An exhausted Bertie and Croc were looking forward to the excitement of the day to end. They had travelled through the Vatican, seen so many sights and experienced the excitement of visiting the Sistine Chapel. Croc had started to look forward to putting his short little feet up in the hotel room. He hoped that he would be able to crawl out of the camera bag and nestle in the soft bedding on the bed….maybe even have a snooze.
While Croc was daydreaming about having a nap, Bertie was reluctant to hide back in the camera bag just in case he missed something! He remained perched on the top of the spare lens which was conveniently placed in the bag. It gave him just enough height to be able to peek out of the zip at the top.
He was soon glad he did. He felt an odd sensation, like they were going downwards quite quickly. He watched as people walked slowly in front of him, stopping occasionally to take photos downwards.
“I wonder what they are taking photos of?” Said Bertie out loud. He was soon to find out.
The bright light from the glass ceiling above soon became replaced with the yellow dullness of artificial lights. Bertie knew they had reached the bottom of where ever they were going as they were stood still. He took his opportunity to fully peep out of the bag and look up.
“WOW!” Sais Bertie with a gasp. He tugged at Croc who reluctantly climbed up the camera lens and looked up too.
They were at the base of a majestically decorated spiral staircase. It seemed to go on forever towards to bright light coming in through the glass ceiling. Bertie thought it looked like the staircase to heaven, Croc thought it looked like hard work and was glad they didn’t have to climb up it.
Every now and again people’s faces peered over the side of the staircase and looked down at them. “What a way to finish a days adventure” Thought Bertie as he quietly closed the zip and nestled into the darkness of the camera bag. “I wonder what will happen next?”
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……..?
Bertie and Croc have had a busy few weeks. Both have been settling into their new surroundings in their own little, unique ways. Bertie has spent a lot of time exploring his new home, looking out of the window and watching the world go by. Croc has spend most of his time setting up little dens in nice dark places so he has somewhere to hide when he feels unsafe, which not being very good at adapting to change, is most of the time!
With Christmas coming closer Bertie decided to show Croc how the UK celebrates Christmas. Croc still can’t get over how cold it has been. -7!!! He spent most of this day in a particular warm den which consisted of a pillow leant up against a radiator. If he closed his eyes he could pretend that the radiator was the sun and he was back in Darwin.
Bertie and Croc snuggled into a pocket. Croc found a glove he could use to hide in and stay warmer. There was a lot of bouncing around and gentle, rhythmic swaying which usually meant they were walking somewhere. Croc knew they had arrived as Bertie began to excitedly tug at Croc’s glove.
When they both peeked out they could see the candle lit windows of the houses in the town. Through the windows they could make out tables dressed for Christmas day dinner. Stalls lined the streets, lit up, selling Christmas gifts. Bertie sniffed the air taking in the smell of mulled wine and frost which reminded him of Christmas. Croc watched horrified as every small breath left a trail of steam when he blew out.
Bertie and Croc had been taken to a small, historical town in Somerset called Dunster. Every year the residents of Dunster turn off all their lights and light the street by candle light. All the shops open late, people dress in medieval clothing and there is an atmosphere of Christmas under the shadow of the lit castle towering over the town.
This was a completely new experience for Croc and a sense of coming home for Bertie. There was music being played by an orchestra in a band stand and people singing Christmas songs. It began to dawn on Croc that Bertie had really missed this cold, winter atmosphere at Christmas time when he had lived in Australia. As he looked at his best friends face, lit up excitedly in the lights from the stalls, Croc forgot his coldness for a while and decided to join in with his friend in an effort to embrace the Christmas spirit in a Bertie-like way. Holding Bertie’s paw, Croc grinned into the cold night and sang along quietly to the Christmas songs he knew. He felt a warm feeling coming from his tummy and radiating through his body. Croc was feeling the magic of Christmas!
It isn’t until you really loose something that you realise how much it meant to you, or how much you relied on it! I now know how Bertie the Travelling Bear feels not being able to verbalise his thoughts. His only power of communication is the written word.
Without a voice communication has been difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. I have had to be resourceful. My partner and I had the most fun we have ever had in the supermarket this week because all of our communication was done in sign language. We soon forgot about the confused stares from the other shoppers as we fell around, me laughing silently, at the random gestures we were making up. We still haven’t quite worked out a silent sign for milk, any ideas anyone?
I have learnt how to get my computer to speak what I type, and have had fits of silent giggles, making it say random things to people all week. The receptionist at the doctors couldn’t stop laughing when I used my computer to tell her that I needed a doctors appointment and what was wrong with me. I then pointed to the huge “Its my birthday” badge I was wearing when she asked me my date of birth (it was actually my birthday as well, I haven’t gone completely insane).
The other thing I have noticed is, when I speak very quietly to other people, they actually respond in the same way. I have had no choice but to whisper a few words when I can, but the people I have spoken to have lowered their voices and whispered back. I have found this quite amusing and would highly recommend giving it a try!
When I am silent and I smile at other people they start talking, and they don’t seem to stop. I don’t have much choice but to listen, silently. I have had random strangers chatting away to me when I have whispered “no voice”.
Hopefully, my voice will return to normal next week but I have seen this week as some kind of blessing. I have learnt some lessons in communication which I feel will be very useful to me in the future. In the meantime, I will use my silent moments to work out some more random sign language…..ways to sign chocolate anyone?
This year I will aim to blog more consistently. This will hopefully be easier once my life is a little more settled. I feel the need to apologise for my lack of blog posts in the past month. Moving countries means your head is in two worlds. It is a surreal feeling having ties to two places.
New Years is a time of looking back and looking forwards. It is a time of reflection for most people. It is when goals are set and things which have been achieved are reviewed. It is the borderline of two worlds, the past and the future combining in the present moment.
Moving countries, to me, feels a bit like New Years. It is a time of reflection on what you are leaving behind, places and people of sentimental value. The familiar surroundings you grew up with. A place where your accent does not feel as strange and distinctive.
Moving countries is also a time of looking forwards, looking at where you could be, where you want to be and creating new dreams, goals and aspirations. It requires open mindedness, flexibility and above all patience.
2014 has taught me many things and cemented many life lessons for me to use moving forwards. 2014 was a year of adventure, excitement and all about embracing the new. For me, 2015 feels all about change, acceptance and adaptation.
Who knows what the future will hold for any of us. It is your path which you create and tread so create wisely and creatively, dream big and never stop learning!
When you were learning to walk, you were so determined that you would get to what you had your intent focus on that you pulled yourself up and you took steps towards it. If you stumbled or fell down then you would continue to remain focused on your goal. You would stand up and continue to stake the steps need to get to what you wanted.
Now you are an adult you walk automatically. It is a learn behaviour. I very much doubt that you waste any time thinking about how you walk. You just point yourself in the direction you want to go and you get there.
Do you think that someone who does something amazing, a world record holder, a motor racer, a dancer, has just been born that way? Some people have a natural gift and that can help them along their way but you ask anyone who has gone to the top in what they are doing and they will say hard work, dedication, practice but most of all they didn’t give up!
If you really really want something, you want to change you life, or to achieve something you must first take a step. If you fall down when you are walking towards that goal. You need to pull yourself up and continue to walk.
Nothing in life is chance or luck. You make your own success by the level of perseverance you are prepared to put into it. The path may be long, but it will be worth it!