Travels inspired by the Wombles

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Crossing Pelicans on Kangaroo Island

As part of our Adelaide trip, we spent two nights on nearby Kangaroo Island. Despite its name, the island doesn't just host kangaroos.  Among its other inhabitants are Australian pelicans and, one wet, windy and cold evening, we got to see quite a few of them, courtesy of John (shown below).  While treating us to the sight of pelicans (and some seagulls) trying to get hold of the fish he had brought with us, John entertained the crowd with various remarks, some contentious, others humorous, often both.  Among his proclamations:
'All a man needs is a boat and a wife.' (note the order of priority there...)
'A pelican once consumed a chihuahua which should earn it a place in history and our gratitude.'
And most crucially: 'For US and particularly Texan visitors, the Australian pelican is the world's largest and best-looking pelican.'


Monday, 21 July 2014

Wombles Down Under!

It's been a while since we've been able to take one of our Wombles to a place with a Womble-related name. But we've put that right this month, with a trip to Adelaide in Australia.

Miss Adelaide doesn't appear in the 1970s TV animations and (if I recall right) isn't in many of the books much. She is in charge of the Womble kindergarten.  Sadly I couldn't acquire a Miss Adelaide by hook or by crook, so Wellington came with us.  After all, there's a Wellington in New Zealand which is not far from Adelaide!  I'll be posting some updates over the next few weeks about our adventures in Adelaide and on nearby Kangaroo Island.  Wellington didn't join us for all of the outings - if the truth be told, he was a bit jetlagged, and who could blame him?  But he was pleased to get a chance at plane-spotting at the Aviation Museum in Port Adelaide:

The Museum has a number of exhibits including some real or replica planes from World War II and the Vietnam War.  There is a serious purpose, of course, with one panel of explanatory text saying: 'OBSERVE AND RESPECT'.  But we also saw an 80% scale replica of the Red Baron's machine, with a slightly unlikely pilot... Snoopy!  In the interests of world peace and understanding, we managed to avert a Snoopy-Wellington dogfight...

Sunday, 13 April 2014

It's cold in the Cairngorms...

Cairngorm in the Cairngorms
While one of the best-known Wombles has Scottish links - step forward, Tobermory - there is another one whom fans of the books and TV series might remember.  Cairngorm McWomble the Terrible once came down to Wimbledon, causing chaos (and making quite a lot of noise).  I had a chance to return the favour recently and pay a brief visit to Cairngorm's home patch.  This involved a train from London to Edinburgh; a dash from the station to my Edinburgh hotel where I would later return for the night; and a dash back to the station for another two hours on the train up to Blair Atholl, where the station has been awarded 'Bronze Tidy Station Standard' by Keep Scotland Beautiful.  The waiting room certainly had no rubbish.  But that might have been because it also had no door, enabling any rubbish to be blown away...  There is a small but twee gift shop, unoccupied at the time of my arrival but with a sign: 'Winter opening - I may not always be here at said times, but if you are passing and something catches your eye, please call [number] for assistance'.
My visit was to nearby Blair Castle - an extraordinary place of which more, perhaps, another time - and, as it was early spring in Scotland, there was a distinct chill in the air.  Added to which, Edinburgh is always cold whenever I visit that fair city.  It has many virtues, but a warm climate is not one of them.  Still, Cairngorm got a day out, which was just as well as he'd only have spent the rest of the year - and probably longer - complaining if he hadn't travelled with me.