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The egg search is on!

Hello friends! Our humans are still very busy, but we persuaded them to let us have an Easter Egg Hunt, so let’s see what we find! Ofelia has sniffed out an egg in the spice rack.

Ofelia looks at a small foil wrapped egg nestled between jars on a spice rack

Nano went hunting in the Roman building model that the humans have been working on, and found an egg in the colonnade.

Nano looks at a 100th scale model of a Roman building, and sees an egg tucked in behind a row of columns.

Arnold was doing his routine fire extinguisher check, when he found his egg. And the fire extinguisher is fine, so that’s good.

Arnold looks at an egg balanced on the pin of a fire extinguisher mounted on the wall

Bernard went out the garden and found one, just in thyme!

Bernard looks at an egg nestled in a clump of golden thyme in the herb garden

Fury, of course, was in the workshop, and was lucky to find one on a chair in for repair. No need for power tools to get that out!

Fury, wearing a t-shirt that says “Girls with drills”, looks at an egg sitting in a hole in a chair based, where a leg has been removed. A cordless drill is beside the chair.

Hypno also went gardening, but in the Alpines window box, where he found an egg pretending to be a flower on a saxifrage. How pretty!

Hypno sits in a window box with rocks and gravel and alpine plants, and looks at a pink foil egg among the pink flowers of a little plant.

Esther looked hard in the pantry, and eventually spotted an egg, hiding in with the cereal.

Esther looks into a clear tub of cereal with an egg sitting on top of the contents

Vincent went fishing for his egg, behind the ornament on top of the microwave!

Vincent has a fishing rod, and stands in front of an ornament with a shoal of silvery fish. The egg is just visible behind the fish.

Dim decided to go and ask the Old Toys for help, and sure enough, Lucy Rabbit had an egg in her apron pocket.

Dim looks at a row of old teddies and a stuffed rabbit. The rabbit wears a dress and apron, and has an egg in the apron pocket.

Peggy spotted an Easter egg in the Christmas cactus in the bathroom.

Peggy is looking at an egg nestled among the leaves of a Christmas cactus.

Winston went to the Kitchen Drawer Full of Useful Things, and sure enough, he found an egg there.

Winston peers down from the worktop into a drawer full of plasters, batteries, an oven glove and measuring spoons. An egg sits in a measuring cup.

Being Italian, Gino was delighted to find his egg in the pasta cupboard. It even matches his jacket!

Gino looks at an egg sitting on a packet of pasta. The foil is pink with yellow spots, matching Gino’s red top with yellow dots for buttons.

Microvaark remembered that bookcases are good places to look, and he was rewarded with an egg, and a lot of information!

Microvaark is on a bookshelf, where an egg sits among reference books on sheet metal work and various types of vehicle.

Ernest thought he’d found a huge egg, but then he realised he was seeing it through the desk top magnifier in the Miniatures workshop.

Ernest sits on a large magnifier lens mounted above a desk, looking down through the lens at an egg.

Matilda rooted about in the fridge door, and found her egg, nicely chilled.

Matilda looks in the fridge, and finds an egg next to a bottle of Root Beer.

So, everyone has gathered back in the kitchen to show off their eggs. But hang on….

All the vaarks are on the kitchen worktop, with a pile of colourful eggs. Ratvaark is to one side, looking at them.

I haven’t found an egg! I’ve looked and looked, but no luck!

Ratvaark looks downhearted, talking to Nano.

Suddenly, Nano shouted “DUCK!”

A close up of Nano in front of the pile of eggs.

So we ducked!

All the vaarks are lying on the worktop, having ducked in a hurry

Oh! Oh, I see. He meant “There’s a duck!” Hello!

The vaarks look at a soft toy duck, who is wearing a hat that looks like a fried egg, with a blue bow.

And look! He’s brought me an egg! How kind. Thank you!

The duck presents Ratvaark with a foiled wrapped egg.

So we’re all very happy! We’ve got lots of chocolate to share, and we’ve had fun, and made a new friend!

All the vaarks, and the duck, pose with their eggs.

Nano says, Happy Easter everyone!

A close up of Nano, sitting on top of an egg wrapped in yellow foil with green spots.

Tiger Time!

Well, although the humans are very busy, they said we could have a party to celebrate Chinese New Year. So we’re going to have a feast!

The vaarks are gathered around a long table, with bowls and chopsticks and bottles of soy sauce. In the background are Chinese painted bamboo mats, a dragon lantern, a fan and a model junk.

Ah, here’s Ofelia, with our special Chow Mein! It smells delicious, we can’t wait to tuck in.

Ofelia has brought a big silver dish of cooked noodles to the table and all the vaarks look on expectantly.

So anyway, says Nano, which animal is represented this year? Bernard says, it’s the Year of the Tiger. Isn’t that dangerous? Says Nano. No, says Bernard, there aren’t any tigers loose in Salford.

Nano, sitting on the table, talks to Bernard

But… We can all hear something. A sort of roaring noise…

All the vaarks are looking off to the left


All the vaarks are scampering off to the right. The noodle bowls, chopsticks and soy sauce bottles are scattered across the table.

Good Grief, it’s a tiger, it’s huge! And it’s got it’s eye on our noodles! It’s going to eat the lot. Hang on. Where’s Nano!!

A stuffed toy tiger, much bigger than the vaarks, has appeared from the left. He looks at the big bowl of noodles, spilt on the floor.

The tiger is tucking into the noodles

Oh, there he is, hiding under a noodle bowl. He’s got his portion, and he’s not going to let any tiger get in his way.

One of the upturned noodle bowls on the table has been lifted up a little, to reveal Nano hiding underneath, with some tiny scraps of noodle.

Happy New Year everyone, he says. Gong Hei Fat Choy!

A close up of Nano under a noodle bowl with his noodles.

Poop Log!

So, it is Christmas Eve at last! We have saved the oddest tradition for last. Come to Spain, where they have the Tio de Nadal, or Christmas log.

Ratvaark talks to us in front of a scene in the parlour. Vincent and Micro are looking at a log in the fireplace.

From early December, the children of the house are encouraged to look after the log and give it little titbits to eat, in the hope that it will poop presents at Christmas!

Vincent and Micro look at the log, which has a smiling face painted on the end.

On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, the family hit the log with sticks, and sing a song, ordering it to poop! We think hitting it seems a bit cruel, so we’re doing it gently…

Vincent and Micro hit the log with little sticks.

Then, a blanket is placed over the log, and we must all go out of the room to pray for gifts… Some say this is when the parents make the magic happen.

Vincent places a crochet blanket over the log in the fireplace.

Look! Look! It’s worked. The log has pooped loads of chocolate coins! Who would have believed it!?

Vincent and Micro look at the log, which is now surrounded by gold chocolate coins.

So, it’s time for the last, big window. And of course, it’s a big jolly Father Christmas with a sack of presents!

Ratvaark looks at the final picture in the Calendar, a big Santa Claus.

And so, it’s time for us to take a break and enjoy our Christmas. A very Merry Christmas to you all, and may you have plenty to eat, and lots of fun, and, most important of all, many friends!

The vaarks are all gathered behind a sign reading We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

Norway’s clean sweep

We’re getting close to Christmas now. In Norway, the 23rd of December is “Little Christmas”, a chance to decorate the tree, and maybe give an early gift. So why have we got brooms?

Ernest, Winston and Ratvaark are in the parlour with a couple of brooms

Well, in Norway they hide all the brooms in the house, so that witches can’t steal them to ride! Good idea Ernest, put them behind the calendar.

Ernest tucks the brooms away behind the advent calendar.

Hello Esther. What’s that? You need to do some cleaning? No, no, we don’t know where the broom is, sorry!

Esther has arrived, carrying a dustpan, looking for a broom.

What’s the picture today Ernest? Ooh, a jockey on a horse.

Ernest looks at a picture of a jockey on a horse

A Welcome in Wales

Today, we’re staying quite close to home, with a tradition from Wales. It’s the Mari Lwyd! This strange looking thing is a horse skull, carried on a pole by someone hidden under a sheet.

Ratvaark talks us

Ratvaark is in the parlour, with Matilda, Fury and Winston who have brought the Mari Lwyd, a horse skull on top of a sheet worn by hypnovaark

The idea is that the people carrying the Mari Lwyd call at all the houses and each time they sing songs asking to come in. And the householders sing songs saying why they can’t come in, like a competition.

Ratvaark is talking to the Mari Lwyd

In the end, of course, the Mari Lwyd and everyone with it does come in, and we all have a festive drink!

Everyone is gathered around a table set out with bottles of drinks

While you’re here Fury, what’s on the calender? Oh, a sort of Christmas elf!

Fury looks at a picture of an elf on the calendar

Get your skates on.

Hello you two, where are you off to? Caracas in Venezuela? Um… Why?

Ratvaark talks to Fury and Winston who are sitting on skateboards

Oh! Apparently, in Caracas, a funny tradition has developed, where people roller skate to Church for Christmas services! The city even closes roads for them. What will they think of next!

Fury and Winston explain, with their skateboards flipped up.

What’s that squeaky noise? Oh, it’s Nano. He says he hasn’t got a roller skate, but can he come along on his tricycle? Well, of course!

The vaarks are joined by Nano on a tiny yellow tricycle.

Before you go Nano, have a look for today’s picture. Oh look, not a skate, but a sledge!

Nano looks at a picture of a sled on the advent calendar

Italy’s Old Lady

Gino is telling us about a Christmas story from Italy. They tell of an old woman called Befana, who flies on a broomstick. Some say she is looking for the baby Jesus, but she stops at every house where children hang out stockings.

Ratvaark, Vincent, Micro and Nano sit listening to Gino telling them a story.

Oh! Here she is! Now. I wonder if she thinks we’ve been good this year, or naughty. If we’re good, we get presents, if we’re naughty we get a piece of coal, or a stick.

Gino and the vaarks look at Peggy, who is dressed in a rough cape, and carrying a broomstick

Phew! I think we’ve been good. Thank you Befana!

A pile of brightly wrapped presents have appeared.

So, what’s the picture today. Ah, it’s the Man in the Moon!

Ratvaark looks at a picture of a moon face wearing a nightcap.

In a pickle!

Germany today and a funny tradition to do with Christmas tree decorations. The idea is that a decoration shaped like a pickled gherkin is hidden on the tree, and then everyone tries to find it!

Ratvaark looks at the Christmas tree which has garlands and baubles on it, and a pickle hidden among them,

There’s a prize for finding the pickle, so Winston and Vincent are very keen, but the telescope isn’t helping.

Winston is looking at the tree through a telescope balanced on Vincent’s head

Gino is going in close with his magnifying glass, but he can’t find it either.

Gino is inspecting the tree with a magnifying glass.

Nano and Dim have teamed up, to take advantage of Nano’s sharp eyes… and yes, there it is! And what a great prize, a big golden coin!

Nano sits on Dim’s head and spots the pickle decoration on the tree

Nano and Dim hold a big golden chocolate coin

Never mind Winston, you have a look for today’s picture. Ah, a little toy truck, lovely!

Winston looks at a picture of a toy truck on the calender

We’re off to the Christmas Market!

Well, hello everyone! Today is a special day, we’ve all come out to the Vaark Christmas Market! Look, we’ve got all our favourite stalls!

Ratvaark is wearing a Santa outfit, and speaking to us in front of a market sceneWe see the vaark Christmas market, with a tree, stalls and fairy lights.

Oh, there’s a queue forming at Santa’s Grotto, but Arnold’s keeping everything in order. I better go and take my place before everyone gets too restive!

A queue of vaarks line up outside a grotto labelled North Pole, where Arnold guards the door

Ratvaark takes his place at the entrance to the grotto

The Donut stall is popular as ever, thanks to some new recipes we got from @52_square. Don’t they look tasty!

Bernard, Fury and Dim look at plates of doughnuts on the stall including some fancy decorated ones

Ernest always comes to the market to get his wrapping paper from the Decorations stall, he says it’s the best selection.

Ernest looks at a tub with rolls of fancy wrapping paper in it

Vincent fancies some paper chains this year, and he’s asking Ernest to help him get them out. Well, that IS a long one! Better put it in Ernest’s trolley to keep it safe.

Vincent has a loop of paper chain over his nose

Vincent and Ernest hold up a long length of paper chain

Ernest has his tartan shopping trolley filled with the paper chain

Matilda is very taken by Winston’s golden bells, and decides to buy one. Winston says it’s Guaranteed, and if there are any problems, just give him a ring! Ha ha!

Matilda looks at some golden bells hanging on Winston’s Christmas Tat stall

Winston talks to Matilda, who has a golden bell in her bag.

Esther always likes to visit Peggy’s Gluhwein stall. This year, Peggy has got bottles of mulled wine and spiced fruit juice to take away. So Esther takes one of each, for later.

Esther talks to Peggy who has a stall with a big jug of gluhwein

Esther looks at some little wine bottles on the stall

Esther has a couple of bottles tucked into her knitted shell

Of course, the Festive Snacks stall is always VERY popular. Hypno has brought a big bag specially to stock up. Just fill the bag please, he asks Ofelia. It’s quite heavy!

Hypno, wearing a rucksack, looks at a stall with nuts, Smarties and gold and silver chocolate coins.

Hypno holds the bag open, and it’s full of chocolate coins and smarties

Now, Gino is very excited. He tells Arnold that his Uncle Giuseppe is coming to visit from Italy, and has booked a pitch at the market.

Gino talks to Arnold

Oh, says Arnold, is that him arriving now? Yes, yes it is! Buongiorno, Uncle Giuseppe! We’re all gathering round to say hello to our visitor.

Arnold and Gino look off to one side

Gino greets another wooden doll, who carries a tray of alarm clocks and cuckoo clocks.

All the vaarks gather round the new doll.

I’m not sure Winston is very happy. He’s had a look at Uncle Giuseppe’s stock, and it’s a bit like his own.

Winston looks at the camera

Winston looks at the cuckoo clocks hanging from Giuseppe’s tray

Winston looks at his own suitcase of watches

Oh dear. Winston is putting in a complaint! He says Uncle Giuseppe is muscling in on his business!

Winston confronts Giuseppe

But Microvaark has an idea. Why doesn’t Winston contract his clock business to Giuseppe, and they can share the profits. Like a franchise? It would give Winston more room for other stock.

Microvaark talks to Winston

Well, that does seem like a good idea. Giuseppe can take up his place, and Winston can put some new stock out. Thank goodness!

Giuseppe is selling his clocks, with Winston’s suitcase open at his feet

Winston places a toy yacht and some little china statues on his stall

Ah, good, Matilda has got her roast chestnut stall fired up! We all like a hot snack.

Matilda pushes a metal trolley, with Roast Chestnuts written on the side, and the vaarks queue up

Oh, I can hear something! Yes, it’s the brass band come to play carols and the like. Such a lovely warm sound, a brass band.

A scene of the whole market, with Ernest, Winston and Bernard in the middle in uniforms, playing instruments

Ernest plays a trombone, Winston plays a trumpet and Bernard plays a French horn

Nano has joined them, while they play “The Little Drummer Boy”. Oh dear! Watch out Nano! Winston, maybe you should point your trumpet the other way, you blew Nano off his drum!

Nano, wearing a tiny red jumper with a star on it, sitting on a red and gold drum, with Winston behind him.

Nano has been blown off the drum by Winston’s trumpet.

Nano is back on the drum, with Winston facing away this time

And now Microvaark is going to sing for us. He’s got a beautiful clear voice.

Microvaark is wearing a red chorister’s coat and white ruff.

A close up of micro

Hello Ofelia. What’s that? You’ve got an extra treat for us? Oh my! What a big mince pie!

Ofelia talks to the vaarks

The vaarks cluster round a mince pie placed on a china plate on a stand

Nano says he especially likes it, as it’s got a star in the middle, just like his jumper!

Nano sits on the pie, which has an embossed pattern with a star in the middle

Well, I think we better tuck into this pie while it’s warm! If you have a day at the market, I hope you enjoy it. And if you don’t, you are welcome to enjoy ours!

Ratvaark talks to us as the vaarks crowd round the pie.

Sparkling fun!

In El Salvador, they like to celebrate Christmas with fireworks! We have decided to have some safe indoor fireworks. Arnold has laid out a special fireproof mat to protect the carpet. Look at the Roman Candles!

The vaarks are lined up watching a display of three little fireworks shooting sparks.

Oooh, aaah, look how pretty this one is!

Ratvaark looks at a roman candle sending up sparks

We’ve got sparklers too! Winston and Vincent like to make swirly patterns, but Fury always shows off and writes her name!

Winston and Vincent hold sparklers and swirly them in spirals

Fury writes her name with her golden sparkler

What’s in the window today Esther? Ah, a little church!

Esther looks at a picture of a little church.