Friday, 20 January 2017


In honour of #PenguinAwarenessDay here I am meeting the gorgeous Fairy Penguins on Phillip Island near Melbourne.

We also saw them in the wild on the Otago Peninsula in New Zealand.  They are so cute.

If you'd like to see them close up - and can't afford a trip to Australia - Martin Clunes is going to Phillip Island in the third episode of his Islands of Australia programme on Tuesday.


PS Martin Clunes and I weren't on Phillip Island at the same time but I have seen him filming on a beach - in Port Isaac. As you can see it was a typical English summer's day :-)

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Countdown to Christmas

Can you believe it’s only seven weeks until Christmas?

Today Morris and I have been helping to make the cake.  

Here I am adding the fruit.

Then I had to stir it in.  I was told I couldn’t make a wish as that only applies to Christmas puddings :-(

But I was allowed to lick the spoon.  Yummy :-)


Saturday, 29 October 2016

Giants of Steam

On the last day of half term we went to the Bluebell Railway.

We used to go to steam railways all the time when Daddy Bear was alive because he was an enthusiast but we hadn't been to one for years.

Then someone told us an engine Daddy Bear part-owned was taking part in the Bluebell's Giants of Steam weekend so we had to go along.

The 8F was still being restored when he died so we had never seen it in steam or had a chance to ride behind it either.

As you can see it's a very large, freight, engine.

This is us riding in one of the carriages being pulled by it.  We travelled third class.  Passengers with first and second class tickets had different, slightly posher, carriages.

This is a map showing the rail network covered by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway who made this carriage.

Underneath is a dial for controlling the carriage temperature.

And here's me with the programme for the day

And with Morris and another of our buddies, Stewie.

We had a great day.


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Winchester City Mill - Part Two

There's a lot to see at Winchester City Mill.

On the floor above the Mill Race you can learn about "The Story of Bread".  It shows you all the different stages.

First you have to plant the wheat and wait for it to grow.

Then you harvest and thresh it ready to be milled.

And only then, when it's been turned into flour, can you make the bread.

Did you know that much work went into making your morning slice of toast or your lunchtime sandwiches? I didn't.


Winchester City Mill - Part One

After we’d looked at the statue of King Alfred we went to visit Winchester City Mill, which is looked after by the National Trust (just like Hinton Ampner where we went the day before).

For most of the 20th century it wasn’t a working mill – it was even used as a Youth Hostel – but when the National Trust took it over in the 1980s they began restoring it and now you can buy flour that’s been milled here in the attached shop.

This diagram explains how the flow of the river is used to turn the water wheel which then powers the milling stones.


As you can see from this picture the wheel turns very quickly. That's why it's called a Mill Race.

I was a bit worried I would get wet.  As you can see I'm only a few inches above the water.


Half-term Holiday - Day Three

Did you know Winchester was once the capital of England?

Before that it was the capital of King Alfred, King of Wessex, who famously burnt the cakes and united the English tribes against the Danes.

There’s a big statue of King Alfred on Winchester’s main street.  

Here are Morris and I with the plaque telling people more about him.


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Half-term Holiday Day Two

On our second day we went to Hinton Ampner, an amazing house which was restored to its original Georgian splendour in the early twentieth century.

It then had to be restored again after a fire in 1960 and in 2014 part of the roof blew off in a storm so the National Trust is still working to put some of the bedrooms back the way they should be.  It was interesting to see the different stages as well as the rooms which are complete.

We had lunch in the onsite cafĂ© and then explored the gardens.  

It’s unusual to see a scarecrow sitting down and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a scarecrow shaped like a dog before.  Isn’t this clever?