Dim and Matilda’s Big Move!

Hello, Matilda and Dim look smart. I wonder if they have a Valentine’s date planned? Matilda is fussing over Dim’s tie being straight, so it must be quite important.

I wonder why she’s taking all that paperwork in her handbag.

Matilda has papers in her bag, with Statement written at the top

Oh! They’ve come to see Bernard at the bank. Matilda’s a bit surprised he’s not in a suit, but he says it’s Dress Down Friday.

So, he’s looking carefully at all the bank statements and things she’s brought.

Bernard looks at the statements

What’s this, a big form to fill in? Oh my goodness, they’re applying for a mortgage!

It takes ages to fill the form in, and then Bernard has to go over the figures carefully.

He’s delighted to say they are approved! They thank him very much, and now they have to go off to another appointment…

A viewing! The place looks alright from the outside as they wait for the estate agent. Ah, here he is…

It’s Compact and Bijou, according to the agent. They make sure they have a good look around. It’s a bit grubby in places, but they can work on that.

So they whisper between themselves for a bit… and they’ll take it!

So while the agent adjusts the sign, Matilda takes the key. And Dim says he has a perfect keyring for it.

The key is now attached to a heart shaped keyring, as Dim and Matilda hug each other.

Chinese Burns!

Tonight is a special night – it is Chinese New Year and also Burns Night! So, we have decided to have a Chinese Burns Night.

Ratvaark and friends are gathered in a room with Chinese décor. Ratvaark wears a kilt, the others wear Chinese outfits

Ow! No Ernest, not that sort of Chinese burn! We are going to celebrate Robert Burns, with a Chinese twist. No! Don’t twist my snozzle again!

Ernest twists Ratvaark’s snozzle in a Chinese Burn

This year is especially exciting for me, as the new Chinese year is the Year of the Rat! According to tradition, Rats are clever, quick thinkers.

Ratvaark wears glasses and stands in front of a blackboard in which is written E = MC squared

Rats are also content with a quiet easy life.

Ratvaark sits at a table with a cup of tea and a sodoku puzzle

Rats are very fond of saving and hoarding!

Ratvaark has a shopping trolley full of various biscuits.

And the best thing is, that Rats are liked by all!

Ratvaark is surrounded by all his friends

So, let’s get down to the festivities. I am in my kilt of course. Oh hello Nano, what’s did you say? You’ve got a kilt too? Let’s have a look. That’s super!

First, we have our Chinese dragon dance. Fury says she’s upgraded the dragon head this year, I wonder what that means.

Arnold faces the Chinese dragon, whose long body is supported by various vaarks

Oh! Lawks! Thank goodness Arnold had his extinguisher to hand!

Now for a Scottish touch, Peggy treats us to a display of Scottish sword dancing. Mind your feet!

Peggy dances on crossed swords, as Dim plays the accordion

Back to China for a string of bangers! Ernest is taking care to light them safely, and protect his hearing!

Ernest wears ear defenders and holds a long taper to light a string of bangers.

And for the finale, of course, Dim pipes in the Haggis. And Nano has volunteered to read the Address to the Haggis.

The vaarks gather around a willow pattern plate on which a haggis sits. Dim plays the bagpipes, and Nano sits on the haggis

“Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!”

A close up of Dim and Nano on the haggis

And now we’re off to enjoy our haggis neeps and tatties. We hope you do too!

Advaark Day 23

Well, it’s time to go out and harvest the sprouts for Christmas dinner! Arnold and Hypno have taken the trolley to carry them in.

Hypno and Arnold have brought the little supermarket trolley and ate looking at a stalk of sprouts growing like a tree.

The lowest ones are easy – Hypno cuts them off with an axe, and Arnold stacks them in the trolley.

It’s a bit harder as they get further up, but Arnold has has brought the tree saw, so it’s alright.

Arnold reaches up with the long saw to saw a sprout off

But now what are they going to do? The little ones are the best, but they are well out of reach!

Arnold and Hypno look up and all the remaining sprouts are out of reach

So they give Fury a call, and she says she’ll come right over. She says she knows what to do, she’s seen it in films.

Arnold and Hypno talk to Fury, who has brought a hatchet and a coil of rope

Blimey, she was up that like a monkey up a palm tree! Her hatchet is making short work of the job!

Fury has climbed the tree and is hanging in a loop of rope as Arnold and Hypno look on.

Fury chops a sprout off with her hatchet

“You might want hard hats on!” she shouts down to Hypno and Arnold. I think she’s right!

Arnold and Hypno wear helmets as Fury throws the sprouts down

Advaark Day 22

It’s party time! We’ve got a nice big buffet to enjoy and we’re going to have a few games!

The vaarks gather in their room, which is laid out with a buffet on a table. The vaarks gather in their room, which is laid out with a buffet on a table.

Gino is manning the gramophone, and making sure he doesn’t look, because we’re playing musical chairs! Round and round we go, and there’s one less chair than there are players…

And then the music stops and we all try to sit down! Bad luck this time Fury, you’re out!

When they sit down, Fury is left without a chair,

It’s down to the last two! Round and round they go, until… Micro is the winner! Well done!

Now it’s time for Blind Man’s Buff. Peggy is starting, so she’s got the blindfold on. Who will she catch…?

Peggy wears a blindfold as the vaarks hang around her

Oh, she got me! My turn next. I think we’re going to be playing for a long time! I hope you’ve enjoyed any parties you’ve been to!

Peggy grabs ratvaark

Advaark Day 20

Bernard and Ofelia are very pleased, they’ve found mince pies that Mr Human can eat. The are gluten and dairy free! Let’s see what they are like inside.

What! It seems that they are not only gluten and dairy free but mincemeat free too! What’s happened!

When a bit of the lid is removed the pie is found to be empty

Hang on, says Bernard there’s a hole in the back of this one…

Bernard looks round the back of the pie where there is a hole cut in the pastry

Nano! Well, says Nano, I like the mincemeat best of all!

Nano stands by the hole in the back with a spoon loaded with mincement



Advaark Day 13

Well, today’s the day we’re having our Christmas Market! So many stalls to look round!

The vaark christmas market is set up, with little cabins for stalls, and all the vaarks wearing scarves or sweaters are mingling

There’s Winston’s Emporium, where you can buy all sorts of gifts. Ernest is always keen to see what new stock Winston has, although, no, he doesn’t need a clock thankyou.

Ofelia is running the food stall this year, with all sorts of treats! Micro and Nano can hardly choose! They do like the look of the Smarties, so colourful. I say you can’t beat a nice big chocolate coin.

Ratvaark buys a large chocolate coin from ofelia

Peggy is all set up to serve Gluhwein and other nice hot drinks. You need a hot drink to keep you warm at a market like this.

Esther talks to Peggy who is running a stall selling mulled wine with barstools set up at a counter

Ah Hypno, you’ve got loads of decorations this year, are those the stockings Peggy made? Very good! And here’s Ernest to stock up on wrapping paper and a wreath.

We’ve got live music this year – well, it’s Dim, busking. I think he’s doing quite well. The accordion adds a lovely continental touch!

Dim is playing an accordion with a hat at his feet with coins in it.

I see the Hot Drink stall is busy! It’s a good opportunity to have a sit down and a rest. Shopping can be very tiring!

Ernest and Nano are at the Gluhwein stall, Nano is sitting on one of the bar stools

Ah, I think Dim has finished playing now, I wonder what he’s going to spend his hatful of coins on? Oh, I see. I think that’s Matilda’s present.

Ernest thinks he’s got everything now, but he’s wondering if Ofelia has any special treats he might want. She says she has just the thing for him. Oh! Oh yes, if anyone can eat a Curly Wurly it’s Ernest!

And now, it’s getting dusk, so it’s time for Arnold to do the big Switch-On. There, aren’t the lights pretty! We’re going to enjoy shopping well into the evening!

The vaarks mingle in a dusk scene with the lights on

Advaark Day 12

Today we present our classic Nativity scene. Here the angel Gabriel comes to see the baby Jesus, as Mary and Joseph look on.

Ofelia and Vincent are dressed as Mary and Joseph, Micro is wrapped in white in the crib and Matilda is an angel in white with gold wings and halo

Oh, here are the shepherds, with their flock! Hello Nano, are you a very small shepherd? What’s that? Oh, I see. You’re a flea on a sheep.

And finally, the Three Kings arrive with gifts for the baby. But how did they find the right place? Oh, they followed the glittery star!