Heligan Security - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy, Plunkett and the Lost Garden

Wow, it’s been a loooooong time since we last saw Paddy and Plunkett, hasn’t it? So perhaps it’s appropriate that we catch up with them just as they’re about to venture into another place that the world forgot about for a while – the Lost Gardens of Heligan!
Paddy and Plunkett at the Gates of Heligan - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

First, they took a peek through this hole in the fence, and decided that it would be an excellent place for a day’s exploring. Unfortunately, that window is just a liiiiiiiittle too small for them to climb through. Could it be that they’ll actually have to -GASP- pay an entrance fee for once?

Apparently not.
Stowaways at the Lsot Gardens of Heligan! H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesIf you’re Beastie-sized, stowing away on a passing wheelbarrow is always an option. And once they were inside, they were quickly able to win over the staff with their Irish charm.
Paddy and Plunkett Meet the Staff - Lost Gardens of Heligan - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Great! Let’s celebrate with a snack. Pineapple, anyone?
Pineapple Pit at Heligan - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesYou can’t see Paddy in these photos, because he’d already hopped over the wall and started munching. However, Plunkett wasn’t so sure…
“Paddy, it says on the sign that the heat these pineapples need to grow comes from filling the pit trenches with a steady supply of fresh horse manure.”
“Yes, Plunkett, but it also says that the pineapples are delicious… And one of the first ones harvested after this pit was unearthed and rebuilt in the 1990s was sent to the Queen as a 50th wedding anniversary gift! So if they’re good enough for her, they’re good enough for me. YUM!”

And what better way to celebrate the restoration of the only surviving pineapple pit in Britain? Apparently, these were quite the thing back in the 19th century, with gardeners in the “big houses” competing to see who could grow the tastiest pineapples! Unfortunately, the skills involved in maintaining one were pretty much lost – with the decline of apprenticeships, the knowledge was no longer being passed along, and no-one thought to write it down. It was only through trial and error that the staff at Heligan were able to make this project bear fruit… And the Beasties were more than happy to show a little appreciation for their efforts.

Suitably stuffed, the boys wandered a little further, and found themselves in the jungle! Luckily, they’re old hands at jungle exploration, having recently spent time at the Eden Project. And after eating all that pineapple, it’s incredible that this rope bridge was able to take the strain of them walking across it!
Heligan Rope Bridge - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesOn the other side, the boys worked off a little bit of their recent extravagance by clambering around on the firewood pile…
Woodpile Climbing at Heligan - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… But a terrifying sight awaited them on the other side!
Paddy and Plunkett, Firestarters - H Crawford/Crawcrafts Beasties“Oh no! What happened here?”

But Plunkett was soon able to put two and two together, when he spotted this…
Paddy and Plunkett at the Charcoal Kiln - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Aaaaaah, this must be where they make the charcoal!”
“What do they need charcoal for?”
“For the barbecue, Paddy! They raise beef right here on the estate, and have big summer barbecues for visitors!”

Paddy went quiet.

“If I had known there was going to be a barbecue, Plunkett, I wouldn’t have filled up on pineapple!”

Oh dear. Perhaps a quick stroll around more of the gardens will help Paddy to work up an appetite for a second helping of Heligan’s tasty treats? We’ll have more from the boys on Tuesday… But in the meantime, do feel free to make Paddy jealous by sharing your weekend dining plans with us in the comments!

Have a good one, everybody!

 

Plunkett, Eden Project Vegetable Garden - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

The View From Outside Eden

Can you believe it? Paddy and Plunkett are still exploring the Eden Project! I always thought that the main draw of this awesome place was the exotic plant communities that live inside the biomes, but WOW was I wrong! It turns out that there’s a lot to see outside those bubble-like domes too. And, to Plunkett’s relief, there don’t appear to be any jaguars lurking in the undergrowth this time around. Let’s take a closer look!

First stop – the vegetable garden. This is definitely Plunkett’s cup of tea!
Plunkett Enjoys the Eden Vegetable Garden - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd after “borrowing” a light lunch of green salad – much better than the picnic Paddy had planned – he also enjoyed the beautifully laid out wildflower beds.
Wild Flower Beds at the Eden Project - H Crawfor/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd although Paddy thought he’d found a quicker way to get around the outdoor gardens…
Paddy's Equine Friend - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… This incredible life-sized driftwood horse sculpture by local artist Heather Jansch proved no match for a set of wheels. Paddy even let Plunkett drive!
Plunkett Takes the Wheel - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd they discovered all kinds of treasures on their way! First up, a willow dome with honeysuckle growing around the branches…
Willow Dome in the Eden Project Grounds - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesI bet this place smells AMAZING on summer evenings! They also met an elegant reclining lady in the forest.
Clay Sculpture at the Eden Project - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPaddy was particularly impressed with her hairdo, but she remained close-lipped about who her stylist is. He didn’t mind though, because he caught sight of this around the next corner.
Industrial Plant Sculpture, Eden Project - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Plunkett! What is THAT?”
Paddy, Plunkett and the Industrial Flame Plant - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Ha! It’s an industrial plant!”

An Industrial Flame Plant, to be exact. This striking sculpture is surrounded by thickets of plants that can be grown and burned as biomass, a means of energy production that is renewable, carbon-neutral and provides a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

And look at Plunkett, standing right next to a “danger” sign! Could it be that he’s feeling a shade more daring than usual?

Well, maybe… But he still let Paddy forge a path through the heather forest that they visited next!
Paddy and Plunkett in the Heather Bank - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe sun-warmed heather perfumed the air, and the boys were surrounded by drifts of pink, purple and white flowers… Which were buzzing with hundreds of busy bees.
The Heather Bank at the Eden Project - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd further along, they discovered just how important this bee restaurant could be!
Helping the Bees - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut then, the honeybee hum suddenly seemed to get a bit louder.
“Paddy, do you hear that?”
A Giant Bee at the Eden Project! H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesGlancing over his shoulder, Paddy realised that Plunkett probably wouldn’t take particularly well to the giant bee that had just landed behind them.

“Ah, it’s nothing. Let’s go and see what other adventures the English Riviera has in store for us!”

Join the lads again in a couple of weeks, when they’ll be stopping off in some of the peaceful towns that make this part of the world such a lovely place to visit! Meanwhile, we’ll be back on Friday with the latest news from Beastie Towers!

See you then!

(B)East of Eden 2 – Another Level!

Hello there Beastiebuddies! We’re heading back to Cornwall this week, to rejoin Paddy and Plunkett as they make their way to the very top of the 50m tall Rainforest Biome at the Eden Project… No mean feat when you’re only 6 inches tall! Since I’ve wanted to visit Eden for a reeeealllly long time, the boys were good enough to go along with the camera and show me what it’s like. Cheers lads! Here are some of the highlights of last week’s adventure, or click to catch up on the full post.
Eden Project Highlights - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesI only hope they’re still talking to me after that long uphill trek! Let’s see how they’re getting on.

Ah, there’s Paddy now. He seems to be making good progress!
Paddy Tackles the Rainforest Biome - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“You can see loooooads from up here! We found another waterfall, like the one at Babbacombe…”
A Waterfall in Eden - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“…But the people down below just keep on getting smaller!”
View from the Top - Rainforest Biome, Eden Project - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesFrom up here, you can really see how the Cornwall landscape has been incorporated into this captive jungle – amazing! And soon…
“Taaaa-daaaaah! We made it! Hey Plunkett, take my picture!”Paddy at the Top of the Dome - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe thing about being above the rainforest canopy, but underneath the protective dome that shelters it from the British weather, is that it gets very, VERY hot. Too hot for Aran sweaters, as it turns out. So after a nanosecond of consideration, Paddy removed his and used it as a parachute to skip out on the walk back to ground level.
“See you later, Plunkett! Wheeeeee!”

Do I really need to mention that parachuting isn’t Plunkett’s cup of tea? Probably not. So, he took his time wandering back downhill… And he was glad he did. Look who he bumped into on the way!
Plunkett's Feathered Friends - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThese are roul-roul or crested partridges, and they’re not just here for show. By eating their fill of bugs and grubs, they’re providing a valuable natural pest control service to Eden’s leafy inhabitants!

And Plunkett couldn’t help but chuckle when he saw this…
Plunkett at the Jaguar Crossing - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Hahaha! Jaguars crossing! Paddy will love this.”
And he didn’t have to wait long to tell him about it. Paddy was just around the next corner!
“Paddy, did you see the jaguar crossing sign back there? Hilarious! As if there’d be jaguars in here!”

But Plunkett was in for a surprise.

“Sure there are, Plunkett! There’s one right there!”
Paddy, Plunkett and the Jaguar - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“What? Whe… GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!”
Run, Plunkett! H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesOh dear. Poor Plunkett! Hopefully it won’t take him too long to calm down again, and he’ll join us next week for a sedate wander around the outdoor areas of the Eden Project. I’m pretty sure they’re jaguar-free!

As for me, I’ll be back on Friday with more monster fun and games. In the meantime, have you ever met any unusual local wildlife on your travels? Share your tales of terror in the comments, and maybe Plunkett will feel better!

Paddy's Vineyard Party, Eden Project - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

(B)East of Eden!

So, last week we learned that Paddy and Plunkett had taken a trip (another one!) to the south-west of England. And since they were in the neighbourhood, I got in touch to ask them a special favour… I’ve wanted to see the Eden Project for YEEEEEAAARS, so would they please go, and take lots of pictures?

Done and done!

“Here we are! Greetings from Eden!”
Beasties at the Eden Project - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Woooooaaaah! Look at this place, Plunkett!”
Paddy and Plunkett at the Eden Project - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Yes, it’s incredible! I wonder what that is over there? Looks… Spiky.”
“Must be the Cactus House, I suppose!”

Paddy should probably have looked at the guidebook. It’s actually the “Core” zone, an exhibition and learning centre. It was closed that day while they updated the exhibition… But I suppose that just means that the boys have an excuse to go back another day! Besides, it seems like there was plenty to see elsewhere… First stop, the Mediterranean Biome!
Inside the Mediterranean Biome - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesStunning… Look at all that green! It would be easy to lose a pair of mossy-coloured Beasties in the middle of all that. Fortunately, Paddy is never one for blending into the background. And surprise surprise, he’s “accidentally” stumbled on the vineyard… Where there seems to be a bit of a party going on!
Paddy's Party - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Hey, Plunkett, come and join the party! Wow, I bet Tammie and Finn would love this – it’s just like one of Tammie’s books!”
Paddy's Vineyard Party, Eden Project - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe Mediterranean Biome isn’t just home to European flora, either. There are plants in here that hail from temperate zones all over the world, including North America, South Africa and Western Australia. Paddy was excited to find this visitor from Down Under – a grass tree, potentially stuffed full of nutritious witchetty grubs!
Paddy Forages for Lunch - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Plunkett! I’ve fixed lunch for us!”

Wait a sec, where’s Plunkett? Has he literally run a mile from Paddy’s idea of a nice picnic?

Nope – turns out he’s just moved on to the jungly climes of the Rainforest Biome! Billed as the world’s largest captive rainforest, this 50m tall bubble holds exotic plants and trees from South America, West Africa, Southeast Asia and the tropical islands. I think this is much more his scene, don’t you?
Inside the Rainforest Biome at the Eden Project - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe Eden Project is built in a former clay pit, one which was conveniently nearing the end of its clay-producing life when creator Tim Smit was on the lookout for the perfect home for his next big venture. The pit actually dictated the shape of the biomes – they became “bubbles” so that their edges could hug the irregular surface left behind by years of clay extraction! And the claypit walls are still very much part of the Eden experience. A spiral path meanders around them, gradually bringing you up to the very top of the dome!

Ready? Let’s start climbing!

Of course, Paddy was the first to take a peek over the edge.
Paddy Peering Down into the Rainforest - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Wow! Those humans look Beastie-sized from up here!”
Beasties or People? Rainforest Biome, Eden Project - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut they’re not at the top yet! They have plenty more bridges to cross…
Rope Bridge, Eden Project - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… And so much more to see! But you’ll have to wait until next week to find out what surprises were lurking in the forest!

Meanwhile, we’ll be back on Friday with a more down-to-earth monster adventure. See you then!