Monday, 6 February 2012

Volunteering at Bishops' House

There is a lovely little museum in Meersbrook Park in Sheffield called Bishops' House. It is kept open by volunteers at the weekend.  Sleepy and I decided on Saturday that we would go and open up.  We weren't particularly busy over the weekend and it seemed like a useful and public spirited way of passing a cold and cloudy morning.  So we nudged the Grand Humans into wakefulness and got them to get up, get dressed and take us into Sheffield and to the museum.  We let them come and sit in the house too, for it was a bit chilly outside and it was nice and warm inside. We didn't want them to catch cold

We've arrived at Meersbrook Park. Bishops' House is just over there
I've put the sign up. Hurry up, Bernard.  We're open!
Righty oh. I'm coming
I think we should go round and make sure everything's shape and ready for visitors
Be careful on the stairs everyone
Making sure the beautiful windows are clean
Alas - there is work to do. No sleeping for us
Checking that the goose and cat have been fed and watered
The parlour is ready for visitors
The merchandise is all accounted for
We've got sandwiches, hot chocolate and leaflets about forthcoming activities.  We're READY!
And despite the fact that it was cold and grey outside, we had lots of visitors.  There was a little boy who was doing Bishops' House for a school project. There were visitors from out of town. There were happy, giggly children and interested adults. Some other volunteers came by too, to say hello. And the morning went by really, really quickly.

And very suddenly - it was time to go back to the Grand Humans' house and have lunch.  A morning very well spent.  We might come and do it again

Heading home for lunch

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A weekend partying

We've been to a party. A birthday party. All the way down in Warminster which is in Wiltshire.

The party was not too far from the pub we usually stay in, so we put up in The Swan for the weekend.

We went to the party with our Grand Humans and with Grandmother Gwen. Lots of family were there. So was Barb, for it was her brother Greg's birthday.  He was 70!

There was lots of food and wine. There were balloons and music. There were people to play with and friends to make. It was a lovely evening.  We played with Evie and Rebecca and with some little boys who we met at the party. We chatted with Grandmother Gwen and new adult friends. We were very pleased that we had been invited.

Then we went back to The Swan and had a lovely, cosy, long sleep.  Then there was lots and lots of tea in the morning and a hearty breakfast. And we went to a HUGE garden centre and helped select the seeds for the coming year's harvest. Then we went back to our Country Residence for a lovely Sunday Roast

And since then we have been dozing and drinking tea and keeping warm and dozing and munching and drinking tea and dozing with The Builder and Marlo, while the Frannie has been going to work.

There is a very great deal to be said for being a *retired* Business Hippo!! (Although it is possibly time that we returned to our University; classes seem to have started again after the long Christmas break)

Hippos and The Birthday Boy

You will find the party album here

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A warm welcome to 2012

And so we have finished our first semester studies in Oenology, Somnology and Epicureanism. (Go on - Google them; you know you want to!!!) We have, of course, worked very hard, particularly in the practicals. We have accompanied our Human to Cultural Events, Historical Events and Tea Tastings.  We have indulged in the odd crumb of cake and sustained ourselves with vegemite sandwiches and pizza.  We have embraced student life in all its fullness - except that we have eschewed beer in favour of the more civilised wine and port.

Thus we were very ready to return Oop North for the Christmas and Winter holidays and came, with our Human, just before Christmas to snooze in Sheffield and doze in Derbyshire.

Christmas was a very happy time.  It was Cally's first Christmas, so we had to help her with her presents until she got the idea

Sleepy and our Human, handing Cally a present

Bernard supervising Cally playing with her new toys
We have visited various friends and relations and caught up on all the gossip

Chatting with Jack and Janet

And have made merry for Christmas

Under the pretty Christmas tree

and New Year

Happy New Year everyone

Being mindful of the fact that we are still students (albeit very mature ones) we did not accompany the Grand Humans on their trip to Salisbury but remained behind to continue with our studies, preparatory for Semester 2



 And so we look forward with pleasure and anticipation to the delights that 2012 surely holds in store.  And we wish you all much joy in the year to come.

Getting ready for the delights to come. Zzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

We've gone to be (mature) students

We have moved to London!

We went down on Friday with the Grand Human who had to go to a business meeting Somewhere in the City.  It put Bernard in mind of the many business meetings he had to attend before he became a Retired Business Hippo. He is quite glad that he doesn't often have to attend business meetings any more - although it must be said that the lunch was rather delicious. And the sticky buns we all had at morning tea in the bookshop on our way to the meeting were especially tasty.

But we have moved down, accompanied by our Human in order to take up later life studies at the University of East London.  We have moved into a lovely little room which has come equipped with wine, the internet and a snuggly bed.  What more could we ask for?  Food?  Well yes.  But the Human has provided food and we have discovered many little eateries around our new flat.  It is true that students traditionally do not have much money to fritter on meals out.  We will have to send our Human out to work to keep us in style.

The new flat is by the river and across from a small airport.  We think we are going to enjoy this :-)

Our very first class, once we had registered and enrolled at our new University, was in the decorating of cupcakes.  We had a lovely time getting sticky as we rolled sugar paste and made flowers and ice cream cones and little cakes all out of sugar paste.  We scattered glitter and spead hundreds and thousands and placed coloured sugar puffs.  If this is student life, we are thoroughly going to enjoy it.  Although we could do with a piping bag and some fancy nozzles so we can keep practising.

And now we are snuggled in our bed, recovering after the weekend's excitements. We  might go back to the library and ponder sliding down the yellow poles. Or heading back to the benches by the river and eating sandwiches while watching the planes come and go. Or we might stay in bed and have a little sleep and wait to see what the afternoon brings.  And there are, of course, cupcakes to nibble on

Click on the photo to go to our album page

Monday, 5 September 2011

Bernard and Sleepy's excellent August Bank Holiday week's holiday

We've been on holiday this last week. We have spent it with the Grand Humans and have been having a lovely time.

We went to Salisbury for the actual Bank Holiday weekend and stayed at The Swan, where we have stayed many times before. You can say many things about The Swan. You can say that the food is delicious and the wine plentiful. You can say that the beds are very cosy and the pillows are snuggly. You can say that the people are delightful and the atmosphere charming. What you wouldn't normally say is that The Swan is exciting.

But it was VERY exciting to find that they were having a small steam fair in their car park over the weekend. There were lots of steam engines, steaming away and looking lovely. We could see them from the comfort of our room. We also went out and inspected them more closely. It was very, very exciting. And very unexpected. Who would expect there to be a whole steam fair in the pub car park?!?!?

An unexpected excitement at The Swan

We had a few meals while we were there. Not too many. We are not greedy hippos.  We had dinner with Barb and Greg in a country pub. We had lunch with Grandmother Gwen at Jeanette and Matthew's place. We had lunch at The Wheatsheaf in Romsey. We had breakfasts at the Swan. We had dinner at The Swan too.  And the occasional afternoon tea.  We did other things too.  Let me think, erm ... Oh yes. We went shopping as well.

Then we came home. And went out into the countryside with Tabitha and Cally for ice cream. And to chase alpacas

We do like ice cream

And we went to a HUGE country park with the Grand Humans to watch cricket and wander in an enormous kitchen garden and eat yummy food and to collect a beautiful bridge.  We were a bit disconcerted when Frannie decide to enliven the afternoon by flinging herself from a standing start onto the road. We tried to get underneath her to soften her fall, but weren't quite quick enough. She has a most exciting graze on her elbow and knee now!

And now our week's holiday is over. Frannie has gone back to work. And we are supposed to be getting ready to move to London next weekend. Although we are a bit worried about the move to London. Our real Human has given up her job in order to be able to accompany us. Will she now have enough money to keep us in good food and wine?  We are very partial to vegemite sandwiches, but we like to eat other things as well. We especially like to eat cake

You will find the photos of our week's holiday here

A hippo's ideal way of spending a morning

Saturday, 13 August 2011

An excellent adventure in Japan

Sleepy and I are on our way home from Japan!!

We went for a wedding, but had excellent other adventures as well.

We arrived with our Human and her friend about a week before everyone else came in, to help our Human's brother get ready for his wedding. It was hot!

Then we went on to Tokyo, where arrived a load of people from Australia and our Human's mother and The Builder from England.  It was still hot! But we are hippos from Africa and coped better than the humans seemed to

We played a lot with the Tokyo subway. And we went shopping. And we went exploring. And we ate a lot. And we might perhaps have drunk quite a bit. But no sake. The Human's mother drank some sake and said that it made her hair curl and her ears fall off. We didn't want curly hair or a lack of ears so stuck to beer and wine.

And then we all split up. Some of the Australians went to Hiroshima. The wedding organisers went back to Nagoya and we went with the rest of the party to Kyoto and Nara. There are deer in Nara. They are very cute. They cross the roads on the pedestrian crossings!! (And they bite you if you have deer biscuits and won't give any to them, as Frannie discovered. But that seems only fair to us. We would bite too if you were withholding food from us!)

And then it was time to go back to Nagoya for the wedding. It was very beautiful. Kaori looked lovely. Our Human's brother Austin scrubbed up really well.  There was lots of smiling. And a very great deal of clapping. And there was delicious cake. There was music and merriment and fun and laughter. It was a good day. There was pizza in the evening. We like pizza!

We have climbed the Nagoya castle and we found some dinosaurs in some gardens. We were very careful in the china shop and didn't break anything.  And we have been to Osaka with our Human, her brother, the beautiful bride,  a Pieman and two Australians. 

And now we are on our way home.

Was an excellent holiday. When can we go again?

Our group of humans, except Lindsey who was taking the photo, in Osaka

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

River Cottage Weekend

We've had the most excellent weekend down in Devon and Dorset.  We went with our grand Humans for a long weekend. There was, as you might imagine, a great deal of feasting :-)

We stayed in a little seaside town called Seaton which we had never heard of. It turns out that the grand Humans hadn't heard of it either! Frannie had booked us all into a B&B based purely on the pictures on their website!!!  Fortunately, it was a good find.  A lovely, comfortable, snuggly bed and magnificent breakfasts delivered right into our room.  We were right by the sea. It was all excellent for venerable hippos.

We dined in pubs. We went on a tram ride. Sleepy tried to drive the tram away but the real tram driver came back and stopped us.  We had to passenger back on another tram. We were chased by a lion and smothered in flowers. The sun shone and shone and shone and shone and the sea was as blue as blue as blue can be.

And then we went to River Cottage HQ where we strolled in the gardens and drank elderflower fizz and ate lots of lovely, lovely food and had a friendly chat with the very lovely Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. (He came over later and told Frannie that he likes us hippos. That was very gratifying. We like him too!)

We came home via Braishfield and called into the Wheatsheaf to have lunch and to catch up with the just as lovely Matthew.

And now we are back at the Grand humans' house. It's nearly time for us to return to our own Human. We are very, very soon off to Japan!

Our photos are here