Tag Archives: History

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……..?

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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?

The Shambles

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As our two adventurers began to make their way away from the York Minister and towards the busy streets of the town centre, Croc began to crane his neck to watch the Minister disappear behind a mass of smaller buildings and busy people. Everyone seems to know exactly where they are going, thought Croc. Croc thought that the people rushing past him looked like bees buzzing around in their own worlds seemingly oblivious to everything and everyone else around them.

Bertie had saved the best for last. As they were making their way back to the car Bertie took Croc down a narrow street. The houses here were higgledy piggledy, lopsided, and so close together Croc could hardly see the sky. It gave the whole lane a sense of darkness and spooky gloom.

This is The Shambles, explained Bertie. It is one of the most famous streets in York. It is said to be the best preserved medieval street in the world. Historically, The Shambles was a street of 26 butchers shops and houses. The paths beside the narrow road are raised up to create a channel which would have allowed the butchers to wash away the blood and offal. Croc felt slightly sick.

Bertie also pointed out how the fifteen century buildings lean into the middle of the cobbled street which would have meant that the roofs would have nearly touched. This was a problem in London and allowed the historic Great Fire of London to spread quickly from house to house.

Croc felt a cold shiver. Growing up in the Northern Territory he had never seen so many houses squashed into one place. There is so much history here, thought Croc as he continued to peep out of the pocket as they made their way down The Shambles. He was relieved to be going back to the car for a rest as his little Crocodile brain felt much like the street he was walking down…..busy and ready to burst with such an overload of information.

The Shambles

All images and text copyright of Samantha Key 2016

 

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

The Toy Shop

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When Bertie was just an untravelled bear he was quite introverted and was extremely cautious about other toys. What did they want? Why were they being nice to him? He would often think as a rouge bear would try to start a polite conversation with him. In fact, Bertie had become so introverted that he had buried himself at the bottom of the toy bin in the hope that everyone would just leave him alone.

How different Bertie felt about life now!

Bertie had begun to notice that his friend Croc had similar characteristics to young Bertie. He would often hide in the bottom of the coat pocket and when Bertie first met Croc he was hiding at the back of the bunk bed in the dark. Croc had started to grow more and more confident within his own stuffing and Bertie had begun to feel a sense of pride at being able to help him on his journey to discover the inner Croc. After all, thought Bertie, what good is all this knowledge and experience if it is not shared and used to help others?

Today Bertie took Croc to meet some new friends, just to see how Croc would react. They emerged from the narrow pathway which lead to Barley Hall into the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of York again. There were so many people, thought Croc, unable to get his head around where they had all come from. The streets were so small and the buildings so close together Croc felt if he turned sideways he would cause several people to trip up over him.

Bertie grabbed Croc and dragged him out of the safety of the pocket, much to Croc’s protesting. He settled with Croc on a  windowsill of an old shop. Croc got such a fright when there was a tap on the window behind him. Turning around slowly, half expecting to see a ghost bear, Croc saw a large green Crocodile-like toy much like himself but stood upright waving at him! Croc looked on in shock as his brain processed the expanse of toys in front of him…..there were hundreds, all smiling and waving and there was no where for Croc to hide. He could either throw himself into the crowds of people or stay where he was and socialise.

Taking a deep breath, Croc did a small nod towards the other toys who responded with great joy at the acknowledgement he gave them. Looking over at Bertie Croc could see him grinning widely from underneath his small, blue, winter wooly hat and he felt instantly reassured. He was amongst friends for the first time in his short Crocodile life and it felt great.

 

Words and photographs copyright of Samantha Key 2016