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!

 

Paddy and Plunkett in Torquay's Greenery - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Beasties, Beasties… Everywhere!

Hey there everybody! We’re baaaaaaack! And what a couple of weeks it’s been… Beasties have been popping up just about everywhere! So this post is about picking up where we left off, and telling you what you lucky folks can expect to see on the BeastieBlog over the next while!

First up, Paddy and Plunkett are still living it up in the English Riviera. Before I headed off on my break, they were exploring the steep stone-lined streets of Clovelly
Paddy Admires Clovelly Harbour Below - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… But they haven’t stayed put in the meantime! The adventurous twosome have also been spotted gambolling in the beautiful flowerbeds in Torquay – clearly their tour of the Eden Project has given them an appetite for horticulture!
Paddy and Plunkett in Torquay's Greenery - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPlunkett also had high hopes of cooling off in a nearby Beastie-sized swimming pool – but for some reason this sign put him off.
Not a good day for a swim - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesErk. Probably for the best, Plunkett!

The boys also visited the laid-back, alternative town of Totnes, where Plunkett took some snaps of the unusual buildings and picturesque streets…
Views of Totnes, by Plunkett - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… And Paddy visited a gender-neutral toilet. Um… Thanks, Paddy! I suppose these are still a rare enough sight back home – or maybe it was just the nice bright sign that caught his eye.
Paddy's Totnes Photo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesMeanwhile, I might have mentioned once or twice that Explorer Beastie and I have been on holiday recently!
Beastie Holidays! Explorer Beastie in Germany - CrawCrafts BeastiesWe can’t wait to share our travel pics with you… I’m still amazed how much we managed to cram into our trip!

And if you can’t wait until next week to start the tour, you’ll get a quick fix of some of the highlights from our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds!

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Then, if that lot has still left you hungry for more monster-based entertainment… There are new Beasties for you to meet! May was a veeeery busy month, and there are recent additions to the family who are keen to have their moment in the spotlight!

So, join us on Friday to meet a new monster friend! Plus we’ll also be checking what the rest of the Beastie community has been up to in our absence. See you then!

Paddy and Plunkett at Clovelly Harbour - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy and Plunkett in Lovely Clovelly!

Phew! It’s been a busy old day… Hence the slightly later than usual posting time! Fortunately, the subject matter for today’s post is a lazy stroll around one of the prettiest and most unusual places that Paddy and Plunkett have visited in a long time. Welcome to Clovelly, a village in northern Devon which has been privately owned since the 13th century! It’s built on a veeeeeery steep slope, and the houses almost appear to tumble down the hill into the harbour…
The Houses at Clovelly - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesClovelly is well-known for its beautiful cobbled streets, which are apparently made from stones gathered at the beach below. Paddy wanted to take a photo of himself with the sea waaaaay down at the bottom of the main street…
Paddy Admires Clovelly Harbour Below - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… But then Plunkett commandeered the camera for a snap of the cobbles themselves.
Clovelly Cobbles - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Beautiful! Look at those nice smooth edges!”

Fortunately, Paddy was able to regain control of the picture-taking by telling Plunkett that there were even better cobbles further down the hill. Normal service resumes!
Plunkett admiring the Clovelly Cobbles - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesYou might have noticed already that these streets, as well as being very steep, are also reeeeeally narrow. And that makes Clovelly officially a car-free zone! In fact, using any form of wheeled transport is pretty much impossible – although I wonder how many runaway carts ended up in the harbour before they figured that one out?

Anyway, back in the day, donkeys did all the -ahem- donkey work of ferrying people and their chattels up and down the hill. But that’s a hard day’s work for anyone, and these days you’re more likely to see the donkeys taking it easy in the sanctuary at the top of the hill. So if you want to move anything, you’ll be using one of these!
Paddy Hitches a Ride to the Harbour - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThese sledges are what locals use to bring home their shopping. After parking their cars up at the top of the hill, they load up the sledge and bring their deliveries to their front door on foot. At least it’s downhill all the way!

And as you can see, Paddy has found the perfect way to turn this system to his own advantage.
“Hop in, Plunkett! Let’s get a lift to the harbour!”

Their journey took them past some of the achingly pretty shops and houses on the main street…
Clovelly Shops and Houses - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… And soon they could look right into the harbour from above!
Clovelly Harbour from Above - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesIt’s lucky the tide’s out, or Paddy probably would have tried to dive in! The lads decided to opt for a sedate walk down to sea level instead.
Paddy and Plunkett at Clovelly Harbour - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Ooooh! It’s beautiful!”

And the view behind them wasn’t bad either!
Clovelly From the Harbour - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe only thing they have to worry about now is how to get back up that hill!

We’ll be rejoining Paddy and Plunkett in a couple of weeks… Because now it’s MY turn to go on holiday! I’ll be taking a break from blogging while I’m gone, but I’ll be posting on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as I travel.

See you again on the 19th for fresh Beastie fun!

 

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!

Paddy on the Train - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy and Plunkett – A RAIL Good Time!

Paddy and Plunkett, Wandering Beasties - CrawCrafts BeastiesWell, these two certainly don’t hang around in one place for very long! After exhausting the entertainment possibilities of their own attic a couple of weeks ago, Paddy and Plunkett decided that the time was right to hit the road again.

Next thing I knew, they were sending me pictures from Devon, in south-west England! And it looks like Plunkett was in charge of organising their first day out, because they began their explorations at the historic Babbacombe Cliff Railway, just outside Torquay! Plunkett has a bit of a thing for trains.
Paddy Photobomb 1 - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesUnfortunately, Paddy has a bit of a thing for jumping in front of the camera.
“Paddy! Sit down!”
Paddy Photobomb 2 - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“But look! There’s another carriage coming up on the other side!”
*Sigh*

Plunkett finally got his first Paddy-free shot when their Beastie-sized funicular train reached its destination – right to the seashore at beautiful Oddicombe Beach. As Paddy dashed off to skim stones over the water, Plunkett looked back up the tracks…
The Tracks at Babbacombe Cliff Railway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… Then took a few steps back to watch as a fresh carriageful of visitors were delivered right to the water’s edge.
The Babbacombe Cliff Railway in Action - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe car really does look very strange when you view it from the side!

The idea for the Babbacombe Cliff Railway dates back to the 1890s – those Victorians loved a good seaside gadget – but it wasn’t completed until 1926. The 720-foot-long track saves people a very irksome uphill walk at the end of their day at the beach, so it’s little wonder it soon became a popular attraction – records for 1935 say that 192,000 people made the trip that year!

But more recently, the railway fell on hard times. Following a significant breakdown in 2003, it closed for 6 weeks… and although services did still run occasionally after that, it was in need of hugely expensive repairs that the local council simply couldn’t afford. Luckily, some enthusiastic locals set up the Friends of the Babbacombe Cliff Railway group, and made it their mission to promote the railway and raise money for the repairs. Thanks to their hard work and the sale of St Marychurch’s Town Hall in 2005, the funds were finally there – so the railway got its much-needed overhaul. Everything got an upgrade – cars, cables, rails and control systems! By the end of winter 2006-7, the repairs were finished and the Babbacombe Cliff Railway was back on track!

So, with some nice clear photographs and a brainful of information from the visitor centre, Plunkett rejoined Paddy for a walk along the shoreline. This beach is on Devon’s Jurassic Coast, so the steep cliffs are made from stunning rich red sandstone – you can see them a bit in the photo above. The main attraction for the boys was this waterfall… Complete with Beastie-sized viewing platform!
Paddy, Plunkett and the Waterfall - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut they couldn’t dawdle here all day… Quick, you’re about to miss the last train home! And walking up that hill will be no fun on little short legs!
Plunkett Admires the Babbacombe Cliff Railway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesFortunately, they juuuuust made it in time. And after catching his breath on the journey back up, Plunkett felt brave enough to clamber up on a railing to get one last look at the train!

Are there any weird and wonderful attractions near you? Be sure to tell us all about them in the comments – perhaps Paddy and Plunkett will come to check them out on a future visit!

Oh, and also… Welcome to May! The latest Beastie calendar page is up in the shop and ready to download, if you haven’t already! You can find it here.

We’ll be back on Friday with more Beastie fun and games – see you then!

Paddy in the Dugout Canoe - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Beasties in the Bronze Age

The boys are stepping back in time again this week – and a little further than usual, too! Today finds them exploring Flag Fen in Cambridgeshire, which had its heyday 3,300 years ago!

What was this place, a harbour?
Plunkett at Flag Fen - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesWell, not exactly. A fen is an area of marshy ground, and they’re pretty prone to flooding. While many of the fens in this super-flat part of eastern England were drained to create extra farmland in the 17th century, in the Bronze Age these places would have been tricky enough to navigate. Too wet to walk, too shallow for a boat… GAAAAAAAH! What to do?

Answer – you build a raised walkway over it, and strut across in style without getting your paws wet! And that’s what these timbers are – the remains of a trackway that led to a huge platform out in the fen. It’s kept nice and damp to help to preserve the ancient wood…
The Timber Remains at Flag Fen - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… And what Plunkett is looking at in the first photo is only a fraction of what is actually there. The whole causeway is more than a kilometre long, and the platform is the size of Wembley Stadium!

Building something on this scale, in this location, at that time would have been a huge undertaking – so why is it here? Unfortunately, our Bronze Age friends weren’t much for writing things down, so we can really only speculate (wildly, in Paddy’s case) about what this place was used for. However, the archaeologists who excavated the site back in the 1980s found way more of this kind of thing than they expected…
Finds! H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThese bronze finds – mostly weapons – intriguingly show signs of having been deliberately damaged, and their positioning in the silty ground suggests that they were intentionally dropped there, rather than carelessly chucked away because they were broken. This implies that the causeway was a place of ritual significance, as well as (possibly) being a handy way of getting across Flag Fen!

There’s plenty of opportunity for you to get in touch with your Bronze Age roots around here too… Plunkett took a stroll into this reconstructed roundhouse, built on the site where a real one was excavated!
Plunkett at the Roundhouse - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesMeanwhile, Paddy was trying on some wooden beakers for size… Because, well, that’s what Paddy does.
Paddy tries out the Tableware - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe lads also rested their weary paws on this rather spectacular chair – we think it might be made of bog oak, preserved timber that has been coloured and hardened by years of sitting in the acidic water of the marshes!
Paddy, Plunkett and the Bog Oak Chair - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesUnfortunately, Paddy had less success with this replica dugout canoe…
Paddy in the Dugout Canoe - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Row faster, Plunkett! It feels like we’re not moving at all!

This is a copy of one of the boats that was unearthed at Must Farm, just down the road. The real ones are still undergoing preservation work and some of them are really enormous!

Now, what’s been missing from this trip so far? That’s right – SHEEP! This visitor centre is home to a herd of lively Soay sheep, the closest living thing to the kind of sheep that you would have seen trotting around here in the Bronze Age.
Soay Sheep! H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesWhile Paddy attempted to make friends with some of those lambs, Plunkett took a moment to enjoy a last look out over the site.
Plunkett takes a last look at Flag Fen - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesIt’s really been quite a trip!

Paddy and Plunkett will have their paws back on comparatively dry land when they rejoin us in a couple of weeks. And next Tuesday, I hope to have some exciting new BeastieBlog developments to share with you all! See you then!

Paddy and Plunkett, Bewitched by Norwich!

Another day, another city!

Paddy and Plunkett have really been making the most of their tour of East Anglia, and today’s post finds them in another place famed for its cathedral – Norwich! Here’s the cathedral coming into view now… And as you can probably guess, Plunkett is champing at the bit to get inside for a look!
Norwich Cathedral - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAccording to Plunkett’s research, this cathedral is more than 900 years old (construction started in 1096) and boasts the second tallest spire in England – a fitting landmark for a city that, in the 11th century, was second only to London in size and importance. Shall we wander over for a closer look?
St Ethelbert's Gate - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesTalk about making an entrance! This is one of two gates into the cathedral grounds. It’s called St Ethelbert’s Gate, and it actually used to contain a chapel to its namesake in its second storey. And although it looks like the real deal, this isn’t the original gate! It’s a 14th century rebuild, after the first one was destroyed in the riot of 1272.

Inside the cathedral, the boys were impressed by the beautiful long cloisters – perfect for a Beastie-sized afternoon stroll!
Cathedral Cloisters at Norwich - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesHowever, like many visitors, they weren’t able to agree on the new stained glass windows. They were designed by English abstract artist John McLean, and were installed on the north aisle in 2014. Apparently they’ve been causing controversy ever since!
Norwich cathedral new stained glass - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPaddy loves the rich colours, and the way the bright light bounces around this corridor, which he thought would be pretty dark and boring otherwise. On the other hand, Plunkett really would have preferred to see something more traditional, and in keeping with the rest of the building. Whose side are you on?

Had the lads visited Norwich in the early 1400s, they would have been able to settle their dispute once and for all. A short walk away from the cathedral is St Julian’s Church, which was home to the anchoress Julian of Norwich.
St. Julian's Church, Norwich - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAlthough there’s little concrete information about her life, Julian of Norwich is still considered an important mystic and theologian. Her account of her religious visions, “Revelations of Divine Love” is thought to be the first book written in English by a female author! She lived out her days in a small cell in a church on this site, and her only contact with the outside world was through two small windows – one into the church, and the other looking onto St Julian’s Alley outside. Members of the public could pass by and ask Mother Julian for advice, and I think it’s fair to presume that she was called upon to settle a few disagreements in her time!
Mother Julian's Cell - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe real┬áSt Julian’s Church didn’t survive the Reformation during the reign of Henry VIII, but the building that stands today, as well as giving an impression of what the original would have looked like, tells a story of its own. The stones used to build it were reclaimed from another church, which was destroyed during the Second World War. Plunkett certainly seems to be enjoying the peace and quiet of this contemplative place!

Of course, it wasn’t long before Paddy felt the need for something a little more lively… A spot of shopping, perhaps?
Shopping in Norwich - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesFortunately, this beautiful Art Nouveau arcade has enough architectural interest to keep Plunkett entertained too!

Oh, and then he spotted THESE…
Traditional Flint Walls - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Not just any old stone wall, my friends! A stone wall made with the hard-wearing local flint! Beautiful! Incredible!

Uh-oh! I think we’ve lost him for the day! This all seems too familiar to poor Paddy, who remembers what happened on last year’s trip to Arundel Castle.

“I’ll leave you to it there, Plunkett! I’m going to go and hang out with these guys instead!”
Paddy with decorative flint walling. Town Hall, Norwich - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesI reckon there’s room in all that fancy stonework for a Beastie-shaped addition – what do you think?

More from the boys in a couple of weeks… I wonder where they’ll end up next?

An App-ELY-ing Day Out!

Paddy and Plunkett really did make the most of their recent trip across the water to England! They might have started out enjoying the lively university city of Cambridge, but they saw no reason to stop there.

Time to take a trip down the road to Ely, a city which started life as an abbey on an island in the fens (marshlands) of East Anglia. The city’s history has been full of ups and downs, mostly starring that abbey – it was founded in 673, destroyed by Vikings in 870, rebuilt again a hundred years later, and then in 1083 a Norman abbot decided that the site would be just perfect for a new cathedral. Work began in the early 1090s, and the result was a building that still stands today.
Beasties at Ely Cathedral - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesWell, mostly… The Norman-era central tower actually collapsed in 1322. However, Ely Cathedral wasn’t going to let that cramp its style – the tower was rebuilt and then some! What stands there now is the famous Octagon, which you can see in the centre background of this photo.
Ely Cathedral from the Front - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAs I’m sure you can imagine, Plunkett couldn’t wait to get inside this place for a closer look! Unfortunately, he really should have checked his diary first…
Palm Sunday at Ely - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… Because it turns out that the lads had rocked up on Palm Sunday! They decided to let the annual procession (complete with full choir and real live donkey!) pass them by, and headed off in search of morning coffee on the banks of the River Ouse instead.
Paddy Enjoys Coffee in the Sunshine - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPaddy certainly wasn’t going to say no to another hour of lounging around in the sunshine!

Suitably caffeinated, the boys made their way back to the Cathedral… and this time they managed to get inside! Plunkett was immediately transfixed by the ornate interior…
Plunkett Inside Ely Cathedral - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties…While Paddy enjoyed the colourful stained glass and mosaic floors!
Stained Glass and Mosaics - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd then, there were the beautiful high arches of the Octagon!
Inside the Octagon - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Paddy, did you know that the roof and lantern in the centre of this tower are held up by timber structures that couldn’t be built now, because there aren’t big enough trees any more?”

“I didn’t. But Plunkett, did YOU know that you can climb up to the very top of this place and look out over the city?”

“Errrrrrm…”

“Ah, go on!”

One third of the way there, and the ground is already starting to look very, very far away…
Going Up, at Ely Cathedral - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut the view from the top of the West Tower was totally worth the dizzying heights and sore paws!
View from the top of the West Tower - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesWell, it was for at least one of our monster friends!
Paddy's View From the Tower - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesOh dear, poor Plunkett! Will the boys make it safely back to ground level, or will Paddy sign them both up for a tandem bungee jump off the top of the tower? All will be revealed in a couple of weeks!

In the meantime, don’t forget to join us again next Tuesday, when I hope to be sharing a tutorial and pattern for my little felt bees! See you then!
A Little Felt Bee - CrawCrafts Beasties