Category Archives: Somerset (West Country)

Full steam ahead

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Croc had seen several amazing sights since he had started his travels with Bertie and today he was in for a treat!

Croc and Bertie were becoming experienced travellers. Bertie, especially, has travelled by plane, car, van, camper van, 4 wheel drive, tuk-tuk, motorbike, boat and helicopter, and those are the ones he can remember. Today he was to show Croc the one thing he was yet to travel on.

As they emerged from the camera bag, Croc could see they were on a platform at a train station. He began to wonder where they were going today. Bertie had been distracted by the huge, green train which was opposite them. This was not the normal kind of train he was use to seeing. It was rounder, fuller and had huge wheels.

A sudden toot made both friends jump back into the safety of the bag. “What was that?” Whispered Croc. Bertie bravely when to have a look. He could hear a weird noise and couldn’t see much at first for some smoke. As the smoke cleared Bertie’s eyes grew big. Excitedly, he leapt into the camera bag and grabbed Croc before he could protest. He pulled him into the light and pointed.

There was a cloud of smoke and as it cleared a huge, steam train pushed its way through the smoke and began to move towards them on the tracks. Croc wasn’t sure about this huge, iron beast and tried to sink back into the bag, but Bertie wouldn’t let him escape this time.

Bertie explained they were perfectly safe as long as they weren’t on the tracks. He pointed to the safety lines marked out on the platform and explained to less than convinced friend, that the trains couldn’t come up here and they would be fine. Before Croc could argue, Bertie had dragged him onto the platform to pose for a photo in front of the train. Croc looked at his friend with some confusion. What had got into Bertie? He could hardly stay still. He was so excited he was hopping up and down on the spot.

Croc looked at Bertie’s happy face and shrugged. “Oh well” He thought, “if it makes him happy.” He followed the hopping and excited Bertie around the platform as he tugged at Croc whenever they came near one of the huge engines. At one point, a train made an long toot on its whistle and Bertie started clapping his hands! That made Croc laugh.

By the time they had made their way back to the safety of the bag, Bertie was all worn out. He slept all the way home!

Would you be excited to see a steam train?

The Bideford Half

Bertie and Croc's Half Marathon effort

Challenge is a word Bertie and Croc are quite use to experiencing. I mean, let’s face it, when your legs are as small as theirs, even climbing into a camera bag can be a challenge!

Just recently Bertie and Croc embarked on one of their biggest challenges since returning to the UK. At first they thought they were on another, ordinary adventure. They were sat comfortably in the back of the car watching the trees and landscape roll past. They were on their way to somewhere called Bideford. Bertie was, as usual, quite excited as he had never been to Bideford. Croc, as usual, was quite pensive as he hated going somewhere new and didn’t understand why this would excite anyone?

When the warm sun finally began to light up their faces, they realised they had arrived. They could hear the voices of several people, and knew that something interesting and exciting was going to happen. As they made their way closer and closer to the excited chatter they were surprised to see more people that they ever imagined, all in active wear, walking, jogging or standing around.

“What on earth is happening?” Queried Bertie. Croc shrugged and nestled deeper into the pocket he had been hiding in. Crowds, yuk, they made him shiver down his spine and feel slightly queasy.

A loud voice came over the crowd, announcing there were 1,400 people running today! Bertie looked around in shock, then down at his own small legs, “Running!?!?”

The starter went off and so did Bertie and Croc, being carried in a pocket each, bouncing around. They heard the strangest sound. It was music, Bertie was sure of it. He braved a peak out of the pocket. There were bagpipes, he heard someone say! “How odd?” Bertie shouted over to Croc. Croc pretended not to hear him over the noise. He was definitely not going to stick his head out when he was being bounced around like this. In fact, he was beginning to feel slightly sick.

Eventually, the bounciness calmed down and they began to get use to the motion. Croc, curiosity getting the better of him, braved a peek out of the pocket and saw Bertie, wind in his fur, waving manically at him! They were in a race and the landscape was amazing! They were running along the side of a river, under a canopy of trees, with an amazing view.

They watched the mile markers go by…..how much further, thought Bertie?  Suddenly they began to slow. Bertie, wondering whether the race was over, peered even more from the pocket. He jumped, as a small jelly bear fell into the pocket with him! He poked it. It didn’t move and his paw got all powdery. The familiar bouncing motion began again. They had had a jelly baby pit stop!

After what seemed like forever, Bertie began to feel them speeding up. He looked over at Croc, who had also felt the increase in the bounces and sank safely to the deep depths of the pocket. Bertie was getting into this now. As the wind blew at his fur, he felt liberated and began to cheer. They crossed the finish line in just over 2 hours.

Something else joined Bertie and Croc’s pocket on the way home….a big shiny medal. Bertie and Croc had just run their first half marathon. Bertie was super excited and chatted away all the way home. Croc silently stared at his medal. It was huge, and a strange feeling came over him. He felt proud!

A Bishops Castle

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Croc had learnt quite a bit about history and religion in his short visit to Wells. He was surprised how the two often went hand in hand. Darwin had a completely different kind of history to this country, and the Northern Territory certainly wasn’t the place for grand Cathedrals and huge, ancient buildings, more rock paintings and lots of red dirt! The cyclones in Darwin would flatten the stone structures he had seen so far and the heat and red dirt would stain the walls, like it did with everything in the desert regions. White was never really white in the Northern Territory!

As they rounded a corner, Bertie and Croc peeped out from the zip in the camera bag eager to see where they were going to next. They heard the birds before they saw them! Now if you have been reading Bertie and Croc’s adventures for some time you may recall Croc had a nasty introduction to swans (click here to read the post)……he wasn’t quite over this. There, in front of him, as they rounded the corner were……SWANS!

Croc tried to drive deeply into the bottom of the camera bag but he got wedged between the lens of the camera and the wall of the bag. Bertie, seeing his friend was in trouble, gave Croc’s tail a tug and pulled him loose. Bertie held Croc’s trembling claw and pointed to what was beyond the swans.

Croc’s eyes widened……it was a castle!!! He suddenly forgot the swans. Bertie explained that while Croc was wedged in the camera bag, they had stopped by a sign which told the story of a swan learning to ring a bell for his tea. The castle wasn’t a castle. It was called the Bishops Palace and the Bishop would often come out and feed the swans when he lived there a long time ago.

Croc was confused. Why would a Bishop need a palace? From what he had learnt from history so far, only Kings had palaces? Bertie explained that the Bishop was VERY powerful and that is why statues of the Bishops were next to those of the King of the Cathedral in Wells. The Bishop was worried that people would try to kill him so he built a palace with a proper portcullis and moat and EVERYTHING.

Croc was relieved when they moved away from where the swans were located. He relaxed and began to enjoy the view. It was a truly beautiful day. He began to wonder what it would be like to live in a palace……..?

Vicar’s Close

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It was a cold, crisp day and Croc was beginning to feel the chill. The one thing he had noticed about the UK was when he was in the sunshine it was pleasantly warm. As soon as he went into the shade, it was icy cold. He became very aware that there was a lot more shade than he would have liked in this country!

As they hopped back into the camera case, Bertie and Croc peered out at the huge, gothic Cathedral as they walked past. Croc noticed a small, stone archway and nudged Bertie to get his attention. Bertie shrugged and indicated that maybe they should have a little explore. After spending a lot of time with Croc Bertie was now very good at speaking in a silent code of points and nudges.

The camera bag had been put down carefully and it looked like Bertie and Croc’s companions were distracted by ice cream, so they took the opportunity to hop out and make their way through the stone arches.

Both of them never expected to find a small, cobbled street with house lining each side. The lampposts were old and black. The cobbles worn smooth by thousands of steps and people were scattered around taking photographs. How unexpected and odd? Thought Bertie.

Croc was distracted by the size of the chimneys on the small houses. He had never seen chimneys on houses until he came to this country. In the tropical climate he was use to there was no need for fires or heating in houses. You wanted to keep the heat OUT not IN in Darwin!

As Croc was looking around him, he noticed a sign. He nudged Bertie and pointed. Bertie had always been better with his letters than Croc was. As they read they discovered that this was Vicars’ Close, a historic street which was built over 650 years ago. The houses were used for the Vicars Choir to live in. Bertie explained to a puzzled looking Croc that a Choir was a group of people who sang in Churches and Cathedrals. As they walked down the street, Croc trying his hardest to remain on the sunniest side, they tried counting the houses but got too distracted looking at the shields which were in the stone work above each door.

How many houses can you count?

 

 

Bertie’s tour of Wells…..

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Croc woke with a sudden jerk. This was because Bertie had poked him with his paw. For a teddy bear, with soft stuffing and fur, Bertie had quite a solid paw when he wanted Croc’s attention!

Blurry eyed Croc dragged himself out of the bottom of the camera bag and peeped into the bright sunshine. He let his eyes adjust so he could see where his travelling buddy had disappeared to now. Bertie was sat proudly on a stone wall. Croc was beginning to get use to the fact that everything in the UK felt slightly cold to touch. He was use to the heat of the Australian sun warming everything until you would get serious burn marks if you dared to plant your bottom on it!

Croc was impressed with the sharp blue skies in this country. There was something about the crispness of an early morning that he liked.

Wearily Croc gingerly stepped onto the cold wall and made his way quickly to his travelling companion. Bertie pointed at the huge, gothic building in front of them and explained it was a Cathedral, called Wells Cathedral. It was built between 1175 and 1490. Croc thought that was a really long time to build something!

Croc had never seen a Cathedral before. They didn’t have structures as grand as this in Darwin and he began to wonder how a building this ornate and detailed would stand up to a cyclone or an earth quake.

The more Croc looked the more he could see. There were statues of Kings and Bishops nestled in their own crevices in the buildings architecture. Croc giggled as he noticed some of the  statues were now faceless after years of weathering, and they looked a little weird and slightly intimidating. Bertie explained that the statues alternated to show the historical relationship which the church and the rulers of the country had. Croc was too busy wondering why the building needed so many windows!? He kept loosing count of them all? How many can you count?

Bertie and Croc on Tor

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Bertie and Croc woke up to find themselves in the familiar camera bag. They could feel the motion of a car and looked at each other excitedly….they were going somewhere. It was then our observant friend Croc realised Bertie still wasn’t wearing the red ribbon they had searched high and low for. Croc looked at Bertie’s face, he had a huge grin on it and excited eyes. Being the wise Croc he was he decided now wasn’t the time to point out missing ribbons. Instead he engaged Bertie in a conversation about where they could be going?

When the car finally stopped, the intrepid friends had a little longer to wait until they could peek at where they were. There were voices outside the camera bag, which turned to huffing and puffing and Bertie decided he was glad they were where they were, because outside of the bag sounded like hard work!!!

When they finally stopped, and had played paper, scissors, rock to see who would open the bags’ zip first (which was an interesting game considering neither one of them could make a flat palm for paper), Bertie won and opened the zip slowly to reveal…..

Bright sunshine, but a cold, crisp day. They peeped out together and saw lots of people and a HUGE stone tower. Mesmerised by the tower in front of him, Bertie realised Croc was tapping him and he looked round to see the most spectacular view! Croc had a big grin on his face and sat happily on top of the camera bag admiring the panoramic scenery.

Bertie had heard of this place, it had been mentioned a few times. They were at Glastonbury Tor! Bertie knew this to be a very historical site, where artefacts from the Iron Age and Romans have been found. Bertie explained to Croc that the Tor has lots of myths and legends surrounding it, especially in relation to King Arthur. It is considered a very spiritual place by some people even now. Croc wasn’t sure about spiritual, as he glanced at a funny looking chap dressed in rainbow colours playing the guitar sat at the entrance to the Tor. He was sure that the view was pretty awesome! It wasn’t the same as the Dreamtime stories Croc was use to but he was beginning to like some of these historical sites in England.

Can you spot Bertie and Croc in the photo?

Bertie and Croc’s big day

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Between them, Bertie and Croc have been on several big adventures. They have travelled the world, stayed in tents and 5 star hotels, and experienced things which would have blown the stuffing out of most small bears. This weekend they experienced something completely new…..

Sitting on a bed which is big enough for all the Croc’s in the Northern Territory, in a hotel room which gave Croc the shivers. He wasn’t feeling cold, he was sure he had seen a ghost! Bertie and Croc watched the large room fill with different people. There was a hustle and bustle feel to the day and they were glad they were out of it. When the lid of a bag was accidentally tipped and covered them both, they peeped out of the side and watched the events unfold.

Before they knew it they were scooped up into the light and pulled around, both not sure what was happening, they began to panic before they were placed down carefully on the wide, cushioned windowsill. Croc started to laugh. Bertie blushed as he looked down at himself. He was wearing a suit!? A little top hat had been attached to his head. He pointed at Croc who had been too busy giggling at Bertie to notice that he was also wearing a top hat. Croc soon stopped laughing and started doing death rolls in an attempt to get the hat off. He nearly fell right off the wide windowsill!

Bertie and Croc froze as they were lifted carefully into a bag and carried out of the room. They heard several things in the bag but neither were strong enough to lift the heavy lid to peek out. Bertie suspected that the bag had a clasp which was holding the lid firmly down. They heard the sound of music being played, voices, interspersed with moments of silence.

When they were eventually taken out of the bag they were placed on a VERY fancy table. Looking around at everyone, Bertie felt a little less self conscious. Everyone was dressed up in suits and smart dresses. Bertie grabbed Croc, stopping him from doing anther death roll in an attempt to remove the hat, and whispered that they were at a wedding. Not only were they at the wedding, but they were sat on the Top Table at the wedding, as guests of honour! A strange feeling of pride came over Bertie and he puffed himself up to his full 4 inches and smiled at the photographer.