Tag Archives: Somerset

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?

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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!

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?

 

 

Appreciation and Gratitude

2016 03 Wellington Monument  2016 03 Wellington Monument Bertie

Bertie had learnt on his travels that appreciation and gratitude are two things that go a long way and cost absolutely nothing. Gratitude for the little things in life had made Bertie appreciate his life a lot more and feel a lot happier in his own stuffing.

Bertie and Croc’s first trip in the UK to Somerset was going well. Croc was a fairly quiet travelling companion and Bertie was having a few problems getting him in front of the camera. Croc preferred to watch from a little way off safely tucked up in someones pocket or hiding in the camera bag.

Today Bertie and Croc visited The Wellington Monument, an imposing 175 feet high triangular tower located on the highest point of the Blackdown Hills. The Wellington Monument is 3 km south of Wellington and is a grade II listed building. The Monument was built to honour The Duke of Wellington, as a way of expressing gratitude and admiration following Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The monument itself is believed to have been completed around 1854. It has 235 steps inside which can be climbed, but Bertie decided due to the fencing all around the monument, climbing the steps would not be an option today!

Bertie and Croc discovered that the Duke of Wellington responded to the monument by saying he had no intention of visiting the structure once it was completed. Bertie thought this was definitely an example of an ungrateful person. Still he was glad that the Egyptian inspired tower was completed and continued to be restored. As Bertie and Croc travelled away from the monument he watched it stand proudly on the hills, a landmark to everyone who visits and lives there, and a reminder to feel grateful for the things in life that others sacrifice their time to give to you.

 

Green fields, bird song and a tractor

2016 03 Bertie on a Tractor

Bertie and Croc were pretty exhausted after a very long flight. Bertie explained to his new travelling companion that the worst thing about travelling to somewhere new and exciting was sometimes the long journey to reach your destination….Bertie knew from experience that these journeys could be an adventure in themselves.

After taking some recovery time, which is why there has been a delay in writing a blog post, Bertie and Croc ventured out for a short stroll. Bertie was reminded of how green his home in the UK was. He was so use to red dirt and wide expanses of spaces that everything here now seemed so close together. Even the lanes on the motorways seemed narrow. He introduced Croc to the sounds and smells of his own country, including the different bird calls from the hedgerows that lined the winding country roads.

This was a new place to visit for Bertie. They had stopped off in Somerset. An area of the UK well known for its farming, cider and cream teas with scones.

As Croc took in the difference in the light in this strange new place, Bertie posed on a tractor to mark the start of a whole new adventure for him to share with his friend.