Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Here be sandwiches

Being a retired *business* hippo, Bernard is accustomed to attending business meetings and various conferences, although Sleepy Hippo is less experienced in these matters, and Frank the Lion not at all.

However, none of us has ever been to a conference about maps. And nor have we been to Edinburgh. So when Frannie, our Human's mother, said that she was attending such a conference in Edinburgh and asked if we wanted to go - we accepted with alacrity.

We went up on the train. There were sandwiches. And a laptop to keep us amused.

Edinburgh is *lovely*, although Frannie nearly expired from pounding up a long, steep and uneven flight of stairs getting from the station up to the road to the University. She certainly couldn't speak when she got to the top!

And we stayed in a lovely hotel in the University grounds. And had a delightful supper. And chocolate mousse.

And we took some time to learn a bit about maps, so we could better enjoy the conference.

We had a magnificent breakfast in the hotel before setting off on the short stroll to the conference centre. When we got there, there were cups of tea and biscuits. We like tea. And biscuits. And later there were plates and plates and plates of sandwiches. And more tea. We like tea and sandwiches. And later after that there were slices of carrot and walnut cake. And tea. Tea and cake ... nyom!

Oh - and there were interesting people saying interesting things about maps, of course.

Then we came back on the train (more sandwiches, more tea!) and are now back at our country residence where there are tea, sandwiches and leek and cheese tart.

Maybe next time, we should have a bit of a look at Edinburgh as well! We didn't see much other than the University and the outside of the castle.

Saturday, 9 January 2010


It's been snowing and snowing and snowing and snowing and SNOWING since we got back from our holiday. In some places in our garden at our Tupton Country Retreat, the snow is almost as deep as us, especially down in the orchard, and it's much deeper than our friend Frank Lion (who is still with us).

Today we went out to play in it:

A snow slide! (Actually, it's poor Oscar, The Builder's car)

Picnic, anyone?

Not that you could easily light the barbecue :-S

Trying to build a snow hippo. It's hard, building snow hippos

So we settled for a snow hippo's head

Back inside, warming up and waiting for our après-snow-fun hot chocolate

Monday, 4 January 2010

New Year's Day Plus One

We’ve been busy exploring today. We went through icy, frosty roads to Stockbridge this morning for a look around. There seem to be lots of rivers,streams and mill leats in Stockbridge. And a very large number of gift and craft shops. Frannie bought a bowl. She seemed very excited to find it!

Then we went back for Grandmother Gwen and went for a lovely, long drive in the New Forest. There were toasted teacakes! And ponies. And lots of cows walking about in the middle of the road and holding all the traffic up.

And this evening we went to Winchester to play with Evie and Rebecca, Evie’s bunny friend and their cousin Sophie.

Now we are back at the Hobbit House for our last evening before returning to our Country Retreat in Tupton tomorrow. Must make sure we get a good sleep. Tupton is quite a long way away.

(And now we are back in Tupton. Once we got to Derbyshire, there was SNOW!)

You will find our photos of our adventure here

Saturday, 2 January 2010

New Year's Day

Happy New Year everyone. We hope 2010 brings you lots of lovely things, many exciting adventures and lashings of yummy things to eat.

New Year’s Day is certainly a Hippo and Lion festival, and we celebrated it in style. First we collected Grandmother Gwen and went with her and Frannie ‘n’ The Builder to the Swan @ Stoford, where we had a magnificent pea and mint soup. The humans all had shepherds pie. Hippos, of course are more or less vegetarian. We do eat the occasional fishy thing, but definitely not shepherds. And even if we did, I doubt we could manage a whole one each. And neither could Frannie or Grandmother Gwen, although The Builder managed to scoff all of his shepherd. Frank, of course, is a lion and does eat shepherds when he can get his paw on one. However, he is only a very tiny lion, so gnawed on some of Frannie’s left over shepherd.

Then we took Grandmother Gwen back home and went for a drive in the New Forest. We found a hippo skating rink (although not for Frank - doesn’t matter much if hippos crash through the ice and into the water!!) and a seesaw, and even a climbing frame. We saw lots of small horses. It was all very exciting.

And then we came back across some pretty countryside and back to the flat, where we spent a lovely evening watching children’s films. We’re having such a lovely time.

It’s dark and cold outside now. This means, of course, that we should all be in bed, tucked up cosily and asleep. Can anyone explain to us, then, why Frannie and The Builder are sat in their bed each messing about on their laptops? Especially since there is no internet to amuse them!

Friday, 1 January 2010

New Year's Eve

And we did go to the seaside. We went to Lyme Regis to have lunch with Frannie’s friend, the lovely Farishta. It was very exciting to meet Farishta. We had lunch and walk on the windswept beach. We avoided being stolen by small children or kidnapped by young dogs. We had all the cobwebs blown out of our heads, all the while kept snuggly and warm in Frannie’s carry bag where she had her hat and gloves as snuggly cushions for us. It was an excellent day.

In the evening, Frannie and The Builder went out again to a family party to celebrate the New Year. This isn’t really a hippo or a lion festival, so we stayed at the flat, wrapped up against the wintery chill in Tabitha’s scarf, while snuggling down on the very soft and warm bed. Frannie and The Builder seem to have had a good time at their party, but we enjoyed our night in, telling each other stories and fables and certainly not drinking all the humans’ wine.

The sun is shining this morning. And we are off to visit Grandmother Gwen.