We Are Family!

Dear Friends,

After reading my last letter, my good friend Yvonne commented that I should reconnect with my extended Castor family. This week I was invited to a family reunion and, with Yvonne’s comment on my mind, I was happy to accept.

The love of travel and adventure must run in the family because my distant relatives, the Beaver Brothers, make their living taking tourists on thrilling canoe adventures.

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I’d like you to meet them all.

This is Uncle Beaver. He is the boss of the family business and in his spare time he loves fishing. I’m guessing by the look of him that he loves eating too!

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And here are my cousins. They all work in the family business.

Cousin 1 keeps watch in case anyone falls out of the canoe.

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Cousin 2 is charged with checking for holes in the canoe. With those teeth, he could easily create a few holes.

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As for Cousin 3, please don’t ask me what he is doing. This is all I saw of him the whole time I was there! How rude!

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Uncle Beaver asked if I’d like to join the family business but I’ve decided to stick with what I know best.

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Yodelling and eating cake are where my talents lie!

Justin.

 

Sink or Swim

Dear Friends,

Can you see this sign almost hidden behind the Mr Twirly Ice Cream van at Brown Lake?

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When I first saw it from a distance, I was sure it said “Beavers Only”. I was quite excited, because I’ve never been anywhere exclusive before and I thought I was the only beaver in Australia. Perhaps I was about to meet some kindred spirits.

What a shock I got when I went down to the water’s edge. There were no beavers, only people – swimming, fishing and playing beach volleyball, and being very loud about it too.

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Didn’t they see the sign?

Lucky I went back to check before I asked them to leave.

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Oops!

Perhaps I need to visit the optometrist.

Justin.

Slow Boat

 Dear Friends,

You know how much I enjoy doing work experience. It’s great fun to spend a day in someone else’s shoes. But sometimes it’s good to sit back and let that person just get on with it. That’s what Manny and I thought when we sailed from Bruges to Damme on the paddle boat Lamme Goedzak.

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We had seats with a first class view of the tree lined Damse Vaart.

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We couldn’t help ourselves though and decided to help the captain just a little, by keeping watch in case anyone fell overboard.

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When he noticed how helpful we were, the captain invited us onto the bridge. We figured he needed someone to watch out for other vessels on the canal.

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Now I can add ship’s captain to my CV!

Justin.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – On The Way

(Chocolate) Love On Top!

Dear Friends,

Does your heart sing when you hear the tinkly music of the Mr Whippy van coming up the road? Where I live, he comes not just in summer but all year round. He drives past my house around 2 o’clock every Sunday afternoon and there’s nothing like a choc-top soft serve to round off the weekend.

This week I had the best work experience ever. I learned how to be Mr Whippy!

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The real Mr Whippy himself gave me a lesson in how to create the perfect ice cream. It’s important to be swift and sure because soft serve can become sloppy serve if you’re not quick enough.

First, fill the cone with ice cream, taking care to gently twist to achieve a nice peak.

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Then, upend the cone and quickly dip the ice cream into the molten chocolate. Don’t leave it hanging too long, or your carefully constructed ice cream will fall off into the chocolate, which can be very messy. (I found this out the hard way!)

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And that’s all there is to it; minimum effort = maximum gain!

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Justin.

PS Don’t ask me why Mr Whippy’s van said Mr Twirly on the side! Maybe they are related.

Life in the Fast Lane – Weekly Photo Challenge – Motion

Dear Friends,

My favourite ride at Tokyo Disneyland was Space Mountain.

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Even with my Fast Pass it took some time to get to the front of the queue, but I whiled away the time by watching as each car full of daring riders came to a screeching halt.

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It took no more than a few seconds for those people to exit and the new group to climb aboard, buckle up and off they went. I counted –  four cars came in and out again every minute.

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That’s a lot of people hurtling through Space.

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The ride itself was so much fun, but it was super-speedy and over in a flash.

As soon as I got out I went straight round and joined the queue again.

I’m the fastest beaver in the world!

Justin

Weekly Photo Challenge – Motion

Early One Morning – Weekly Photo Challenge – Early Bird

Dear Friends,

You’ve probably heard the saying “The early bird catches the worm.” Believe me, it’s not just an old wives’ tale. I was watching this morning as a kookaburra, out and about just as the sun rose, was looking for a tasty treat for his breakfast.

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And it’s not just worms he was after. The campers down the road were cooking sausages, eggs and bacon on the barbecue and Mr Kookaburra was keeping his beady eye on them – the sausages that is, not the campers.

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Luckily for the hungry campers Kookie was distracted when he spied something delicious moving in the grass.

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I’ll have that leftover sausage thanks!

Justin.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Early Bird

Speed of Light – Weekly Photo Challenge – Blur

Dear Friends,

This week I went for a ride on the Shinkansen, more commonly known as the Bullet Train, from Hakone to Tokyo.

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The Shinkansen is able to reach a maximum speed of 320 kilometres per hour. I don’t know if we actually travelled that fast but once we started everything was a blur.

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My personal assistant Mrs ET says these terrible photos she took are blurry because we were travelling so fast.

I’m not so sure about that. She’s had this problem before…

Justin.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Blur

Fresh Fruit – Weekly Photo Challenge – Fresh

Dear Friends,

Every café, restaurant and food stall in Tokyo has its display of plastic food in the window, designed to tempt and tease us. Like everyone else in Harajuku, I was drawn to the spectacular array of sweet treats at Santa Monica Crepes. It was as though an irresistible  magnetic force was drawing me in and I just had to have one.

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Deciding to have a crepe was the easy part; choosing which crepe was not so easy. There are 60 different fillings on the menu and they all sound divine!

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These delectable desserts are made fresh to order. The batter is poured onto a hot plate and the cook skilfully pours, shapes and folds the crepe in a matter of seconds. My crepe was filled with scoops of sweet vanilla and raspberry ice cream, topped with glistening berries and finished off with a tangy berry coulis. Oh my…it looked deeeelicious!

I was so eager to tuck into my crepe I took a bite before my personal assistant, Mrs ET, could get the camera ready, and once she had her photo I polished it off in no time.

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Only 59 crepes to go!

Justin.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Fresh

Sky High

Dear Friends,

I know what you’re going to say when you see this photo. At first glance it looks like the Eiffel Tower has had a makeover and turned a brilliant shade of orange. Well, you’re sort of right but completely wrong!

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This is Tokyo Tower, a communications and observation tower in the centre of Tokyo. Its shape was inspired by the Eiffel Tower, but that’s where the likeness ends. At a height of 333 metres, Tokyo Tower is nine metres taller than the Eiffel Tower. And while the Eiffel Tower weighs a massive 7000 tons, Tokyo Tower is a lightweight in comparison at 4000 tons.

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The most striking thing about Tokyo Tower is its fantastic colour, known as international orange. The colour is meant to “set objects apart from their surroundings” and it has been used by NASA for some of its spacesuits. It certainly makes Tokyo Tower stand out.

From the observation deck there are great views of Tokyo.

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My favourite view though is through the glass floor, 250 metres down to the ground. Look at all that orange framework.

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I wouldn’t like to be the painter.

Justin.

PS  My Personal Assistant Mrs ET loves towers too! And there are more orange stories here too.

 

Ain’t That Peculiar?

Dear Friends,

Manny and I should have known something was up the day we went to the Natural History Museum in London. All the signs were there but we weren’t very observant. We were much too excited for our own good!

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There were some very strange creatures hanging around outside. They were all smiling, but not in a nice way.

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In Hintze Hall we met Dippy the Diplodocus. He was larger than life and very skinny. We wondered how long it had been since he had a good meal.

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This bony fellow seemed a bit the worse for wear too. I think he’d seen better days.

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Even the great man himself, Charles Darwin, was looking a little pasty. I introduced myself as a fellow world traveller with a passion for learning but our conversation was definitely a one-sided affair.

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Lucky I had Manny to keep me company.

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The Natural History Museum is not for the faint-hearted!

Justin.

My personal assistant, The Eternal Traveller, travelled to the centre of the earth at the Natural History Museum. Sometimes she is very brave!

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