Wednesday, 30 December 2009

A winter holiday

Having had a lovely Christmas, and having delivered Frank’s Humans back to his place, we, Frank, our Human’s mother Frannie and The Builder all came down to a place near Salisbury called West Dean. It’s a cute little village out in the middle of nowhere.

We’ve come to visit some of our human friends and relations down this way.

First we collected Grandmother Gwen (it was lovely to see her again) and took her to visit Rebecca and Evie and their grown ups. We had a lovely time there. There was lots of lovely lunch. Sleepy played with Rebecca’s iPhone (for some reason Frannie won’t let us play with hers - something about random calls to Australia and huge phone bills). We played chasie with Evie, and helped her set up her new laptop. We had a little wine and lots of fun, and many cuddles. And

we met a new gorilla friend who had that very day moved in to live with Rebecca. It was a

good day. And we had a lovely, quiet evening back in the flat above a barn where we are staying. There isn’t much on the television, though. And only three channels. But there are twiglets and chocolate and biscuits. And wine. We are very happy hippos and lion.

Then we went to visit our friends Barb and Greg in Barb’s lovely little cottage. There was more food and more wine. There were Christmas crackers and a cute kitty. We ate lots and drank a bit and played snakes and ladders and sat next to the roaring fire. Another good day. There is a lot to be said for

taking holidays in the winter. Fires, food and wine, and no requirement that you take any exercise. Although, I suppose if you did that for long enough you might end up rather fat. Mightn’t you, Frannie?

(Frannie is talking about her and The Builder going on a diet when she goes back to work, so they fit in their summer clothes when we all go to Australia in April. Fortunately, we will be back with our human before going to Australia and no diets are being spoken of there. Anyway, hippos and lions don’t need to fit into summer clothes. And in any case - we are not fat!!)

That’s enough for now. Today we are going to the seaside. We haven’t been to the seaside since we were in America back in September. And Frank says he can’t remember the last time he was at the seaside. We’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.

Monday, 28 December 2009



And Sleepy Hippo

We've had an exciting few months since we last spoke to you in August

We've been to America, although our Human hasn't written up our adventures for us.

We had our Facebook account suspended after we got back, just because we aren't Human. Why would you want to be human if you could be a hippo? Stoopid Facebook Humans!

Our Human and her Mother have been taking Japanese classes. We've been helping them revise so we can talk to Kaori next time we are in Japan (オはよかおり)

And now we have been celebrating Christmas

Here's Santa Bernard, handing out presents:

And Sleepy, misbehaving AGAIN:

Here is the Christmas dinner table:

And dessert:

And now we are in Cambridge.

And this afternoon we are going with our friend Frank, our Human's mother and The Builder for nearly a week near the New Forest.

Our excellent adventures are set to begin again :-)

Friday, 21 August 2009

It was our human’s birthday on Monday. We took her to York for the day.

She was very excited. She likes York. She also liked the vegan tapas bar we had heard about. We told her mother about the tapas bar and she looked it up on her iPhone and found its location. The food was lovely. We do like nice food.

Then we went shopping in all the fun shops and then went to the York Dungeon. Once we got used to the dark we had a great time. The humans were all a bit disconcerted by the squirts of water which sometimes shot at them. We hippos are not a bit worried by squirts of water. We like water.

Our human has had to go back to work. She’s moved us into a new house and she is getting ready to take us on a nice holiday in America, so she needs to work extra hard to fund all the excitement.

We have come to Cambridge to visit Frank Lyon at his place. The rest of the humans have come too.

Yesterday we all went into Cambridge with Austin, our human’s brother. He’s going back to Japan today and wanted to take a special present back for his girlfriend. So we went to a place where bears are born. It was very, very exciting to be present at the birth of our very new friend Oscar Bearrington the Third. Everyone bought lots of presents for the new bear. They bought presents for us too. We are now properly equipped with passports for legitimate international travel (no more skulking in the bottom of a bag hoping no one will spot us). Bernard also now has his very first mobile phone and Sleepy has some lovely new travel luggage. We do like presents.

Breakfast time. Outside in the sunshine in Frank’s garden, watching the rabbits hopping about. Then we might get around to pondering what we might do today. Although - we might do nothing at all.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Great excitement

We’ve been BUNGEE JUMPING!!!!

At least, Frank Lion and Bernard have. We were out on a lovely walk with Frannie, The Builder, Lindsey and Ian around a village called Stanhope. Suddenly we happened upon a hipo bungee jumping place. Bernard, despite being a *retired* business hippo decided he absolutely had to have a go. And he did. And it was great fun. Alas, it was a bit big for Frank, and Sleepy decided that he had had quite enough excitemen

t watching Bernard bouncing around at the end of the bungee rope.

We progressed on our walk. And just as suddenly we happened upon a bungee jump especially for small animals. Frank leapt at the chance to have a go too. It was all great fun and not at all what we had been expecting to do when we set out on our morning constitutional!

We’ve also spent a day collecting more Romans and more Roman bathhouses. We had a mighty picnic. We’ve been on more walks. The humans do worry a great deal about us getting wet. They worried very much indeed when we had to cross some stepping stones. We have to keep reminding them that we are *hippopotamuses* and are quite used to being wet!!

Now we are back at Frannie and Jim’s place. We are having a well-deserved rest so we are ready for next week’s set of adventures. Who would have expected quite so much activity. Normally we lead very quiet lives!!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Bernard and Sleepy Hippo - Ring Bearers

We have been having a really exciting time since last we spoke.

Last Friday we went to our very first wedding ceremony. We’ve been to receptions before but this was the first time we’d actually been invited to the wedding itself.

Not only that - we had a very important tak to perform. For we were to be ----- The Ring Bearers. My Preciousssssssssss. Oops. No, not that sort of ring bearer. I mean, we had to carry the wedding rings, ably assisted by The Builder’s granddaughter Rebecca.

It was a very lovely ceremony. Lots of people took lots of photos of us. The Registrar thought we were lovely.And said so. Our friend Frank the Lion and our new friend Travelling Camel were there too.

Then we all went off to have a picnic in the park. There was lots and lots of lovely food.

It was all just very lovely. Everyone was very happy.

In the evening all the humans went off to a pub for food and wine. We had a well-deserved rest.

Then on Saturday afternoon people came to Frannie and The Builder’s house and there was lots and lots of food. And even more people came on Sunday and there was even more food.

Then we stopped feasting and our human, her brother, sister and brother in law, her aunt and uncle, her mother and new step-builder and Frank and Travelling camel all came away on honeymoon.

And now we are having adventures. We have been to a Roman fort and played in the bathhouse. We’ve been on a country walk, where we managed to get lost (humans really are stupid, you know. The guide book said not to enter the penned area filled with horses and sheep. What did they do? Well of course they got lost!) and then found again by some friendly local humans. We’ve been to Durham where Frank went up the cathedral tower. We didn’t; tower steps are much too steep for small hippo legs. Frannie took us to look at the cathedral library instead. We’ve collected bridges, played cricket and croquet and recommenced feasting.

And we have been making friends with about a thousand chickens.

It’s all still very lovely.

We will tell you more. As it happens.

Friday, 3 July 2009

An excellent bear adventure

Some weeks ago our pal Jeff told us that he was going to a Bear Festival in the middle of the New Forest. We thought that was a very exciting thing to do and started to wonder how we would get there. Only – we weren’t really sure where the New Forest was.

So we asked our human. She said it was hundreds of miles away on the other side of the country and much too far for us all to go, especially since we would have to take two or three trains and at least one bus to get there. Then, of course, we would have to come back again.

We were a bit disappointed, but we put our disappointment on our Twitter page and went off to do other exciting things. Like drink tea. And sleep.

Unbeknownst to us, Frannie the human’s mother was idly trawling through Twitter to while away the time on a long car journey. She noticed that we wanted to go to the Bear Festival. Aha, she thought. We could take the Hippos, and their human. We could collect The Builder’s mother too. She would like to go to a bear festival. She told The Builder about it. He thought it was a good idea too.

And so it was that last Sunday saw us all in Beaulieu in the New Forest, visiting lots of bears.

There were antique bears and artist’s bears. There were children’s bears and humans dressed as bears. There were all sorts of fun things to do. Bernard and I had our first ever portrait taken in a professional photographer’s studio. AND – we had our portrait drawn too, by a real artist. There were things to eat and things to drink. There were games to play and competitions to enter. We helped our human’s mother free a teddy princess from the clutches of an evil dragon.

The Festival took over the whole village. The sun shone. It was a lovely day. We found our friend Jeff in the school ground. He had his friend XXXXX and both their humans with him. We ran across them again later on the playing fields. We were very happy that Frannie and The Builder had been able to take us down.

Then we took Grandmother Gwen back to her house and we all drove to Cambridge, to our friend Frank the Lion’s house. His human is the sister of ours, and their cousin and his friend were staying for two night. The cousin lives in Australia usually so everyone was very pleased to see him. His friend is a very nice lady. We all sat outside in the sunshine and had pizza for a late dinner.

In Christian-the-cousin’s honour everyone had taken Monday off (not that we needed to, Bernard being a *retired* business hippo, and me being a professional sleeper). It was a lovely, sunny, summery day so we went to the market, and had iced drinks, and walked along the river and had lunch in a pub with a terrace down to the river.

Then we and our human had to go home. Frannie and The Builder wanted to get back because they had things to do. We would have quite liked to go punting with the others. But I suppose we can go to Cambridge almost any time and go punting. Frannie says she’ll come too – but only if someone else punts and she gets to sit elegantly about in a straw hat and floatie skirt. The Builder didn’t seem keen. We don’t think he likes water very much. This seems an odd attitude to two hippos!

We are sorry this has taken so long to write up. But it was such an exciting weekend that I have only just woken up from my after-weekend nap. Even Bernard has been sleepy this week. Frannie says she’ll sort our photos our this weekend. But not tonight. Tonight she is going to make ravioli and cheesecake. We think she should make ravioli and cheesecake for us too!

Here are the photos

Monday, 22 June 2009

Three Counties Show, Great Malvern

We’ve been to an agricultural show. We can’t remember having been to one before. It was excellent fun.

We went with Frannie and The Builder, and their friends Bea and Steve, all the way to Great Malvern where there is a huge show grounds

There were tractors. And sheep shearers. And animals.

There were chickens and ducks and geese (Frannie wouldn’t let us bring the chickens home)

There were pigs. Frannie wouldn’t let us play with the pigs lest they bite us and refuse to give us back.

There were very soft alpacas and fluffy sheep and huge big bulls and a carthorse or three.

There were food stalls and craft stalls and chicken houses.

There were medieval archers and jousting and tents and barbecues (well, they were cooking fires but they could have been barbecues)

There was food and cider and beer.

And best of all – it DIDN’T RAIN!!!!!!!! (Though it threatened to several times!)

Then we went to a village with the remarkably wonderful name of Upton Snodsbury for the night, where we stayed in a beautiful pub, with rooms made from old barns. And with magnificent food. More than two quite small (if portly) hippos could possibly manage to eat. All the humans had many courses!

On the Sunday we explored the village and played on a farm and admired a very young foal and some minute piglets and talked to a barky dog and a very small girl.

Then we all went to Upton upon Severn for a walk along the river and a count up of all the pubs (we ran out of paws for counting and so lost count. So more than eight pubs in Upton upon Severn). And we had lunch in one of them. Fortunately, we couldn’t eat at the riverside tables because they’re not allowed to carry hot food across the road. And half way through lunch there was a VERY heavy shower. We, of course, are hippos and don’t mind getting wet. But the humans seem to be rain-averse. Something about the wet rain drops making their food go cold.

We’re at Frannie and The Builder’s place this week. Next weekend we are all going to the New Forest Bear Festival. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! Can’t wait :-)

Here are the photos


Wednesday, 22 April 2009

A Cornish Adventure Part 2

15 April

*Yawn* I got up today and went out on an adventure. It was such an exciting day that I stayed awake for nearly all of it. I only slept in the car, and I think that all three of us did that!

We went to visit our old friend Arthur at his birthplace at Tintagel. You do have to wonder why our mystical friends chose to have birthplaces and other hang outs in such out of the way, inaccessible and above all - STEEP places! All I can say is thank heavens for the doughty Frannie and redoubtable Builder who carried us up and down. Those steps were much too steep for tiny hippo legs to deal with. Even my longer legs would have struggled. But it was all worth it. The views from the top were magnificent. We made friends with two black labradors called Hector and Henry. We scrambled about. We went back down from the island headland and up to the main part of the castle on the mainland. Even with Frannie and The Builder carrying us, it was a solid afternoon’s work for two sleepy animals and a retired business hippo. Fortunately we had had hearty pasties before setting off to fortify us. I was ready for an after lunch snooze after that.

There is nothing left of King Arthur’s father’s castle. The remains now are mostly medieval. And a great deal drier than the iron age village. The sun shone and it was lovely and warm.

We went back to Tintagel Village via the Saxon and Norman church and stopped to talk to two black pigs on the way. We ran across Hector and Henry again in the Old Post Office. We had restorative ice creams before hopping back in the car and travelling to Camelford, to collect it for Lindsey. We all decided we were too tired to go to Padstow as planned and came back to the house, where we spent a pleasant late afternoon telling our adventures to Cookie, dining well and then retiring for a very well earned rest. It really was an exciting day.


16th April

The mist and the rain are back today. The humans are off to Eden. The hippos and I have decided to have a day off exploring. We are still tired from all the excitements of yesterday. And tomorrow is our last day. We are expecting many food excitements tomorrow. We need to be ready and rested! Right time for a nap before breakfast.

[Sleepy Bear]

18th April

I tell you - you can’t take Bernard anywhere!

We were on our way to Polperro to talk to the smugglers when we completely inadvertently found ourselves close to a medieval castle. We all decided to call in. Pottering about on the steps we were, when Bernard decided he just had to storm the castle. He leapt from the travel basket and stood upon the stair, brandishing his paw. “The castle is mine!” he heroically declared. “Attempt to breach my defences if you dare!!!” Talk about an embarrassment. He has no idea how a RETIRED business hippo ought to be behaving!

Frannie recaptured him and put him back in the travel basket. She was muttering something about how English Heritage might not be best pleased to find that their castle had been commandeered by a small, elderly hippo.

We went to find a beautiful Tudor bridge over the river Fowey in nearby Lostwithiel. Fortunately, Bernard wasn’t minded to storm that. He seemed more interested in the provisions on the picnic table in the park.

Then we got back on track to find the smugglers in Polperro.

The talking map device took us along some very, very, very narrow winding lanes. It was very exciting and a little nervous-making. And when we finally reached Polperro we discovered that we had come into the back entrance. And only authorised traffic was supposed to proceed between certain dates. Except we didn’t see when the dates were. But we thought it highly unlikely that we were in an authorised vehicle. But The Builder said there was no room to turn the car around. And even if we had, we couldn’t have gone very far because there was other, possibly authorised, perhaps not, traffic behind us. He drove very, very, very carefully through the amazingly narrow streets, failed to run any holiday makers over (thank goodness) and drove us out of the town again.

We fled, before any smugglers or excise men could come and impound the car!

And took the Main Roads back to Megavissey where Frannie had promised us lunch in a seafood restaurant overlooking the harbour. It was a very magnificent lunch. And much less fraught trying to get to it.

And then it was back to the cottage for a last talk to the horses and to Cookie and to the puppy, and a last sleep on the fluffy sleeping cushions, before we had to come back home again. Except that we haven’t made it home yet. We’re still in Tupton. We’ve been telling our friends Jack and Janet, and Marlo all about our adventures.




We’ve got some lovely photos. Frannie says she’ll put them on our website and on Bernard and Sleepy Hippo's Facebook page later. But she has to go back to work today so it may not be until tonight. She was muttering yesterday about how she would like to look for a nice little part time job so she can spend more time idling about in her garden. We can certainly see the temptation of the garden. But she needs to get her priorities right. Her top priority is to raise the wherewithal to fund further hippo (and bear) adventures!!!

B SH & SB.

Monday, 20 April 2009

A Cornish Adventure Part 1

12 April

Bernard and Sleepy Bear and I are in Cornwall, staying in a tiny, tiny cottage surrounded by horses. The horses are very friendly. There are also very friendly dogs and the most friendly cat in the whole Universe. He’s huge. And very friendly!

Sleepy Bear has found a snuggle cushion. We’ve hardly been able to get him off it since we got here. But Bernard and I have been being quite adventurous. We went with the human's mother and The Builder yesterday to look for a supermarket. We didn’t find one in St Austell but we did find one in Truro. We also found a cathedral. And we found a huge river of mud. It did eventually fill up with water but the first time we went past it looked as though it would be a great place for two hippos to stop and play. Alas, Frannie and The Builder seemed to think the mud might be a bit deep for two very small hippos and took us to play in Mevagissey instead. We would like to go back to Mevagissey - there were lots of beaches and rocks and things to play with and we only had a couple of hours. There were also lots of pubs which all served Cornish beer and Cornish cider. Frannie said we couldn’t have lots to sample because Holy Saturday is supposed to be a day of restraint. Can’t say we noticed her being restrained. She had lots and lots of fresh scallops AND some rattler cider!

But today is Easter Sunday and Chocolate Day.

The sun is shining. While Frannie is organising our festive breakfast, we might try and wake up Sleepy Bear and take him out to talk to the horses. We might see if we can find that cat again too.

Happy Easter Everyone!


13 April

Well now. Chocolate Day turned out to be very exciting, especially for me!

Sleepy Hippo and I went out to talk to the horses. We found nice, still horses for us to ride. It was so exciting being outside in the warm sunshine on a huge tall (but still) horse that we ran back inside and forced Sleepy Bear to wake up and come out to play too.

Then we came inside to explore our chocolate options.

Then - an Alsatian puppy came in to say hello. He was very charming. Except for when he tried to pick me up in his mouth and Take Me Away!!!! Frannie had to step in sharply to rescue me. Heaven only knows where I might have ended up! The Sleepies dozed through all that excitement.

It was such a beautiful day that we made Sleepy Bear wake up and come with us for the day. The human's mother said that we were going out in search of some lost gardens. And we had to travel along many very narrow, very winding roads to find them. Although, it has to be said that they were quite well sign posted when we got very close to them. I don’t really think they are lost anymore, although it seems that they were very lost indeed for nearly 70 years and were only found again by some sort of accident. We had a lovely time exploring and had scones and elderflower presse for lunch sat enjoying the sunshine. We went for a woodland walk. We found two giants and another giant who was a bit hard to see - but will be wonderful when her foliage grows properly. We admired the sea views.

Then we came back to the cottage for a well deserved rest. Our kitty friend Cookie came for a rest too. Kitty friends are much less boisterous than puppy ones. At least they don’t try to kidnap you!!

Overcast and very windy today. Frannie and The Builder are lazing abed and drinking coffee. They say we are going out and doing History today. We’re ready!!


14 April

It was an extremely wet day yesterday. Sleepy Bear decided to take the day off. At least, that’s what we assumed he had done. When we asked if he was coming out with us, he curled up on his fluffy sleeping pillow and put his paw over his eyes. We took that to be a no!

But Bernard, Frannie, The Builder and I are made of sterner stuff than that. We went out in search of an iron age village. We went up, up, up a hill and found the village at the top. The houses were round and made of very solid stones. You could see that they would have been very cosy. If they had had roofs! The human's mother says that they did have roofs but that the thatch hasn’t survived. She may be right!

We tried to convince her that we were hippos and quite enjoyed wet and windy conditions. But she said that we are fluffy hippos and need to keep dry and made us stay in our new travelling basket. She keeps thwarting us when we find lovely muddy pace to play!

She also wouldn’t let us go to Land’s End, even though neither we nor The Builder have ever been. She says that she’s been and that it is a particularly Not Nice theme park and that once was enough, thank you very much. So we went to a place called Sennen Cove which is just along a bit from Land’s End and had lunch in a pub where we all dried out and had a potter about - and then drove across country and along the windy, picturesque coast road back to the cottage. It was a very pretty drive.

We got back and found Sleepy Bear still sleeping. We woke him up for our magnificent dinner which we had gathered in farm shops and restorative wine which we had got in a Co-op out in the middle of nowhere. And then we all went to bed.

It’s not actually raining today. I think we might be going out again soon. I wonder if Sleepy Bear will come too. I wonder where Cookie is. We haven’t seen him since we went out yesterday morning. At breakfast time yesterday he was knocking at the door to be let in!!


More to come

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

A springtime jaunt to Cambridge

Spring has sprung!

It must have. Not only has Sleepy Hippo woken up after a long winter’s doze – but so has Sleepy Bear who has been hibernating, with one or two notable periods of wakefulness, since about October. Or, maybe November!

And – not only that, but we have found an amanuensis who also seems to be awake. At least, she has put our photos up for us. It is true that our Human stirred long enough to put our snowy photos up back in February (you can see our snow adventures here), but all our scribes, secretaries and junior office staff seem to have passed the winter dozing. Some surrounded by lots of empty bottles. Some snuggled into feather beds and quilt pillows. Some hazily munching on vegemite toast.

Frannie, however, seems to be awake and reasonably efficient. I think it’s because she’s been down in the greenhouse, where it’s been nice and warm, comparatively speaking. Seems to have kept her brain cell alert.

Anyway. Sleepy Hippo and I had a grand time in Las Vegas back in the dark days of winter. A very lovely lady, Yvonne and a very lovely gentleman, Nico, decided the most lovely way to spend New Years Eve is to spend it in Las Vegas. We agreed. So we went with them! We may even put up a belated post about the trip when we're completely back on form - but if you can't wait for that here are some photos!

Even Sleepy Bear managed to wake up to play in the snow storms of February. We all more or less dozed through the dreariness of March. And now the sun has returned, the days have lengthened, the jumpers have gone away and it’s time to get out and play.

So we did. We shoved our Human protesting and grumbling out of her bed on Sunday morning so we could go down to Cambridge, driven by The Builder and navigated by Frannie ably helped by Jenny-the-SatNav, to visit our friend Frank and his new housemate Cookie Monster. It was a beautiful day, just right for a nice drive around in the country. We went on a beautiful drive up across the hills and down through the valleys. Even Sleepy Bear managed to wake up once or twice to admire the view.

We got to Frank’s place and introduced ourselves to Cookie Monster, and to the new fish who have moved in to what was the Venerable Dicken’s tank. The humans caught Bricknell and Hennie and put them back in their run. Then The Sleepies and Cookie retired for a Sunday doze on the sofa in the sunshine. Frank and I escorted the humans down through Cambridge, along past the Backs of the Colleges and down to the river to the Anchor where we all stopped for a delicious lunch. There was a post-lunch pause for ice cream, then we all wandered hither and thither along the rivers and canals and pathways, enjoying the sunshine, oggling, I mean admiring the birds, laughing at the punters (that’s people on punts, not gamblers, though we would have laughed a them too!) and generally taking some much needed spring exercise.

Finding ourselves back in town, in a shopping mall which the Credit Crunch, which has been so-exercising the venous minds of the humans, has apparently failed to find, we called in to a purveyor of gentleman’s clothing. The Sleepies appear to have become slightly vague of sight over the winter, so we acquired corrective spectacles for them. And a truly magnificent hat for me to wear when we escort Frannie and The Builder down to Cornwall next week. It will meet the duel need of protecting me from excessive exposure to the sun *and* from excessive rain. We moved on. The Human and The Human's Sister gambolled in the Disney Store. Frannie, The Builder and Gareth disported themselves with seemly dignity in the Sunday Market. Then we returned to Frank’s house, where his humans were expecting the arrival of a friend who has come to pass his holidays with them. The Human collected the Sleepies from their Sunny Sofa and, with the assistance of The Builder, we returned her to Sheffield. Sleepy Hippo, Sleepy Bear and I are staying at Frannie and The Builder’s house this week so we can visit with Jack and Janet – not to mention Marlo - and be ready to leave fairly early on Friday morning for our trip to Cornwall.

And while we are away, the human will be having a holiday too. She’s coming to stay with Marlo. A magnificent holiday, if you ask me, snuggling with Marlo.

More later in the week. But here are The Sleepies and me with Jack and Janet, once again on a sofa in the sunshine!


P.S. Happy Easter.