Edward Explores: Devil’s Bridge

The extra bank holiday granted for the recent Queen’s Jubilee celebration gave Edward’s bearers a four day weekend. It was decided that this would be the ideal time to leave the country for the first time since early 2020. A hotel was booked at the interestingly named Devil’s Bridge in mid-west Wales. It was hoped there would be less bunting here than rapidly proliferated as the weekend approached in the English village where Edward lives.

On entering the country Edward was immediately made to feel welcome. The hotel at which he stayed provided tasty biscuits for him to enjoy on his big bed – although sadly these weren’t replenished daily. If interested in an overview of The Hafod, you may read a review, in which Edward features, here.

Legend has it that the first of the devil’s bridges was built by the eponymous wicked being in order to trick a lady – whose cow had strayed across the river – into giving up her soul. She was far too canny for this mean minded ploy, although it was unclear from the various write-ups of the tale whether the dog she sent across in her place was rejected or taken by the devil. Edward asked the creature guarding the steps down to view the three bridges that exist today – built one on top of the other over several centuries as replacements were needed. He barked his reply before spreading his wings.

Edwards bearers took him on several river walks where he was able to view waterfalls, being careful to stay dry. He was also interested in the remains of a mine by a river, although not one of the deep ones he had read about that used to exist all over Wales, providing quality coal for trains. This one was a source of minerals, and still raises issues around water pollution today.

As well as the bridges and rivers, Edward explored the nearby town of Aberystwyth. It had a castle that had seen better days and a steep hill offering a fine view of the coastal settlement. It was quite windy on the summit so our intrepid bear held on tight to the bench where he paused to rest.

From Aberystwyth it is possible to catch a steam train back to Devil’s Bridge. Edward met a rather cheeky monkey at the station and offered words of advice about acceptable manners. Teddy bears are, of course, always well behaved.

After all his adventuring, Edward was pleased to return to the hotel each evening for dinner. He very much enjoyed his puddings and remained perplexed that one of his bearers kept opting for cheese instead.

Adventures do, of course, come to an end and our small bear – from the now defunct English Teddy Bear Company – was welcomed back to his home country, as may be expected. Although the Jubilee Weekend was drawing to a close, Edward arrived home just in time to join a tea party hosted by Elizabeth for a new friend she had made. He did wonder why Monty was guarding the teapot so carefully.

Edward was pleased to be travelling further afield again and enjoyed his few days away. He now has a more local trip pending that he looks forward to telling you all about next time.

Edward Explores: Cornwall

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Readers may remember that, back in March, Edward kindly consented to partake in some modelling for photos to be included in a hotel review. He proved himself so skilled at this he was asked to repeat the experience on his latest adventure, to beautiful Cornwall. This time, rather than helping to celebrate a birthday, he was assisting in the celebrations for a wedding anniversary. You may read the subsequent review of the hotel he stayed in, at Talland Bay, here.

Edward entered the county via the Tamar bridge. As well as a road bridge, there is a railway bridge. Although Edward was travelling by car this time, he remains fond of trains and was pleased to observe one as he read about the history of providing means of crossing the river.

Having arrived at his destination, Edward was whisked off for a bracing coastal walk. This time of year is bluebell season, and he stopped to admire the many more unusual white specimens growing along the verges.

On his return to the hotel it was time for a little sustenance. Dinners included delicious puddings that he was eager to sample each evening.

Edward Cornwall hotel pudding

An early start was required on Saturday morning as Edward’s bearers wished to take part in the Eden Project Parkrun. Edward waited patiently for them to cross the finish line that they may all enjoy breakfast together. He wasn’t convinced by the bacon butties they seemed to be enjoying but approved of the small snack provided for him.

There was then time to look around the landscaping and biomes – complementary entry was offered to runners and their support crew. Edward was pleased to spot a bee, even if it was rather large and inactive, as he has read they are vital yet endangered. He also took time to admire the unusual plants growing in the areas visited.

Next on the agenda was a visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan, which proved easier to find than the Eden Project had been. Edward wondered if the friendly giant rising from the earth to greet him had a friend who had lost their hand. He contemplated this over the tasty cookie provided to replenish his energy levels.

It was a tad damp on the Sunday but Edward was brave and agreed to climb out of his waterproof snooze bag to pose on rocks as his bearers looked out over Looe island. As a reward he was given a bag of Cornish fudge, freshly made on premises in the town.

The final day held the promise of a fine afternoon tea before journeying home. Edward accompanied his bearers on a woodland walk that they may build up an appetite for this treat. Although excited to join such adventures, teddies always have sufficient space in their tummies for cake.

Edward enjoyed his few days in Cornwall immensely. As he bade farewell to the friends he had made there were quiet words with the balloon bear at reception. We hope they realise how far it is to Wiltshire and no risky journeys are attempted for a reunion…

Talland Bay balloon bear

Edward Explores: When Bill met Ted on an Excellent Adventure

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Edward usually goes by his full, given name. He is sometimes referred to as teddy but, up until now, has never been a Ted. He was therefore somewhat bemused when he recently visited Shakespeare country and met a bard bear named Bill. Bill much prefers this moniker to William and assumed Edward would have a similar preference.

Bill was a resident at the most excellent Billesley Manor Hotel. He naturally assumes the place name is a hat tip to him. Having lived quietly in this one place, Bill was delighted to meet Edward. He listened avidly to the many tales of travel and adventures that our intrepid teddy enjoys partaking in.

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On this trip away, Edward was helping celebrate a birthday, something at which he is highly skilled. When his bearers realised Bill’s hotel had many links to Shakespeare, they asked Edward to help in a write-up of their literary stay and adventures.

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The ensuing photoshoots took place around the hotel and in nearby Stratford-upon-Avon. It was tiring work for a small bear so sustenance was sought in coffee shops along the way. Edward makes an excellent model for such an endeavour. You may read the resulting hotel review here.

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On the final day of Edward’s stay, Bill took his new best friend into his garden to discuss their future destiny. It was decided that, although parting is such sweet sorrow, they would prefer simply to stay together. Arrangements were therefore made, the assignment completed, and Bill has now joined Edward’s sleuth in Wiltshire.

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Arriving home, Edward was pleased to find that his younger bearers had made him a cake. It was covered in a great deal of butter icing, so much in fact that a second cake was made a day or two later to make good use of the excess.

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Having celebrated eldest bearer’s birthday with a trip away, a second celebration was planned that would include the whole family. Edward enjoyed the subsequent trip to his local Prezzo, especially the puddings he was given to taste.

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Bill has spent the past fortnight meeting the many bears he now lives with. He and Lottie have struck up a particularly special friendship. Edward is always delighted when the new bears he welcomes so quickly find their niche.

Bill and Lottie
We are such stuff as dreams are made on

Edward Explores: Bars, beaches and many tasty treats

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Those of you who follow the adventures of my intrepid teddy bear, Edward, will be aware that he enjoys the occasional pudding. This past month has therefore been a good one for him. It has included: a birthday celebration lasting an entire weekend, a few days away on the Devon coast, and Valentines Day. Although he understands why some eschew the latter event, Edward’s heart holds enough love for everyone and he has enjoyed the sweet treats made available to mark each of these various occasions.

The birthday bearer opted to eat out at a local pub to mark her special day. Naturally, Edward was invited to join the attendees. He was somewhat concerned when the kind waitress delivered the order placed, and then relieved when his food finally arrived at the table.

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The next day was the actual birthday so a cake was made. Edward sampled the first slice and declared it delicious. He wondered if it contained carrot because the newly aged bearer is a vegetarian.

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With the weather set fair for the time of year it was decided that a trip away was in order. It is quite some time since Edward visited Devon so this is where he was taken. He stayed in a rather nice hotel that understood the need for stocking the room and its fridge with welcoming treats.

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Edward enjoyed drinks by the fire and a selection of sweets with coffee each evening.

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Days were spent exploring the blustery coastline. As well as walks, Edward took a bus ride and found a shop selling tasty ice-cream cones. On his return to the hotel he was pleased to find his biscuit supply replenished.

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Dinner at the hotel was quite a quirky experience. Live piano music was played on a baby grand that turned out to be electric. Singers were accompanied by a recorded soundtrack with volume intruding on conversation. The food was, however, much to Edward’s liking, although the menu remained sadly unchanged throughout his stay. He also regretted not packing more changes of clothing as he always prefers to feel suitably dressed – and dapper – for every occasion.

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On the final day Edward came across some welcome signs of spring. It may still be regularly cold and a tad damp but the promise of better weather is cheering.

Edward February by spring flowers

As mentioned earlier, Edward likes to mark Valentine’s Day. He made a banoffee pie for his bearers, and they made a coffee and walnut cake for him.

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Edward hopes that all his readers have a bear to hug, and that they enjoy the unconditional love offered by a teddy.

He and Elizabeth were recently spotted planning another party for later in the year. And Edward is already making plans for his next exciting adventure…

Edward February with Elizabeth

Edward Explores: The 12 Days of Christmas

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Winter is the season for hibernation so Edward has spent much of the past month snoozing in bed. He did, however, join his bearers to celebrate Yule – the 12 days of Christmas. To brighten up midwinter, the halls were decked. Edward then hung his stocking under the tree in anticipation of the goodies Santa would bring.

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On Christmas Eve, just before bedtime, Edward watched his favourite film. Much as he loves The Snowman, he ponders why the young boy’s teddy ends up on the floor. Perhaps the bear in the film had been looking out the window and was nearly caught when the boy woke up unexpectedly at midnight.

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As well as many tasty treats, Santa delivered a new friend for Edward. Although dating from 2017, Paddington was first purchased by a financially motivated collector and has spent the intervening years in a box wondering why he was not allowed to meet the residents of what he had assumed would be his new forever home. When he was eventually taken out of his wrapping it was for an all too brief taste of freedom. He was photographed and then repackaged without being given even a single hug!

Thankfully, Edward’s bearers spotted Paddington’s listing on a sale site and quickly mounted a rescue plan. Money boxes were emptied. The postman was eagerly waited for.

Paddington has now received many, long overdue hugs and will not be put inside his box again. Although unsure why he was expected to play hockey on a pool table on Christmas Day, as a bear with a taste for travel and adventure – exciting new experiences – he was happy to oblige.

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Having topped up on the many tasty festive snacks, Edward has now returned to bed to complete his hibernation, but not before he and Paddington saw in the New Year. Edward wishes all his followers and friends a healthy and happy 2022. He hopes that this year may be filled with many more pleasant and revitalising explores.

Edward Explores: The Dorset Coast

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“Edward is a bear with flair. He looks so effortlessly cosy yet stylish.”

Kathryn Eastman, on Twitter

Being a bear, Edward spends a fair proportion of this time of year enjoying a long winter’s nap. Before he settled down under the duvet, however, he enjoyed a splendid adventure by the seaside. The weather was cold and blustery but dry. Well wrapped up in his woollens, Edward ventured forth on some scenic walks.

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The drive to the coast included a stop at a lovely bookshop to pick up something to read. Daylight hours are limited in England in December so there would be time between walks and dinner to enjoy a good story. Edward prefers books featuring bears but this choice kept his bearer happily occupied while resting each afternoon.

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Dinner on the first night included a delicious sticky toffee pudding – a well deserved treat. Then, having slept well in the big bed provided, it was time to set out on an explore.

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The first walk Edward embarked on was to climb Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast. To get there it was necessary to follow a track that went from sea level to cliff top several times. Being a small (but perfectly formed) teddy bear, Edward was carried.

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Golden Cap was actually climbed twice as sea mist descended during the first ascent. Despite his bearers’ tired legs at the extra effort, the views were well worth the repeated exercise.

Edward also explored the remains of St Gabriel’s Church, a small building that has stood for many centuries. It fell into disrepair when locals moved to less remote locations, to work in the burgeoning industries. Edward enjoyed the peaceful ambience but worried about the lack of roof given how clouds kept rolling in.

edward dorset church  edward dorset wall

Edward also enjoyed viewing the various artworks he passed on the paths. Being a cultured bear, he paused to consider what the artist wished to convey with each installation. He liked the tree stump spider and the boat stack – even if he was nearly blown off the latter by the prevailing wind. The yellow blob on a rock, however, had him perplexed.

Edward Dorset tree sculpture   edward dorset boats   edward dorset art

Back at the hotel there was good food to appreciate. The vanilla cake was tasty but Edward will always prefer a rich chocolate brownie.

edward dorset vanilla  edward dorset brownie

Much as Edward enjoyed his latest adventure, he was happy to return home where he could be tucked up warm in bed after his sometimes damp exertions.

He wishes you all many hugs from your furry friends and the good dreams they encourage by keeping you safe from the monsters under the bed. Edward plans to snooze now until Christmas, something he highly recommends.

edward hibernates again

Edward Explores: Grasmere

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While the Cop26 climate fandango was happening in Glasgow, Edward’s bearers were as confident as they could be that lockdown restrictions would not be tightened for its duration. It seemed unlikely that international bigwigs flying in for photo opportunities would be further inconvenienced. Such a window of opportunity offered the chance for a longed for adventure of which Edward heartily approved. A hotel room was booked in the English Lake District and a five hour car journey embarked on.

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At the half way point some refreshments were required, especially by the driver and his co-pilot. It is a long time since Edward visited a motorway service station. He’s sure he remembers biscuits being made available at previous Costas.

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After such a long journey, Edward was pleased to arrive at what was to be his home for the next few days – the Bridge House hotel in Grasmere. He tested the bed and declared it comfy before phoning his friends back home to reassure them of his safe arrival. He preferred the telephone provided to those he is usually offered – much easier to dial with paws.

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One of the perks offered by his welcoming hosts was complementary afternoon tea. Edward availed himself of this yummy treat on each day of his stay.

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The hotel was also home to some other friendly creatures. Edward enjoys making new friends – such a sociable bear.

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On a walk around the local village he encountered a pumpkin that also looked friendly, telling Edward all about the recent Halloween antics they had witnessed in Grasmere. Edward didn’t understand why tricks would be played on anyone but approved of the widespread sharing of treats.

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Adventurous bears always enjoy the opportunity to try new foods. The Bridge House did not serve hot dinners so a trip up to The Inn nearby was required for these. The set menu did not change over the course of Edward’s stay but the puddings he sampled were declared delicious. Of the cheesecake, lemon posset and sticky toffee pudding, the latter was his favourite.

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After the first day of the trip, weather turned decidedly wet and windy. Edward therefore opted to rest in bed rather than joining his bearers on their mountain and lakeside hikes. This proved a wise choice given the tales they told him afterwards:

  • climbing a mountain for the 360′ panoramic views only to find the top shrouded in cloud;
  • getting lost on the descent and encountering large, scary cattle emerging through the mist;
  • having to cross worryingly boggy fells only to find themselves far from the paths being sought on their maps;
  • getting soaked to the skin in torrential downpours that masked what should have been splendid views.

Somehow the bearers still claimed to have enjoyed their days. Edward pondered if this was the adrenaline rush of human survival.

Edward is convinced that his was the more sensible option although remained concerned about his bearers’ joints. However much they try to convince him that water will not cause damage, he has observed the many times they return from exertions filmed in moisture only to subsequently complain of pains. He remains glad that he only has five joints to look after – and he always takes good care of them.

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It was, however, lovely to travel further afield after such a long period of confinement to his local area. Edward brought home cookies for his friends as an easily shared present. They were all eaten and enjoyed before they could be photographed.

Edward Explores: Fungi

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In last month’s post, Edward explored Autumn, noting the emergence of interesting fungi amongst the undergrowth where he went walking. Always eager to enjoy new experiences, on a recent sunny day he set out to search the grounds of a large estate in his neighbourhood for further specimens.

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There were plenty of pretty leaves but the ground staff were obviously working hard to keep the ‘Capability’ Brown parkland tidy. Edward understands that many visitors like order and cleanliness, but fungi need more wildness to flourish.

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Undaunted, Edward roamed further afield, into the undergrowth beyond the park but still on the estate. Here, at last, he spotted what he was looking for. One specimen was bigger than him! Areas of wildness are so important to our ecosystem. Being a bear, Edward appreciates this.

As well as enjoying the fine local countryside, Edward has been celebrating a family milestone. The medical student has become a doctor. Appropriate bears went to town for dinner and drinks.

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A good dinner always ends with pudding. Edward carefully checked if the tiramisu and then the profiteroles were worth eating. After significant consideration he declared them tasty and agreed to share with his bearers.

Both food and medicine rely on fungi, as discussed in this recent newspaper article.

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Another day offered the opportunity for an additional trip to the woods. Look what Edward found. He has no idea what these fungi are called but admired the cascade effect they made.

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As the nights draw in, Edward has also been enjoying some quieter pursuits, including reading. He recommends you too seek out The Secret Life of Fungi by Aliya Whiteley. Like teddy bears, what we see on the surface is merely an indication of wider usefulness. There is wonder to be found in so many things if one delves deeper.

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Edward Explores: Autumn

After the excitement of his trip to London last month, Edward has been staying closer to home recently. The settled weather has enabled him to get out and about locally, something he enjoys immensely. Edward has been on woodland walks with friends and has helped in the garden with the apple harvest. It is still a tad early in the season for the trees to display their glorious autumn colours but the fungi are starting to emerge. Edward hopes to enjoy more of these fascinating organisms as the summer undergrowth retreats further.

 

On one woodland walk, Edward and his good friend, Taly, climbed some trees to enjoy the view. Woods are fine places to explore with all their fascinating plants and creatures rustling through tangled thickets, hidden but heard. At one village passed through they found a bear sized niche in a church wall to rest in. As always, people who walked by smiled when they saw the bears enjoying the sunshine. Teddies bring happiness wherever they go.

 

Tree climbing was also required when Chief Bearer requested apples for a warming crumble. Edward selected the finest of the fruit and then supervised preparation. It took a very long time for the dish to cook. Patience is not one of Edward’s many skills.

 

Edward is, however, an excellent cook. He especially enjoys taste testing finished creations. He tried the crumble with Greek yoghurt, cream, and then custard. The latter was declared his favourite.

With the nights drawing in, evening entertainments have mostly moved indoors. Edward has been teaching his friend Albert to play pool, a game he excels at. Albert’s paws managed the long cue with only a little assistance. Edward tends to forgo the need for this implement when taking his turn.

Edward hopes that all his readers are keeping well and finding time to partake in whatever pursuits bring them joy. He advises that all activities are even more fun when shared with a teddy bear.

Edward Explores: London in the time of Covid

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As mentioned in the last post in this occasional series for fellow teddy bear appreciators, Edward was very excited to be taken on an adventure that required a train journey earlier this month. He travelled to London where he hoped to visit several of his favourite attractions. Sadly, some were either closed to visitors or had restrictions in place that prevented entry. Nevertheless, Edward had an enjoyable couple of days away with his bearers and returned home with tales to tell his friends.

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On disembarking the train, Edward took pleasure in a lengthy walk across the city, through several Royal Parks and along the river. He passed Buckingham Palace where his good friend Elizabeth sometimes works. Men with guns stood outside so he decided not to get any closer. The place was notably quieter than the last time he was there.

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After such a long walk it was good to arrive at the hotel where Edward would be staying. It had a big bed and a view of passing trains and tall buildings. Our intrepid bear decided that a nap was in order and settled down to rest with the complementary cookies to help keep him going until dinner.

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Edward had hoped to visit St Paul’s Cathedral but it was closed. This seemed strange given it is supposed to be a place for worship and quiet contemplation. He perched on a sign that seemed appropriate. Why it was there remained a mystery.

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Shops were open so a few important purchases were made, selected after careful consideration and tastings. Edward likes Whittard, although was sure on his last visit he was also provided with biscuits.

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Edward understands how important it is to take time to refuel when on an adventure. The Ivy at Tower Bridge provided a delicious chocolate bombe that was much appreciated.

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Edward regretted that he could not gain access to the Tate Modern as it is such an interesting building to explore. Instead, he observed Extinction Rebellion protestors gathered on the lawn as they prepared to cross Millennium Bridge. The surrounding streets were clogged with a great number of police vehicles, one of which had been given a parking ticket. Edward did not appreciate their noisy helicopter overhead but enjoyed the protestors’ musical offerings.

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Before returning home, Edward had a chance to chat to his good friend Paddington who told him the return of visitors has been most welcome, although his station remains quieter than it used to be. Edward then enjoyed a small snack before boarding his train.

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Edward was sad to say goodbye to London but concluded it is probably not worth visiting again until everywhere reopens with a full welcome. He was pleased that the fine weather enabled the outdoors to be enjoyed – especially along the lively South Bank – when so many indoor venues proved uninviting.

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Elizabeth enjoyed catching up with all the news of her capital city. Even with limited access, Edward agreed it was good to go adventuring again.