Bromance blossoms in Poole

Hello to all of you and welcome back. Apologies for the delayed posting but things have been a bit disrupted. Let me explain.

As you know that man has a nasty habit of announcing life changing news in a very casual way and then walking away. About this time last year it happened to us and we were shoved in a bag and resettled in Poole. We thought that this process was now complete but no. In the last couple of weeks things have been a bit strange and disrupted. Strange comings and goings at unexpected times and such like. Well Uncle Tache has now moved in full time. This is great news for so many different reasons (mainly because he is the “brains” of the operation) but a bit unexpected. A van (called the Butchmobile) was hired and our fearless duo set off into the dusk. The next thing we know they have returned with a very full van and piles of boxes and bags have appeared. Well we were a bit confused but it was explained that they would need to wait for a little time to be unpacked as everyone was busy. We smelt a bit of a rat but agreed to accept this. Yesterday all was revealed and the box was opened and was seen to be full of friends and companions for us all. There is a rather lovely tartan snake called Ozymandias (or Ozzy to those who know and love him). A red squirrel called Tuffty Nuts but he is universally known as Monsieur Tuf-te as he is very up market. There is even a companion for me in the form of Bill the Barclays eagle. He is very ferocious and was originally intended to be given out to little children but was quickly withdrawn as he was deemed to be too scary. Well you can imagine how delighted I was to see him and I must admit that a bit of a bromance has grown up between us. I can see many happy years ahead of me being able to send in the “enforcer” in case of dispute with that man. Not even he would argue with Bill. Happy days indeed. Worry not pictures will follow.

In the meantime we would like to extend a formal welcome to Uncle Tache and say that we are very happy that he has joined us full time. It is very good to have you on board.

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An empire adventure

Welcome back. Now when we last spoke we were in the Flagship lounge at ORD. Well we eventually managed to struggle free and got on our plane and in a trice we were over the border and in lovely Canada. What a treat for Kiv to see another bit of Empire and he perked up quite quickly at the thought. We were met by Uncle Peter and he kindly drove us to our hotel downtown. We were soon asleep after an exhausting day.

The next day dawned a bit stormy and cloudy and we all learnt a valuable lesson about travelling companions. As you will recall Bob the Sheep loves thunder and lightning and doesn’t have the sense that he was born with. On the other hand put a Koala on the 16th floor with a panoramic view and add in a thunder storm and you have trouble. Koalas don’t like thunder storms-particularly when hungover. Apparently it reminds them of the dangers of living in highly flammable Eucalyptus trees in a drought prone country. Who would have thought it eh? Anyway the thunder soon passed over and after a steadying drink from the mini bar all was well once more. Toronto has a very nice downtown and it is particularly good on rainy days as most of it seems to be under cover so that came in handy. The excitement was building though as the next day was going to involve a very big adventure indeed.

Luckily the weather had cleared up a bit by the next day and Uncle Peter came by early to pick us up for our road trip. Off we set and we had a lovely drive across Canada to reach Niagara Falls. Yes we were off to see one of the wonders of the world. We started off by going up the Skylon Tower and got a panoramic view of the area. It was truly awe inspiring as you saw both falls and the surrounding countryside. After that it was off to the falls themselves. Here is a view of them from above.

Horsehoe falls from above

Horsehoe falls from above

You can see a little boat going off into the mist. That was going to be us in a few minutes. Yes we got on our little boat and set off into the unknown. What an experience. Here is the river level view.

Horsehoe falls

Horsehoe falls

We got closer in and this is the edge of the falls.

Horseshoe falls from below

Horseshoe falls from below

After that the mist is too much to take good photos. What an experience it is. We were sat in this little boat in the middle of the mist with this great wall of water descending on us on all sides. It was like the parting of the Red Sea in a Cecil B De Mille epic I can tell you. I have never experienced anything so exciting and was the true highlight of the trip. Uncle Tache agreed and said that it was up there with seeing the curvature of the earth from seat 1A on Concorde. We just want to thank everyone for making it possible as we will always remember it.

After that it was back to the city. The next day it was time to come home once more. Once more nice Uncle Peter came to pick us up and it was off to the airport. We got on our plane and discovered that the First cabin was smaller than normal and only had 8 seats. We were on the 787 Dreamliner and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had a lot of attention from the lovely Emma and even had an offer of a trip to the cockpit. That man put his foot down at this point. He thought that a hungover Kiv and my wish to discuss the technicalities of flight and how we might get Boris Johnson into a permanent orbit might be a bit much at 06:15 in the morning and we were hustled off the plane. A shame but perhaps understandable. It was then a pleasant drive home and we were back almost exactly 3 hours from landing. Not bad at all. We then were able to present the Lads with their present. The rather lovely plastic cape that you wear whilst viewing the falls. As you can see they were thrilled.

That man went to Niagara Falls and all we got was this...

That man went to Niagara Falls and all we got was this…

All in all an excellent trip. We now have to acclimatise to being back but all of the washing going on around us is certainly helping. We have big news to share but that is going to have to wait for another day I think. Thank you to everyone for helping to make this a wonderful trip. We are doing something similar next year but on the west coast when we tackle Seattle and Vancouver. A lot will be happening before then though so stay tuned for more adventures.

Cliffiefest 2018

Hello there. I am back after a very eventful week. This is the first of a two part posting. That man can’t type very quickly so it gets tedious for us mere mortals telling him to go quicker. Hence we are splitting our adventure into two parts for administrative ease.

Our journey started with a very undignified beauty parade to select my travel companion to come along to Cliffiefest 2018. It was like “Britain’s Got Talent” but without Simon Cowell “encouraging” the freak show wannabes-sorry contestants. As you may recall we had an endless round of auditions for the role of travelling companion and quite frankly it got a bit tedious. However I stuck with it and eventually Kiv the Koala was chosen and he prepared for the journey. We were stuffed into a bag in that charming way that man has and we were off.

Ready to go

Ready to go

As you can see things were a bit cramped but we had high hopes. During the journey Kiv and I chatted away and we had a very pleasant journey. We eventually arrived and strolled along to the First wing at terminal 5 ready for our flight. Kiv got a bit over excited and demanded that he had his picture taken. This should have warned me that perhaps he wasn’t quite the laid back Koala that I had first selected as my companion. Anyway here is the picture.

We arrive at Heathrow

We arrive at Heathrow

We processed through the terminal and passed through security with ease. We soon arrived at the Concorde Room and we thought that you might like to see the lovely flower arrangement.

The Concorde Room

The Concorde Room

Well we strolled through the lounge and settled down.

Our intrepid travellers

Our intrepid travellers

A menu appeared and we sat to make our choice.

What shall we have?

What shall we have?

Well I thought that Kiv was a peaceful vegetarian who was teetotal. Wrong on all counts. Our lunch turned up and we were quite impressed.

Lunch arrives

Lunch arrives

It took about 30 seconds for Kiv to consume all of this. He then sat back and asked me what I was having. Blooming cheek!

Kiv is very full indeed

Kiv is very full indeed

This was the point when Kiv and I had a little “chat” about standards of behaviour and the excessive consumption of red meat and alcohol. Well it turned out that I should have been talking to that man rather than Kiv but we didn’t know that at this point. Anyway we arrived at the plane and after a little delay we finally found our seat and got comfortably settled.

We have finally made it!

We have finally made it!

At this point that man turned into a monster when he said the magic words “oh I will have a glass of the Californian red please”. Well he drank the whole bottle in a very short time and ate a massive meal. After that he settled down and waited for afternoon tea to arrive which it did in due course. Kiv also calmed down after all of that Champagne and I could relax.

We finally arrived at Chicago airport and we were very impressed with the arrivals process. We were though customs and out the airport in double quick time and a hot and sticky evening awaited us. We hopped into a cab and soon arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel on the magnificent mile. It was early to bed in our suite and a well deserved rest.

In the morning we had a chance to explore and prepare to meet Aunty Michelle and Aunty Jen. We strolled down to the Chicago Art Institute and they were there waiting for us and gave us a very warm welcome. It was lovely to spend some time in such a cultured environment with such knowledgeable companions. The first part of Cliffiefest went well and we had a lovely day. The highlight for us was to see “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper. The day flew by and it was soon time for an afternoon nap. We reconvened at a traditional Chicago sports bar where the biggest Chicago pizza imaginable arrived. It was delicious and everyone had a lovely evening. I think that Cliffiefest could be declared a massive success and we had a lovely time. Thank you to my American Aunties for a wonderful experience. It was truly wonderful and we must start planning for Cliffiefest 2019 before too long.

The next day we set off for a stroll through downtown. We really liked Chicago as it is big city architecture at its best. The buildings are truly massive and some of them quite outstanding. Our favourite was actually next to the hotel and was the Chicago Tribune building. It had a tower that was built in the style of a French Gothic cathedral and was spectacular. Later on we met up with Uncle Don and Aunty Tara for brunch which seemed to mainly consist of Bloody Marys. Then on to the river for an Architectural Foundation river tour. This was great as most of the best buildings are built round the riverside and we had a good view. Unfortunately the US equivalents of the Red Arrows were in town and the poor guide had to compete with them roaring overhead for much of the tour. It did add a certain something to the experience though. Thank you to Uncle Don and Aunty Tara for organising such a great experience. Then it was off to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. A massive meal soon appeared which was followed by a massive piece of Cheesecake. This was unfinished business from the last trip to Florida where that man claimed to be “owed” a cheesecake and Uncle Tache certainly delivered in style! Mumm! Here is a picture of some typical Chicago architecture to give you an idea of what we saw.

Chicago skyline

Chicago skyline

The next day it was a shared shuttle to the airport. We shared a cab with a lovely couple who we had a very interesting conversation with. We arrived back at the airport quite early and headed for the American Airlines Flagship lounge. This was quite an experience and a lot of Champagne and red wine was consumed. The flight was delayed by an hour but the party didn’t seem to mind too much after the second glass. Our flight to Toronto was called and we set off for the second half of our adventure.

I would just like to say thank you to everyone for making our stay such a lovely and special one. Don’t forget to tune in for the second half of our report which includes a truly awesome experience and an aviation first for that man and Uncle Tache.

A grand day out

Afternoon all. Welcome back.

Well it is amazing what that man will do when a freebie is on offer. A little while ago a flyer came through the front door from the local Parisian bus company. Now in these days of globalisation it is no longer surprising that we get our power from the frogs and the water from goodness only knows who. I was a bit surprised though that our local bus company was an offshoot from the Frog capital. I know that Poole has sometimes being called the Paris of the Jurassic coast and Sandbanks compared to St Tropez but quite frankly this is only ever said by people who have never actually visited the place. I mean to say I like Poole bus station as much as the next eagle but it isn’t exactly the left bank transported a bit further north now is it? Anyway off he set off with his partner in crime Uncle Tache and they ask for a cheap ticket on the bus. The bus speeds off and they are soon in Branksome and Parkstone and then on to Westbourne which is the Bohemian quarter of Bournemouth if you can imagine such a thing. Then it is on to Bournemouth itself and then on to Pokesdown, Boscombe and Christchurch where they got off the bus. They had a wander round the town which was very nice apparently. Then it is back on the bus to Bournemouth and a break of journey where they walked through the lower pleasure gardens to the sea. Needless to say they didn’t go on the Pier as it costs money but they enjoyed watching the people on the sand having a nice time. Then it is time to go back to Poole on the bus and a lovely walk through the park and along to the harbour side before having a well deserved cake at the local deli. All in all a good day out.

I don’t want to put a dampener on things in any way, shape or form but what is going on with Boris and his little monkey Rees-Mogg? Enough said I think apart from saying that I would rather look like a bank robber than Boris. Strange times indeed.

The new look Eyrie continues to amaze visitors when they come up and say hello. All are welcome at any time of day or night.

I am off to carry on considering who is coming with me to Cliffiefest this year. The transfer window might have closed but the bribery window is still very much open. just saying!

Domestic scenes

Good morning all. Yes this week we have gone all domestic. I thought that you might like an update on how things are going.

Well it is Sunday morning in this part of the world. The household is ticking over with each member of the team having a specific job to do. My crew and I are sat in the living room on the snuggler watching the world go by and chewing the fat. It is quite exciting as we have another international trip coming up and we need to decide which member of the crew will be accompanying me. Current favourite is Kiv the Kiwi Koala. He is small and has a nice personality but he can party until dawn if required so you can see why he might be a favourite in this respect. Anyway the hot spell continues and we are enjoying the breeze coming in from the garden and generally chilling.

On the next floor up we have Uncle Tache doing his thing. He has a feather duster with him so we are hoping that he is cleaning the bedroom wing. We have visitors this week and so we need to ensure that everything is sparkly clean. All of our bed spaces will be in use so that is quite a lot of work so it is good that we have an expert on the job.

Up in the Eyrie that man is slowly settling into his new office space. The advent of the shelving from Ikea has made a real difference and the Eyrie is looking good as you could see from my piccies last time. Things have been unpacked and tried in various locations and we are slowly getting there. A wild rumour is circulating that some cleaning might go on but we don’t believe that and are treating it with the contempt that it so richly deserves.

Later on the focus will turn to the basement-otherwise know as the Den. This is Uncle Tache’s space and has also come under attack recently as Ikea shelving has been purchased for it as well. This was put together yesterday and it looks really good. There are also some cupboards from his other home coming in and so things will get organised. It is looking increasingly good down there and will be ready for the winter season.

As you can see things are getting done in the Eyrie without any effort on my part so life is good. We all hope that you too are having a peaceful and relaxing Sunday whatever you are getting up to.

A new friend

Hello there. Well we have nearly made it to the end of July. The hot, hot weather has gone away for now and we have got something a bit windier and wetter which suits that man better.

We had a lovely weekend recently as our new friend Molly came to see us. She is a cutie as you can see from this picture.

A recent visitor

A recent visitor

Now I don’t want a big debate about the philosophical nature of reality (that man once got a degree in such “interesting” questions so he can ramble for Britain on such topics) but Molly was a “real” dog friend. She soon settled in was busy herding up the Pack from an early point in the visit. She was soon running round the house and made herself at home. Indeed she made herself so at home that she hopped into bed with that man and Uncle Tache and get comfy settled for quite some time one night. All in all we had a lovely time and she is welcome back any time that she fancies making the trip to come and see us.

That man has been making some improvements to the Eyrie. I know that my readers like behind the scenes gossip so I thought that you might like to see what things look like now. It is all quite civilised up here now you know. Thank you to Uncle Jerry for helping to put the furniture together and to Uncle Tache for organising everything.

The Eyrie

The Eyrie

The Eyrie

The Eyrie

Ah well it will be August tomorrow. Normally it is the official start of the silly season-not that you can tell the difference this year. I am off to luxuriate in the new levels of comfort now on offer in the Eyrie. Sheer luxury.

Hot and humid

Good morning. It is very hot and sunny here in Poole and there is a certain amount of bad temper going on. You have been warned.

Anyway to give you an idea of what is going on here that man was up at 04:30. He has got on with his domestic tasks in the cool of the morning. This has involved ironing, vacuuming and washing the kitchen floor. We are now in the Eyrie catching up on our correspondence waiting for the washing to be done. I have a feeling that it is going to be a long day one way or another.

On Sunday Uncle Tache got going with his new toy-a power washer. The courtyard looks great as we can now see the different colours of the paving stones. The downside is that everything looked a bit grubby as the whole process sent a lot of gunk everywhere. His legs went a lovely shade of black and he had to be hosed down afterwards. Where was that man in all of this I hear you ask. Easy he was safely in the kitchen “supervising” from a safe distance.

Our dynamic duo went to Dorchester on Saturday. Uncle Tache has his hair cut at a very trendy salon and that man goes along for the free cup of tea. Anyway they were strolling up the High Street and found a lovely shop. They went in and suddenly the Pack has expanded. We welcome Branksome and Boscombe. Boscombe is a lovely young pup about town and his big sister has come along to help Millicent the Alpaca keep order. Here is a photo of the pack settling in.

The expanded Pack

The expanded Pack

Time to go I think as other tasks seem to await us.