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

Great Chalfield Manor Garden

I had some difficulty seeing the Manor House due to the splendid bulrushes  growing outside.  I paused to take a ‘selfie’ in front of them.20170813_161104After showing our National Trust cards I had a conversation with a resident horse.IMG_0794People live in the Manor House so some of the gardens are ‘private’.  They have one of the excellent topiary houses all to themselves.IMG_0802From a distance I thought that there were some strange creatures in the meadow; however on getting closer discovered that they were piles of grass drying in the sunshine to make hay.IMG_0804A dog lives in the garden though he didn’t say much.IMG_0810The Manor House looks very pretty with roses growing against it.  IMG_0814I had a look in the well but was very cautious not to get too close.  I think it might be very deep and not a good place for bears.IMG_0818Some people were picnicking next to this topiary house; we have cut them off the photo.  Topiary houses are good places for bears and I think human children probably like them too.IMG_0821It was quite warm during our visit so I thought about cooling my paws in the little stream,  then remembered that getting soggy isn’t a good idea for stuffed bears like me.IMG_0823There is a special little house for storing apples.  I spent a few minutes in the rocking chair and had a good look around.IMG_0826High up in the middle of the ceiling was a very big wasps nest.  Fortunately the wasps had all moved out and it was empty.  I don’t like wasps;  I do however likes bees, as they make honey.IMG_0830There were lots of very big vintage cars parked in the front court yard.IMG_0831They were all Alvis cars; the Alvis owners club were having a picnic.20170813_221128A few of the Alvis cars had ornaments on the bonnets.  I really liked the rabbit and asked the humans if we could put one on our Skoda Fabia.IMG_0839My favourite Alvis car was the TC100 Grey Lady.  The owner very kindly let me sit in for a while.  IMG_0834Any visit to a National Trust property would not be complete without a visit to the tea room for cake.  Unfortunately the tea room at Chalfield had closed when we got there but tea and biscuits were still available self service.  We put some money in the honesty box.20170813_221024There were loads of packets of biscuits.  I opted for the oat cookies.20170813_160047Karen made some tea and I sat in the sunshine to eat my biscuits.  They were nearly as good as cake.20170813_155646

After returning home my humans found out that Chalfield Manor was used in the filming of the BBC series Poldark as Killewarren, the home of the Penvenens.

For more information about Great Chalfield Manor & Gardens see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/great-chalfield-manor-and-garden

For information about the Alvis Owner’s club: http://alvisoc.org/

 

 

The Needles (New Battery & Old Battery)

Another interesting place to visit on the Isle of Wight is The Needles Old Battery and New Battery.  Actually both places are old, but one is much older.  Before exploring the buildings I climbed up to the viewpoint near The New Battery to have a look at The Needles, and they do look quite sharp and spiky.IMG_0220I then noticed a sign stating that we were at a site that had been used for testing rockets.IMG_0232Here I am looking at the place where rockets were tested.  Their engines were started up but they didn’t actually take off here, they were strapped into special gantries to keep them still.  If everything worked the rockets were taken to Australia to be launched into space.IMG_0227I spotted a couple of rabbits hopping about but they didn’t wave.  I think they are quite cautious when it comes to bears.IMG_0237The rockets gathered large amounts of information about space. A Black Arrow rocket launched the first British satellite.  The  satellite is no longer used but it still orbits around the earth twice a day.IMG_0249Here I am sat on a life size scale model of the Prospero satellite.IMG_0256In another room there was some equipment which was used for gathering information during the tests.    I climbed up for a closer look but I didn’t touch!IMG_0265Here I am in the control room. It isn’t actually the original equipment, but I think it looks quite impressive.IMG_0243The Old Battery, which was built in 1861  by the Royal Engineers, and their site office was the first building constructed.  IMG_0278Before going into The Cartridge Store I had to put on special clothing made of calico to ensure that I didn’t take any gunpowder out of the building.IMG_0268I was very excited to find an entrance to a tunnel leading to an 1899 searchlight emplacement.  Here I am running back to the humans to tell them about it!IMG_0277I climbed down to the tunnel using a spiral staircase fitted by the National Trust; access used to be via a ladder.IMG_0283The tunnel was very long and quite a walk for a small bear.IMG_0284I was quite relieved to see the light at the end of the tunnel.IMG_0303There was an excellent view of The Needles from The Searchlight Emplacement.  Fortunately I didn’t get my head stuck.IMG_0288The tearoom is situated inside The Signal Station.  The hot quiche lorraine warmed me up as a cold wind had blown up outside.  IMG_0307I managed to persuade the humans to buy me some cake too 🙂IMG_0320Yum yum yum……. tea soaked fruit cakeIMG_0317Here I am in front of The Signal Station in the sheltered pathway to the position finding cell.IMG_0328There was a special instrument in the Position Finding Cell for gathering information about the whereabouts of ships and the direction in which they were travelling.IMG_0330The weather was changing and I was quite worried that my fur could get a soaking so I had one last look at rather splendid Needles before we hurried off down the hill towards the car.IMG_0322I stopped briefly to admire the coloured sands of Alum Bay, which is situated next to The Needles.IMG_0341

All in all a great adventure – especially The Tunnel 🙂

Horace the Alresford Bear 27/4/17

For further information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-needles-old-battery-and-new-battery

Bembridge Windmill (Isle of Wight)

I was very fortunate to recently visit a very old windmill, over 270 years old; the only windmill left on the Isle of Wight.IMG_0198After showing National Trust membership cards to a man in a hut  I bought a souvenir guidebook.IMG_0196I had a good look at the top of the windmill, where there is a big wheel and a wooden screw called a ‘Worm Screw’.   There used to be chains that hung down and the miller would have used the chains to turn the the top of the mill,  known as ‘The Cap’ to face the wind.IMG_0195I also had a good look at the four wooden frames (before posing for a photo by the door).  The frames would have been covered in canvas sailcloth, and a small boy known as a ‘Nipper’ had the job of climbing out onto the frames to attach the cloth.   I don’t think I would want to be a nipper.IMG_0114Once inside the windmill I set about climbing up to the top.  This took me quite a while.IMG_0139At the top there was a trap door.   I was a tad worried that it might suddenly open up so I decided not to walk over it.  Sacks of grain used to be hoisted up through the trap door.IMG_0143 Grain would have been tipped out of the sacks into this huge wooden bin.  The grain then traveled downwards through canvas chutes to the hopper above the mill stones on the floor below.IMG_0149There was an enormous wooden wheel with an iron band around the outside; known as ‘The Great Brake Wheel’.  The miller would have applied the brake by pulling on a rope (which was attached to a lever) which was passed down on the outside of the mill.  The Great Brake Wheel was used to slow down or stop ‘The Wallower’ (the horizontal wheel)  which drove the upright shaft.  IMG_0148I carefully went back down the wooden ladder to ‘The Stone Floor’ where the millstones are housed.  I got a bit distracted here as there were some windows, so I climbed up to have a closer look at the sail frames.IMG_0141One of my humans took a photo of me from the outside!IMG_0157The next floor down is ‘The Machine Floor’, with the huge upright shaft which takes power from ‘The Wallower’ at the top of the mill to the great spur wheel.   Here I am sitting on the leather belting drive having a good look at everything.IMG_0174Downstairs there are two millstones that make me look like I am even smaller than I am.IMG_0182There were also some weights which were impossible for me to lift.IMG_0186I climbed onto the scales but they didn’t even move.  This must mean that I haven’t eaten too many cakes yet.IMG_0133On the ground floor I was pleased to find some miller style clothing for people and bears to try on.  I rather like the hat but I am not sure about the smock, it was a tad large.IMG_0121Before leaving the mill I had a go at milling some grain using some small bear sized millstones.IMG_0129

After a visit to a mill I usually purchase a bag of flour milled there, but Bembridge Windmill hasn’t been used for milling since 1913, so that wasn’t possible!

A very interesting place to visit.

Horace the Alresford Bear 26/4/17

For more information about Bembridge Mill:  https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bembridge-windmill

St Michael’s Mount

I was hoping the tide would be in which would have meant a little boat trip to get to the tiny island St Michael’s Mount which is next to Marazion in Cornwall. IMG_9818The tide was out though so I climbed into the bear carrier for the trip as the surface looked a bit wet and I didn’t have any wellington boots with me.IMG_9822When the tide is in people and bears can cross using this strange boat with wheels which is called an amphicraft.IMG_9843The St Aubyn Family have lived on St Michael’s Mount since the 17th Century, though  in 1954, the 3rd Baron St Levan gave most of St Michael’s Mount to the National Trust though they kept a 999 year lease (which is a very long time) to live in the castle and manage public viewing of the historic rooms (source Wikipedia). National Trust members and their bears can visit for free as long as they show their membership cards….IMG_9846As we climbed up to the castle I stopped to have a little rest then Karen pointed out to me that I was right next to The Giant’s Well.  I didn’t stay there long.IMG_9850I climbed up into a little window in a wall that I thought might make a good place to hide from giants.IMG_9854Further on I came across some battlements with a row of cannons.  After clambering up onto one I could see a lovely view of the sea.  IMG_9856Just in front of the castle I paused to take a ‘selfie’.IMG_9859It was a long tiring trek to the front door.  IMG_9862I was rather hesistant entering as just inside the door there was a bear much bigger than me with very big teeth.  IMG_9863The views from inside are amazing.  I was jolly pleased that my human had put her coat in the bear carrier which turned it into a pillow to stand on.IMG_9865In one of the rooms I spotted a rather grumpy looking dog.IMG_9867On the roof terrace there was a very old thermometer which was a tad confusing to read  as it was in Farenheit instead of Centigrade.  In between freezing and temperate seemed about right though!IMG_9869I peered over to have a look at the sea which seemed to make the humans a bit nervous.IMG_9870The gardens looked splendid.IMG_9880Back inside I noticed that the Queen had visited recently. IMG_9882Being a bear I am sometimes able to go places where humans cannot.  I had a peak up this very old staircase, but at the top there was a piece of glass and I couldn’t go any further.IMG_9885They are well prepared for any fires that might break out.  These buckets were full of sand.IMG_9886On returning to the outside we came across more battlements and smaller cannons.  In the past these would have been used to defend the island.IMG_9890All the climbing and walking around made me very hungry.  I was very pleased to find a cafe.  The Sail Loft make very yummy celeriac soup.IMG_9894

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to St Michael’s Mount.  There is another one called Mont St Michel in France that I hope to visit one day.

Horace the Alresford Bear 3/4/17

 

For more information about St. Michael’s Mount see:

https://www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk/   

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/st-michaels-mount

 

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.

14291815_1114645301962867_5082331438333032450_n

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