Animal Adventures, Out With Animals

New Adventure: Out With Animals

 

Welcome to Out With Animals!

On my blog, Ok Then What’s Next, I took part in a Christmas project for Post Pals. Post Pals is a charity where people can send post to children with severe or life threatening illnesses. As an adult with a chronic illness, I know how much it lifts my spirits to receive fun post- and I’m an adult! So volunteering to pretend to be a reindeer and send post in December seemed like a lot of fun and I knew it would help lift someone’s mood.

I love knitting and I have to spend a lot of time at home due to illness. So I decided to knit small animals, send them out on adventures, and write short stories about them. Then post them on to one of the Post Pals children, who can read the story, take the animal on an adventure of their own and write their own story and share their photos if they want to. They can also see what other animals have been up to on this blog, Twitter or Instagram.

Because I have a chronic illness too, it might take a while to get up and running, and there might be some time delays if I’m having a bad spell. I might also need some help taking the animals out and taking photos of their adventures- so let me know if you want to be involved!

Twitter: @OutWithAnimals

Instagram: @OutWithAnimals

Email: okthenwhatsnext@outlook.com

img_9259

 

Advertisements
Animal Adventures, Charity, children's story, Out With Animals

Chrissy the Caterpillar & Flynn the Fly

Hello

Our names are Chrissy the Caterpillar & Flynn the Fly and we’ve just got back from an adventure with Ciera and Adam. Ciera has taken some of our animal friends out before, but Adam hasn’t, so he was excited to see the kinds of things we get up to on adventures.

First up, we had breakfast with Ciera before meeting Adam. You can’t have a full day of adventuring without a good breakfast!

IMG_20180528_215747990_HDR[1]

Ciera’s dog Tilly wanted to come with us, but Ciera said she had her hands full as it was with us! I don’t know what she means- we weren’t planning on flying and crawling off anywhere by ourselves!

IMG_20180528_215441[1]

We met Adam for some food. Except they were so busy chatting, they forgot to order anything! Good job we’d had our big breakfast!

IMG_20180526_132120196[1]

We’d spent more than enough time inside, so we got some drinks to takeaway and headed to the park. Ciera decided to try a cup of tea for the first time, but we decided to stick with hot chocolate, which is our favourite.

IMG_20180526_151134106[1]

We saw lots of ducks, a tortoise and a seagull. We had to make sure we stayed away from the seagull because some birds like to eat insects like us! There was only one of him, though, and two of us. So he didn’t manage to sneak up on us!

We headed back to Ciera’s house where she told us about her penfriend, Laura, she has who lives in Amsterdam. A penfriend is someone who lives in a different place from you and you write letters and tell each other about what you get up to and share stories. A bit like what the animals do!

IMG_20180528_213037292[1]

We helped write a reply to her and told her about our adventures, and had a look at some of the photos she sent to Ciera.

IMG_20180528_194813488[1]

After we’d written our letter, Ciera taught us a bit of ukulele while we watched a DVD

. She said we did a good job considering we were beginners, but it’s pretty difficult to play when you don’t have any hands!

IMG_20180528_214748971[1]

IMG_20180528_214734831[1]

Before we went to bed, Ciera read us a story that Adam had leant her. Apparently it’s a poetry book about recipes, which sounds a bit odd but was pretty cool!

IMG_20180528_221949208[1]

We had a great time going out for the day with Ciera and Adam. Our favourite bit was looking at the pretty views in the park, even if we did have to avoid the seagull! Thank you very much to Ciera and Adam for taking us, and we’re looking forward to our next adventure!

Animal Adventures, Charity, children's story, Out With Animals

Stella the Squid

Hello

My name is Stella the Squid and I’ve just got back from an adventure to Italy with Alan. I have to admit to being a bit worried about going to Italy because I’ve heard they enjoy eating squid there! But Alan said I should worry less about people eating me and worry more about the volcano we were going to see. A volcano!? Don’t volcanos have lava and are really hot?? He said all would be revealed when we arrived in Italy.

We had to go to the airport really early to catch our flight and then we had to get a bus to our hotel.

Our hotel was very nice! I thought we had a swimming pool on our balcony but Alan said it was just a very big, posh bath called a hot tub.

I decided not to jump in because a hot tub I didn’t fancy becoming a fried squid, so I looked at the pretty views instead.

Alan pointed in the distance behind me and said that the thing looking like a mountain was the volcano called Vesuvius. He then carried on to say that it hasn’t erupted for years and years and it’s known as a dormant volcano which means it’s kind of sleeping. That makes more sense!

The next day, we decided to go on a boat trip to the Isle of Capri. The captain of the boat said if I did some jobs for him before we got onboard, he might let me drive it! So I helped sort out his netting.

My tentacles got a bit tangled but once I was free, the captain followed through on his promise.

It was a lot easier having lots of tentacles than I imagine it is only having two hands.

As we got closer to the island, I decided to get a closer look and leave the captain to do the hard steering.

Once we were there, we had a wander around the island.

I liked being surrounded by the sea on the island and listening to the waves. We found lots and lots of lemons in a market….

I tried one but they’re pretty bitter! Alan said I probably didn’t like the taste of them because if people eat squid then they tend to eat them with lemon. I decided to leave the lemons and run away!

When we got back, I borrowed Alan’s camera and tried to take some photos of Vesuvius at night time.

Alan announced the next morning that we’d be going to see Vesuvius today. I was a bit anxious but he convinced me it would be ok, and it was! I even managed to collect some volcanic rock!

The next place we visited was a town called Pompeii. But when we got there, there weren’t any buildings like the ones we’d been seeing in the local towns and no one seemed to live there!

I asked Alan if it was a ghost town and he said it kind of was. He explained that Vesuvius erupted in 79AD (a very long time ago) and destroyed the town of Pompeii. Nowadays, we can use science and maths to work out if there might be a volcanic eruption and make sure people are safe, but the people in the year 79 didn’t have that technology.

The really interesting thing about Pompeii to visit is the fact that once archaeologists had managed to clear the lava and ash from the town hundreds of years later, all the buildings and streets were really well preserved, meaning we can see what it would have been like to live there. How cool is that?!

I tried to imagine what it must have been like living here around that time.

Once I’d got over my fear the the volcano and people maybe trying to eat me (!), I had a great time in Italy with Alan learning about the history. Thank you very much to Alan for looking after me! I’m really excited to tell my new friend about my adventure and to hopefully go on some new ones too!

Animal Adventures, Charity, children's story, Out With Animals

Harvey the Horse

Hello

My name is Harvey the Horse and I’ve just finished my adventure with the Riding for Disabled Association.

IMG_7732

Now, I’m a horse (obviously) so I thought I knew a lot about riding and how to interact with other horses. But I was very wrong! I’m quite a small horse, but even the ponies were still a lot bigger than me!

Spell

Look how tiny I am in comparison to Spell! Spell was the first horse I met and I liked how white she was.

spell 2

I liked it less when she suggested she bounced me up in the air off her nose! But I got a good view from where I was.

Moira was the one who was looking after me and she said that looking after other horses isn’t just fun and games and galloping around. She said that you also have to do things like muck out the stables, brush the horses’ coats, make sure all the equipment is clean and check that the horses have enough food and water.

IMG_7744

She quickly put me to work moving hay around, which is what the horses like to eat.

IMG_7743

It was very heavy! This amount of hay would last me all year! Moira said that enough hay is really important at this time of year, because the cold weather means the horses can’t always go out in the fields and eat the grass.

Mattie and Harvey

Some of the horses told me they weren’t afraid of a bit of cold. I can talk horse, you see, so I asked this horse, Mattie. She said eating was a bit difficult through the snow because snow can be pretty hard and frozen!

Misty and Harvey

Misty also wasn’t bothered by the cold, but she had a coat on over her own coat to help keep her warm. She’d obviously been trying to eat some of the grass because she had snow on her nose! She said it kept making her want to sneeze so I decided to head back indoors rather than getting slobbered on.

Riding Snow

I caught a ride with Mattie, who asked me if I was too cold to be outside. ‘Of course not!’, I said. I wasn’t going to admit to these bigger horses that I was actually really cold!

Back in the stables, Moira caught me trying to avoid dragging hay again so she told me to go and check the equipment for the riders.

IMG_7742

I made sure the stirrups were all safe and working. Stirrups are what you put your feet in when you ride. They were a bit big for me though…

IMG_7741

Next I made sure everyone had a helmet. Helmets are super important because every now and then a horse gets spooked or sometimes the rider falls off. It doesn’t happen often, but it means if anything does happen, your head is protected. The green and blue spotty one was my favourite.

Moira had to run off and get some riders started, so she put me in charge of the phone in case anyone rang.

IMG_7739

It did ring! So I said ‘Hello, Harvey the Horse speaking’ and wrote down a message. It didn’t make much sense to me, but it was tricky enough answering it with my hooves!

IMG_7740

I was raring to go on a ride with one of the horses, but Moira told me to hold my horses and said it wasn’t a good idea to just instantly jump on a horse and ride. That was definitely a recipe for disaster! She pointed to Halle who was riding a horse called Robbie. Halle had never ridden before and she had Isabelle at the front leading and Sarah and Liz making sure she was ok on either side. I think she did a good job!

halle robby isabelle sarah liz

I reluctantly agreed to do it Moira’s way, she’s my boss after all and safety comes first. And I didn’t want to shift anymore hay! I was a bit worried about riding for the first time, not that I’d admit it, so I asked who would be the calmest horse to ride. Grace told me Robbie was a friendly horse, and that she could help me by leading him if I liked.

robbie led by grace

Grace was really good at encouraging me- so much so, that I was brave enough to ride Robbie by myself! Grace was nearby though, I wasn’t that brave yet!

on robbie

I was getting a bit more confident. So Moira suggested I try riding on some different horses with some different riders.

finn and mattie

Finn appeared with Mattie. Finn and Mattie reminded me of those police horses you sometimes see- they looked so professional! They definitely weren’t as scary as the police horses though and they gave me some really good tips as to how to ride. Finn said to make sure you look the same way the horse is going so that you don’t accidentally go wonky.

2

Shandy was the next horse I met, with Charlotte and Bella.

Bella told me to make sure I don’t pull too hard on the reins because it makes the horse anxious and also is one of the ways to tell them to stop! Otherwise you wouldn’t go anywhere!

Charlotte said that horses can tell when you’re a bit worried, so if you act confident then the horse will feel more confident too. This made sense. I tried not to be as worried after that because I didn’t want the horse to feel it.

connor and spell

Connor said that to practise turning the horse, I should use some of the cones you can see in the background. Him and Spell gave me a good demonstration!

The last rider I met was William, who was also riding Robbie.

William and Robbie

By now I was feeling pretty confident after the other riders had let me ride with them, so William said we should play a game!

William on Robbie with Harvey playing game

I don’t know how he managed it! He was able to ride, make sure I was ok AND play a game all at the same time. The riders here are all so talented!

Moira came back and asked if I’d had a nice day and I said that I’d learnt a lot and really enjoyed meeting all the riders and horses. Everyone was really friendly and kind- thank you so much for making me so welcome! Although not so much the mucking out… ‘speaking of which,’ Moira said, ‘we’ve got a bit more stable work for you to do if you’re hanging around’. I decided to canter away instead, much to the amusement of the other horses!

Photos shared with permission. 

Animal Adventures, Charity, children's story, Out With Animals

Stacey the Squirrel

Hello

My name is Stacey the Squirrel and I’ve just got back from an adventure where I tried to meet woodland creatures. I’m a grey squirrel, which means I’m a ‘common’ type of squirrel and there are lots of us in the wild. But despite this, I’ve never met another grey squirrel! My friend Mousey said she’d help me, so off we headed to the woods.

We stopped to make sure we would be able to keep awake and alert by drinking lots of coffee.

When we arrived, we immediately saw a squirrel! I thought ‘oh this is going to be easy!’ but then the squirrel said that it’s his job to greet people and answer their questions.

I asked him what the best thing to do to find more squirrels and he said to hire a cabin and set out some food and keep watch. Easy, I could do that.

I set up some of the foods that I like, like nuts and berries and kept a look out. I sat there for ages and no one came! Then, all of a sudden, a goose came!

I didn’t want to meet a goose! I wanted to meet a squirrel. I decided that I should probably have a contingency plan so that I could scare off all the other animals besides squirrels. I found some archery targets in the woods and decided to practise.

Mousey found me and was both horrified and amused at the same time. ‘You can’t shoot animals you don’t like!’, she said. She suggested I actually went outside and sat with the food. That way I could scare off the animals which weren’t squirrels but be there to meet the squirrels if they did come. I said I’d try it.

I went outside and took up my position.

Mousey said I needed to get closer still, so I climbed on the green cloth to see if that would help.

To start off with, no one came. But then a squirrel jumped out of his tree and sat and looked at the food! It’s a good job I moved- he must have been siting higher up in the tree I just perched on so probably wouldn’t have come down if I was still sat there.

He came a bit closer. I was getting excited and had to remember to keep still so I didn’t frighten him!

I met a squirrel! We chatted about the food I’d put down and he said I’d made some excellent choices. I asked some questions about what it’s like to live in the wild and where he lived. We spoke in Squirrel the whole time- I learnt it in school but I haven’t had anyone to practise with, just people who speak English. This squirrel said I could write to him and practise with him. This sounded like fun, having a squirrel pen friend! I bought some pencils so I could get started as soon as I got home.

Mousey was very impressed I managed to keep still and not scare away the animals. She was also really pleased for me that I had finally met a squirrel at last! We had a small party to celebrate.

I had a great time hunting for squirrels on my adventure- thank you to Mousey for looking after me. I can’t wait to write to my new pen friend but also I’m really excited to meet my new friend and to go on lots of adventures with them.

Animal Adventures, Charity, children's story, Out With Animals

Freya the Fox

Hello

My name is Freya the Fox and I’ve just finished my adventure with Kirsty. Kirsty took me away for a few days on holiday. I arrived at her house the night before and got to know her….

… and her cat!

The cat was a bit jealous not to be coming with us. Kirsty said big animals like the cat weren’t allowed. It’s a good job I’m so small!

The next day, we set out on our journey to get there.

It was a pretty long way but Kirsty made sure I was comfortable.

Kirsty said we wouldn’t need the car when we got there- we’d be able to walk everywhere because we’d be staying in a cabin in the woods. Being a Fox, I like woodland and forests. Foxes are nocturnal creatures which means they prefer to be out at nighttime more than in the daytime. Kirsty said we’d probably make good company for each other since she likes to stay up late too!

When we first arrived, a swan made from a towel greeted us. I was quite impressed at how much it looked like the swans and the geese we’d seen outside!

Kirsty decided we should go for a walk to get to know our surroundings.

The stream looked pretty but foxes really don’t like water. I guess that’s because it makes our fur wet and then we get cold.

We headed back to the cabin to warm up again as it was surprisingly cold outside, despite being spring! As we came into the bedroom, we were met by more towel animals!

This time an elephant. I quite liked the idea of riding around on an elephant but Kirsty said she doubted we’d find any of those in the woods outside! She said she had a better idea though and we headed back out.

This is more like it! I could go really fast! Good job too- my legs were pretty sore after our meanderings earlier.

Kirsty and I scooted our way up to an archery place.

I wasn’t very good and kept missing the target altogether! My eyesight is much better in the dark than the daylight, you know, because I’m nocturnal. Kirsty was much better though.

We decided to park up at the cafe for a drink before heading back to the cabin.

This was yummy. I don’t know what it was but it was chocolatey and had lots of cream on top!

Feeling pretty full from my lovely drink, Kirsty and I headed back to the cabin. It was both creepy and exciting walking through the woods at dark. You could hear all the other nocturnal animals like owls and badgers hooting and snuffling.

I was really surprised that someone (who are these creatures who make the animals?!) had made us another towel animal! This time it was two swans!

This one was by far the most impressive of all the towel animals.

I had a lovely time on my adventure with Kirsty. Thank you to her for taking me on holiday, showing me around and keeping me company at night! I’m really looking forward to seeing my new friend and having adventures with them.

Animal Adventures, Charity, children's story, Out With Animals

Halle the Hedgehog

Hello

My name is Halle the Hedgehog and I’ve just been on a mission… sorry, an ‘adventure’ with Bailey and his family. I was given the very important task of making sure Bailey celebrated his birthday and had an awesome day.

Bailey was lucky enough to go away for a few days to spend his birthday doing different activities, but this meant it was a bit tricky for me to plan ahead. Not to worry, I had some helpers. When we arrived, I scurried off to scope them out.

I got a bit lost! But I found a map and eventually made it to my meeting.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one a bit late! Eventually other hedgehogs started to arrive too.

Our meeting was led by Mummy Hedgehog

She gave me some good advice and said that celebrating birthdays was important but I shouldn’t go over the top like they do on programmes like TOWIE or real life Hollywood TV programmes and have glitter canons and dancers. ‘Remember, birthdays are about what the other person likes, not what you like! Think about where you are- what fun things would he like to do here?’ She said. She was right. Glitter canons and dancers would not fit a forest and calm nature environment at all!

With this in mind, I left the meeting deep in thought and managed to walk into a goose.

He was pretty angry because one of my hedgehog needles nearly stabbed him in the eye!

I got away just in time! And made it back to Bailey so I could put the final touches in place ready for his special day.

On the morning of his birthday, I set up his presents in the living area.

He obviously knew it was his birthday but the balloon and the chalk board I wrote were a surprise.

We had some breakfast and then headed out into the woods. Bailey has good hand and eye coordination and likes doing outdoor things- I’d heard from some of the other animals that they’d been camping, walking and rock climbing with him. Which meant I had to think of something even cooler for us to do! No pressure!

We did some archery. Bailey was pretty good but I didn’t want to stand too close, just in case. I’d already had a near death experience with the goose and thought I’d probably had enough of those for one day!

After archery, we went out for a special birthday tea. I ordered us all green drinks, because hedgehogs love drinks with leaves in.

But I also remembered what Mummy Hedgehog said about making sure I thought about what Bailey wanted and not just me, so I also ordered an ice cream sundae for him.

He seemed to really enjoy it and we sang happy birthday to him.

I heard some more screeching and honking when we left and thought the geese were coming back for round 2!

It turned out to be an eagle! What’s with all the birds trying to get me in this place?! Bailey found it really funny and said that their ‘bark’ was probably worse than their bite. I didn’t really fancy my chances so I carried on back to the house undercover where it would be harder for them to see me.

The next day it wasn’t Bailey’s birthday anymore and he said he had to do some homework.

I tried to help him but he’s cleverer than me so I think I probably just slowed him down. He said I should play outside instead.

Except there was a lot of white stuff on the ground that wasn’t there yesterday! What is this?!

I found a friend to ask and he said it was snow and it usually only happens in winter. I was a bit confused because I’d been told Bailey’s birthday usually takes place in Spring so why was there snow? Turns out sometimes the weather in the uk doesn’t do what it’s meant to at certain times and we get snow in spring and warm weather in winter. I played in it for a little while but then got really cold so went back inside to dry off.

Someone had made my towel into an elephant shape which was pretty cool! At least it wasn’t a goose or eagle shape…

All too soon, it was time for us to go home. On the way back, I was able to chill out and listen to some music knowing I’d been successful in giving Bailey a good birthday.

Thank you very much to Bailey and his family for taking me on my adventure and for looking after me and protecting me from savage birds! My favourite part was watching Bailey doing archery. I’m really excited to see what new friends I meet on my next adventure.

Animal Adventures, Charity, children's story, Out With Animals

Sheldon the Squirrel

Hello

My name is Sheldon the Squirrel and I’ve just been on a skiing adventure with Dan and his friends. I’m the very first animal to go skiing, so I obviously wanted to make a good impression. Dan said he wasn’t an experienced skier, but I was feeling a bit of pressure since squirrels are supposed to be good at quick thinking and manoeuvres from climbing trees!

20180303_212001

You have to take lots of special gear with you when you go skiing. For one thing, it’s very cold! I made sure we had everything packed and then we headed to the airport.

20180304_062633

It was pretty early in the morning when we got our flight. Don’t you think the clouds look a little bit like snow? Although I don’t think you’d be able to actually stand (or ski) on them- it’s a long way down! I was quite happy just looking at them from the window.

When we arrived we checked into our chalet. Chalet is a word for a building usually found on mountains with forest and paths surrounding it.

20180304_152045

In Winter, it’s very difficult to tell where the pathways are, so people just end up skiing right the way through the village! I made a mental note to be careful when I went outside to look both ways when crossing between buildings, so I could avoid being ploughed down by skiers. Especially by the beginners and the ski schools who haven’t worked out how to stop yet!

20180304_152154

We decided to have an early night so that we could get up bright and early the next day and get a full day of skiing.

20180304_152303

We’d brought some of the clothes we needed with us, like our ski jackets and warm weather clothes, but we needed to hire skis, boots and helmets. Can you imagine if I’d had to fit that into my backpack too?!

20180305_121400

Helmets are important because no matter how good or confident you are at skiing, you can still fall over and bang your head and be injured. They’re pretty annoying, but Dan made sure I wore mine at all times.

20180308_122223

I liked how shiny mine was. And it stopped the sun getting in my eyes- when the sun shines on the snow it makes a really pretty (but bright) glittery powder, which hurts your eyes after a while!

Now that helmets were sorted, we had to find skis and boots. I think these ones are a bit big for me…

20180308_122157

Finally we got to choose some skis! I wanted the ones with the coolest pattern on, but Dan said it’s way more complicated than that.

20180306_132519

The best way to learn how to ski if you’re a beginner is to have a lesson. I was the only squirrel in my class, but everyone was really friendly. We learnt how to stop (very important!), control our speed and how to zig-zag down the slope. I’d seen on the Winter Olympics that the really fast skiers went in a straight line, but the instructor said that that made it difficult to control your speed. And I didn’t want to be one of those annoying people who skied too quickly through the village, not able to stop!

20180306_132527

Once my lesson was over, I met up with Dan and his friends and we had a break.

20180305_121418

Do you see the deck chairs in the background? They look exactly like the ones you see at the beach, but in the snow! I found this very odd, but Dan said that it’s because when you’ve been skiing a lot you actually feel quite warm, because it’s a type of exercise. He was right- everyone seemed to be eating outside rather than inside!

After lunch, I decided that I’d go with Dan and his friends, but that I’d let Dan show me around rather than skiing. I was feeling a bit stiff by now! So Dan packed me into his backpack and I had a really good view of the mountains, the forest and the different villages.

20180309_100459

Dan was a lot better than he’d let on! I started to feel a bit dizzy because we were so high up, and because I’d had a busy morning trying to learn how to ski. Luckily, Dan had some sweets with him which helped me feel better. That’s another thing Dan said was important (as well as helmets)- making sure you have water and food with you on the slopes in case you feel poorly or get lost.

20180309_174715

I hoped we weren’t going to get lost… I was pretty sure someone would expect a squirrel to be able to navigate their way through the woods!

After we’d done a really long run, we decided to stop for the day and have some apres-ski  food. Basically, it seems to be an excuse to eat and drink as much as you want because you’ve been active all day! I really enjoyed my hot chocolate, it was bigger than me!

20180310_143507

I got a bit better at skiing every day because of my lessons, and enjoyed being able to ski with Dan and his friends. Thank you very much to Dan for taking me and to his friends for making me welcome- I can’t wait to share my adventures with my new friend. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next adventure brings!

Animal Adventures, Charity, children's story, Out With Animals

Polly the Pig

Story by Dini Shah

Hello

I’m Polly the Pig and I spent the weekend in Prague, Czech Republic with Dini.

Firstly I walked around the old town and I saw the powder gate which is one of the original city gates.

IMG_1761

Then I walked up all these steps in the old town hall. My legs were quite tired…

img_1765.jpg

But the view was worth it! I could see out over all of Prague.

image2

Then I met Krtek the mole who was a popular cartoon character in the Czech Republic and even more popular than Mickey Mouse!

image3

I saw a witch, she looked scary but was actually pretty friendly and we hang out together, she even told me about this sweet shop that had barrels of sweets and you can see me pigging out on them!

image4

image5

I went to see a classical concert in a cathedral, it was freeeezing but the music was good. Here you can see me perched on a pew.

image6

IMG_1815

I also walked across the Charles bridge and you can see me taking in the view!

image7

image8

Before I left I saw these Geese, I fed them some bread and saw them swimming around.

image9.jpg

I had a great time on my adventure to Prague. I did a lot of walking and now my trotters are a bit tired! Once I’ve had a rest, I’ll the heading off to a child to tell my story and to have some new adventures- I can’t wait! Thank you very much to Dini for looking after me. 

Animal Adventures, Charity, children's story, Out With Animals

Roxanne the Rhino & Otis the Owl

Story written by Su Corcoran (Wise Owl), 4th Didsbury Brownies.

Roxanne and Otis were posted to Brown Owl, in charge of 4th Didsbury Brownies. Just after they arrived it snowed across the region and so they got to go out and see snow for the first time- but sadly the photograph didn’t turn out well of their time in the snow. It was very cold – winter had definitely arrived. Roxanne and Otis joined the Brownies for the last meeting of the year.

IMG_20171213_181554

It was a Christingle service. At the Christingle, the children are given an orange, candle, a ribbon, for cocktail sticks, and sweets and dried fruits to stick on the sticks. With all of these bits they build a Christingle.

IMG_20171213_184959

At this church, the girls were given glow sticks instead of candles. When the lights were switched off it looked really cool seeing all the sticks glowing in the dark.

IMG_20171213_185252

Otis and Roxanne enjoyed joining in with the singing and the service.

IMG_20171213_182847

They also helped the Brownies raise some money for their chosen charity.

IMG_20171213_184116

At the end of the meeting Roxanne and Otis went home with S. They had a really fun week…the day after Brownies, S took them with her to a Christmas party.

IMG_20171213_190536_1

There was a secret Santa (the presents had to be bought in a charity shop) and one of the recipients was given an owl. He was a much bigger owl than Otis, but he was very friendly.

At the weekend, S took Otis and Roxanne to Frosted by Magic, a dance show by the Tangled theatre company at Heaton Hall.

IMG_20171219_083359

The dancers told the story of the greedy wizards and the good tailors who helped them overcome their greed and become better people. The dancing was beautiful.

IMG_20171216_141836

After the show, they took the tram into Manchester city centre, where they enjoyed the Christmas markets, eating out…

IMG_20171216_165255

… and the Family Carols service at Manchester Cathedral.

IMG_20171216_191650

Otis decided that Hark the Herald Angels was his favourite carol, while Roxanne preferred listening to the choir singing the even older Christmas songs.

On Sunday, S packed their bags and the three of them jumped onto a train to Stoke-on-Trent….

IMG_20171217_090130

… where they were picked up by T&M and driven all the way across the country to Norwich.

IMG_20171219_154038

It was a really long journey, but they got to spend a lovely hour in Ely, looking at the amazing Cathedral and having coffee.

IMG_20171219_112346

They had an early night before spending the day in Norwich with T&M, while S went to visit a school in another village.

IMG-20171229-WA0003

Norwich Castle is amazing.

IMG-20171229-WA0001

The sandstone, from France, is beautiful. The cathedral was similarly spectacular – the stonework on the pillars and ceiling made you realise the amount of work that went into constructing such an impressive building. It was also possible to still see some of the old wall paintings.

IMG-20171229-WA0000

The following day everyone packed up the car to start the long journey to Wales, where T&M live. On the way they stopped at Kings Lynn for coffee. At one point in history, Kings Lynn was one of the most important town in England as it was the centre for international trade to Europe and wheat that was grown in the flat fields of Norfolk was exported by boats from the town (when America was discovered, and ports on the western coast of the UK grew, Kings Lynn declined). The old town area of Kings Lynn is full of buildings that lean over, and historic lanes and archways. The cathedral in particular is beautiful. Otis felt very small next to such a huge building.

It was a shame that they only stopped for coffee, because Otis and Roxanne would have liked to have spent more time exploring, but they had to jump back in the car for the long drive across the country (and the fish and chip supper at the other end).

Otis really enjoyed watching the scenery go by through the passenger door window. All the trees were like winter skeletons, silhouetted against the wide-open sky of flat Norfolk, and then later against the sunset, which was a spectacular shade of orange.

The part of Wales that they went to had lots of farmland and animals nearby, so Roxanne and Otis got to meet some different animals. IMG_20171216_132718

The pigs were curious to meet an owl and a rhino, but were pretty smelly, so Roxanne and Otis made their escape quite quickly!

IMG_20171216_132807

The geese were pretty angry about having a rhino in their field, but were quite happy to make friends with Otis, because he was another bird like them.

IMG_20171216_132837

Roxanne made friends with a lama instead. Lamas are pretty chilled out creatures so they had a nice chat.

IMG_20171216_132924

Not all birds were happy to meet Otis- the chickens refused to come out of the chicken pen to meet him!

Roxanne and Otis were exhausted after their adventures but had an amazing time exploring the different areas of the UK and meeting all of the brownies at 4th Didsbury Brownies. Thank you very much to Brown Owl, Wise Owl, S, T and M for making them so welcome and showing them around! Both Otis and Roxanne are really excited to see what their next adventures bring!

Photos shared with consent.

Animal Adventures, Charity, children's story, Out With Animals

Mark the Monkey

Hello

My name is Mark the Monkey and I’ve just got back from an adventure with Jayne to Salvador in Brazil. Jayne went there for work and I went along to keep her company and to explore a different country during the day. Brazil has lots of monkeys there but I wasn’t lucky enough to meet any of them!

It takes a long time to travel to Brazil so I made sure to take lots of things to do on the plane in case I got bored.

When they called our flight on the tannoy, we took our tickets to the gate…

…and then boarded the plane!

I got to know a few other passengers- they were a bit confused to be sharing their plane with a monkey so were asking me questions. They were happy to have me on their flight though when they realised I wouldn’t be getting up to any monkey business.

When we got to Salvador, it was pretty late so we checked into the hotel…

… and then went to bed in preparation for our busy day the next day.

Jayne had to go to her work conference the next day but wanted to make sure I would be ok by myself. I said I was looking forward to exploring! We had breakfast together- the smoothie I had was huge! And full of bananas which are my favourite.

I decided I’d lounge by the pool for a little while before going out exploring.

I remembered that you could see the beach from our balcony so I headed there.

I watched other people paddle and swim in the sea and then I tried to make a sand castle. I wasn’t very successful though! So I decided to see if I could buy another banana smoothie.

The shop owner said he didn’t have any banana smoothies but that the drink that every person (or monkey) should have on the beach is a coconut. I said to him ‘you can’t drink coconuts! You can drink their water or milk but not the coconut itself!’. I was really surprised when he got a giant stick, knocked a coconut out of the tree and then stabbed a hole in it with a big knife. Then he stuck a straw in it and gave it to me and said ‘now you can drink your coconut!’

I still prefer bananas but it was very refreshing!

Jayne finished her conference for the day and we had dinner together while I told her about the things that I’d learnt.

Although I didn’t see any monkeys in Brazil I enjoyed trying the new foods and having my first coconut! Thank you to Jayne for letting me accompany her on her trip- I’m looking forward to seeing where my next adventure takes me!