Friday, 26 December 2008

Happy Birthday Wendy and Beary Christmoose to all!

Happy Birthday Wendy for yesterday!! Come on now, altogether or not at all: Hippo Birdie Two Ewes!

Also, We Wish You a Beary Fish Moose!

On Christmas Eve the human went out and saw friends and delivered presents [Don't get the wrong idea, she's not Santa!]. We stayed in and wrapped the remaining presents, put the carrots out for the Reindeer and the milk for Santa, listened to Christmas songs and watched the Muppet Christmas Carol.

When the human got home we persuaded her that we should pull the sofa bed out in the lounge room so we could keep an eye out for Santa. We snuggled in bed, watching the Christmas lights around the fire place and a few Christmas specials on TV whilst we waited for Santa...

No!!! We woke up and Santa had been! The carrots are gone, the milk glass is empty!! We missed him!!! Next year, we won't leave Sleepy Hippo and his friend, Sleepy Bear, in charge of Mission: Santa. But no time to be sad - It's Christmoose!!

We opened the presents that were waiting under the tree (and the ones at the end of the bed from Santa). The human was very happy with her presents. We were too. Then we made Christmas breakfast and Christmas cups of tea [the best kind of tea!] and watched children's television [which we're sure is really toy television because all our toy family love it!] until the chauffeurs arrived to take us down to Tabba and Gaz's.

We swapped presents with the chauffeurs (including Frannie's belated birthday presents). Well, we say swapped, we gave them presents and the human gave them presents and they gave the human a pasta maker [which we're very much looking forward to her using for us!] but our presents were waiting in the car, so we had to wait until we got to Cambridge. We had to wait so long for Santa and now we have to wait again!!

The chauffeurs described the drive as good - enough cars that you didn't feel you were driving through the end of the world, but not enough to slow you down in any way. In fact, there were so little cars that we arrived just as Tabba was planning on having a Christmas bath. She was a little upset until she remember she was about to get presents :D

We had cups of tea and Gaz, the Chef of Christmas Present, cooked us up snacks [Don't worry - he cooked snacks for us, he didn't cook us into snacks!] and we all gave out presents. There was wrapping paper everywhere - it was very exciting! Sleepy Hippo and I blatantly got the best presents of the day. Mine was sold to Frannie by elves, Sleepy Hippo's was knitted by Frannie herself!

After that there was more food and then some people had Christmas naps and others listened to Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode's Movie Game on Radio 5. Then there was Dr Whooooo and we sent out Christmas messages to our fluffy friends [Hello bearplace!]. Some people got very excited about Christmas Hollyoaks but we were just wait wait wait waiting for the new Wallace and Gromit - which we enjoyed very much! There were more Christmas naps for some and others listened to silly songs and then watched silly television. There was lots of laughter from them!

Then it was nearly bed time so we snuggled down and watched Penelope - which was a lovely fairy tale about a girl with the nose and ears of a pig. Then we fell asleep watching Definitely, Maybe, the DVD we bought for Gaz. It was a very lovely day.

Today, we're having a nice relaxing Boxing Day, playing with the presents [even other people's presents - Shhh] and waiting for the Big Meal by Frannie, the Chef of Boxing Day Present and Christmas Future.

Then it might be time for the traditional Boxing Day cinema trip. We might go, or we might relax. Time for a bath perhaps?

See our Christmas fun here!


Monday, 8 December 2008

Our Excellent London Adventure

We have had a lovely time this weekend, helping Frannie celebrate her birthday.

We all went to London on the train. It was very exciting. The train went along the same route that goes past Frannie and The Builder's house. It was a beautiful day but the sun was shining brightly quite low in the sky so it was hard to see. But we did see their house. And their greenhouse. We didn't see Marlo though. I think he was asleep on his radiator hammock inside.

The train was a bit late into London. But that was OK. We weren't in any hurry. And the hotel we were staying in was quite close to the station. We checked in, got organised and then all four of us went out for a stroll in the late afternoon sunshine. We looked in some shops and pottered around and then went to the Marquis Cornwallis for a pre-prandial pint. Actually, it turned into pre-prandial wines, and then prandial wines as Frannie and The Builder decided to stay there and while away the evening over wine and food and general chit chat.

We all slept very well. Apart from Frannie, who seemed to have lots of dreams featuring ziggurats. We think she might have been over excited by the planned visit to the British Museum on Sunday to see the Babylon exhibition!

So. Breakfast, and then a stroll along Bernard Street to get to the museum [SH reminds me to inform you that if you are on facebook you can see the original Bernard Street saga here here here here and here. Frannie says that she has always wanted to have an apartment over the Brunswick Centre as a nice London town pad. We can certainly see the attraction , especially now that the complex has been smartened up and has a Waitrose and various food outlets downstairs. But why would you live there, when you could live in Bernard Mansion? I think we have convinced her that an apartment in Bernard Mansion is the way to go!

We enjoyed the British Museum. The Babylon exhibition had some magnificent lions, and a bull and a lovely dragon. It also had lots of paintings and clay tablets and other things which were all very interesting in their way, I suppose. But Sleepy Hippo and I really would have liked to have spent more time talking to our new friends the lions, the bull and the dragon.

Frannie and The Builder took us to a pub that they've been to before for Sunday lunch and a drop more wine. Then we made our way down Charing Cross Road to the River Thames, pausing on the way to admire Trafalgar Square. We had to cross the river over the new footbridge, for we were being taken for a ride on the London Eye, which is a huge Ferris wheel. You get fantastic views over London and it isn't a bit scary, even though it's very, very high, because you're in an enclosed capsule and can't possibly fall out. It was an excellent adventure for two small hippos.

But what to do after the ride was finished? Frannie and The Builder offered us a boat trip along the river. Even more exciting. We all sat outside in the sunshine (still very bright and very low), although it was really quite cold. We snuggled up in Frannie's scarf and hat and kept nice and warm and enjoyed watching London float past us.

Then it was time to head back to the station. We were very early but there is a lovely pub at the
station named for some poet who fought a long, hard battle to stop people knocking down the building. We don't really know why anyone would have wanted to knock down such a lovely building. It looks like a fairy's beautiful birthday cake. But Frannie says that they did and the poet, who loved trains and stations, almost single-handedly saved it and now he has a statue in the station and the station pub named after him. And it's a lovely pub. It does good food and serves nice wine and has a dining room and a snug and Christmas trees.

We got home quite late and have been resting today. Frannie tells us that we have been invited to go to Gran Canaria next week. We hope that Freyja has been looking out our sunscreen and straw hats!

The photos are on our Facebook site. If you don't have a Facebook account and would like to see the photos, let Frannie or Freyja know and they'll organise it for you. We've just put our Cambridge photos up on picassa.

Publish Post

Saturday, 6 December 2008


Apologies to the complainers about the lack of Australia story. Apologies to the non complainers who are wondering why they are reading this. We didn’t really know how to blog our Australia holiday, as it wasn’t really a holiday, more just going to the other home. As we don’t blog our England home, why blog the Aussie one?

But the guilt tripping has worked. So here you go.

You can see our trip photos here (on picassa) or here and here on facebook.

We had a few plane “issues” which we’ll deal with in a bumper plane edition in the near future.

We arrived in Melbourne and saw no one at the gate so went to freshen up before collecting our bags and meeting the father and the friend. Only the father and the friend weren’t there. Perhaps they were at international arrivals, perhaps we didn’t tell them we were coming via Cairns and getting a domestic. Nope, not at international arrivals either. Now, the friend, we’ll call her Julia, had been meeting us at an airport in North Carolina a year earlier to this and hadn’t been there when we’d got off the plane either. Surely she wouldn’t have done it again?! But they were definitely nowhere to be seen.

Eventually they turned up - blaming us! They had been at the gate. Only not from the moment it had opened so must have missed us. How dare we go to the toilet?! All we know is, “Julia” is on two strikes! (We’ve also decided to stop mentioning this from now as it’ll only come back to haunt us when we’re not there to meet her some time).

So we drove to Julia’s new apartment and checked out its awesomeness, our room, more of the awesomeness, the pool and generally were just in awe of its awesomeness. Then the human’s father went back to Ballarat, the human and the friend Julia, and the friend Julia’s sister, Lucy, went to some funky Musical premier thing. We stayed at home and recuperated. The human reports there was a lot of standing and a lot of screaming and a lot of d-list Aussie celebrities who we had heard of, but perhaps not many non Aussies would, and lots more screaming, and then the stars and then so much screaming you needed ear plugs, and a security guard woman who looked like a 12 year old boy, and then Julia got an autograph (not by crushing any 10 year olds she says) from a lady called Vanessa, and they took lots of photos and had a great time. We stayed at home and rested and secretly watched Julia and Lucy’s DVDs.

The night we had pizza and pasta from Papa Gino’s (we’re on holiday – we can have both!) and snoozed some more.

The next day the humans went out and did human things whilst we relaxed around the pool. They came back from the city with lots of exciting food shopping (they even found vegetarian prawns at the local supermarket!) and a million DVDs. We settled in with them to eat amazing dinner, dessert and snacks (all of which were sorely missed when we were out of the country) and watched Horton Hears a Who and Maid of Honour. Even two masculine grown up hippos such as ourselves enjoy a girly movie night now and again. We definitely suggest everyone sees Horton Hears a Who, by the way.

Friday was the day of The Wedding. So Julia, who is very nice and very special indeed and lovely for all the driving she was to do for us this week, drove us to Geelong where the humans went for lunch with a long time family friend, we’ll call her “Irene”, and we went for a stroll on the beach. Then we all went hunting for the Russian Orthodox church somewhere in Geelong, found it with time to spare and went op shopping. [The human just mentioned that whilst op shopping she’s certain the father and the friend bought her scarf type things which she never saw again]. Then the father and Julia went for coffee and cake whilst the human went to The Wedding (of a primary school friend of her’s). Between The Wedding and The Reception a trip to TimeZone, with the father and the friend, was in order (very traditional). Then to The Reception for a couple of hours, whilst the father and Julia, again very kindly and lovelyingly, went to the movies to kill time. Then back to Ballarat and Buninyong.

After all this driving around we were exhausted and also were very happy to be back with some of our Australian family and so decided to stay around the house for the weekend, spending time with them, relaxing (someone forgot to tell Freyja that that is what holidays are for), wandering around the garden and such. Freyja decided she had to get as much done and see as many people as possible (crazy crazy humans!). Various exciting things that didn’t involve us so we won’t dwell include lunch with various friends and family (including Ian, Zoy and Ross), visiting Emily (a cousin) at Lindsey and Ian’s house, dragging Lindsey and Ian and her dad to Chat For Tea to her favourite Vegetarian Asian Tea Garden/Restaurant in Ballarat (yes it’s the only one), seeing Death Race with Zoy, having Fun with Julia, Lucy and Zoy, a big family lunch in Mt Martha (which we were sad to miss) and on the way back to Buninyong, seeing the Big Apple (which we were even sadder to miss!), dropping in on another family friend, having Fun with some primary school friends (from The Wedding) and visiting The Bride, where the human’s dad kept them there until 2am talking to The Bride’s Mother (although he’ll claim he was just waiting for the human to be ready to leave…)

Anne, who we were staying with, made us a lovely Hello/Goodbye dinner on the Sunday and then Monday morning meant it was time to leave the Ballarat/Buninyong area and return to Melbourne (first though, an early lunch with Ross, Anne and Friend Pat), via a quick stop to say hello/goodbye to more cousins, Ant and Christian, who were battling giant spiders in The Shed). We took the train to Melbourne and visited Ian and Lindsey’s flat, which was very nice. Then Zoy took the human to Karaoke with Julia and Lucy and some friends of Julia and Lucy (and on the way showed us the DVD of his performance as Gaston in Beauty and The Beast… we’ll say nothing).

The final day arrived. We diligently stayed home and packed, whilst the human went out and had more Fun with her dad. Lunching in the city with a friend, Rod, visiting the Western Bulldogs shop in Footscray, hanging with Lucy, dinnering at Ian and Lindsey’s again (although sans Ian and avec Simon and Emily), seeing some crazy 3D movie at Imax, where the friend Julia works, (which did sound far too scary for us, to be honest). Some friends came around and Bernard had a nice snooze with one of them whilst the human stayed up and waited to leave for the airport (at about 5am gulp!)

Then there was some more plane drama that, yes, will be dealt with later.