I’ll admit to being a dragon fan. One of my favourite things to craft. I can’t resist a dragon legend. The fact that these legends seem to pop up in all corners of the world, is fascinating in its own right. So when we heard of a legend, practically on our doorstep, we had to investigate.
The Bishops’s Palace in Wells has opened a play area based around a dragon legend. Tucked between the allotments and the towering walls. It is so well planned. A place to explore and inspire imaginative play.
There is a tunnel that leads to a story telling area. We missed that day’s story, but something tells me that tall tales were still told and heard, as they hung out in the tunnel.
Seeing as this is Wells, with myriads of natural springs, it was only right that there would also be a water pump for the children to try.
Sending water down a zig-zagging route to a bucket that would never hold much.
There were bridges to cross,
mazes to escape,
trees to climb and
dragons to stroke and dream of keeping as a pet.
Not forgetting battlements to conquor.
I loved the natural materials and the open ended play that it provided. Plenty of room for imagination to fill in any gaps in the stories. To tempt all ages, me thinks.
I listened to a mother helping her young son to tell a story, as he rushed around acting it out. I smiled. My own children are older and don’t need my story telling encouragement so much now. They have their own stories to tell. Delightful and fun. Spurred on by each other. Very much their stories, not mine. Their stories are part of a game that they play together. It is fascinating to see them grow. In imagination too.
This is a play area to encourage imagination, rather than daring deeds. Especially as the dragon will never be forgotten now, so no need to worry about the 50 years curse….hey!
Or is there…? I mean, have you seen those teeth? I’m not sure. It could be a trick of the light, but I’m certain I saw the eyes move, a minute ago. Did anyone else? Just me. Ah. Well. I’ll leave you to it then. All the same, I wouldn’t get too close, if I was you. Up to you, of course. Oh look. That time already. Might just head home while it’s still light. Fare you well. See you soon….. I hope.
I love nature and I love it when nature inspires my crafting. I’ve been experimenting with feathers and paint. My original idea morphed into something quite different. This was all inspired by a trip to the North Somerset Butterfly House. One of the best kept secrets in Somerset.
This is my kind of place. It’s no secret that I would love to be an entomologist. Where better to spend a Sunday afternoon than in a butterfly house. I love learning more about minibeasts. Fortunately, so does the rest of the family. As we waited to pay, the Bug Man showed us a hissing cockcroach. Very neat. It’s neck was perfectly protected by the shaped armour on its back and when it pulled in its head, it fitted snug. Nothing sticking out to enable a predator to strike. Fabulous engineering. It’s shiny back enabled it to slip though the forest’s leaf mould easily.
Then on to the butterfly house. First butterfly spotted was this amazing Owl butterfly (above). Amazing patterns on it’s underside.
There were masses of Zebra Longwing (above) fluttering lazily around our heads. Totally unbothered by our presence. The yellow and black peril colours. Apparently they are not fakes. They are poisonous. Only if you eat them though.
The Zebra Mosaic fooled me. I focused on the fake head! Do you see the yellow tip. It looks like the head, while the real head has the same markings as the wings, and blends in perfectly. It is a clever little butterfly. Most butterflies land on tree trunks so that they are facing up. This one lands facing down, with its fake head up the tree. Predators aim at the top where the tasty butterfly’s head should be. In this case, as they will be hopefully fooled, only the tip of the wings are damaged. Leaving the Zebra Mosaic to fly away.
No butterfly house would be complete without the butterfly nursery.
The children loved feeding the terrapins.
So many different types of butterfly. Above is the Common Mormon.
The banana skins on the feeding stations made it easy to study the butterflies. Might try using this technique to attract our garden butterflies, although I suspect the fruit flies might engulf the skins.
The butterfly on the left is a Blue Morpho.
Each butterfly finds its way to survive. Whether by behaviour or markings. Or both. It wasn’t until we got home and looked at the photos that I realised that the Owl butterflies had clever markings too.
I don’t know about you, but I think its markings look a lot like a scaly lizard as you look down on them feeding.
In case you can’t make out……
If you go up to the original, it should jump out at you. Not literally, of course!
Last of all are the Blue Morpho. My inspiration for a spot of crafting. I love the blue, but also the way that another butterfly seems to be superimposed onto it. I think the light behind has allowed the eye markings of the underside, to show through.
They have such a slow flutter, you wonder how they stay up. This one took a rest on my leg. Almost pleading to inspire me.
Back home, I cut feathers into the shape butterfly shape and anchored them with white tack. Using watercolours, I added colour.
Simple. Not sure I’ll get it off the cardboard, but that’s OK. I rather like the effect of the paint hitting the cardboard as the feather bits peter out. I’d like to try this again.
If you are in North Somerset, then I can recommend the Butterfly House. No need to be a budding entomologist. The butterflies are just lovely to watch. The butterfly house is next door to Cadbury’s Garden Centre. Makes a nice stop off as you head down to Cornwall on the M5.
This is NOT a sponsored post in any way, I’m just an unabashed enthusiast!
Linking up to #CountryKids. For more getting out and about family fun, I can recommend hopping on over.