Jumping the hurdles….

Time for our final sporting event – the hurdles! We’ve got four athletes lined up, and Ofelia is acting as starter. On your marks…

Fury, Nano, Ernest and Winston are lined up on a track, with a hurdle in each lane. Nano’s hurdle is tiny compared with the others. Ofelia has a white flag

Get set…

the four vaarks are crouched forwards ready to go


Ofelia has dropped the flag and the vaarks set off running

Oh dear! Ernest’s tripped over his own snozzle!

Ernest lies on the track with his snozzle under him

They’re approaching the hurdle…

the vaarks are nearly at the hurdle

Whoops! Winston’s tripped on his hurdle!

Winston has run into his hurdle which has fallen over

Fury is over safely! Nano is racing along behind… Now he’s over safely too.

fury has cleared her hurdle, Nano is coming up to his

Nano has cleared his hurdle

Close to the line, it looks like Fury might win! Hang on! How did Nano move so fast!?

fury and nano approach the finish

Nano has shot forward over the line first

Oh Ernest! You’re not supposed to help him!

Nano is revealed to be sitting on the end of Ernest’s snozzle, stretched out to get him over the line

Well, that’s tricky. There’ll have to be a steward’s enquiry. But after a bit of a chat, everyone agrees Fury won, but Ernest was just being kind. Ofelia suggests that they all settle down to a snack or two.

All the runners and ofelia discuss the result

Ofelia produces a couple of plates of doughnuts to share

In the long run…

A long event today – the marathon! Winston has kindly sponsored this event. We’ve got 4 competitors, and Fury is all ready with the starting gun.

Micro, vincent, winston and ofelia line up under a banner that says “Start”, “Sponsored by Winstons Used cars” and “they mostly go 26 miles”

Fury has a big cannon, and is wearing ear defenders

Ready, Steady, BOOM! Oh dear, I think the starting gun surprised everybody a bit too much!

the cannon fires with a cloud of smoke and all the competitors fall over

Ok, let’s go again, with a simple Ready, Steady, Go! And they’re off alright this time.

the competitors line up again

they start running

So, off they go, across the craft room floor, and the bedroom floor, and the kitchen worktop…

they run on a wooden floor

they run on a carpeted floorthey run on a kitchen worktop

Ofelia has had an idea. It’s getting on a bit, perhaps they should stop for a snack? Absolutely!

Ofelia stops to talk to the others

They sit around a cloth with teacups and a sponge cake

On they go out into the garden. Micro wants to be sure they’re going in the right direction, so they stop to check the route.

they run along the edge of a raised bed

they stop to look at a map held by microvaark

At last the end is in sight! It look like Winston might win, but oh! Microvaark has put on a sprint finish!

they approach the finishing line

Microvaark goes out in front

He’s won!

Microvaark breaks the finishing tape

Microvaark wonders if Winston is cross about not winning? No, no, says Winston, I’m just glad it’s over!

Everyone gathers round Winston who is flopped on the floor

Watery ballet!

Today Matilda and Ofelia are having a go at Synchronised Swimming! They are ready in the pool, with their nose clips to stop water going up their snozzles.

Matilda and Ofelia are in a ‘pool’ of blue cloth, wearing clothes pegs on their noses

See how they turn in perfect unison, all the while treading water.

they both turn to the left

Reach those snozzles high now!

they both point their noses upward

And now… Upside down they go! This is very skillful indeed!

just the bottoms of the two vaarks are visible above the surface

Well, that was very good. It’s nice to get out and dry off, and take those clips off, they are a bit tight!

Matilda and Ofelia are out of the pool wrapped in towels and have taken the pegs off their noses

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

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

Advaark 2020 Day 17: Play with clay!

Today, we’re going to be doing some pottery! We’re using plasticine, but you could use air drying clay, or even salt-dough. Of course, if you have real clay and a kiln, even better!

Ofelia sits at a table with a ball of clay, a rolling pin and a craft knife

Ofelia is starting off making some hanging decorations. She’s rolling the clay out, and cutting a shape. Then put a hole in for a string before it bakes, and there you have it!

Ofelia is rolling out the ball of clay

Ofelia cuts a star shape with the craft knife

Ofelia has a clay star with a hole in one point.

Peggy is having a go at a “thumb pot”. Just poke your thumb (or in her case, your hand!) into the ball of clay and shape it up as much as you need!

Peggy has a ball of clay on the table

Peggy pushes her hand into the ball

Peggy has a shaped pot on the table.

Ernest’s turn now. He’s going to make a coil pot. Roll your clay back and forth to make a sausage, and then roll it more and more to make a long snake. Then start to coil the snake round to make a base and up the sides.

Ernest rolls a sausage of clay

Ernest has made a long snake of clay

Ernest starts to coil the snake

Ernest builds up the sides

Careful you don’t coil your snozzle in there Ernest! Ah, well done, a handy pot to keep things in!

Ernest’s long snozzle is entwined in the clay snake

Ernest has a finished coil pot

Good lord! Winston has a potter’s wheel! We never knew. See how he shapes the clay up as it spins. He makes it look easy, but it’s quite a skill to master.

Winston sits at a potters wheel with a lump of clay in the middle

Winston starts to shape the clay up into a cylinder

Winston shapes the cylinder and it starts to form curves.

Good lord! Winston, you’ve made an urn! Oh yes, he says, I’ve made loads of them over the years…

Winston has made a greek urn, suspiciously like the ancient one he sold for millions.

Advaark 2020 Day 16: Tiddly pom pom!

Ofelia and Micro are going to have fun with yarn today. They’re making pompoms! They’ve got pompom makers, but you can use rings of card if you don’t have them.

Micro and Ofelia have a pompom maker each and two balls of yarn

First step is to wind the yarn round each half of the pompom maker. The more yarn the better the pompom!

ofelia is winding white yarn round one maker, and micro is winding brown yarn round the other

When the two halves are full, clip them together, and snip round the outside!

micro and ofelia have filled the pompom makers

Ofelia uses little scissors to snip the yarn round the edge

Then tie a piece of yarn tightly round the middle to hold it all together, and peel the bits of the maker apart!

micro ties a piece of yarn round his pompom

Well, look! Ofelia has added a bit of felt to make a sheep. Handy for a nativity scene!

Ofelia has added a felt face to make a sheep

What have you made Micro? Oh! A pompom Ferrero Rocher chocolate! Ambassador, with this pompom you are spoiling us!

Micro has put his pompom in a gold wrapper

Of course you don’t have to stick to one colour, with a bit of care you can make all sorts of patterns!

Micro and ofelia look at pompoms made to look like a robin and a christmas pudding


Advaark 2020 Day 10: Getting knotted!

Dim, Vincent and Ofelia are going to have a go at some Macrame today!

Vincent has a coil of cord, Dim has a cinnamon stick and bernard and ofelia are looking one


Bernard wonders if that’s a good idea, given the mess they always get in with the Maypole!

Bernard talks to the other three

In a picture from may day, Ernest is tied to the maypole with the ribbons

But they are sure it’ll be fine. First they tie the strings to the cinnamon stick and lay them out neatly. Ofelia loves cinnamon, she can’t stop sniffing it!

The strings are looped round the cinnamon stick

Ofelia is sniffing the cinnamon stick

Now they just have to knot the strings in the right order, to make a V shape.

The vaarks start knotting the strings together

a v shape starts to form as the strings are knotted

There! It’s a little decoration to hang up! Just needs the strings trimming.

Ofelia looks at the nearly finished decorationBernard is quite impressed that no one got tangled up!

We found a tutorial online, so have a look round and see what you could do!

Advaark 2020 Day 8: Shiny shiny!

Today Matilda is doing a little jewellery making. She’s going to make some dangly glittery earrings!

matilda sits at a table with earring hooks, pliers and a pile of shiny gold discs

There! Those are very glamorous!

matilda has made a pair of earrings, with a row of gold discs dangling from each hook

Oh hello Ofelia! Ofelia says the earrings are very shiny. Matilda asks if she’d like to try them on?

ofelia comes to see what Matilda is doing

Ah. Maybe they’re not quite the style for you Ofelia!

Ofelia is wearing the earring in her long ears, so that they drag on the ground

Never mind. Once Ofelia has gone, Matilda can get on with her present – a necklace, for in case she ever forgets her name!

Matilda has beads with letters on, and a piece of cord.

Matilda has made a necklace that reads Ofelia

Advaark 2020 Day 4: A stitch in time.

Ofelia, Peggy and I are going to make some decorations out of felt. We’ve got felt, embroidery thread, scissors and needles.

Ratvaark, Peggy and Ofelia have all the items gathered together

First of all, we’re cutting out shapes from the felt. We’re keeping it simple!

Peggy has a tree shape cut from green felt, and Ofelia cuts a star from light blue felt

Now, we’re each going to sew a stitch round the edge. Ofelia is doing a running stitch, Peggy is blanket stitching, and I’m doing a whip stitch.

Each one is stitching around their shape. Ratvaark is sewing something in brown and white but we can’t see what.

There, those are done! Simple but understated. Of course you could add beads or sequins, or more stitches.

Ofelia holds up her star with white stitching, and Peggy has edged her tree shape with red blanket stitch.

Me? Oh, I made a Christmas pudding? What’s that Ofelia, it looks like it’s got a bit missing?

Ratvaark shows off a Christmas Pudding with white cream on top

Ofelia looks at the bottom edge of the pudding where a bit is missing

Well, it’s a Christmas Pudding that’s been nibbled by vaarks!

As ratvaark explains, Peggy throws her arms in the air.