dryad’s Bracket growing  far down a steep bank.  He said it was called Dryad’s Bracket.  I clambered down to take a closer look.IMG_8340

The brackets looked a bit like pancakes growing out of the tree.  I decided not to eat one.

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It was easy going down the bank to find the fungi, but climbing back up again was hard work for a small bear of short stature.IMG_8346

I got back to the path with a little help from my humans and continued along the marked trail.  When we emerged from the woodland there was an amazing view. IMG_8351

It was very peaceful without the sound of traffic anywhere; very calming for a bear used to living in the city.  We walked on through a valley where sheep were having some sort of meeting;  you can see them just above my right ear in the photo below.IMG_8354

After walking back through the woods I stopped to take a closer look at the fluffy thistle seed heads that were everywhere.IMG_8358

Eventually we came to a gate and found ourselves in the garden.  I stopped and had a little rest for a while and admire the view.  My little legs were starting to feel quite tired.IMG_8363

After continuing on in the direction of the tea pavillion (my humans are always on the look out for such places!)  we came across a special resting log for tired bears.IMG_8366

I managed to have a five minute ‘power nap’ then was picked up and carried in the spotty bag.  I was very pleased when I climbed out to find that I too had a ‘nice cup of tea’ to drink.IMG_8367

Refreshed by the tea I toddled across the lawn to try my paw at croquet.  I think perhaps the National Trust should get some smaller mallets for those of short stature as the mallet was considerably bigger than me.IMG_8377

I wanted to have a mooch about in the house as I had read that inside there were lots of swans and a dressing up room.IMG_8419

Once inside I got quite engrossed in a newspaper in the drawing room

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Everything about Newark was very interesting indeed.  After absorbing all the information I made my way upstairs to the dressing up room, where I found an excellent selection of bear hats.

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On going up another flight of stairs I was very pleased to make friends with some bears living in a delightful bedroom.  I stopped and chatted to them for a while.IMG_8408

My new friends told me that I should to go into the other bedroom to see all the swans. There were indeed many swans…

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Before leaving the house I had a look at the little room that used to house the toilet; the hole is still there.  I didn’t know that clothes used to be kept in toilets in Tudor times as the smell kept moths away.IMG_8417

As I left the house I was very pleased to see some bees collecting pollen to make honey on a big yellow flowering plant. I had a good look but was careful not to get too close as I really didn’t want a stung nose.IMG_8383

Before leaving to go back home with the humans I sat and just looked at the beautiful view from the garden in front of the house.IMG_8426

Newark Park is a splendid place for bears to take their humans (or vice versa).  I hope I get to visit again oneday.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/newark-park

May Day Morris Dancing

Morris Dancers wear ribbons with rosettes and have bells on the legs and wave hankies in the air while they dance.  The first thing I had to do in order to have any chance of fitting in with Oxford Morris was to create an outfit a bit like theirs.  They call the straps around the body ‘baldricks’.  I had to go shopping to buy the materials, and found a shop that sold everything needed in St Nicks Market, Bristol. 535120_990325241061541_1878890510255774291_n

I found bias binding for the straps10314482_990326081061457_8552486372990176993_n

…and bells for my legs.

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The aim was to make something that looks a bit like this (Oxford Morris baldricks that I tried on while visiting a Morris Dancer, though a bit too big for me)morris horace

I set to work sewing,IMG_7020 Hammering in the shed (I decided to use a stud that I found in the sewing box for the rosette)IMG_7024and I finally ended up with my Oxford University style Morris baldricks.IMG_7028I had a little practice at home before setting off to Oxford to join in with the May Day celebrations.

Then off I went to Oxford strapped into the back of the car wearing all the gear!13062301_1023852697708795_2488658030242701044_nWe arrived at a very nice B & B – Lakeside Guesthouse, where rather conveniently there was a bed just for me in the room.  I spent the evening relaxing there as May Day celebrations start very early in Oxford.IMG_7218On May 1st 2016 and I got up very very early.  Here I am about  to walk across Christchurch meadow…IMG_7220We were on our way to Magdalen Bridge to listen to the choir sing from the top of the tower at 6am.  You can see the tower behind me in the distance in this photo….IMG_7223When we arrived at the bridge there were thousands of people there, including lots of Morris dancers and a tree, though I didn’t spot any other bears.IMG_7229At 6am the crowd went quiet and the sound of the choir filled the air.  I could just about make out a few figures standing at the top of the tower.IMG_7233 After the choir had finished singing, we all started to follow the tree as it walked up Magdalen St…IMG_7236The tree finally stopped at Radcliffe Square, and church bells started to chime.  The Morris Dancers started to dance and play music.IMG_7256

I rather liked the round building on one side of the square.It is the Radcliffe Camera and is part of the Bodleian Library. IMG_7259The church bells ringing and Morris dancing went on for quite a while as the different ‘sides’ of Morris dancers took turns to dance and make music.  After they had all danced, they moved on to another area.  The most exciting bit for me though was outside St Johns College  where I got to join in with a Morris Dance.  I had to be carried around for health & safety reasons as I am a bit short to dance on my own  (there is a big risk I might get trodden on with all the jumping up and down and leaping about waving hankies). IMG_7294IMG_7288My reward for dancing so well was breakfast with the Morris Dancers, which took place in another college (Oxford is full of colleges), St. Edmund Hall.  The tree, known as Jack-in-the-Green, was having a sleep in the garden, so I posed for another photo with him.IMG_7316I was surprised to find that ale was being served with breakfast….IMG_7304After breakfast we set off again for more Morris dancing, and walked under the Bridge of Sighs…IMG_7299…then onto the area outside a museum, The Ashmolean.  Here I was given the very important job of looking after the tankards full of ale.IMG_7319I started to feel very tired. I had been up since 4.45am,  my little legs were aching and I was finding it difficult to keep my eyes open.  A Morris Dancer lifted me up onto the top of the sculpture, and I within moments I fell fast asleep.13124735_1024471177646947_8610939790350031526_nLooking forward to my next Morris dancing adventure when I will be meeting up with the Oxford Morris Dancers during their canoeing tour of the Wye Valley 🙂

Horace the Alresford Bear  2/5/2016