Victorian Explorer Beastie With Hippo - CrawCrafts Beasties

Beastie SOS!

Victorian Explorer Beastie Close-Up

Have you seen this Beastie?

Victorian Explorer Beastie has been a pretty regular contributor to the BeastieBlog over the years. You might remember the trip we took to Bray, Co Wicklow last Spring…
View from the top of Bray Head - CrawCrafts Beasties
… Or have fond memories of our visit to the Natural History Museum, where he fitted right in with the old-fashioned diplay cases and hand-typed information cards. I know I do!
Explorer Beastie with Capuchin Monkey - CrawCrafts Beasties
This Beastie’s thirst for adventure led him to be adopted by a fellow globetrotter, and it wasn’t long before he jetted off on the journey of a lifetime… to see South America!

Here he is in Argentina, enjoying Christmas dinner southern-hemisphere-style, accompanied by Explorer Girl Beastie!
Beastie Christmas, Argentina - R Turpin/CrawCrafts Beasties

Unfortunately, this is the last known photograph of Victorian Explorer Beastie. One day, while out on the road, he took advantage of the long journey to catch forty winks in his travelling companion’s backpack, which was stolen while he dozed inside!

So, fellow travellers, I’d like to ask a favour. Please keep an eye out for Victorian Explorer Beastie as you jetset around the world… and if you do spot him, be sure to share a photo! Or, if he looks like he’s in need of rescuing, pick him up and bring him home with you. He can be treated for any injuries in my Beastie Hospital, and then he (or another Beastie of your choosing) will be yours to keep.

Thank you all, and good hunting!

PS WordPress tells me that the Beasties and I have been hanging out on the BeastieBlog for TWO WHOLE YEARS now! Thanks to all of you who read, like and comment on my tales of monster mayhem… you make this blog a really fun place to be!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Monochromatic

Victorian Explorer Beastie on Bray Beach - CrawCrafts Beasties

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Monochromatic.”

Beasties tend to be quite colourful little creatures, so a monochrome Photo Challenge really is a tricky one! However, I thought it might be a good opportunity to fiddle around with some effects… so I sepia-tinted some photos of Victorian Explorer Beastie’s day out in the old seaside resort of Bray, which is just over half an hour south of Dublin city centre by train!
Victorian Explorer Beastie on the Promenade - CrawCrafts Beasties
The retro effect quite suits him, doesn’t it?
Victorian Explorer Beastie on Bray Head, by CrawCrafts Beasties
If colour’s more your thing, though, you can check out the original pictures here!

A Grand Day Out… With Victorian Explorer Beastie

Victorian Explorer Beastie With Hippo

I had to go out and pick up a few last-minute display bits for the Pop Up Shop over the weekend, and I thought I would treat myself to a quick wander around one of my favourite places in Dublin – the Natural History Museum!Natural History Museum

I love this place. It’s like a museum of a museum – a real old-fashioned collection of interesting things in hardwood and glass cases, uncluttered by the beeping interactive displays and looping videos that infest most modern museums. Most of the animals are labelled with only their name (in English and Latin), where they came from and when they were added to the collection. If you want to know more about them, you have everything you need to do the rest of the legwork yourself at home. This frees you up to actually look at the animals while you’re in the museum, and appreciate their size, their colouring, the crazier features of their bodies that help them to survive… it’s also a great place to do some people-watching!

I figured Victorian Explorer Beastie would feel right at home here, so I brought him along for the ride.
Outside the Natural History Museum
The ground floor of the building houses Irish fauna. These giant Irish elk skeletons greet you as you walk in!

Irish Elk Skeleton

Even the smallest animals get a look-in – there are cases at the back containing all kinds of minibeasts, from beetles to slugs. Understandably, perhaps, the butterflies and moths are the most popular!
Butterfly Case

Upstairs is the “Animals of the World” exhibition, where Victorian Explorer Beastie came face-to-face with a monkey…
Explorer Beastie with Capuchin Monkey
… Met a record-breaking Irish wolfhound…
Explorer Beastie with Irish Wolfhound

…And realised he is much, much smaller than an elephant.
Victorian Explorer Beastie with Elephant
He also nearly got into a spot of bother – LOOK BEHIND YOU!
He's behind you...

Turned out the hippo was only having a bit of a yawn, so we left unscathed. But we’ll be back! Hope you enjoyed visiting with us!

Victorian Explorer Beastie

Victorian Explorer Beastie Close-Up

Regular visitors to the BeastieBlog will remember this dashing chap from our visit to Bray in Co. Wicklow a couple of months ago.
Bray Head

However, he was so busy strolling along the promenade, climbing the hill and picking up interesting pebbles on the beach that he didn’t get a chance to show off all his tip-top explorer kit. So I’ve invited him back!Victorian Explorer Beastie

No gentleman explorer should leave home without his pith helmet, belt pouch for assorted sundries, and knapsack. I wonder what he’s taking with him?
Map and Hipflask

Oh, of course! A map of a distant land and a hipflask of finest gin. Nice!

Victorian Explorer Beastie’s next port of call will be Dun Laoghaire in South Dublin, for Creative Collective Ireland’s annual Pop Up Shop… but who knows where he’ll go after that?

A Marvellous Day Out… with Victorian Explorer Beastie

Top of Bray Head

Okay, I don’t want to alarm anybody, but the other day I went into the living room to find a note on the floor…
Explorer Beastie Note

I’m sure he’s totally fine. He’s big enough to look after himself, and he did set out with a fresh sandwich in his backpack. That said, if anyone sees Explorer Beastie in the next couple of days, could you please ask him to call home?

Meanwhile, a new member of the family has dropped in to say hello. A throwback to the heyday of gentleman explorers, Victorian Explorer Beastie never goes anywhere without his pith helmet and a hipflask of good-quality gin (it’s hidden in his knapsack). Since the sun was out yesterday, I asked him to accompany me on a day trip to Bray – a seaside town just south of Dublin, in Co. Wicklow. It was a popular holiday destination back in the day, and I figured he’d feel right at home there.

The best way to get to Bray is to take the train. The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) gets you out there from the city centre in about 45 minutes, and the journey is an event in itself. Just make sure you’re sitting on the left-hand side of the train, or you’ll miss all the good stuff!

Victorian Explorer Beastie on the train
For the first few minutes, the train passes through regular cityscape scenery – office buildings, houses, apartment blocks. Then, suddenly, you break out into this:
Sandymount Strand

Sandymount Strand is a long, flat beach which is featured in James Joyce’s “Ulysses”. My quick snap from the grafitti-scratched train window doesn’t really convey the scale and the peacefulness of this stretch of coastline, but it makes it hard to believe that the city is just a few seconds back up the line! However, the star of the show is the section of the line between Dun Laoghaire and Killiney. Here, the track hugs the cliffs, allowing you to enjoy a head-spinning view of the small, sandy coves below (impossible to photograph, at least for someone with my current level of expertise) or a more tranquil vista of the Irish Sea.
Bray Head from the train
Once we arrived in Bray, we headed for the beach…
Victorian Explorer Beastie on the Beach

…walked along the promenade…
Victorian Explorer Beastie on the Promenade
… and then decided it would be a great day to climb Bray Head!

Bray Head

It was a pretty steep climb…
Climbing Bray Head

… but the view from the top was totally worth it!
View View from the top of Bray Head

And so was running all the way back down again!
Tree roots on Bray Head

Look out for more adventures with Victorian Explorer Beastie in the next while… at least until Explorer Beastie makes it home!