On the hunt for chocolate!

Hooray, it’s Easter Day and you know what that means – our annual Easter Egg Hunt! Let’s see what we can find…

Esther went straight to the bookcase and looked for clues in the titles to find hers.

Esther looks at a yellow chocolate egg on a bookshelf beside a book called Hidden Figures.

Dim decided, of course, to follow the music, and found his on the bass guitar.

Dim is perched on the head of a bass guitar looking at an egg wedged between the tuning pegs

Matilda found one flowering on the Christmas Cactus!

Matilda is looking up at a pink foil covered egg among the leaves of the plant.

Fury discovered one being delivered to the car park.

Fury looks at an egg in the back of a toy tipper truck on a shelf of toy cars

Arnold was very surprised to find one in a truck with his name on!

Arnolds ears fly up in surprise as he looks at an egg sitting in a model railway truck with “Arnolds Sands” printed on the side.

Ofelia found one pretending to be real in the Egg Skelter

Ofelia looks at a foil egg sitting between real eggs on a rack.

Peggy spotted one among the chitting seed potatoes.

Peggy looks at an egg nestling among some chitting potatoes in an old egg box.

Hypno got quite dizzy looking for one in the washing machine, but he got it eventually, nice and clean!

Hypno looks through the door of a washing machine at clothes going round inside

Winston used his common sense, and went straight to the cupboard where the egg-cups live.

Winston finds an egg sitting in a wooden egg cup in a cupboard

Vincent knows the modern way of doing things, so he found his on-line!

Vincent has typed Easter Eggs into Google on a laptop

A foil covered egg has appeared on the keyboard.

Microvaark remembered having luck in the dolls house last year, so he went back, and found one sitting comfortably in the parlour.

Microvaark looks at an egg sitting in an armchair in a miniature parlour.

Gino scored a hit, and found his on the Battleships board.

Gino looks at a Battleships board with model ships and pegs in it, and an eggs sitting in the middle

I found one pretending to be Peggy, in her chair, and wearing her hat!

Ratvaark looks at an egg sitting in the little deckchair, with a straw hat on it.

Bernard went outside and found one pretending to be a strawberry!

Bernard looks at a pink egg among the leaves of a strawberry plant

Ernest spotted one on the island in the birdbath. Luckily, he could just reach it, with Bernard holding his tail to be safe.

Ernest looks at an egg sitting on a stone in the middle of a bird bath

Ernest reaches for the egg, with Bernard holding his tail

Well! Look at that pile! Haven’t we all done well!

All the vaarks are gathered around a big pile of the eggs they’ve found.

What’s that Micro? Oh! Yes. We haven’t heard from Nano yet…

Micro talks to Ratvaark

Oh Nano there you are, says Micro, Oh dear, haven’t you found an egg? Do you want to share mine?

Micro talks to Nano, who has hold of one end of a piece of string

Oh, it’s alright, says Nano, don’t worry. I’ve found something better!

The vaarks look astonished. The other end of the string Nano is holding is tied round a chocolate easter bunny

Happy Easter, says Nano. We hope you all enjoy your eggs!

Nano poses with his huge Easter bunny.

Not Cross Buns!

I came to see Mrs Human, and said I had noticed a lack of Hot Cross Buns today, and could she hurry up with them please.

Ratvaark looks at the camera

And she said, that because she’s on a diet, and Mr Human can’t eat them, there were no hot cross buns.

A close up of ratvaark

No. Hot. Cross. Buns.

An extreme close up of Ratvaark

Well, I’m not having that. So I went to Ofelia to ask if she could bake some. And she said she couldn’t because she hadn’t got any yeast. But maybe we could work something out…

Ratvaark talks to Ofelia

So we went hunting in the freezer and found some crumpets….

Ofelia and ratvaark find a pack of crumpets in the freezer

And then Ofelia found the spices she needed in the spice rack, and we rolled them to the chopping board.

Ofelia sits in a spice rack

They roll jars of spice across the worktop

Ofelia spread some butter on the defrosted crumpet.

Ofelia spreads butter on the crumpet

And we sprinkled on some cinnamon and mixed spice.

They sprinkle cinnamon from a spoon

They sprinkle mixed spice from a jar

And Ofelia poked dried fruit into some of the holes.

Ofelia sticks raisins from a little pile onto the crumpet

Then it went under the grill to melt the butter and spices together.

Ratvaark and ofelia watch the mini oven

Well, it smells very nice! But what about the cross?

The crumpet is brown on top

Ah, well done Ofelia! You don’t normally have icing on a hot cross bun, but the normal flour and water wouldn’t really work on this. Anyway. We like icing.

Ofelia has a tube of icing ready to pipe

There! It’s bit different, but it’s got all the right stuff in it! We are calling it a Hot Crosspet. I hope you have plenty of proper Hot Cross Buns!

Ratvaark and Ofelia show off the crumpet with a white cross iced on top

Sláinte!

Well, today is St Patrick’s Day. St Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and sold as a slave in Ireland. He escaped, but he went back to Ireland to preach Christianity. Which was quite a new thing back then.

Ratvaark is dressed in a robe as St Patrick, with a gold halo, preaching from a stage

He used the 3 leaves of the Shamrock plant to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people, and so people often wear a sprig of Shamrock to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Ratvaark is wearing a spring of shamrock with three leaves

There is also a legend that he commanded all the snakes to leave Ireland!

A snake is slithering towards Ratvaark. Arnold’s ears have flown up in surprise

And it’s true there are no native snakes in Ireland to this day – but in fact there never were, as they didn’t make it back to Ireland after the last Ice Age.

The snake is heading away, carrying a little bundle tied to a stick

Hold on, says Microvaark, here’s another snake!

Microvaark looks at a long blue snake in the grass

Oh! It’s not a snake, it’s Ernest’s snozzle! He’s fallen asleep!

The snake is revealed to be Ernest’s long snozzle as he lies asleep beside the stage

Ernest is very sorry to have fallen asleep, but he said the sermon was a bit long, and a bit boring in parts.

Ratvaark looks down at Ernest who looks sorry.

Never mind Ernest. Wake yourself up with a snack and a nice restorative pint of Guinness.

Ratvaark gives Ernest a biscuit and a glass of black with a white top on it.

In fact, let’s all have a little drink, and Peggy can entertain us with some Irish dancing.

There is a table of drinks and all the vaarks watch Peggy dance in a green and orange dress as Dim plays the fiddle

So, if you’re celebrating today, stay safe, and we wish you all Sláinte!, or “Health!”

Ratvaark addresses the camera

 

 

It’s Pancake Day again!

Well, it’s Shrove Tuesday, and you know what that means… Pancakes! I’m just looking up the recipe.

Ratvaark looks up a recipe for pancakes in a cookery book

I need milk, flour and an egg. All measured out neatly.

Ratvaark looks at a bowl of flour, milk in a jug and an egg.

Put them all in a bowl, and whisk together until there aren’t any lumps.

Ratvaark stands on the kettle to hold a whisk in the bowl

Then pour the batter into a jug, to make it easy to pour into the pan!

Ratvaark has a measuring jug with batter in it.

Now, carefully grease a frying pan with a little oil, and heat it up.

Ratvaark looks at a frying pan on the hob

When it’s hot, pour in enough batter to make a thin layer on the bottom of the pan, and let it cook. Now, I’m going to need some help…

Ratvaark looks at the pan with a layer of batter cooking in it.

Right then everybody. Grab the handle, and when I say so, flip the pan up to toss the pancake. Ready? One, two, three. FLIP!

All the vaarks are gathered along the handle of the pan holding on to it.

Wheeee! Up it goes! And… oh…

The vaarks are all looking up in the air.

Down it comes! Help! It’s gone all dark!

The pancake has landed over the heads of all the vaarks, except Nano and Micro.

What are we going to do, says Micro? Well, says Nano, there’s only one thing we can do…

Micro talks to Nano

We’ll have to eat them free!

Nano and Micro look at a bottle of lemon juice and a bag of sugar.

 

Super Bowl!

Winston just popped in to say it’s Super Bowl Day. What’s that? I asked. He says he doesn’t know, but maybe we should see if we can find our own Super Bowl? Well, why not, let’s have a look.

Ratvaark and Winston are talking

Hmm. It’s a bowl. It’s nice enough, but I don’t think it’s Super.

They look at a vaark scale sugar bowl

No, Winston, not that one.

They look up at a toilet bowl

No, this is just a cereal bowl.

They look at a small bowl with tubs of cereal in the background

Just bowls for mixing in.

they look at a stack of mixing bowls in a cupboard

Those are the bowls the Humans have their supper in. Supper bowls. Too many Ps.

They look at a stack of pasta dishes

What’s that Winston, you think you’ve found it?

Winston looks at a bowl, and we can see an S painted on the side

Ah. No. Nearly, but not quite.

The bowl is turned round to reveal the word Soup.

Well, I don’t know if we’re ever going to find one Winston.

Ratvaark and Winston talk to each other

Winston? What are you looking at behind me?

Winston is looking at something behind Ratvaark. We see the edge of a bowl

Well! That’s what I call a Superbowl! Hooray!

They look at a huge bowl, full of biscuits

Right, Winston, you go and fetch the clan. I’ll watch over the Superbowl.

Ratvaark tells Winston to go and fetch the others.

Nom nommmfffmfm nnffmmfmf.

Ratvaark is head down in the bowl of biscuits

A haggis huntin’ we will go!

Well, it is the 25th January, which is Burns’ Night! So Nano and I have put our kilts on, and are going on an expedition to hunt a haggis. Only, we’re not quite sure what a haggis actually is…

Ratvaark and Nano are wearing kilts and have ratvaark’s rucksack

Ernest says, we will probably need a big net to catch it in!

Ernest brings them a fishing net made from a piece of net curtain

Winston says, he’s heard the haggis lives in the water, so we might need a fishing rod.

Winston brings a fishing rod

Matilda thinks if we are going anywhere near the water, we must take a lifebelt, and Nano’s yacht!

Matilda is wearing an orange lifebelt and Nano sits in his half-walnut boat

Hypno thinks we might need to look far away, so he’s brought us a telescope to pack.

Nano looks through a telescope Hypno has brought

Microvaark thinks the haggis might be very small, so we’ll need a magnifying glass.

Nano is magnified through a magnifying glass Micro has brought.

Bernard says he thinks there will be a lot of thick undergrowth to get through, so he’s lending us his shears.

Bernard brings a pair of garden shears

Vincent says, how will we know where we’re going without a map? Just be careful opening it in the wind….

Vincent brings a folded map

Vincent has unfolded the map which is as big as himself.

Gino says there are mountains to scale, so we’ll need a rope and grappling hook.

 

Esther thinks it’s bound to rain, so we better pack a brolly

Esther holds a black umbrella

Arnold, who is always safety conscious, wonders if the haggis breathes fire? So we better take an extinguisher.

Arnold gives them a fire extinguisher

Peggy thinks it’s bound to be dark by the time we get there, so we better have a torch.

Peggy shines a mini torch onto Nano

Dim wonders if the haggis can be tamed with soothing music. Better pack the gramophone. Really? OK…

Dim brings them a brass model gramophone

Fury thinks the haggis will be very fierce, so we should take a big sword to protect ourselves.

Fury brings them a long sword shaped letter opener

Ofelia says we must be polite, so we should take offer the haggis a snack and a cup of tea.

Ofelia brings a teacup and saucer, and a wrapped cafe biscuit.

Well! That’s quite a lot of stuff to pack! I can fit a fair bit in my rucksack, but the rest… well, we’ll have to take the wheelbarrow!

Ratvaark looks at the big pile of items

Ratvaark has packed a lot into his rucksack, but the bigger items remain.

All the rest of the items are packed in the wheelbarrow and Ratvaark is carrying the rucksack

Well, off we go! Through dark forests and over rocky mountains we quest.

Ratvaark and Nano push the barrow though a forest

They push the barrow in front of a rocky backdrop

Well! It looks like we’re on the right track Nano!

Nano sits on Ratvaark’s nose to read a sign that says “Haggis” with an arrow pointing onwards

Oh! Here is is. It’s not fierce, or tiny, or a fish, or firebreathing. It’s just a sort of meat pudding!

Ratvaark and Nano look at a wrapped haggis

“The good news is”, says Nano, “we don’t have to share our biscuit with it!”

Ratvaark and Nano share the biscuit they packed.

Everyone is very pleased to see our haggis when we get it back. There’ll be plenty to go round!

All the vaarks are admiring the haggis

But having carried the rucksack and pushed the barrow all that way, I just want a lie down!

Ratvaark lies flat on the floor, tired out.

Advaark 2020 Day 24: Merry Christmas!

Well, it’s nearly Christmas! We’re all going to work together on a banner. Esther has started it, and we’re going to do a letter each.

The vaarks queue up to work on a piece of paper with “we wish you a” written at the top

So off we go, colouring letters alternately in red and green. M E R R

Dim writes an M

Matilda writes an E

Ratvaark writes an R

Ernest colours in another R

A Y from Bernard finishes off MERRY. Can you manage that pen Nano? Jolly good!

Bernard draws a Y

Nano starts a new word with a C

Fury says she’s looking at the queue while Micro works, and she thinks she’s spotted a potential problem. Arnold says it’s best not to mention it.

Fury talks to Arnold as Micro draws an H. Counting back in the queue it looks like Winston is going to get to write the S

Hypno and Vincent take their turns with R and I.

Hypno writes an R

Vincent writes an I

Ah! I see what Fury was worried about! It’s Winston’s turn, and it’s time for an S! But Nano says he knows Winston can do it if he tries.

Winston arrives at the banner to write an S

Nano looks up to Winston

Go on Winston. Take it steady… Think about it…. Nano says you’re doing fine!

Winston starts to write an S

Winston seems to be getting the S right

Hooray! He’s done it!

All the vaarks and peggy and Gino look at Winston

So, it’s just time to finish off the t, m, a and s of Christmas!

Ofelia writes T

Fury Writes M

Arnold Writes A

Esther finishes off with a second S

Fury asks Gino why he’s drawn a pair of eyes on the banner. They’re not eyes! They’re holly berries!

Fury talks to Gino who’s holding a red pen, and has drawn two circles on the banner

Peggy holds a green pen, having drawn holly leaves

And so there we are. We wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS! We know Christmas is a bit different this year for a lot of people, so whatever you are doing, have a safe and lovely day.

All the vaarks and Peggy and Gino stand behind the finished banner which reads “We wish you a Merry Christmas”

Advaark 2020 Day 23: Making wood work.

Fury and Bernard are going to have a go at some woodwork today! They’ve got Fury’s tools, and a selection of timber.

Fury and Bernard have tools and sticks of timber and a sheet of wood

Bernard is eyeing up this sheet of timber, I wonder what he’ll make?

Bernard looks at the sheet of wood

Fury is getting busy sawing up some sticks, she’s clearly got a project in mind.

Fury is sawing a stick with a big saw.

There! Fury has made some rustic crates – ideal for storing vegetables in, or to make up as a hamper maybe.

Fury has a couple of simple wooden crates.

And Bernard… Gosh! That chest of drawers is amazing. We never knew you were so talented Bernard!

Bernard has made a polished mahogany chest of drawers

Advaark 2020 Day 22: Let’s get weaving!

Today, Hypno and Ernest are going to do a bit of weaving today, in some nice Christmassy colours. They are starting with a piece of card that’s got notches cut in each end.

Hypno and Ernest have a piece of car with a zig zag cut into each end.

Hypno is stringing the loom, up and down, around the points. This is called the Warp! Don’t pull too hard Hypno, or you’ll warp the card!

Hypno and Ernest have a piece of car with a zig zag cut into each end.

Hypno threads the loom with white yarn

Now, Ernest is going to weave the colours in and out. This is called the Weft (you can remember because it goes from Weft to Right!). He’s threaded the yarn into a big bodkin to make it easier.

Ernest has a needle threaded with red yarn

Ernest is pushing the blunt end through first, so as not to split the warp threads.

Ernest starts to weave the red yarn in and out

Oh dear! Ernest got a bit carried away there. Better extract your snozzle before you do any more.

Ernest pushes the needle through and starts to get his snozzle caught in the threads.

Ernest’s snozzle is completely woven into the warp threads

Well, now, that’s coming on nicely. When Ernest thinks he done enough, it’s time to unhook the warp and tie the threads together in pairs.

Ernest has woven coloured stripes in red white and green

Ernest shows the finished piece to Hypno.

Now all Ernest needs to do is glue a piece of felt on the back, to hide all the loose ends and look! He’s made a lovely festive coaster!

Ernest applies glue to a piece of felt.

Ernest shows off the weaving as a coaster, with a cup and saucer on it.

Advaark 2020 Day 21: Silly string!

We’re going to have a go at some string art today! We’ve got string, pins, and a template. We’re going to stick them into a piece of balsa, painted black. You could use corrugated card, or polystyrene.

Fury, Ratvaark and Nano have gathered all the stuff together.

First thing to do is to lay the template on the wood, and put pins, or nails, in round the edge. We’re putting one at each corner and a few inbetween. Fury’s got her big hammer to tap them in with.

The vaarks lay a paper star on the wood and put pins at the corners

Fury taps the pins in with her big hammer

Now, Nano is going to take the thread and go for a walk in and out of the pins! He goes all round the edge first, then back and forwards to fill in with a random pattern.

Nano has the gold thread round his middle and is taking it round the pinsThe thread has gone all round the edge of the star

Nano has filled in the shape with random threads.

Now Nano, you can pick it up. What? It’s too heavy? It can’t be, it’s only balsa!

Fury and Ratvaark look on as Nano tries to lift the piece.

Oh Fury! I think you’ve nailed it to the floor!

Ratvaark looks at Fury