Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A visit to Kent

On Saturday we drove to Dover. It was a long car trip and as we drove I spotted two muntjac deer, two rabbits, a pheasant, a goshawk, lots of rooks and various farm animals.

Our first stop was Canterbury. We went there to visit its famous Cathedral. However, when we got there we discovered the main parts were closed!

The front gates of the Cathedral
Looking in to the Cathedral

So after a picture at the front gates, we left Canterbury and headed to Chilham, a small village close to Canterbury. The latest BBC production of Emma by Jane Austen had scenes filmed there in the village square. Also, it is thought that Thomas Beckett might have been buried there.

The main reason we were there was for family tree research as our ancestors, the Pullens, are buried there. We knew they were buried at St Mary's Church there, so when we got to the church (very easy in a small village), dad, Elsie and Lydia searched for records inside, while mum, Rebecca and I looked for the actual grave. Soon dad found where it was from the records and we went to it and took some photos.

St Mary's church
Next to the grave of my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather William Pullen
Next we went to Dover Castle. You could see right across the English channel to France. We parked on a hill where we could plainly see our destination - Dover Castle!

Huge and powerful, Dover Castle towered over the beach, watching for enemies that might cross the channel to fight the English. Once we were inside its outer walls we visited the Roman lighthouse and Anglo Saxon church. As it was St George's day, flocks of English people had come for the festival. Still, the actual Castle was quite empty and the banners and medieval tents were a great backdrop for the French invasion game that Becca, Elsie and I were playing.

Inside Dover Castle was fantastic. We went inside the mighty stone keep, looked over the battlements, saw the kitchen, guest room, dining room and armoury.

Next we saw the WWII tunnels with corrugated iron walls and dull electric lights. It used to be a hospital for people injured in the war. We took a tour through there.

Roman lighthouse
Then we drove home. As we drove out of Dover we saw the white cliffs beside us rearing over the channel. As we drove we saw a bird of prey (possibly a hen harrier) and a whole heap of rabbits and hares.

White cliffs

On the way home we saw this house, where some of our ancestors lived and started a church back in the 1600s!

Monday, 22 April 2013


Last week, my sisters and I learnt about Sir Isaac Newton. We watched a documentary about him and did some research on the computer. (We had also visited Trinity College a few weeks ago, where he was a fellow for many years, and saw an apple tree that had been planted outside his window, and was directly descended from the famous apple tree that was at his home in Lincolnshire. Earlier still, we visited the library at Trinity College and saw his staff, a lock of his hair, and a letter that he wrote to his nemesis, Robert Hooke.)

As part of learning about Isaac Newton, we designed a game about his life and discoveries, which we called, 'A Voyage Through Newtonia'. Here are some photos of it.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Watership Down

Watership Down is a great and engaging novel by Richard Adams. It was published in 1972 and is set in a similar period.

The setting is in England, near and on the downs (very large, grassy hills). You can tell Richard Adams doesn't like how meadows and other environments are being developed into built environment. The book also teaches about good leadership.

The story is about a group of rabbits living in a nice warren within a plot of land. Fiver, a timid, small, weak rabbit, suddenly has a horrible feeling that they have to leave the warren. His fear is backed up when a mysterious white sign appears near the warren. Obviously, rabbits cannot read, but it said: THIS IDEALLY SITUATED ESTATE COMPRISING SIX ACRES OF EXCELLENT BUILDING LAND IS TO BE DEVELOPED WITH HIGH CLASS MODERN RESIDENCES BY SUTCH AND MARTIN LIMITED OF NEWBURY BERKS.

Most of the rabbits are not concerned about the sign, but a few who believe Fiver is right assemble together one night and leave their home forever. They travel through strange lands with foxes, badgers, stoats and strange rabbits with unusual customs. They go through woods and fields and cross roads driven over by Hrududu (cars).

Eventually they reach Watership Down, where they establish a warren and meet the seagull Kehaar. they rescue some does from the heavily guarded, heavily disguised warren of General Woundwort, Efrafa, and battle for their lives against Woundwort's fury.

The main characters are Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Blackberry, Kehaar and Woundwort.

Hazel is definitely the main character, an averagely sized rabbit and a great leader. He is very brave and is admired by his friends. When they establish a warren, Hazel is the leader. In the old warren he had no high position.

Fiver is a small rabbit, the fifth in a litter. He has an ability to see things in the future and things going on far away. He is feeble and quite weak.

Bigwig is strong, brave, and a larger rabbit. He has a growth of fur on his head, earning him his name. He starts out proud but by the end he has become more humble.

Blackberry is another member of Hazel's warren. Clever and loyal to Hazel, he comes up with plans and ideas that make their rescue from Efrafa happen successfully.

Kehaar is a black-headed seagull rescued by Hazel when he was injured. The rescue was dangerous as Kehaar was in pain and feeling very angry. He used rather foul language at first when he had no idea what rabbits were and what they ate. He thought they were trying to capture him and eat him. Before long he was very loyal to Hazel and had a strong friendship with Bigwig.

Woundwort is a vicious rabbit. In fact, he is more like a hunting animal. He is a very large rabbit and would prefer to stand and fight any enemy, no matter how big, than retreat. He is the chief rabbit of Efrafa. He is a tyrant of a king, fierce and very vengeful.

The book shows a lot about leadership  and tells us how leaders should act using Hazel as a role model. The book has been cleverly researched and the facts about rabbits are true. However it is obviously a fictional story! The rabbits have culture, religion and even their own stories which the reader will hear occasionally.

My favourite part is when Hazel's warren rescues some does from Efrafa and is chased by Woundwort and his Ousla (the Ousla are a group of strong or clever rabbits that guard warrens and steal food from farms. They are generally military figures within a warren.)

I like it because of its mix of science and fiction and how it is exciting. I think it is a great book.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Upon Westminister Bridge

I've been memorising William Wordsworth's poem 'Upon Westminster Bridge'. When we were in London last week, my dad and I got up early and caught the tube to Westminster Bridge to film me reciting it. Enjoy!

A week in London

Last week we spent five days in London with my Grandma and Grandpa. Here are some pictures I took of the things we saw there:

Hampton Court Palace

A yale at the front entrance of Hampton Court Palace
Tudor chimneys at Hampton Court

Westminster Abbey
The inside of Westminster Abbey (before I found out that you're not meant to take photos!)

Big Ben

The great vine, the world's largest and oldest vine in Hampton Court Palace
The old roman wall around London
With Grandma and Grandpa at the Tower of London

A raven at the Tower of London

A grey heron at St James's park
An old London bus

Nelson's column at Trafalgar square

A lion at Trafalgar square
The Rosetta stone, a world famous stone that became the key to deciphering heiroglyphs and unlocking the secrets of ancient Egypt in the British museum

A copy of  Cyrus prism the British museum (the real one was on display in America)

A neolithic ceremonial helmet, made out of a deer's skull and antlers at the British museum
The entrance to a Greek temple, rebuilt from fragments and moved to the British museum

A robin red-breast at Kensington Palace

A pteranodon at the Natural History museum
A lammergeier at the Natural History Museum

A fossil of an ichthyosaur giving birth, at the Natural History Museum
A fossil of an ichtyosaur, at the Natural History Museum

A stuffed (and faded) thylacine, at the Natural History Museum
A giant anteater, at the Natural History Museum

The changing of the guard, at Buckingham Palace
The gates of Buckingham Palace

An Aztec carving of a double-headed snake, at the British Museum
An Aztec rattle-snake carving, at the British Museum
A fox that was in the back garden of the place where we were staying

A diagram of how African slaves were fitted into the ships used in the slave trade, at the Museum of London (Docklands)

London was great!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Easter Weekend

On Good Friday, after church we went on a tour around Cambridge, specifically about Christain things that happened there. We saw a Norman Church, looked at the colleges and also saw an Anglo-Saxon tower. We were the only people on the tour. The pictures are of a garden that once belonged to Isaac Newton and a three dimensional map of that part of Cambridge. It was great!

The day after the day after that was Easter Sunday! After church we went to an Easter egg trail at Wimpole hall. There was an egg and spoon race first, in the gardens, then we had to look for things hanging from trees. Then we reached the farm. We stroked donkeys and saw nesting ducks and chickens. Also we played in a playground at the end of the trail. We got large easter eggs at the end!

The next day we drove out in the car to Long Melford, a small town in Suffolk. We were originly just going to see Long Melford hall but we arrived before opening time and visited a medieval church as we waited.

Soon Melford Hall was open and we could go inside. It was a wonderful old house that belonged to Beatrix Potter, the author of Little Peter Rabbit's cousins, there were some things inside that belonged to her, including the room she stayed in when visiting the house.


Then we visited the ruins of a vast abbey. When it was built it was the size of a small town! It was put up to honour Saint Edmund the martyr. He was an Anglo-Saxon christain king who ruled all of East Anglia. Vikings won a battle against him and said he could either become a pagan (the viking religion) or die. Edmund bravely refused to stop being a Christain and was tied to a tree. The viking soldiers then shot him with arrows and cut of his head. He was buried at Bury St Edmunds where the ruins are now.
As we walked back towards the car we found a memorial for seventeen men burnt by Queen Mary because they were protestant (a type of Christain). All of hem were ordinary men with ordinary jobs who became some of the many protestants burnt by Queen Mary.