Tag Archives: architecture

Looking up

2017 07 ROME ceiling IMG_0187

When we last left our furry friends on their adventure they were in somewhere called Vatican and had posed for a photograph surrounded by lots of people with a big dome building in the background.

Croc was quite relieved to be moving back inside where it was a little quieter. He loved the sunshine and the heat so could understand why everyone wanted to be outside on a day like today. Bertie had made Croc giggle as he had been desperately looking in the bottom of the camera bag for his hat. He didn’t like to go out in the sun for too long as he had heard you could get sunburn. Anything with burn in the sentence didn’t sound like a good idea to Bertie!

All Croc could see of Bertie at the moment was his paws as he laid upside down looking for his hat. Bertie’s little legs were kicking around desperately trying to wiggle deeper into the bag. He was wiggling so much that he managed to kick open the lid of the camera bag. Croc looked up in shock and it was then he saw the most amazing ceiling he had ever seen!!!!

Quickly Croc began to tug on Bertie’s leg. Bertie, thinking Croc had found his hat, pulled himself the right way up and then looked up at where Croc was pointing. They both stared mesmerised by the symmetry of the ceiling and the gentle glow of the sunlight coming in through the impressively high windows.

Little did they know, this ceiling wasn’t the most impressive one they would see on this trip!!!

Vicar’s Close


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…..


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?

Gargoyles and zebras

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Waving goodbye to their new found friends in the Toy Shop window Bertie lead Croc towards the large, towering structure in front of them. Croc was too excited about his new friends to at first to look up, until Bertie gave him a little nudge and pointed towards the sky.

Croc’s jaw fell open revealing a very impressive set of teeth. The building in front of him was like nothing he had ever seen before. Croc was looking at the impressive York Minister. Bertie instantly went into tour guide mode explaining, to a rather overwhelmed Croc, that the stone York Minister was badly damaged in a fire during an uprising in 1068 and the Normans built a new minster in around 1080. This was the basis of the present impressive Minister he was looking at today.

It was indeed impressive, thought Croc. He felt slightly dizzy looking up at the tall spires on the Minister. The gargoyles looking back down at him and Bertie made Croc do a little shiver and he sank a little deeper into the pocket he was in. Soon he had forgotten the stony stares and had become immersed in the ornate detail everywhere he looked. As they walked around the side of the building, Croc also noticed the impressive towering windows. Where Croc was from this building would not have survived this long as a cyclone would have destroyed it by now he thought as he posed happily and proudly for a photograph in front of the entrance. Bertie smiled to himself noting Croc’s new found confidence in having his photograph taken.

Bertie took Croc all the way around the outside of the Minister, allowing him to take in all the details of the huge building. He then pointed to a smaller building which was in front of them. Peeling his eyes away from the impressive shadow of the Minister Croc saw the most unusual building he had ever seen. It looked like an architectural zebra!

Bertie laughed at Croc’s description and told Croc that it was a classic tutor building from around the 16th to 18th Century. As the walked along admiring the architecture, Bertie knew exactly where to take Croc next…..

The only time Croc took his eyes away from the Minister!
The only time Croc took his eyes away from the Minister!

Photographs and content copyright of Samantha Key

Barley Hall, medieval medicines and ghosts

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After a relaxing time in Molly’s Tea Shop Bertie and Croc resumed their exploration of the historic city of York.

As they jiggled along inside the coat pocket they were hiding in Croc took up his now habitual position on top of a wad of tissues and peeped out at the street scenes which were floating past. There was so much to see, so much going on, his Crocodile brain could hardly process it all as quickly as it was happening. Croc had never seen so many people in one place and he clung on very tightly to the inside edge of the pocket with his claws to ensure he did not take a tumble from the pocket and get lost.

The buildings here were so strange. They were small, close together and made out of wood! Croc was use to detached buildings which stood alone with tin roofs and cyclone proof stilts to allow the breeze to blow around them. These buildings felt almost claustrophobic.

Suddenly they turned away from the hustle and bustle of the street and the strange golden man posing as still as a statue for photographs in the street. The sounds faded away and they were down a little back alley with a cobbled pathway, then suddenly blinded by a beam of sunlight.

Bertie had noticed Croc’s growing interest in historic buildings and decided to show Croc Barley Hall, a reconstructed medieval townhouse which is hidden in the centre of the city of York. The building was originally built around 1360 by the monks from Nostell Priory in Wakefield, it was later extended in the 15th century but then left, like many historic buildings, to go to ruin. Thankfully Barley Hall was rescued and restored by York Archaeology Trust in 1987 and turned into an awesome museum with attractions such as medieval medicines.

As Bertie continued to get carried away telling Croc about the ghost stories of Barley Hall Croc was beginning to feel quite overwhelmed. He decided he didn’t like the idea of ghosts and when it came to posing for a photograph he refused to come out of the pocket so Bertie had to brave this one on his own! Can you see where Bertie is posing in the photographs?


Story and photograph copyright of Samantha Key 2016

Bertie and Croc meet Molly


Bertie and Croc had been on quite a whirlwind of adventures so far and they still had many more to go. Croc had gained more and more enthusiasm and confidence as the journey had continued and Bertie felt very proud to be helping him along his journey of croc-discovery. Croc was learning lots of things. Not just about this strange new place he was visiting which was making his crocodile claws turn blue with cold but also about himself.

Today Croc was to learn a very important lesson about the travelling lifestyle. It was one which Bertie felt was very important to pass on to him. It was the lesson of taking time out and to enjoy being still.

Bertie, being an experienced traveller, knew all about travel fatigue. He had also learn how to help combat it. Today he took Croc to his favourite historical city. The city of York. York has so many places to explore and see, with buildings and architecture older than Croc had ever realised could be possible.

The first place Bertie took Croc was Molly’s tea rooms. A small tea room above several levels of an antique shop. As they passed the rows and rows of cabinets filled with ancient goodies Croc was keen to start looking but Bertie was adamant that they stopped for a cup of tea and a scone. The cabinets soon gave way to cake filled displays and Croc was so thankful he had listened to Bertie.

The scone was perfect and Croc soon relaxed in the comfortable atmosphere sitting as close as he could to the tea pot so it warmed his crocodile scales like the Northern Territory sun. Soon Bertie and him were in their own little world, chatting happily about the adventures they had been on and taking some much needed time out for them.


All content copyright of Samantha Key 2016

Wide eyed wonders

Bertie and Croc were just beginning to get settled in Somerset when change struck again. Bertie knowingly advised Croc that this was the travelling lifestyle, you just got use to a place and you ended up moving on. It was one of the reasons Bertie had tried to settle in one place for a while. Whereas Croc had just mastered settling in the safety of a coat pocket. He felt warm and cosy and for some reason the darkness was beginning to feel like a friend. Bertie suspected Croc had jet lag and was determined to get him out and about and onto his new time zone.

As they settled in the camera bag together listening to the rumbling of the car tyres on the road they both contemplated out loud where they might be heading to next. Croc secretly hoped that it was warmer.

When at last they were pulled out from the camera bag they were placed, together, on a cold stone wall. After being nestled in the camera bags darkness for quite a while their eyes look some time to get adjusted to the lightness of being outside. Bertie froze as he realised Croc was sat happily beside him looking around and looking quite alert, his eyes were huge as he took in the new place they had come to!

Bertie and Croc were sat on an historic chapel which was built between 1342 and 1356. It turned out this was one of only 4 bridge chapels still surviving in England! Bertie could see the wall of a stone bridge from where he was sat. The bridge was very old as well and had been built soon after 1342 and replaced an earlier bridge which was used to travel over the River Calder.

Bertie’s excitement grew as he realised he was HOME and they were sat on St Mary’s Chantry Chapel in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. He immediately went into tour guide mode and showed his wide eyed friend the bridge and chapel from many angles. Bertie’s head began buzzing with ideas about where he could take Croc next….after all this was his home town and he felt a strong responsibility to be a good tour guide.

Can you spot Bertie and Croc together in the black and white photograph? All will be revealed in Thursday’s blog post!