Friday, 27 July 2012

Thila Filla Philly - The CIty of Brotherly Love

When you're a Small Bear, being taken to a city that has an unspellable, unpronounceable name is cruel, but that's just what the hired help did. Wheech, off we went early on the Monday morning.  First we went on a bus, and then we went on the Underground and the we went on the Heafrow Express to the Nairyport to catch our Nairyplane.  It tools AGES and we hadn't even taken off!

Eventually, whoosh, off we went and some hours later we arrived in Fillerrdelfier (It's Philadelphia) Don't be silly, how can PH be F? (Trust me it just is.) Is that you saying, "Because I say so?" ("Yes.") Meanie, typical grown up, when you can't explain something you just say, "Because I say so." (Guilty as charged Mr Bear, but I can't change it. Philadelphia is pronounced Filadelfia, and there's nothing we can do about it.") Well that's not fair, not, not, not.  (Do I hear the drumming of little heels on the desk?) Yes, don't care. So there. (Sorry folks, he's now got a petted lip and he's sitting with his arms folded in a huff.) Am not. (Well, come on bear, we want to get on with the story don't we? You can't disappoint your public.)  I aspose. (That's much better - even a wee smile?) Nope, that's too much to ask.

Oh yes, Philadelphia. It's HUGE, but not as huge as Londing. If you think I have problems spelling the name, LT, when she was little, couldn't say "F," so for a wee while Alan, Ann and LT lived in Thiladelthia. Isn't that cute? Don't practice saying that Sebastian (or any other bear) until you've swallowed all your cookie crumbs, 'cos otherwise you'll spray them everywhere.  (Back to the story please.) Oh, alright then but it is a nice side story isn't it? (Yes it certainly is, though we'll have to see how Jack responds to this post.)

We were there for boring office meetings, but I did get out to see people.  There's a nice lady called Finona (Fiona) That's what I said, do stop interrupting.   There's a nice lady called FIONA in the office and she has done a clever painting of Machali one of the tigers we saw in India, and I went over and had a look at it.  Everyone in the office thought I'd be scared, but I wasn't - I've been much closer to the real tiger and she's just a big pussy cat really.  (Well, you were pretty close, but we made sure you didn't get too close or you'd have ended up as a tiger snack.)

ANYWAY,   I was so relaxed I sat down with my back to her and I didn't look over my should more than once or twice.  Don't you like Fiona's painting?  I think it's pure dead brilliant myself.

After a couple of boring days in the office, talking about having visions and missions we went out for the evening to Longwood Gardens.  He's been there before but it was before I was even a bit of fluff in my maker's eye, whatever that means.

Longwood is great big botanic gardens south of Philly (as the locals call it - see I did learn something.) and we had a great time.  Once we were inside I saw a couple of Chinese Lions and they were very fierce looking, but I wasn't scared at all.  I just sat on the knee of the first one and waved nonchalantly (That's a big word for a small bear!) at the world. The lion grumbled a bit and did look to see who was there but he didn't eat me.

Then I went over to see his friend and I sat on his HEAD and waved insouciantly at the passing crowd. (Cor, bear even more wonderful language.) I'm a writer, I DO language don't you realise that? (Of course, sorry.)

Next he sat me down on a bush.  I thought it would be all prickly, but it wasn't.  It was in the topiary garding and he got quite tocited about that, because in the winter when he's been there that part is closed.  It's just grass and bits of bushes, but, if that amusing him, who am I to complain?  I sat there patiently and made sure my best profile was on display.

It was very warm (Hot I'd say, but who's asking me?). Exactly, who is?  Well, maybe it was quite hot, so we wandered on and came to a lovely founting with water splashing into it.  I perched on the rim for my picture, and I nearly fell in, that's me waving, not drowning. (Coo, literary allusions too. I must go and read my Stevie Smith again.)

Then we went to the lake near the bell tower, with its nice reflections and its waterfall.  We got quite close to the waterfall and it was a bit cooler there, and again I practised waving, but nobody waved back.

Alan got very excited when he saw that the water lily pond was open to visitors. It's in a place that's closed in winter so it was new to him. He got his telephoto lens out and took lots of pictures.

There was a funny man standing in the pool talking to everyone about the plants and showing them the prickly underside of the lily pads and everything.  He was so happy to talk about his plants and his enthusiasm was quite infectious.  He must have been an old man because his trousers were up to his armpits. (No bear, he wasn't an old man, though wasn't young either.  He was wearing waders so that he could walk around in the water without getting wet.) Oh, that is clever.  Anyway, we got to smell one water lily that is white and beautiful and smells of pineapple one day and is pink not so lovely and not smelly the next.  On the first day it traps beetles and then the next day they get out again, and somehow that way the plant gets fertilised.  It was too much for my bounce fill brain I think.  (On the first day the beetles bring pollen with them from another flower and then they get trapped and fed on nectar. While they are trapped the pollen they bring get rubbed on the female parts of the plant.  Then next day when they manage to escape, they have to pass the stamens and get covered in more pollen that they take to the next plant. Clever but complicated isn't it?) Isn't nature interesting?  This picture isn't that lily it's a normal  one

After we had a hot dog and (cold) fries it started to get dark,
so off we went into the gloom because he said there were interesting things to see, and for once in his life he was right.

One of the things we saw was this fire hydrant.  It is nice and shiny and I wanted to turn it on, but spoilsport Alan said we'd get thrown out if we did, so I just sat on it instead.  While he was framing me for posteriority someone said, "Oh look someone's left a bear behind." How insulting can you get?  My behind is covered in fur, it's not bare at all. Anyway how could they see, 'cos I was sitting on it?  (No, they thought you'd been mislaid by someone, but I put them right and said you were a well travelled bear and not a lost one.)  That's alright then, it was kind of them to notice.

Not far away was the house in the trees and it was all lit up.  I was worried it might hold a wicked witch, but it didn't, it just had some nice big lights and some occasional twinkly lights in the air.  I wondered what they were because we saw a lot of them.  Alan explained that they were fireflies, and they were very pretty as they blinked on and off. We walked into the woods and there were lots  and lots of lights there that changed colour all the time and we walked around looking at them with lots of other people - but not many bears.  There were a few but most of the poor things seemed to be tied down to baby carriages.  There were  a few being carried by the people they owned, and I waved and said hello to them.

The last two pictures are very pretty. The first one is by one of the lakes and the lights on the far bank were changing colour all the time. A nice man let Alan use his tripod to get a photo, and Alan took some video too and that's very pretty but he hasn't had time to process it for here - lazy boy.

In this last photo we went into one of the lovely greenhouses and saw these lovely lights that also changed colour.  Can you see the deflections (That's reflections bear) Whatever, reflections, deflections I can't know everything at my age.  Anyway the lights were shining off the ceiling and that was pretty too.

All the best for now. He went to Ipswich in the week and I didn't go, but next week it's the Bearlympics and I'll get to see Jack again as we cheer on the rowers.

Back soon,



Thursday, 19 July 2012

The singing people

Now, where was I when the hired help ran out of steam?  Ah yes, Vienna about to get on a nairyplane to Londing.  My, it was a rush getting across Londing, whizz whizz, the nairyplane was late taking off 'cos the radar in the Munich area was down - whatever that means (That's a hard one bear, but people on the ground use radar to see all the planes, and if they can't see them it's not safe.)  Clear as mud. Well the driver on the plane said that meant we couldn't fly till they changed the fuse, so we arrived quite late in Londing and even later at Auntie Ros's flat.  Then Ann was even later coming in from Amsterdam and she rush rush rushed out to dinner with Ros, Terry and Alan, leaving me to play in the flat.

Next morning Katy and Jack arrived - hooray - and then he went out with Katy and left me behind.  They soon got back and we were able to play.

Here he is with Katy's camera.  He tried to pick it up, but it nearly fell and crusheded him.

We had a great time and we hardly had time to it sit down.  First we had a good old gossip about the Clan - well we did while we climbed over everything.  Finally Alan sat us down and took our picture.  I thought I was an ickle bear until I met Jack.  He really is very ickle isn't he?

On Sunday I stayed with Ros while Alan and Terry went for a walk in the rain and got WET. I'm glad I didn't go along 'cos I don't like wet.  Ann and Katy went on a 'xciting trip with Jack to the Royal Albeart Hall in another part of Londing, where they sang and sang all day, just like Christopher Robin.

Then in the evening was the grand concert - can you see them, they are way down on the left in blue - well Jack isn't of course, in blue that is, just good fur brown.  They sang in the world premier of a choral work by Karl Jenkins.  It was interesting but it had no real words, just beartend ones. The new work is called The Gods of Olympus and it was part of the Cultural Olympiad. In the second half they sang The Armed Man and that's well known.

It was a fine evening, and then Jack and I met up again and decided it was time to go out on the balcony, even though it was raining.  We could just see the river down below us, but there were no tall ships there this time and that disappointed Jack.

All good things come to an end and we had to go to bed 'cos I was getting up early to go to Philldelfier.  But that's another story for another day.



Monday, 16 July 2012

I've been everywhere!

The other title for this is "Which way is up."  Talk about busy - you have no idea.  All this travelling is fun, but it's tiring. (Excuse me - all you have to do is snuggle down and get carried. I do all the humphing around.) Poor you indeed!  It's what you're there for, so just get on with the story.

Was it only two weeks ago?  It seems like forever for a young bear.  First we went to Germany, the day after Alan had been to Londing for the day - and LEFT ME BEHIND - meany. (Get over it.)  Well anyway, we flew to Londing again and then off to Munich.  This is me in Terminal 5 at Heafrow near Londing. We stopped there on the way to Munich 'cos though we flew to Munich we flew back from Vienna - it's all very confusing for a bouncefill brain I can tell you.

We had a nice flight though there wasn't much to eat, so our tummies were rumbling when we got there and we had to rush for a train.  The first train into Munich was so late that we missed our train to the place we were staying called Treuchtlingen.  Alan spoke to a very helpful lady who  changed us onto another two trains which we just about got.  Here I am after we arrived at the place we had to change trains, and that's my train behind.  It's very smart isn't it and it's called an ICE train, though it wasn't at all cold.  We were near the front and you could see out past the driver man along the track, and that was most exciting.

 The place we changed trains was called Nuremberg, and it's supposed to be very lovely but also quite spooky, but we didn't have time to look because we had to catch the next train.  This was a regional express and it was very nice.  I had a comfortable perch on top of my travelling bag - he thinks it's his camera bag, but I just beartend that it is, it's really my bag and I let him put his cameras in there so I can guard them.

I got quite a good view out of the window, but though there was some nice country to look at, a lot of the time it was towns and stuff.

We got to Treuchtlingen and our tummies were still rumbling so we went and had some food and that helped.

Next day he did a CRAZY 570 mile round trip by car for just one meeting! He was too tired to take my photo, and that's understandable.  
The following morning we went to Herbert's house. Herbert is a very nice man who helps Alan in Germany.  We met his wife, a lady called Michaela, who has lots of bears but we didn't get a photo of them.  She is a very nice lady too and we got something to drink and I got a little snack.  Don't worry, I didn't eat it all, but I gave it a good try and the jam filling was great for later slurps as it got well into my fur when I was eating.  (That's why the camera bag is sticky then - you'll have to be more careful.)  Yeah, yeah, yeah, stop moaning.  A bear has to subsist you know.  We also met their new kitten called Lucky.  It was a nice kitten, but they grow up into cats and I'm not so sure about them.

After we had our snack Alan and Herbert had a meeting in Munich and then we drove all the way to Vienna.  Are you tired yet? We haven't even got half way!  
On the way to Vienna we stopped for lunch at a lovely lake called the Chiemsee.  The weather was hot and sunny so we went for a stroll and I got my photos taken down by the waterside.  It the first one you can see a lady having a paddle and nearly getting her clothes wet.  There were other people swimming, but we had no time to stop and join in, 'cos we still had a long way to go, first driving around Salzburg and then Melk and finally into Vienna very late indeed.

Because it was so late we didn't see much of Vienna, and though we'd hoped to spend some time there the new morning Alan's meeting was very long - which was very good - but afterwards we just went straight to the airport.  Here I am in the lounge and that's our nairyplane waiting for us to get on.

We had a good flight, though again our tummies were very rumbly by the time we reached Londing. Then we went to see Auntie Ros and Uncle Terry.  Ann arrived too from Amsterdam and the next day Katy and Jack arrived, but I'll tell you all about our excitement to-morrow.