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Winston’s on the up!

So after all the excitement yesterday, I was up early, but Winston had already got up and gone out according to Vincent. He said something about suitable attire. Oh, here he comes now!

I say! A camel coat! Winston says all the best legit businessvaarks have camel coats. And now he’s going to be moving in those circles, he’ll need it. I wonder what his big plan is!? He says we’ll have to wait and see…

Winston enters wearing a camel coloured coat like the sort worn by salesmen.

A close up of Winston in his coat

 

Going, going, gone!

Well. You remember that urn Winston got in a job lot, and took to the museum and it turned out to be really old and valuable? Well, we’ve come to see it auctioned! Turns out Arnold has a job as security at the auction house.

The vaarks have gathered in a panelled room with a podium for an auction

The auctioneer has started. There are a few lots to go before the Urn so we’ll just sit and enjoy watching the auction.

The auctioneer stands behind a podium, marked “Vaarkebys”. He wears glasses and has a gavel and a phone.

The first lot is this Landscape, in pencils. The auctioneer opens the bidding at £1000!

The first lot, a picture goes on a plinth beside the auctioneer. Arnold stands guard.

“Are you bidding sir?” “No! Says Arnold, I’m just amazed at the value!”

Arnold’s ears fly up in surprise and the auctioneer looks at him

Ofelia suggests that Arnold wear his Easter bonnet to keep his ears under control, but he’s not sure it suits his working image. So Ernest fetches his motorbike helmet, which is more in keeping.

The landscape sold to a bidder at the back of the room. Next up, a… well, I think it’s a portrait. It’s a bit odd. Apparently it’s by a very famous painter though, and it sold for £10,000!

Ratvaark looks closely at a painting in a Picasso style with eyes, nose, mouth and ears all over the place

The next item is a very ancient cannon, recovered from a shipwreck. The auctioneer looks a bit worried being at the business end! Fury says she’d buy it, if only she had the money, but it’s too valuable for her.

Now, some sculpture. Peggy wants a closer look, but Gino doesn’t think it’s suitable for a lady! He can be a bit old fashioned.

Peggy looks at a sculpture of Michaelangelo’s David, but Gino puts his hand in front of her face. Gino’s nose neatly obscures David’s genitals.

Right now, it’s time for the urn. Winston is quite nervous now! The auctioneer describes it as a fine example of Early Greek Vaark era ceramic, embellished with heroic figures, in perfect condition.

Oh! The phone’s ringing, It’s a phone bidder from overseas. How exciting!

The auctioneer has picked up the phone handset and is listening.

It STARTS at £10,000! £20,000! £30,000 Oh my! Oh my! It just keeps going up! £500,000! Still going! £750,000! £1000,000! In the room. Is that it? Any more bids? Yes, the phone bidder is back! £1,250,000! All done? Going, Going… GONE! Down comes the gavel.

Everyone watches as the auction proceedsThe auctioneer brings the gavel down, still on the phone.

Oh heck. Winston’s fainted again. Ernest fetches the smelling salts, but he’s still out cold.

Winston has fainted flat on his back

Ernest tries to revive Winston with something from a dropper bottle

Fury says she’ll sort it. Not sure she ought to be throwing water round in here, but anyway…

Well, that woke him up. He whispers “Is it all a dream?” Ofelia brings him a cup of strong sweet tea and reassures him that it’s really happened. He’s a millionaire!

So while Arnold mops up the water, the auctioneer explains that the money, minus commission and fees of course, will be cleared in a few days. The urn has sold to a very important collection overseas.

Bernard says that if Winston wants any investment advice, he’d be happy to help. Winston says thank you, but he’s got a business plan he can finally go ahead with now!

Bernard talks to Winston

And so, back home, to celebrate an astonishing day. Winston’s still in a bit of a daze.

Er Nano, I wouldn’t sit there if I were… Oh!

“Wheeeeeee!” says Nano, “What fun!” What fun indeed!

Nano is flying through the air

A Valuable Trip to the Museum!

Do you remember that old pot Bernard spotted on Winston’s stall at the fete, that he thought might be quite old? Well, he’s made an appointment with the curator at the Museum to check. They’ve come early to look round. Vincent’s tagged along too.

Winston, Bernard and Vincent stand outside an imposing door wirh Museum of Vaark History written over it

Winston’s wrapped the pot up to protect it. Bit of a struggle getting his trolley in up the steps though!

The three vaarks manhandle a shopping trolley with the urn wrapped in bubblewrap through the door

Wow. The first thing you see in the entrance is the huge Vaarkosaurus Rex. Imagine a time when these creatures roamed the earth. Millions of years ago. They went extinct when a meteorite wiped out all the primeval biscuits.

The vaarks look at the large vaark skeleton on a stand labelled Vaarkosaurus Rex

And to think, the Vaarkosaurs laid eggs! How colourful their nests must have been!

These fossils are even older – before the vaarkosaurs even! Vincent reckons they look like the sort of thing Matilda would sell on her crystal stall. Winston thinks they look like raisins.

the vaarks look at some shell and ammonite shaped beads

What’s this? Ah the Natural History section. All sorts of taxidermy. Vincent says the armadillo looks like Bernard’s stripes. And the elephant reminds them of Ernest. Even the seal is a little bit vaarkish, with it’s dumpy body.

the vaarks look at a selection of toy animals and a doll

But really, human beings are the oddest looking creatures!

the vaarks look up at a male dolls house doll.

Ah now, we’re onto the Vaarks Through the Ages Gallery. Here’s a prehistoric cave vaark. Dressed in fur and wool and feathers. Vincent thinks it’s amazing how they managed to do so much with just axes like that.

Oh! The Egyptian era now. The magnificent Tut-anh-vaark-mun sarcophagus. Awesome. And so much gold!

the vaarks look at a large blue and gold vaark shaped sarcophagus

The vaarks look at a pile of gold nuggets at the foot of the sarcophagus

Bernard explained that the mummies kept their organs in jars like this. Vincent said he’d seen Dim playing the organ and it would never fit in there.

Vincent and Bernard look at a big jar next to the sarcophagus

Winston was surprised by the Sphinx. He’d always thought it would be bigger.

Winston peers at a tiny model of the Sphinx

What next? Ah, yes, the Romans. A fine recreation of a Centurion. Vincent likes the shield, even if he could barely see over it.

the vaarks look at a mannequin in centurion helmet and cap with a curved shield

Winston wondered if they’d run out of them little stones for the mosaic? But Bernard explained that it’s very old, and it’s got damaged over the years, probably by drains and such like.

the vaarks look at a mosaic, which has chunks missing, depicting a vaark with a sea serpent tail,

Here is a depiction of Christopher Columvaark. He discovered America, and therefore cookies, by accident. He was trying to find a new route to China by going the wrong way. What luck!

The vaarks look at a mannequin in a doublet and medieval hat, which is looking at a globe

Next, a Victorian crinoline. The chaps looked at it, and agreed it was a frock, and moved on.

the vaarks look at a mannequin in a crinoline dress

Ooh, more up to date vaark fashion and culture now. Vincent said it reminded him of Fury, Winston asked Bernard if he’d ever been a punk…

the vaarks look at a mannequin in a studded and zipped leather jacket. It has a mohican hairstyle and a safety pin through its nose

“God lord no, what makes you think that!”

winston and vincent look at bernard whose normally neat crest is raised up in spikes

The last ‘costume’ exhibit is the famous space suit, in which Ratvaark did his space walk. Winston pondered what happened if you flicked the switch. Bernard moved him on swiftly.

What’s next? The Ceramics gallery. Vincent likes this big jug. Careful not to jog the stand Vincent!

the jug starts to topple

 

Phew! Well caught. Move on quickly!

Bernard and vincent catch the jug between them

all three vaarks leave quickly

 

This exhibit reminds Winston of his suitcase stock. Bernard remarked that it’s because they are all telling different times…. Talking of time, it’s time to go to the appointment with the curator…

Winston and Vincent reckon the chairs in the waiting area are quite grand – but Bernard tells them to get off the Charles Rennie Vaarkintosh exhibit!

winston and vincent sit on two of three chairs, which are all designs by rennie mackintosh

Ah, and here’s the Curator. He says his name is Henry, and they should bring the urn into his office.

the vaarks are met by the museum creator vaark

Henry looks over the urn very carefully, and finally tells Winston that it is indeed a very rare Grecian Urn, and extremely valuable. Maybe thousands of pounds!

the urn is unwrapped and placed on the desk as the curator looks closely at it

the curator talks to winston

Good grief Winston’s fainted! He’s never had anything really valuable in stock before!

winston has fainted

Henry fetches him a reviving cup of tea, and says he can recommend a fine art auction house to handle the sale. What a turn up!

winston is revived with a cup of tea

the curator talks to winston

All the fun of the fete!

Hello! Welcome to our Bank Holiday Fete! I hope we’re all going to have a lot of fun!

Ratvaark addresses the camera in front of a fete scene

We’ve got all the usual attractions – Winston’s catering outlets, candy floss and lots of games and competitions.

Oh, here’s a new attraction for this year, a hoop-la stand! Fury’s going to have a go…

Oh! Well, you haven’t won a prize, but you have won Nano!

Fury looks at her hoop, which has landed round Nanovaark

Peggy is minding the “Guess the Weight of the Cake” stand this year. Micro is asking whether it’s metric or imperial. She says it’s Victoria sponge, so probably Imperial.

Micro looks at the sponge cake on the Guess the Weight stall

Bernard is very interested in something on Winston’s bric a brac stall. Is it the fishing rod, or the umbrella?

Bernard looks at Winston’s stall

Oh, no, it’s the pot they are sitting in. He asks Winston where he got it. Winston said it came in a job lot and it was handy for storing tall things.

Bernard says he thinks it might be quite old and valuable and Winston should get it checked out at the museum. It might be a Greek Urn!

Bernard looks closely at the design of vaark warrior on the urn

What’s a Greek Urn? said Winston. “About 10 drachmas a day!” chipped in Vincent. They all laughed, but Bernard said they really ought to find out about the urn.

BernardBernard talks to Winston and Vincent talks to Winston and Vincent

Now, it’s time for the Maypole dance! We do enjoy this. We go round and round, in and out, in ancient intricate patterns until we all meet in the middle. Now, how’s that?

Oh. Well, it might not be Quite Right, but it was fun.

The ribbons are just tangled around the top of the pole

On to the next entertainment, the Morris Dancers! Hypno is playing accordion. He couldn’t find his boater, so I lent him my fez.

Round and round, in and out they go, with Dim playing the fool in the middle. Oh look! Nano’s joining in for a ride!

A close up of Nano on Bernards tail

After all that exertion, we sat down to watch Peggy’s puppet show. All except Hypno and Arnold, who have to go and fetch something they’ve arranged.

The vaarks sit around a puppet theatre, as hypno and Arnold head off to one side

Oh, what a surprise! What fun! Hypno’s made some funny photo boards! He’s going to take our pictures!

Hypno and Arnold have brought some boards with holes cut in, we can only see the backs of them

Look at me! How do you like my costume! And Esther, that’s quite some bikini! This is so much fun!

The fronts of the boards are comedy seaside postcard style pictures, with holes for the heads. Hypno has an old fashioned camera with a hood.The fronts of the boards are comedy seaside postcard style pictures, with holes for the heads. Hypno has an old fashioned camera with a hood.

We are all enjoying this!

Nano says it’s all very well, but he can’t reach!

Nano looks up at Matilda posing as the skinny man

Oh! It’s ok! Hypno has thought of Nano, he has his own little window!

Oh hello Micro, what’s that? You’ve arranged something yourself? Good grief! A high diving platform!

Microvaark addresses everyone

Microvaark stands in front of a pool with a ladder reaching up out of one side.

Oh gosh, up he goes! Up and Up! So high!

He’s right at the top! Surely he’s not going to.. Yes, he’s dived!

Oh! A parachute! Look at him gliding down! How clever! Such a soft landing!

Well that was exciting. But you know, I think I could do that jump. Well, no-one’s looking now…

As everyone goes back the fete, Ratvaark looks at the pool and board

Here we go!

Ratvaark has climbed up to the top of the board

Whoops! Sorry everyone!

Ratvaark has landed hard in the pool scattering polystyrene all over the place

Well, it’s getting on, so it’s time for the best bit of our fete – the street party feast! Peggy is bringing over the Victoria Sponge cake.

Ofelia and Bernard have made rhyming sandwiches – jam, spam and Edam! Matida’s jelly is spectacular. And Winston and Vincent rustled up some little buns.

Winston and Vincent have a 3 tiered stand of cakes

Ernest has brought jugs of squash, and Fury made some toffee apples!

Goodness. Esther did some research into WW2 and read about how they used to give children carrots on sticks, instead of lollies! She’s made enough for us all apparently. Oh good.

Esther brings a tray of carrots on sticks

Still Ernest got a funny shaped one, which made us all laugh!

Ernest has a carrot on a stick, that is forked like two legs.

Well, we have had a lovely day, and this is a feast to round it all off. We’ll be enjoying ourselves for hours. I hope you’ve had a good day too!

Ratvaark addresses the camera as the party goes on.

 

An egg-siting hunt!

Welcome to our Easter Egg hunt! We’re off all over the house to see what we can find!

Esther went straight to that drawer in the kitchen the humans keep random things in, and she was right!

Esther finds a mini easter egg in a measuring spoon in a drawer of odds and ends

Peggy had a hunch about the box of threads in the workroom, and sure enough, there was an egg hiding there.

Peggy sits in a tray of sewing threads, with an egg balanced on one of the reels

Matilda sniffed about in the drawer of random-jewellery-for-crafting-with and found something that wasn’t a bead!

matilda finds an egg nestled among a necklace of big beads

Dim put on his hoodie and scarf and had a search in the fridge, and there it was, sitting on the Flora.

(Dim, in hoodie and scarf, looks at an egg in the fridge

Gino perused the bookshelves, and besides some interesting books, he found an egg!

Gino looks at an egg sitting among the spines of books on a shelf

Ofelia opened the Tupperware cupboard very carefully, and none of the containers fell out! AND she found an egg.

Ofelia looks at an egg tucked amongst a lot of plastic containers

Bernard ventured outside to the garden, and found an egg pretending to be a strawberry!

bernard looks at an egg tucked among the leaves of a strawberry plant

Arnold climbed up on to the car, and found one sitting on the windscreen wiper. Good job it hadn’t rained or that egg would have gone flying!

Arnold sits on the windscreen wiper of a car looking at an egg

Microvaark decided to explore the dolls’ house, and found his egg in the bathroom basin!

Microvaark looks up an egg sitting in a dolls house basin

Winston found one when he went to check his stock. He says he doesn’t remember putting that in there!

Winston finds an egg in his suitcase of dodgy watches

Vincent found one in the oven. He thinks the oven might have been on recently…

vincent looks at an unwrapped egg that has partially melted into a puddle of chocolate

Fury found one in Harriet Board‘s workshop, but was really more interested in the bandsaw.

Fury has found an egg, but is looking at a miniature model of a bandsaw in a miniature workshop

Hypno went exploring and found one printed out on the 3D printer. He didn’t know it could do chocolate!

hypno sits on the bed of a 3D printer, looking at an egg formed under the nozzle

Nano found a MASSIVE one, among the tomato seedlings in the spare room. He wonders if it grew there.

Nano sits in a tray of seedlings dwarfed by a little chocolate egg

Ernest hit the jackpot. Not just an egg, but a big pack of toilet roll too!

Ernest looks at the 24 roll pack of toilet roll on a shelf, with an egg perched in front

So, where shall I look? I know, my shed!

Ratvaark looks at his little green shed

Oh! Hello! I say, have you seen any Easter Eggs in there. Hello? Did you hear me? Hello?

Ratvaark opens the door to find a foil wrapped rabbit inside

Oh! Even better than an egg! A whole bunny! Bingo!

Ratvaark reads “Milk Chocolate Bunny” on the side of the foil

Well, that was fun AND we’ve all got chocolate to enjoy! Happy Easter to you all!

All the vaarks gather around the chocolate bunny

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!

The Vaark Repair Shop

Some time ago, we got word of a vaark in need of a little help. Not just any vaark. This is the First Ever Vaark. He’s ten years old, and he’s had a happy life, but age has wearied him a little, and he had a bit of a run in with a puppy.  So he came to the Vaark Repair Shop, and got fixed up. And because he is so important, we made a film about it. Here it is:

Looking back over 2019.

As the 2019 comes to an end, we’re all going to choose our favourite moments of the year.

Bernard enjoyed setting up his rock garden, and also when we visited Snailvaark and friends, because Tali the molevaark showed him around the courgette plants.

Ernest was very proud to be Dim’s Best Vaark at the wedding, and also to have rescued Nano from the overflow when the popcorn machine went crazy!

ernest is holding the ring for dim, both dressed in tuxedos

Esther remembers having a big wiffle-hug with cousin Snailvaark on our visit to Wales. And then there was that lovely sunny day out in Halifax, exploring the Piece Hall.

Fury was on hand to check out the mechanicals when the humans got a new car, but her proudest moment was when she ran the steam traction engine to power the Ferris Wheel at the fete.

fury investigates a car engine

Gino says he really enjoyed helping to make the Christmas crackers, once he’d got the motif unstuck from his nose.

gino has the motif from a cracker stuck to his nose

Hypno had a great time running a stall at the Christmas Market, but even better was playing in the band Europe at Vaarklife!

Matilda says nothing will top the moment Dim proposed, and she was so happy when they finally joined the broken biscuit.

Dim says he was overjoyed when Matilda said yes, and will never forget their first dance at the wedding reception.

Micro says weddings are all very well, but he got a bike this year and that’s hard to beat!

micro admires a bike on Winston’s market stall

Nano is super proud of his Christmas sweater, and says he looks forward to getting many more outfits. He also really enjoyed driving a digger on the lads’ Stag Day out.

Ofelia had great fun dressing up as a Dalek for our Halloween party, and was happy to be able to share a bit pan of paella with the alien who arrived at Vaarklife.

Peggy loved meeting up with her cousin, and making her a dress. But she says the cucumber facial as the girls’ spa day was very relaxing.

Peggy lies on a couch with a slice of cucumber over her face

Vincent says there was just one highlight for him – playing Bowie!

Vincent is dressed as David Bowie

Winston’s totted up his accounts and says it’s been a successful year again. Investing in that market stall was a good move.

Arnold is just happy nobody got hurt!

Arnold sets off fireworks behind a safety tape

And me? Well, I’ve just enjoyed it all. But especially meeting up with friends – including our crocheting facebook pals, our friends in Wales, Sonning Bear and his friends on the boat, and all of you here online. Thank you for joining us, and here’s to next year!