Bertie, Croc and me have been super busy the past few weeks. We have lots of ideas for blog posts but don’t seem to be able to find the time to actually sit down and compose one.
3 years ago my mum gave me a little bear to carry with me when I was travelling. She knew I usually travelled with my dog and would take photographs of her posing where ever we went. So, because I was not taking my dog on this journey, Bertie became my new travelling companion and what a journey it has been. I have decided that as I do not know Bertie’s exact birthday that this would be a good day to make his birthday. The day his journey really began.
This is the FIRST ever Bertie blog post I wrote. Three years on we are still writing, photographing and travelling. I promise to add some more blog content soon, but in the meantime I hope you enjoy this blast from the past…….. Meet Bertie the Bear
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?
Our last post saw Croc having to make a difficult decision indeed. Did he stay on an adventure, heading into the unknown with Bertie or did he join his family and stay safely huddled on a shelf? Croc chose Bertie and, like all big decisions, now he was back in the car and on the move again he was beginning to doubt himself.
Bertie had noticed Croc’s mood change, which would have gone unrecognised to anyone who wasn’t a friend of Crocs. Croc didn’t really do moods, or expressions or emotions. He did hiding, lurking in pockets and observing the world. This was a whole new experience for Croc and Bertie knew exactly what it felt like.
Eventually Bertie shuffled closer to Croc on the dashboard of the Hilux they were travelling in. Trees and red dirt whizzed by outside but Croc had turned his back and was looking most confused. Bertie nudged Croc, “What’s wrong?” He asked. Croc looked at him with big sad eyes and shrugged. “Let me see if I can help” said Bertie and he launched into one of his tails of travel and adventure. It didn’t seem to help. Bertie sat silently next to Croc and began to feel Croc’s downtrodden mood too. Looking wistfully out of the window Bertie said quietly, “You know, I don’t have a family. I don’t even know who my family are. I do have a friend. The only friend I have ever had and he is like my family. I read once that friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” Croc looked up and raised a small crocodile paw and pointed to himself. Bertie nodded and Croc began to smile!
It turns out that Croc didn’t really know his family who were all huddled on the shelf. In his short life he had spent most of it with Bertie, which meant he had chosen his family after all.
Two friends, on an adventure into the unknown. What could be better than that? Croc decided. Bertie said, “It’s not about making the wrong or right decision Croc, it is about having the opportunity to make a decision at all.” Croc smiled and nodded and watched the trees and red dirt whizz past the window. Where to next he wondered?
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.
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.
Human beings have an affinity to the sun setting and rising each day. For hundreds of years this natural and unchanging process has continued as different cultures and races have all marvelled at it and placed their own meaning and labels onto the experience.
We plan our lives around the sun setting and rising.
If you think about it before watches and alarm clocks we would have been woken up naturally by the sun rising and know when it was time to sleep when the sun began to set.
Now we have artificial lights which try to fool the brain into staying awake longer. We no longer consider ourselves “controlled” or “restricted” by the hours of daylight.
Ask yourself when was the last time you allowed yourself to be woken naturally. By naturally I mean no alarm clocks but also no heavy curtains or thick blinds. When did you go to bed when the sun set and wake up to the sun rising?
Whilst travelling through the Outback of the Northern Territory I did just that. There’s no TV to distract you, or artificial lights other than torches. You can sit around a camp fire with your friends and chat but by 8pm I was starting to feel tired…unheard of for me as I am usually a night owl.
My favourite part of trekking in the bush and doing outback tours was sleeping in a swag. A swag is a canvas sleeping bag which you lay in. There is no roof above you which was the best bit, I could fall asleep watching the stars. There is no artificial lights to desensitise my eyes so I could see the milky way in all its detail and watch shooting stars travel across the sky.
Then, when morning came, I found myself being gradually woken by the natural light at an unheard of hour for me. I mean who knew there were actually TWO 5 o clocks in a day!? I woke with a sense of peace, contentment and a slight disappointment that there were no stars in the sky to stare at.
Nothing beats falling asleep watching the stars and waking up to a sunrise!