Friday, November 30, 2007

The Ant and the Dove (Aesop)

An ant went to the bank of a river to quench its thirst, and being carried away by the rush of the stream, was on the point of drowning.

A dove sitting on a tree overhanging the water plucked a leaf and let it fall into the stream close to her.

The ant climbed onto it and floated, in safety, to the bank.

Shortly afterwards a bird-catcher came and stood under the tree, and laid his lime-twigs for the Dove, which sat in the branches.

The ant, perceiving his design, bit him on the foot.

In pain the bird-catcher threw down the twigs, and the noise made the Dove take wing.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stop 3 - An Evergreen Forest

There are few tall green plants like grasses and rushes growing here: it is far too dark. Only mosses are able to manage on some of the stumps and stones.

There are stumps from old woodland that was here, and from the thinnings of present woodland.

Later, as the wood grows older, it will be ‘thinned’ again, pools of light will penetrate the canopy and the vegetation will return.

How thick are the spruce needles on the ground? They decay slowly compared with the leaves of an oak wood.

What causes the leaves and stumps to decay?

What would the world be like if nothing decayed?

Cross the forest ride

This text was written by B. V. Cave of the Wilderness Wildlife Centre Mitcheldean for the Forestry Commission 'Boy's Grave and Forest Trail'.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bowsie's Forest of Dean Adventure (part six)

‘What I could do with now, is a nice cup of tea!’ said Bonnington.

‘Kettle’s on!’ said Boddington.

They all sat down for a nice cup of tea.

‘Ouch!’ said Bonnington.

‘…and ooohh!’ he said again.

‘I can’t drink this. My snout is too sore!’

And his snout did look very red and there were little cuts on it where the sharp edges of the can had cut in.

‘We’d better take you to the hospital.’ said Bluebell.

‘Can you walk?’ asked Emma and Jane.

‘I’m fine. It’s not far to Florence’s Hospital. I hope they are not too busy!’

‘It’s just down here at the end of the ride.’

‘Careful! Sometimes the spruce needles can be quite sharp.’ Said Bluebell

They were now surrounded on either side by the Evergreen Wood. As they walked along the ride, they were joined by other another friends who had heard the voices and wondered what was going on. Two young fallow deer followed behind. Squirrels leapt from branch to branch chattering to each other.

‘Look. It’s Bonnington. He’s hurt.’
‘They are taking him to Florence the Nightingale’s Hospital.’

When they came to the Deciduous Wood, they pass the Holly Tree to a small clearing.

There was a small wooden sign, ‘Florence the Nightingale’s Woodland Hospital’.

The clearing was full of injured animals and birds.

Florence flew down to a branch close to Bonnington and said, ‘Please come in and find a moss bed. We are very busy, as you can see…’

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kindness to Animals (poet unknown)

Little children never give
Pain to things that feel and live:
Let the gentle Robin come
For crumbs you save at home, -
As his meat you throw along
He’ll repay you with a song;
Never hurt the timid hare
Peeping from her green grass lair,
Let her come and sport and play
On the lawn at close of day;
The little lark goes soaring high
To the bright windows of the sky,
Singing as if ‘twere always spring,
And fluttering on an untired wing, -
Oh! Let him sing his happy song,
Nor do these gentle creatures wrong.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Curliest Thing (poet unknown)

The squirrel is the curliest thing
I think I ever saw;
He curls his back, he curls his tail,
He curls his little paw,
He curls his little vest so white,
His little coat so grey –
He is the most curled-up wee soul
Out in the woods at play!

A Mossy Bank

A Mossy Bank (Forest of Dean Trail - Stop 2)

From Black Penny Wall Well follow the trail down the hill.

You are entering a plantation of Christmas Trees (Norway Spruce), planted in 1937.

In front is a mossy bank beneath a Sweet Chestnut tree. This tree arises as a number of stems from its base. Originally a tree was cut down and its re-growth has produced this effect. Frequently, the young long stems are cut to use for fencing, but here this stage is long past.

Have you ever wondered what makes a moss, a moss? You never see flowers on a moss. You may be fortunate enough to see a number of spore cases standing tall on the moss plants. These produce tiny structures – spores – which blow in the wind and may, if landing on the right soil, grow into new moss plants.

As you go down the ride between the dense woods, you may in muddy places, see the footprints or slots, of the fallow deer that are to be found here. You will also see how, beneath the Norway Spruce plantation, there is almost no vegetation. Only in the driveway are there any green plants growing.

Why do you think this is?

This text was written by B. V. Cave of the Wilderness Wildlife Centre Mitcheldean for the Forestry Commission 'Boy's Grave and Forest Trail'.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bowsie's Forest of Dean Adventure (part five)

Bluebell flew out of the MAGIC FAIRY CIRCLE and disappeared!

‘Where has she gone?’ said Emma.

‘Down the hill!’ shouted Bowsie and then he ran out of the MAGIC FAIRY CIRCLE.

‘EEE EEE!” he said.

‘That’s it - we can’t understand him anymore.’ said Jane.

‘Please hurry,’ said the Elf ‘you can help Bonnington’, and he ran out of the MAGIC FAIRY CIRCLE.

Down the hill they all raced.

They soon came to a beautiful plantation of Norway Spruce.

‘Christmas Trees! This is it.’ said Jane.

‘There’s the Sweet Chestnut Tree!’ said Emma, out of breath now.

‘And there’s the moss-covered bank and a beautiful Badger – but there is something blue and shiny stuck on his nose.’

Bluebell suddenly appeared on the mossy bank. ‘This is Bonnington. Please help.’

Emma carefully lifted Bonnington and sat him on her lap. He was warm and quiet heavy. His eyes were full of tears.

Jane had a good look at how the beer can was attached to his snout.

‘I think I can do it without hurting you too much.’ she said to Bonnington.

She placed her handkerchief around his nose, on the edge of the can and gently tugged.

The can slid over Bonnington’s snout and he was free!

‘Hurray!’ shouted the Bluebell and the Elf.

‘Hurray!’ shouted Bowsie.

‘Thank you very much.’ said Bonnington with a very nasal voice.

‘Hurray for Emma and Jane!!!’ said everybody at once and they held hands and danced and danced on the mossy bank

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Elves (poet unknown)

If you make a daisy chain,
And hang it on a tree,
Elves will have it for a swing -
You just try and see.

If you put a bunch of May
Somewhere in the ground,
Elves will trim their hat-brims with it,
And then dance round and round.

If you shake the petals down
From a crimson rose,
Elves will come and gather them
To make their Sunday clothes.

If you drop an apple blossom
When the dew is on it,
Elves will set to work and make
A baby fairy’s bonnet.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bowsie's Forest of Dean Adventure (part four)

‘I’m feeling better now after that cup of tea.’ said Bonnington.

‘Me too!’ said Boddington.

‘Get on with the story then!’

‘I will, I will…..’ said Boddington.

Emma and Jane got over the shock of hearing Bowsie speak very quickly.

Bluebell had told them that Bonnington, Bowsie’s best friend (or at least one of them), had a beer can stuck on his nose.

‘Can we help?’ said Emma and Jane together in unison.

‘I was hoping you would say that.’ said Bluebell.

‘Bonnington is down the path in the Spruce Wood plantation. You will find a mossy bank beneath a Sweet Chestnut Tree. You’ll find him there.’ said Bluebell. She had stopped sobbing now that help was at hand.

‘I’ll fly down and meet you there. Once we leave the MAGIC FAIRY CIRCLE you won’t be able to see or hear me any more, but the mossy bank is another Magic Fairy place.’

‘Please hurry!’ and off she flew with a flutter of her gossamer wings.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Who has seen the Wind? By Christina Rossetti

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you,
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I,
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

Black Penny Wall Well in the Forest of Dean

Black Penny Wall Well (Forest of Dean Trail - Stop 1)

This was probably commonly used as a drinking place by travellers through the Forest. Its importance is indicated by the way it has been lined with stonework. The name is a corruption of Blackberry.

Around the well are rushes, foxgloves, and plants of hard-fern. Rushes grow only in wet places. Their leaves and stems, like onions, are hollow. Can you see how greenish flowers are set on the stems a few inches below the tip? Dried rushes were strewn on the floor as carpets in the Middle Ages, and bunched and soaked in grease, were also used as lamps.

In the water a green scum can usually be seen. This is the algae, a primitive form of plant life.

The spring is caused by water collecting between a layer of clay and a layer of sandstone above, and flows out here where the two layers surface.

This text was written by B. V. Cave of the Wilderness Wildlife Centre Mitcheldean for the Forestry Commission 'Boy's Grave and Forest Trail'.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Emma has written to recommend an interesting web-site. Here is her note:

'...Bowsie is still safely snuggled in my sock drawer, but she was talking in her sleep today. She said she worried that Mr Hunt might be lonely without her special visits.

I found this website that I thought might cheer up all the people who were missing Bowsie over the winter, as it is all about hibernation.



Bonnington xxx and Boddington xxx

About the Fairies by Jean Ingelow

Pray, where are all the bluebells gone,
That lately bloomed in the wood?
Why, the little fairies have each taken one,
And put it on for a hood.

And where are the pretty grass-stalks gone,
That waved in the summer breeze?
Oh, the fairies have taken them, every one,
To plant in their gardens like trees.

And where are the great big blue-bottles gone,
That buzzed in their busy pride?
Oh, the fairies have caught them, every one,
And have broken them in, to ride.

And they’ve taken the glow-worms to light their halls,
And the cricket to sing them a song;
And the great red rose leaves to paper their walls,
And they’re feasting the whole night long.

And when Spring comes back with its soft mild ray,
And the ripple of gentle rain,
The fairies bring what they’ve taken away,
And give it us all again.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bowsie's Forest of Dean Adventure (part three)

‘Why don’t you get on with the story?’ said Boddington.

‘Which story?’ said Bonnington.

‘The story about Bowsie and Bluebell at the Black Penny Wall Well in the Forest of Dean. You got to the bit where Bluebell, the blue fairy, was sitting on a stone sobbing.’ said Boddington.

‘Yes, yes. I remember now.’ said Bonnington, thoughtfully, ‘But why was she crying?’

‘You should remember. It was your fault. You are always poking your nose into things!’

‘Should I? Was it? Am I?’

‘Dooooh!’ said Boddington, getting very impatient.

‘Yes, I remember now, it was my fault.’ said Bonnington.

‘Well, why don’t you finish the story then?’ sighed Boddington.

‘I’m tired Boddington. You do it.’

‘OK. If you insist. You are hopeless at telling stories anyway!...’

‘As you were saying, Bluebell, the fairy, was sitting on the large moss-covered stone crying.’

She was so pleased and relieved to see Bowsie, but she could not stop crying as she told Bowsie about what had happened.

‘It’s Bonnington,’ she sobbed ‘he’s got his nose stuck in one of those horrible metal cylinders the TALL PEOPLE throw about all over the forest. Nobody can help him.’

‘Is it a beer can? Asked Emma.

‘Yes.’ said Bluebell.

‘Litter louts!’ said Jane.

'Vandals! said Bowsie.

'You can speak!!!' said Jane and Emma together.

'You can understand me because you are standing in a MAGIC FAIRY CIRCLE.' said Bowsie.

'I can hear the kettle whistling, it must be boiling!' said Bonnington.

'Me too! Sorry, tea-time, must be off.' said Boddington

'Me too.' said Bonnington.


Bonnington xxx and Boddington xxx

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Boddington and Bonnington

Hi Everybody!

Isn't it cold! I've built myself a lovely big fire in my set (that''s what I call my den).

I've got my twin brother staying with me for the winter - so we are going to share the diary until Bowsie wakes up.

Say 'Hallo' Bonnington.

'Hallo Bonnington!'

'Hallo Boddington!'

'Hallo Everybody!!!'


Bonnington xxx and Boddington xxx

Monday, November 12, 2007

Black Penny Wall Well

The blue fairy was sat upon a stone crying. She was so pleased to see Bowsie that she didn't notice that Emma and Jane were there too.

'Oh Bowsie. I'm so glad you've come today! ' said the blue fairy, in a voice like the tinkling of little bluebells.

Emma and Jane had forgotten that when they entered a fairy circle, they could understand every word that Bowsie said. Normally, his voice sounded like two high pitched squeaks, 'EE EEE'.

They were surprised when they heard Bowsie say, 'What is the matter Bluebell? Why are you crying?'

Just at that moment an elf stepped from behind a stone and said, 'Be careful Bluebell! There are two TALL PEOPLE in the circle!'

Emma and Jane looked around searching for the TALL PEOPLE. Then they realized that the elf was talking about them!

Ducks' Ditty

by Kenneth Grahame
All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all!

Ducks' tails, drakes' tails,
Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight
Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth
Where the roach swim--
Here we keep our larder,
Cool and full and dim.

Everyone for what he likes!
WE like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!

High in the blue above
Swifts whirl and call--
WE are down a-dabbling
Up tails all!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Hi Everybody!


My name is Bonnington. Bowsie and I have been friends for years.

I'm not at all surprised that he's tired. He's had so many adventures this year.

The biggest adventure of all was the day he visited Black Penny Wall Well with Emma and Jane.

As you know, the Forest of Dean is full of Elves and Fairies and the best place to see them is at Black Penny Wall Well. Normally, you have to be very quiet and they can be seen drinking the water from buttercups and talking amongst themselves.

When they arrived this time, however, there was just one blue fairy sat on a stone sobbing.

'Oh Bowsie,' she said 'I'm so glad you've come today. '

Oh dear, my kettle has just boiled. I'll be back to tell you more later.


Bonnington xxx

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Say 'Hallo' to Bonnington

Well, as you know, this is my hibernation time.

I've been lent a nice comfortable sock drawer (thank you Emma!) and I shall not be able to keep my eyes open much longer.

I've asked my friend Bonnington (here's his photograph from last winter) to look after my diary while I'm asleep.

He gets a bit sleepy too, but he's got a nice warm study in his burrow with a little lap-top computer.

See you in the spring!



Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Dormouse Web-site

One of my diary readers left this lovely story about me ( I remember it happening!).

She has also recommended an interesting web-site:

'One winters day Emma and Jane were busy getting ready for Christmas and I was asleep in my box of ribbons.

Emma ran over and picked me up. "Aren't you excited about Christmas Bowsie" said Emma and swung me around in the air.

Emma put me down and Jane came over.

"I'd like to find out about dormice" and they went onto the computer and looked



... '

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bed in Summer

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

By Robert Louis Stevenson from Child's Garden of Verses

Monday, November 5, 2007

Guy Fawkes Night

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

Months of the year

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty one
Except for February which has twenty eight!
(And twenty nine each leap year)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

How I got my name (Part Three)

While Emma and Jane were busy discussing a name for me, I had fallen asleep on the dressing table.

I had fallen asleep in a box of ribbons and bows - it was very cosy!

'Ahh, just look at him, he's fallen asleep. How cute!' said Emma.

'Right in the middle of our box of bows!' said Jane.

'I know - let's call him BOWSIE!!!!' they both shouted together and woke me up.

...and that is how I got my name (and a very comfortable bed).



Thursday, November 1, 2007

How Bowsie got his name (Part Two)

Emma and Jane carried me carefully into their house.

It was nice and warm and I had a good look round.

“I remember that!” said Sidney the house mouse.

Sidney used to live up Emma and Jane’s Daddy’s sleeve! Every so often he would poke his head out and surprise everybody – especially Jane. Look how cheeky he is in the picture!

“I remember you coming to the house for the first time. You had your nose into everything!”

“I’m not nosey!” I said.

“Oh yes you are! In fact Jane wanted to call you Nosey, but Emma didn’t like it.” Said Sidney.

“No, they wanted to call me Cosy because I snuggled up in the cushions on the couch!”

“That was Emma’s idea.” squeaked Sidney.

“I remember Emma and Jane saying ‘Dozy, Cosy, Rosie, Nosey – what shall we call him. We’ll never agree!”

“That’s right”….