Blue Rat, Novosibirsk, Russia


Posted Jan 3, 2008, 1:31 pm
Hello! My name is Blue Rat and I live with Oksana in Novosibirsk, Russia. I've never traveled abroad, but I'd love to see other countries. Today my dream will come true-Oksana's friend is going to Greece, Athens and she will take me with her! I feel very excited now! It's my first trip!
Wish me good luck! :)

Posted Jan 3, 2008, 1:50 pm
Here I'm in Greece!!! It's almost summer here- I can see palms, green trees, lots of flowers! :)

And here I'm with tangerines! I can see how they are growing. We love tangerines in Russia.
And here I'm in the SPA:

and near the swimming pool:

I could see some fortress there:

And of course I could see many Christmas decorations, Christmas trees in Athens:


Posted Jan 3, 2008, 2:04 pm
Finally I've come home! I like my trip to Greece, but I missed Oksana much! When I arrived home I found here Minerva and Curly- they are toyvoyagers from Miamy (USA). We are good friends now.
Today Oksana took us to the playground where we coold play. It was very funny there! We saw many sculptures made of snow.

Posted Jan 3, 2008, 2:10 pm
Today we help Oksana to decorate the Christmas tree:

Posted Jan 4, 2008, 2:12 pm
Today I've said goodbye to my new friends and now I'm on my way to Steve and Helly. I'm going to them to England! I feel so-o happy that very soon I will see England! Wish me a nice journey!
Steve & Helly

Posted Jan 18, 2008, 5:17 pm

I've finally arrived in England and my journey was far quicker than Isambard's one to Russia!

I look forward to having many exciting times while I'm here.
Steve & Helly

Posted Jan 28, 2008, 6:15 pm
Hurrah! The sun came out and it was a glorious day, so I went for a walk around Calne.

I followed the Calne Trail. Pierre Bear came with me and he and I shared the photos of our walk.

Calne was first refered to in AD955, although it's probably much earlier.

The name comes from the Celtic word - col aun - which means a current of water, so my first stop was the River Marden.

It was because of the river that the town became famous in the Middle Ages for the local woollen industry. The river was used to 'full' the cloth - 'Fulled' = beating the cloth in water and with fuller's earth to make it shrink and felt.
Steve & Helly

Posted Jan 28, 2008, 6:19 pm
After a brief stop at 'Doctor's' Pond, (see Pierre Bear for photos) where a famous doctor did many of his experiments I stopped at an old mill. This was a corn mill. It's now a house but I listened carefully and could hear the mill race rushing beneath the path.

The big window at the side of the house was where the corn would have been lifted through into the mill.
Steve & Helly

Posted Jan 28, 2008, 6:28 pm
I then stopped to look at St. Mary's Church. It is the largest church in the area and referred to locally as the cathedral of North Wiltshire.

In 1645 Roundhead troops used the church to stable their horses.

I wanted to go inside but it was locked. There is apparently a plaque which commemorates Dr. Ingenhousz who is now believed to have invented the vacination for small pox and not Jenner.
Steve & Helly

Posted Jan 28, 2008, 6:44 pm
Next stop, the Alms Houses.

The doors are so small. I didn't think you could possibly see just how small they were so I asked Steve to stand by them so you can get an idea.

Helly's niece calls them 'The houses for little people'.
Steve & Helly

Posted Jan 31, 2008, 5:31 pm
After the houses 'for little people' I walked with Pierre Bear around the Green.

What a fascinating collection of buildings. The first one I stopped at was the Weaver's House. It's name is rather strange as it was probably built to house machinery for carding and spinning fleece into yarn, so would have been a workshop.

The machines would have been powered by horses.
Steve & Helly

Posted Jan 31, 2008, 5:36 pm
Next stop was by the houses built for the wealthy clothiers - see - Pierre Bear . These were - and still are - very grand houses.

Behind them I could see little courtyards surrounded by houses. These buildings never used to be houses but were places where the cloth was finished off. After it was 'fulled' it was hung by the river on wooden 'tenter hooks', hence the expression 'waiting on tenter hooks'.
Steve & Helly

Posted Feb 5, 2008, 7:31 am
Continuing my walk around The Green I came to a couple of houses which form part of a 16th century building, although only the cellers and stone spiral staircase remain. The house was refaced in 1758. Dr Priestley stayed here from 1772 - 1779. He discovered oxygen.

I'd love to be able to see the staircase. I wonder if there are ghosts in the cellers?
Steve & Helly

Posted Feb 5, 2008, 7:35 am
Continuing on I came to the former Boys' School. The Green is surrounded by old schools. It was founded in 1557 and is in a Gothic style.

Pierre Bear took photos of the other schools for me.
Steve & Helly

Posted Feb 5, 2008, 6:12 pm
Finally I finished my tour of Calne on Butchers' Row. This row of shops probably got its name during the Middle Ages.

This row of shops was once a parade of Butchers' Shops. They used to nip across the road into the Churchyard to sharpen their knives on the graves - Pierre Bear climbed on top of one.

I then walked a little further on and found a shop window full of pigs - not real ones. A reminder of when Calne was famous for its bacon.
Steve & Helly

Posted Feb 7, 2008, 5:11 pm
I was whisked away for a surprise birthday treat for Helly.

First stop was St. Mellion Golf and Country Club, in Cornwall, a real 'Late Rooms' bargain!

There was a nice view out of the window in both directions, although it rained lots that evening. Pierre Bear & I sat in the window and watched the rain.
Steve & Helly

Posted Feb 7, 2008, 5:15 pm
Happy Birthday Helly!

We went to Rick Stein's Bistro for lunch (£15.99 for three courses!!). It's in Padstow and the harbour was beautiful, although it was very wet in the rain.

Pierre Bear & I sat on the most enormous settee in the lounge! We almost got lost on it, it was so big.
Steve & Helly

Posted Feb 11, 2008, 5:59 pm
My new friend Frankenstein - he's not as scary as he looks - and I wished the next lot of toyvoyagers to be released 'Bon Voyage'.

They accompanied me on my tour of Calne and I helped to release them. So now I've met lots of Toy Voyagers and have completed a mission!
Steve & Helly

Posted Feb 11, 2008, 6:02 pm
It's my last day in England today so I decided to make the most of the sunshine and complete my tour of Calne.

My first stop was by the old wharf, where boats used to moor up. I also saw an old pump which was used to damp down the road dust on the London to Bath road.
Steve & Helly

Posted Feb 13, 2008, 7:42 am
I then walked further along the Wharf to Marden House.

Marden House was once the home of the Wharfinger - what a funny name! - who used to be the officer in charge of the Wharf.
Steve & Helly

Posted Feb 13, 2008, 7:46 am
Next stop, the Wilts & Berks Canal, or rather, what remains of it!

It was built between 1795 and 1810, joining the Kennet and Avon Canal and The Thames at Abingdon. It is now famous for being the longest derelict canal in the country.

What a claim to fame!

It is hoped to restore it, much as has been done to the Kennet & Avon Canal. It will need to be re-routed through Swindon though as much of it has been built on.
Steve & Helly

Posted Feb 14, 2008, 6:57 am
Next stop was Market Hill with some of the oldest buildings in town. The buildings here are really pretty and over 300 years old. Again, they have been refaced many times.
Steve & Helly

Posted Feb 14, 2008, 7:10 am
Well, my final stop was the site of an ancient castle..

Castle House probably dates from the 16th & 17th centuries. All that remains of the original building is this side of it. The back is a modern extension. It is now an old people's home. Steve & Helly had never seen it from this side before so this was new to them too. I was so proud that on my last day in England I saw something Steve & Helly also hadn't seen.

It is thought that Castle House was built on the site of a castle, partly because of it's name and the name of the surrounding streets - Castle Street and Castlefields but also because it's built on a steep hill.  I love old castles and imagining what they must have been like when they were first built.

Anyway, my last night in England, tomorrow I'm on my way again, off to France.  Helly & Steve want to go with me but they won't fit in my box.

I've had a lovely time here in England and hope to return in the future.

Posted Feb 22, 2008, 5:43 pm
Youhhouuuu ??? Is there anyone ???

I'm supposed to be in France, but I don't see anyone?

Oupssssssss ???? I'm not alone...Look what I first met!

Oooh, my god ??? What to do???
Just stay quiet ... Do not move, do not even breathe!

I'm not here ... and this is just a nightmare
Helly? Steve??? Where did you send me???

Posted Feb 22, 2008, 6:21 pm
I'm still alive ! I brought the monster down !!
And look at me now, I'm in the Pyrénées!!
Well, as you can see behind me, there isn't much snow because of the spring-like temperatures.

Mood wanted to bring me to the famous Pic du Midi, but it was too late anf fog was coming down ...
I was quite disappointed because Pic du Midi seems to be very great. Mood told me it was famous for its astronomical observatory (highest in Europe : 2877m) and there is a superb panorama on the whole chains of the Pyrenees.

Here are some pictures :

Posted Feb 24, 2008, 2:26 pm
Anyway ... Here is a view of the chain of the Pyrenees from the road, on the left is the Pic du Midi and on the right the Montaigu (another wellknown peak at 2339 m)

Anyway ... we just ski some times (I was in Mood's pocket, it was fantastic!!)
Hey, have you seen these strange ants below?

Posted Feb 24, 2008, 2:49 pm
You remember when I told you about spring like temperatures ? Well here are some other proofs :

After our short mountain trip, we went back to Mood's parents house, and I escaped some times to explore the garden ... (looking for some little mice...) Haven't found any, but I got drunked with this beautiful crocus perfume

Then I rested on these pansy
Wich colours size me the best ? Blue pansy or these yellow daffodils?
And look at these primroses

Mood told me she may have a surprise for me ... hmmm ?? I'm wondering what kind of surprise it is? I'll tell you as soon as I know !

Meanwhile, I'm just having a bath of violets

Posted Mar 29, 2008, 10:09 am
Youhouuuuu !! Here I am back !!!!

Mood told me about a surprise ... and what a surprise -> I went to Guadeloupe for a week !!!!!!
Look, it's just here, it looks like a butterfly :

In the Carribean Sea !!!
Look at the colour of the sea !! (I even saw small sharks and skates !!)

Of course, as it's summer in this part of the world, and the sun is very shiny here, you have to be well equiped... I was !!!
I've bought this sunglasses before leaving...

Well, let's carry on... Here is the island of La Desirade
with its strange trees, and flora
This is a coconut palm. I tried to climb to catch a coconut, but too hard for me!!
anyway,  the coconuts weren't ripe...

This flower is called "Oiseau de Paradis" 'Bird of Paradise"
Indeed, we have visited a magnificent garden :
with beautiful flowers (look at these Hibiscus)

We also tasted the famous "Ti'Punch" which is a rum-based mixed drink !!hips!

It's made with sugar cane (this is where they grind it)
and it's very tasty !! I have noted down the receipt, here it is, if youy want to try it:

Press a half thick green lemon section and to leave it in glass. Put 1 measurement of sugar cane sugar for 4 measurements of rum. Serve with a small spoon to stir.

You can replace the sugar cane syrup by brown sugar or honey from Marie-Galante. Rum must be at ambient temperature, in particular it should not be too fresh.

Then I met flamingos, with knees inside out
and look at this colourful parrot:

I haven't met any kangaroos or koalas, but look at this very strange animal, crawling on his branch:
Can you see it ?
It's an iguana !!!


Posted Mar 29, 2008, 11:38 am
But now, I'm back in France, and the weather is soooo cold !!!!!
I show my pictures to Mood (who stayed here while I was doing carribean sunbathing)

As I knew Mood would be sad, I brought her back this "Oiseau de Paradis" as a souvenir ...
Suits me weel don't you agree?

Then I met Stripey (Mood's TV) ... who is quite a well-mannered cat
He i also an artist as you can see just behind him ... His model was Romeo, (the one who frightened met when I arrived)
In fact he's quite nice, and was very curious about my carribean trip

He asked to show him where Guadeloupe was located on the map
It's just at the end of my noise

As the weather was cold and grey, Stripey organised a painting work-group !

look, I've made footpaint!!

I'm an artist !!

Posted Mar 29, 2008, 12:22 pm
Today I went for a walk in Toulouse (the capital of the Midi-Pyrénées région). Here is the Capitole (it's the seat of the municipal administration of thetown):
(As you can see, the weather is really bad!!!)
The Capitouls (governing magistrates) of Toulouse embarked on the construction of the original building in 1190, to provide a seat for the government of a province growing in wealth and influence, but the current façade, 135 metres long and built of the characteristic pink brick in Neoclassical style, dates from 1750.
The eight columns represent the original eight capitouls.

In 1873, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc built a bell tower typical of the style of northern France on top of the donjon of the building. It was in this donjon that Jean Calas, a Protestant victim of a religiously biased trial, was interrogated. Brrrr

Here is the Musées des Augustins :

It's sited in a gothc convent

Then I visited some old mansions such as The Hotel d'Assezat :
and here is the main courtyard
It was built in the second half of the XVIth century for Pierre Assézat, a prosperous merchant in the pastel trade that flourished at the time.

Then I went to the Pont Neuf (New bridge)(which in fact is the oldest bridge of the town)
In the back you can see the "Chateau d'eau" (water tower)

The visit goes on, and here is the church of the Dalbade (XV century)
quite austere don't you think ???
Looks like a medieval fortress
Have you seen this half-timbered house ?

By the way, I think I forgot to tell that Toulouse is known as the Pink town because of its distinctive brick architecture, and indeed here is one the streets (rue des Paradoux):

Then here I am in front of the Jardin des Plantes entrance :
It's a botanical garden who was first created in 1730 by the Society of Sciences of Toulouse.
The Garden has several old buildings or vestiges.
The entrance door is a reconstitution of one of the doors of old Capitole, and dates back to 1886.

There I saw strange winged creatures

This one is the most pretentious peacok I ever met

He was everywhere I was taking pictures
I wanted to take a picture of this scupture, and the peacok came !!!

Then we came back home ... and this time I met two other guys, Caramel (on the left) and Nounours Bleu Marine (right) ... doing their homeworks... So I asked them if I could help them, and here we are like pupils at school
(Caramel was doing geometry,Nounours Bleu Marine drawing, and I was doing French grammer!!!)
Indeed, I've learnt to write my name in french! I was very proud!

But I also wanted to see how a real french school looked like, and asked Mood to take me to school ...
The day after, we went to the Ecole Jules Julien
Here are the two entrances : one for the girls
and the other one for the boys
But Mood explained me it was the old entrances, and now schools are mixed !
Unfortunately, we couldn't go inside, but I could see the playground

When we came back home, a parcel was waiting for us ...
I had a quick glance at it
and surprise, a funny little Martian came out of it

His name is Auggie

Posted Apr 7, 2008, 9:36 pm
I've been having some fun in England. It snowed yesterday which is very unusual for this time of year, especially as the London Marathon is only next week and it is often very warm then.
I've been for a ride in the car, relaxed on a very fluffy cushion, tucked into some fruit and had a go at playing the piano.

Next week we are going to see the Sound of Music in a London Theatre, so I'm looking forward to getting some photo's in London.j

We are also going to Bath this weekend, which is a very traditional Roman city and very historic. It does take a long time in the car though 2 and a half hours!

Posted Apr 10, 2008, 4:49 pm
This week has been terrible, everyone is suffering from a sore throat/flu bug and so we haven't been able to get out as much.
Today I met Nanu who seems such a nice chap.
We played on the tyre-swing

and made Cherry & Banana mini muffins together.

We may not be able to go down to Bath at the weekend if everyone is still ill - keep you posted! BR x

Posted Apr 15, 2008, 8:06 pm
We went to Bath this weekend. I have updated this on the map. Bath is located in the South West of England and is a 2 and a half hour drive from Horsham. Bath is a very old city and much of it was influenced by the Romans. They have traditional Roman Baths there and some very old buildings.

The Royal Crescent pictured here was built in Georgian times between 1767 and 1775 and forms a semi-ellipse of thirty Grade I listed houses arranged around a great Lawn.

Tomorrow we are going to London.....
Blue R x

Posted Apr 27, 2008, 10:57 pm
Last week we went to London and had a great time.
We spent 1 hour on the train journey.
as it wasn't too busy and we had missed rush hour Nanu and I shared a seat together!
We did take it in turns to look out the window...
We then took a double decker bus to travel to Trafalgar Square.
We chose to sit on the top deck.  We drove past Downing Street which is where the British Prime Minster lives and works. You can see it in this photo:
We then went past the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben is the name given to the clock tower seen in some of these photos.

We then went to Trafalgar Square and had our photo taken with the big statue lions, but by then our camera had run out of batteries so this photo is currently on a mobile phone - to be downloaded soon!

We then went to have lunch and then went to see 'The Sound of Music' Musical at the Palladium Theatre. It was a long day, but great fun!

Posted Jul 29, 2008, 5:54 pm
Hi everyone!!!

just to let you know that i made it to Northern Ireland and have safely arrived with HappySunshine!!

I met up with Stutz and Budin who are enjoying the summer here.  It was raining very hard and i couldn't find my wellington boots this morning so we didn't go too far - just to work,  We hope to go to the seaside this weekend and will take some pictures there.

More later!!  :)

Posted Aug 2, 2008, 6:48 pm
The sun was shining today so went for a visit to the seaside!  I went with Budin and Stutz.  Here we are sitting on the sea wall

Bangor hosts both a marina with pleasure boats, and is visited by bigger boats which land goods to be transported to the rest of Northern Ireland

At the Pickie Park there were lots of people on the train and in the adventure playground, but not too many people on the Swans - we couldn't go on this time as our host couldn't pedal one all by herself but we might get to go on in the future!

When we had finished our walk and done a bit of shopping we went for ice-cream - chocolate and vanilla - it was lovely!  :p

Posted Aug 19, 2008, 12:25 pm
We went to Liverpool for a family wedding.  We went on the ferry from Belfast.  Here i am sitting on the edge of the deck looking back at Belfast
You can see the yellow cranes of Harland & Wolff, the shipyards, behind me.
You can also see all of the containers waiting to get on a boat to Liverpool or Wales as well

As you can see we found the safety equipment and made sure it fitted us incase of an emergency!

It was a long journey.  We went to the cinema and watched Kung Fu Panda to help the journey go quicker!

we got a day to visit Liverpool after the wedding and spent some time looking for the Superlambananas:

we also had a walk up Matthew Street because Stutz is a big Beatles fan and wanted to have his picture taken.  Here we are resting on the piano bench in Matthew Street.

we had a very good time in liverpool - there was so much to see and not enough time.  before too long we had to get back on the boat and head home to Lisburn!

Posted Aug 31, 2008, 1:24 pm
Well its been a wet week so we only ventured as far as Lisburn and Hillsborough but i managed to see a few old castles on the way!

Firstly we went to Lisburn where we visited the Castle Gardens and the Linen Centre.  Castle Gardens was the site of Lisburn Castle which was a 17th Century fortified manor house built by the Conway family.  Only the Gardens remain following a fire which destroyed basically the whole of the town in 1707, and work has just finished on a major renovation and archaeological dig.  Here i am at the site

I also saw the War Memorial
and saw a canon which was brought back from the Battle of Sebastopol!  I took a walk into Lisburn and went into the Linen Museum - the Museum is housed in the only building in the town which survived the fire in 1707 and was the old Market House

Inside the museum i saw 2 great exhibits - one on the Hugenots who came to Lisburn and helped start the linen industry in the town (there was even a old loom!) and one on Jewels which is on loan from the Ulster Museum which is currently being renovated.  We weren't allowed to take any pictures inside though!

the next day it was raining again but we made a quick trip to Hillsborough to see the Castle and the Fort.  Here i am outside the Castle - it is a government building and the Secretary of State lives there - that's why we couldn't go inside!

You can take an online tour of the Castle on the internet!  I also practised standing guard outside the Castle like you see outside Buckingham Palace!

I also saw the Courthouse which was built in 1760 - inside they still have court fittings since 1823!

Then I went over to Hillsborough Fort

The Fort was built in 1650 by the Hill family and was extended during the 18th century.  It overlooks the Forest Park and the lake.  Sadly the gates were locked when we got there but hopefully we can go back and have a proper look when the weather dries and its open.  It looks pretty impressive though!

Posted Sep 2, 2008, 7:12 pm
today i went into work with HS and we went into Belfast as she had to go to a tribunal hearing - tribunals are what takes place when someone makes a complaint against their employer.  we weren't able to take any pictures in the tribunal but had a quick look around belfast dodging the rain!

Here i am at the top of Royal Avenue, one of the main shopping areas:

Belfast is a great mixture of old architectural buildings and new buildings.

This is me outside the City Hall

City Hall is closed for refurbishment at the moment but you can see part of an exhibition outside it of families from across the world.  There are also a number of statues in the grounds, including one about the Titanic which was built in Belfast.  Beside the City Hall, there is a Big Wheel that people can take a trip on:

HS also told me about a dome at the new Victoria Centre where you can look out over Belfast.  We didn't get to see it today, but should be back in Belfast before too long to see some more sights!

Posted Sep 15, 2008, 7:24 pm
For European Heritage Weekend Heindrieke and I went to Enniskillen in County Fermanagh with HS's parents.  Fermanagh is famous for its many lakes - people come from all over the world to fish there.  We didn't go fishing though - we went to see Enniskillen Castle

Here we are sitting on the wall of the Castle looking out over Lough Erne.  Enniskillen Castle was built nearly 600 years ago and was later a garrison.  Now it houses 2 museums, including one about the Inniskillings Regiment.

Here i am sitting on one of the guns on show

This is German Mortar gun from 1918.  Here is Heindrieke sitting on the information board reading all about it!

After we had had a good look around the museums we headed back to the caravan - just as the rain started again!

Posted Sep 22, 2008, 7:59 pm
We went to Carlingford at the weekend and saw a fabulous castle and some lovely old medieval buildings! 

on the way down we stopped alongside the Newry Canal to see exactly where we were and where we were going!

This is the famous Carlingford Castle, also know as King John's Castle, after he visited it in 1210!

The castle was built in the 1190s when Carlingford was an important settlement and trading port.  There are a number of medieval buildings around the town which are likely to be the remnants of fortified houses:

This is me outside Taaffe's Castle which is beleived to have belonged to a merchant.

This is me outside the Mint - the right to mint coins was granted to the town in 1467 but it is more likely that this was a house rather than a site for making money!

And this is me outside the town gaol!

Carlingford is a lovely quaint town with cobble stone streets and little boutiques, and some lovely pubs and restaurants - we had some lovely seafood chowder and tomato bread, followed of course by ice-cream!


Posted Sep 27, 2008, 5:07 pm
Just to let you know that Blue Rat has gone to Dublin for a short break!  She is off to stay with a professor at Trinity College, Dublin and hopes to see some of the great architecture there.  She's been in touch to say she got there ok and is having a good time --- no beer though as she thinks its very expensive!!!

Photos and more details to follow when she gets back!  :D


Posted Oct 8, 2008, 8:59 pm
Bluerat is making her way back from Dublin where she went travelling with Dr B but has been sending me some pictures of her exploring the city.

First she had to decide what to see during her short trip:

She spent some time exploring Trinity College itself

and Dr B's office in the English Department

and also sometime seeing a few of the sights in Dublin.  Here's Bluerat outside the GPO, site of the 1916 rising

here she is on a bridge over the river Liffey which runs through the centre of the city

and here you can see Bluerat with the infamous Dublin Spire

I heard a whisper that she ended up in the pub with Dr B .... and i'm not too sure whether the lucozade is to help bluerat recover from a hangover or Dr B!!!

After a heavy session with Dr B and some of her academic friends, Bluerat had to decide whether to take the train or bus back up .....

I think the train won ..... Bluerat is heading back to Northern Ireland before thinking about heading home to Russia!

Posted Nov 5, 2008, 2:58 pm
Finally I'm at home! I'm so-o happy that my journey was so interesting and I could see many countries, meet many people and make friends with TVs.
Here I'm with Theodor, Smith and Chocholate Moose. I tell them about my adventures and show the postcards:

And here I'm with a fantastic elephant. Oksana has bought it recently. It's so-o beautiful!