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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

 

 

Time for Welsh Cakes!

Heddiw yw Dydd Dewi Sant – nawddsant o Cymru. Felly, Ofelia yn gwneud Welsh cakes!

Today is St David’s Day, patron saint of Wales. So, Ofelia is making Welsh cakes!

Ofelia has flour, butter, sugar, dried fruit and an egg.

Mae gynnon nhw llawer o enwiau yn Cymraeg, fel pice bach, neu teisennau maen. Maen nhw’n gwneud ar radell, neu mewn padell ffrio.

They have lots of names in Welsh like “little pie” or “bakestone cakes”. They are made on a griddle, or in a frying pan.

Yn cyntaf, rhowch flawd a menyn mewn powlen.

First, put flour and butter in a bowl.

Ofelia has a bowl with flour and butter in

Rhwbiwch nhw gyda’i gilydd i wneud ‘briwsion bara” Mae’n flêr, felly Ofelia yn ofyn Mrs Human i helpu.

Rub them together to make ‘breadcrumbs” It’s messy, so Ofelia asks Mrs Human to help.

Ofelia has a bowl of rubbed flour and butter

Wedyn, ychwanegu siwgr a ffrwythau sych. Weithiau, Mrs Human yn gwneud nhw efo sglodion siocled yn lle

Then add sugar and dried fruit. Sometimes, Mrs Human makes them with chocolate chips instead.

Fruit and sugar is added to the bowl

Nesa, ychwanegu wy, a cymysgu i wneud toes. Os ti’n angen, adio tipyn bach o llaeth.

Next, add an egg, and mix to make a dough. If necessary, add a small amount of milk.

Ofelia stirs an egg into the mixOfelia has a ball of dough

Rhowch y padell ffri, neu radell, ar y cwcer i boethi. Ychwanegu tipyn bach iawn olew.

Place the frying pan, or griddle, on the cooker to heat. Add a very small amount of oil.

The pan is on the hob

Gallet ti rholiwch y toes a defnyddio torrwr, neu gwneud peli bach a fflatiwch nhw â dy dwylo

You could roll the dough and use a cutter, or make small balls and flatten them with your hands

Ofelia is cutting the dough into little balls

The balls are flattened into cakes.

Rhowch y cacennau yn y padell, a coginio ar dau neu dri munud a bob ochr

Put the cakes in the pan, and cook for two or three minutes on each side

Some of the cakes are in the pan

The cakes are turned over in the pan, showing their cooked sides

Wedyn, rhowch y cacennau ar rac, a taenellwch siwgr. A bwyta, efo panad.

Next, place the cakes on a rack, and sprinkle with sugar. And eat, with a cuppa.

The cakes are on a cooling tray

Ofelia looks at a full tray of cakes

Oh, bore da, Nano! Beth wyt ti’n meddwl am fy cacennau?

Oh, good morning, Nano! What do you think of my cakes?

ofelia talks to nano

Nano yn dweud “Ardderchog! Blasus iawn!”

Nano says “Excellent! Very tasty!”

Nano looks at the cakes

Felly, mae Ofelia a Nano yn dweud “Dydd gŵyl Dewi Sant Hapus! A mwynhewch eich Welsh Cakes!”

So Ofelia and Nano say “Happy Saint David’s Day! And enjoy your Welsh Cakes!”

Ofelia and Nano sit on a leek and face 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.

 

Happy New Year of the Ox!

Well here we are, it’s time to celebrate Chinese New Year again! We’re dressed up, and we’ve got all our decorations out.

All the vaarks are gathered in front of a painted bamboo backdrop, wearing chinese style jackets or hats.

First of all, we’re having our traditional Dragon Dance, as always! Look how it snakes about.

Some of the vaarks are under the body of a long Chinese dragon, snaking across the room

Oh Nano, are you afraid of the Dragon’s fierce head?

Nano looks up to the head of the dragon

No no no, says Nano, I’m fine. I’m just…. Inspecting the inside of Microvaark’s hat.

Nano is hiding under Micro’s Chinese hat.

Hello, Fury looks like she’s about to do something dangerous…. Ah, yes, it’s time for the firecrackers!

Fury is wearing ear defenders, eye protectors and has a fire extinguisher.

Ratvaark talks to Fury

Bang bang bang! Bangbangbangbangbangbang! Bangbangbang! Gosh these firecrackers are noisy!

The vaarks watch from behind a tape as Fury sets off a string of firecrackersA close up of Fury and the firecrackers – some sparkling, some smoking, some burnt at the edges.

Hold on a mo. Arnold normally watches out when we have fireworks. Where is he? And Ernest!

Ratvaark turns to talk to the rest of the vaarks.

Oh, yes Nano of course, it’s the Year of the Ox, that’s what they are sorting out. Yes, you go and get them now if you like.

Ratvaark talks to Nano

Here they are in the Pantomime Ox!

The vaarks look at a pantomime cow, we can see Arnold and Ernests bottoms sticking out below the costume.

Bernard has been reading up on it, and says the Ox is Diligent, Dependable, Strong and Determined. All very vaarkish qualities!

Bernard looks at the Ox.

Nano says, the Ox is certainly a fine way to travel!

Nano is sitting on top of the ox, holding the halter rope.

Well, after all the excitement, it’s time to sit down for our banquet. We’ll be having all sorts of tasty dishes, eaten with chopsticks, of course!

The vaarks are gathered around a table, with bowls, and chopsticks.

Nano can’t reach into a normal bowl, so we borrowed one from the dolls’ house for him. He says it’s might be small, but he’ll have seconds and thirdses!

Nano has a tiny blue and white pattern bowl and chopsticks.

So, a very Happy New Year to all our friends. Gong Hei Fat Choy!

Ratvaark faces the camera to wish everyone a happy new year.

 

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