at last, we went to rhyl

greetings pop pickers

over two years ago the human was lucky enough to get two of only 300 tickets for her and her sister (hs) to see the alarm (80s band) at a special ‘gathering’ to mark their 40th anniversary. it was originally going to take place in may (& june) 2021, but that got postponed to january this year – then that was rearranged for the beginning of march

me and wheatus with our tickets

finally we were on our way up north to rhyl (about 150 miles). it took about four hours including a short stop in stoke.

the purple palace was right by the seafront (ish) and we could see the sea (ish) from our first floor room – there may have been a car park and wall in between…

we went up the day before the first concert, so after tea we went to scout out prestatyn & dyserth ready for sunday – but more of that later.


the first concert was friday night at rhyl town hall which was only a hop, skip and a jump from the pp (or a 3-4 minute walk as they decided on)

they were presented with a 40th anniversary rosette when they went in (not as naff as they were expecting). mike peters (mp) performed an acoustic set with songs from the years 2022 to 2010, then after the interval, songs from 2009 to 2000. i must admit i only knew about six of the songs…

rhyl town hall


on saturday morning we had a walk to rhyl harbour and metal mickey (statue of mike peters)

metal mickey
rhyl harbour – not a lot of boats
a red diddly

walking back we went on the beach…

me and wheatus on the beach

after an early lunch we were back at the town hall. most people had their photo taken with mp as they arrived – my human doesn’t have her photo taken thankyouverymuch. there was a big flag on a table that you could sign. the hs had already included the human so i signed me and wheatus’ names.

signed flag
upstairs waiting for the filum

the filum was ’50 days in lockdown’ about writing, recording and releasing a new album in er, 50 days in er, lockdown…

five out of five

we were back later for the second concert and was presented with a flag on the way in – this time it was songs from the years 1999 to 1992 (i knew a few more), then after the interval, songs from the years 1991 to 1981 (i knew most of them and sang along). he was on stage for nearly four hours *applause*

on the way to the loo….


on the sunday morning we were rudely awoken at 7:30am by hs alarm going off #grrr

we had to check out and be off to prestatyn before 9:30am for a performance and presentation about the first ever Alarm gig, outside the now closed royal victoria pub (obviously their first gig was inside!!) his voice was a bit croaky!

the royal victoria, prestatyn

afterwards it was off to dyserth, a couple of miles away.

mp & his wife jules own a chapel which they’ve made into apartments and had just bought the pub next door so we went for a nosey.

dyserth waterfall
the chapel and pub

the apartments were very nice and even had one of mp’s guitars in each one. on the way out the humans decided to have a photo with the great man himself (purposely blurred!)

mike peters and a silly human

the second part of the 40th anniversary gathering is a concert in cardiff, originally going to be a couple of weeks after rhyl but it’s now been rescheduled for april…next year!

so look out for part two…

lyndon, ellis, fizz & bay at the bay

the last week in november, lyndon, ellis and fizz & bay popp were off on a train to cardiff – here’s their blog…

hello, ellis here *waves*

unlike the last two minibobs, the train(s) were on time! hurrah! it still took four hours, but we were able to have something to eat between connections. once in cardiff we caught a bus to the bay which only took a few minutes. it was going to get dark fairly soon so we had a walk down to the waterfront.

pier building
sun setting
lyndon and me, ellis
rainbow millennium centre

as we were on our minibobs (and back by popular demand – well, by jeremy anyway…) we had found some delicious looking cakes at the supermarket

chocolate fudge cupcakes

we’re pleased to say that they were very nice & chocolatey & fudgey 9/10

the next day, tuesday, we went to bath on the train. first we made our way to ‘the circus’, a circle of houses with a big roundabout in the centre – no acrobats today though

our circus skills

from there it was a short walk to the famous royal crescent, a half moon (or crescent if you will) of houses

royal crescent *bows*
there was a haha which is like a barrier, but it didn’t stop us! ha ha!

on the way back into town we took a wrong turn but eventually got to the river…

the weir

…then the abbey

bath abbey
the moon in the abbey
large stained glass window

then it was time to make our way back to the station

a neddy in a window

after we got back to the purple palace it was time for cake of the day

rocky road

we’d bought a box of five rocky roads so there was enough for one each. nice chewy marshmallows on a soft chocolatey base – a little bit sickly but a strong 8/10

as we were in cardiff but hadn’t actually seen much of cardiff yet, on wednesday we had a walk into town

a neddy outside a restaurant
we saw some GIANT bobbins which would keep snuffy going for quite a while!

most of the day was spent ‘shopping’ *yawns*, but we did find some cake / cookies at the market

a chrimbo cake loaf
salted caramel cookie

the chrimbo cake loaf tasted quite nice, but was overcooked/dry – a disappointing 6/10

the salted caramel cookie was quite nice, but it didn’t taste particularly saltly or caramelly – 7/10

the popps walked off some of the cake down by the waterfront

“no, i don’t know what it is…”

on the last full day, thursday, we once again made our way into the centre to catch a train – this time to chepstow.

we had a look around the shops and had an early lunch before having a walk to the riverbank

the riverbank
the bandstand

then we made our way to the castle

mini castle
big castle
we popped into the supermarket on our way back to the train station…

‘cake’ of the day was a strawberry cheeseless cheesecake – with a very strawberry-ry jelly on a moosey middle and a soft biscuit base 7.85/10

once back at the pp, the human started packing the cases while us bears, who were wearing everything we’d brought, could relax in front of the tellybox.

after checking out on friday, it was another walk to the centre to look in a few shops and have lunch before a bus ride (hurray) back to the bay to collect our cases and a bus ride (hurray) to the train station to be on our way home.

welsh cake

cake of the day was a welsh cake from the market with juicy sultanas – as yummy as usual 9.42/10

until next time, toodle pip *waves*

york, scarborough and durham

hello everybeary, in the last week of september melody, junior and fizz popp travelled up to york for their holibobs *passes you over to melody*

melody; hello! hello! i’m very excited to share my first fuzzy holibobs *waves*

on monday we were due to get into york at about 11:30am but because we missed our first connection and the second train kept stopping/was on a go slow we were an hour and 45 minutes late! not the best start but after seeing the weather forcast for the week (rain, rain, rain, rain and more rain) at least it was sunny.

we had a walk along the wall after dropping the cases off at the purple palace. in between the showers (good job i’ve got my caggle) we went in a few shops and finally found our way to the minster.

i think there’s a minster around here somewhere…
i’ve found it!
i scream the popps scream we all scream for ice cream! oh, it’s not open

we accidentally had nuggets and chips for tea.

we were thinking about going to scarborough on tuesday, but it gave rain for about 2pm so we stayed in york. we went a different way round and saw different shops and buildings.

another walk another wall
what a cute little van!

we found an old fashioned shop of allsorts in which the popps bought some tin buckets to take to the beach (when we go…)

merchant adventurers hall – a lovely old yellow building
in the museum garden – there’s still a few flowers out

unfortunately it started raining at 2pm so we went back to the hotel

dinner was a falafel & hummus ciabatta with fries.

we caught a train to scarborough on wednesday then immediately caught another to filey (15 minutes further). it’s quite a small town with quite a long beach. as it was a lovely sunny day we had an ice cream as soon as we could find one. then it was time to sit on the beach while the popps built their sandfort.

filey beach
the popps with their new buckets
having a paddle

after a couple of hours in filey, it was time to catch a train back to scarborough. sydney had told us about a fun arcade game called pacman, so once we’d found it we changed a whole pound into lots of tuppences and began to play. we were there quite a long time trying to spend a pound! the more we put in the more we got out – it was indeed great fun! then it was time to cross over to the beach

north bay
time for another paddle…

i could see the lighthouse from the beach, but it was quite a long walk round to it…

scarborough harbour
still a long way off
we’re here!

we found somewhere to eat on the way back – i had spaghetti lentil ragu (no chips) – it was quite nice all the same. then it was time to make our way back to the train station before it got dark

one last walk by the harbour

it was already raining when we woke up on thursday so i decided to stay in the hotel while the humans & popps did some shopping *yawns*

dinner was a humorous hummus salady thing with warm bread sticks (still no chips!)

it was fine again on friday so we caught a train to durham

durham castle & cathedral
a bit of the castle – we weren’t allowed in
durham cathedral

here are a few pictures of the inside…

oooh , the mooon!
*sings* …i saw the whole of the mooon

when we came out of the cathedral we had a walk about

view from a bridge
colourful brollies

it was the first time the human had been to durham and it was a bit up-py and down-y – and there were a LOT of people!

dinner was pretend fish (tofoo) and chips (hooray for chips!)

saturday was our final day, we’d booked to go to the train museum for 10am when it opened (luckily fuzzy had seen that you had to book in advance!)

here are a few pictures…

climb aboard
a new rocket
can you see me?
no climbing
the dragon hunter
fizz popp
haha, howard of …
a bear sized rocket

after the museum we went to find a place to eat, but there was no room at the inn so we had to get something from m&s – i had a salad and pretend egg (tofoo) & cress sandwich and sat eating it under a tree in the rain. the rain was set for the day and as we’d checked out of the hotel, decided to catch an earlier train home.

despite the rain we still had a good time. bye bye york – it was nice to see you!

bye bye everybody, bye bye *waves*

the sheffield bears and elsewhere

finally! i’m out and about once again!

back in june we saw that there were going to be 60 BIG bears to see around the city of sheffield. We booked a few days for the second week in september – we didn’t want to go too early as we don’t like it too hot.

day one;

on the day we went, it was going to be 28°c (yikes!!) the first part of our journey went smoothly, but our second train was 45 minutes late and then abandoned us at the stop before our stop (12 minutes further down the track). it was lunchtime so we sat in the shade outside the station with our pack-up looking at chesterfield’s spirally spire. 45 minutes later, we were back on a train to finish our journey!

we saw the first bear just outside the station.

‘colours by charlie 2’

the human spotted another one – in the wrong direction – just along the road.

‘plants and bees’

we made our way towards our accomodation, stopping now and again when we found a seat or some shade – or another bear.


finally we got to the purple palace and luckily the room was ready. as it was reasonably reasonable we’d booked a pp-plus room which had a little fridge, ‘free’ water and choccy bars.

a popp-sized choccy for me and poppy popp

after a rest, a food shop, a rest and dinner (with chips), it was time to find some more bears – the first two were outside the cathedral, including steampunk bear who reminded us of our friend toddy – the original steampunk bear.

‘steampunk bear’
‘sunshine, lollipops’

here are a few more we found…

‘city of trees’
‘sheffield allsorts’
‘peaky the bear’
“hello, do you know my friend zacky?”
poppy popp saw a shop from where she was created & was reminded of our friend willis
‘quaser one’

we then went through the winter gardens where there were many of the smaller bears, plus theo bear

“hello theo”
‘bare necessities’
i think our friend snuffy would like ‘two heads are better than one’
‘nano bear’
‘bear impressions’
‘super bear’

so that was day one – sixteen bears seen, but still many more to find…

day two;

we were out bright and early to find some more bears. after quite a long walk we found these ones;

‘nebula’ looking up into the night sky
‘woodstock’? he’s not even yellow!!
‘butterfly bush’
“don’t blink…”
‘polka dot suit’

after dinner (with chips) we were going to make our way to the train station, but some roads were blocked with building work and we were getting further away (plus we were getting a bit tired) so we stayed in sheffield – and came across a couple more bears…

‘sheffield folk’
‘be nice & be together’

as we’d missed our afternoon out, my human thought it would be a good idea (it wasn’t a good idea) to catch a supertram (starts singing ‘breakfast in america’) to meadow hall. but a couple of stops before, she decided to get out to go to ikea – once in, and after a couple of minutes she was already beginning to feel claustrophobic so we tried to get out – it was like a maze, this way and that way, this way, that way – HELP! let me out!! finally after about half an hour we were on our way back to the supertram

and breathe

so we ended up at meadow hall, saw a couple of bears and travelled back to the pp with a still grumpy human.


ten more big bears seen – 26 in total

day three;

we went a slightly longer route to the train station to see if we could find a couple more bears

‘pastel pattern patchwork bear’
‘stony point’
‘peace bear with chilli pepper’

we caught a train to chesterfield to look at the spiraly spired church and look round the town.

st mary and all saints church
old buildings

after looking at the spiraly spired church and going round the town – and buying chrimbo cards (is it too early…?) we went in the church on our way back past.

church window
my pub…

once back in sheffield, we walked a different way back to find yet more bears…

‘thank you sheffield children’s hospital’ front…
…and back *giggles*
‘polar painter’
a small bear called fuzzy – named by me ;o)
another small bear, inside the cathedral

dinner was a hummus salad-y type thing (no chips) – it was surprisingly yummy!

peace gardens – bear missing :o<

six big bears today – 32 in total

day four;

before checking out of the pp, we had a short walk to find a bear by the quay.

‘bear hug’
victoria quays
my type of garden – wild & fuzzy

after checking out (and leaving our cases) we went on a long walk – about half an hour – to find one last bear.

one last goodbye with toddy…
‘hendo’s bear
opposite the bear
one last hurrah

two last bears today – 34 in total

as well as my new t-shirt (you may have noticed it) we bought a ‘bears of sheffield’ tote bag, notelets and a paint your own bear (see jeremy! bear not cake!).

after dinner (with chips – normal order was restored) and a few minutes in the peace garden – it’s quite noisy with all the rushing water fountains – it was time to collect our cases and make our way back to the train station.

we got home on time.

it was nice to be out and about again, albeit in a more careful way.

tatty bye for now, xx

the minis go fourth

as the mini’s were unable to get back home for a while, mini snuffy decided he’d help with decorating the popps abearment – he chose a lovely greyish purple



but after the first coat, he was told it was a bit too dark so mixed a lighter shade for the walls.

he had a little rest before laying and painting the new floor…



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you’ve done a grand job snuffy!

once the furniture was back in, the popps played with legonotlego building blocks and had cookies.



finally at the beginning of july it seemed safe to send them back home. it was a bit chilly here, but mini tweak was confident that he’d only need his new trunks on because it would be hot in portugal.


saying goodbye

junior and poppy popp drove them to the airport

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have a safe journey snuffy and tweak


missing you already…

less than a week after they had left blighty they were back with willis, and a few days later they had a trip to the coast…

snuffy and tweak

photo; copyright willis hendrix

thank you willis for letting them visit

*hugs* to all xx

travelling mini snuffy and mini tweak stay a while longer…

the day after returning from our trip to llandudno we had some snow, but it had gone by the time we’d found the sledge


snuffy opened the window to see the snow

a couple of weeks later, it was a nice enough day to show the mini’s around town. it didn’t take long…

first we went to the park where there were early signs of spring


blue spring flowers


in the bandstand

then we went in the castle, famous for it’s collection of neddyshoes


mini snuffy and tweak with (a copy of) the oldest neddyshoe


tunnock’s teacakes – toddy’s favourite


i’ve found a dragon! i’ve found a dragon! *gulps*

next we went to the museum


a desk from grandmama’s old school


♫ la la laa ♫ – on a singer…


junior, snuffy, tweak, fizz & poppy on a milk cart

one friday, for no apparent reason, the human googled when there might be a steam train passing through – and it turns out that there would be one the next morning! mini snuffy went to have a look

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“it’s coming! it’s coming!” *zoom* “it’s gone!”

in the second week in march we had a day trip to ely. we had a walk along the river, by a park and on to an antique centre with lots of things that the human wanted to buy. then we went for lunch…


“did you know eels come from ely snuffy?” … “really? ely eels?”


spring flowers in the park

snuffy is a big fan of rainbows, so he enjoyed his colourful meal


no room for cake…

after lunch, we walked round to find oliver cromwell’s house – he wasn’t in.

we had a 2-for-1 ticket (for travelling by train) so went for a look – we wouldn’t have paid full price, but it was okay.


oliver cromwell’s house


kitchen fireplace


a view of the church (no, i can’t see it either…)

not far away was the cathedral. we had a 2-for-1 for there as well, which included entry to the stained glass museum


looking in a cannon


octagonal roof


painted ceiling






the round window

a very nice cathedral. a *fuzzy recommendation*

it was then time to make our way back to the train station (via the antiques centre – tut tut). a lovely day out.

we were due to go away for a couple of days at the end of march, but it had to be cancelled, so the popps, ellis & lyndon had a sleepover in the sheepherd huts

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“let’s go see if the others are up”



we’re hoping snuffy and tweak will be able to return home as soon as possible.

stay safe, stay home, stay strong xx

mini snuffy and mini tweak visit – part two… the mini’s minibobs miniblog

at the end of january, me (fuzzy), junior, snuffy and tweak collected my cousin wheatus & little wheaty and were on our way to north wales. the human had made poppy hats for all the popps.

when we got to the apartment, the owner offered to help bring the luggage from the car – let’s just say that the hs does not travel light, and he was doing a bit of puffing by the time he’d carried three bags/cases up two flights of stairs! well, he did offer…

the forecast wasn’t very promising for the weekend, so we were soon on the beach while it was still dry.


sheltering from the wind


found, er made a sandcastle


on the pier


back on the beach

in the evening the popps had a few games of dominoes; snuffy & wheaty were winning by a good margin, but junior & tweak were catching up by the end. (junior & tweak won the next night – you’d have thought that they had won the world cup by the way they were running about shouting that they were the champions!)

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friday morning was spent in town, and in the evening there was a show described as ‘immersive rock theatre’  based around two alarm albums, with narrative by sean jones between the songs.

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friday night

at 11pm they showed the big ben bongs to mark brexit, then finished with a rendition of ‘always look on the bright side of life’.

on saturday there was a pre-show reception with mike peters for the first three hundred who had booked tickets for the weekend, including us! we were right at the front!


front row



unlike last year where we had three bands before the alarm came on, this year there was one band that did two songs (mp’s sons and their friend) then some (good 80’s) music until dave sharp came on for a whole hour  :o/

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saturday night

alarm concert

during one of their songs, he (& some members of the audience) chucks a pack of playing cards. we couldn’t find any alarmy ones on the floor after the show, but the human saw that a couple had landed behind the barrier and a tidier-upper begrudgingly kindly passed one to the human…

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we rescued a card

on sunday morning there was a mass walk to the end of the pier. my human, who isn’t a very fast walker normally, walked as fast as she could to get a good spot for the sing-a-long.

he sang a couple of slade songs including ‘merry christmas everybody’ to finish off the gathering.

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best seats in the house on the pier

on sunday evening, dave sharp (former member of the alarm) was playing just round the corner from the apartment. as we’d nothing better to do …

when we got there it was nearly empty, all but three people. there was a sofa which they chose to sit on. my human was going to say “wake me up when it starts”, but instead said “wake me up when he’s finished” only for hs to point out that one of the three was ds himself…tra la laa

the best bit was when the human needed the loo, it was quicker to go back to the apartment than through the crowd and past the stage, but you don’t need to know that… (35 paces, if you’re wondering).

when we checked out on monday morning, mysteriously the owner of the apartments had had to ‘pop out’.

before we went home via wrexham and stoke, we popped along the promenade to have a quick photo by some early dafty-dils.

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a quick look at the dafty-dils before we’re on our way

last year when we went to the gathering it was a one-off, and again this year was a two-off.

we were really lucky to get tickets for next year’s event as there were only 300 tickets available and it was sold out in two minutes!

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*excited bears*

mini snuffy and mini tweak visit – part one


not long before chrimbles, there was a knock on the bearhouse door – who could it be?

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“knock knock” ‘who’s there?’

mini snuffy & mini tweak had come from sunny portugal for a visit. it took a few days before they felt able to remove their hats.

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ooh, presents!


decorated for chrimbles

on the first bright day of the new year, junior took snuffy and tweak on the bus to stamford.

while there, he found a tractor and trailer in a charity shop and took the visitors for a test drive across the meadows.


‘hold on tight’


duck race

there was just enough time for cake before they had to catch the bus home.

they were very generous slices – the chocolate cake was about two inches wide!


chocolate cake 8/10 … walnut & coffee 4/10

the next week, although not very warm it was a lovely sunny day so they caught a bus to rutland water.


along the long dam

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the iconic normanton church by the water’s edge


getting nowhere fast

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picnic and a rest


one mile…


two miles…

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the great tower


time for a rest on the beach


considering a paddle


i’ve estimated that they walked six or seven miles, no wonder they had to keep resting!

new hats have been made and they’re all packed and ready for their next adventure – a few days in wales, not forgetting to pick up little wheatus on the way.

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all aboard the poppmobile

to be continued…





a late minibobs to cardiff

we wouldn’t normally book a minibobs for so late in the year, but in the last week in november, sydney and our new brofur lyndon fuzzy furrington from #toddyshug had a few days break in cardiff. this is their blog…


going past lyndon’s old home where we always used to shout hello when we went by…

sydney *waves*;

we had decided to stay in the bay, as it was cheaper; it took a while to get there by bus from the train station – i’m sure it would have been much quicker to walk!

the hotel was right behind the millennium centre, so we were hopeful of a nice view – oh, a car park…

we dropped our bags off and were soon out about the bay to make the most of the remaining light;


yikes! on the fierce doggy


norwegian church


the pierhead building


millennium centre

the next morning, tuesday, we caught a few trains to bath, getting there at about 10:30am. fuzzy has been a couple of times, but didn’t see much on either occasion (the closest he’s been to having a bath).

there were a few ‘sheds’ ready for the chrimbles market, but we were a couple of days early for that.


bath water


duck, son and pinker

we saw that the abbey was free to go in, so we went in…

it was a bit noisy due to having work done but it was a nice building.


inside bath abbey


lighting a candle for grandpaw toddy


there were a few embroideries, this being my favourite *sings* i closed my eyes,
drew back the curtain (ahh, ,ahh),
to see for certain,
what i thought i knew


lyndon sitting on the door


bath abbey after the rain


we’re at the weir


a hare

i liked it very much, it was reminiscent of york – without the city wall. i’m sure we’ll be back soon.

when we got back to our room there was a very noisy noise; long story short – we were moved to another room.

the next morning, wednesday,  the human went out without her brolly after seeing the forecast was for mainly dry weather; then went back for it when she saw the actual weather. i wisely had my mac on. the morning was spent in the shopping centre until it finally stopped raining at about noon.


green-eyed bunny

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cardiff christmas market – hooray, the rain has stopped

we had a look at the christmas market stalls and bought three badges; one with ‘the beatles’, one with a ‘biscuit’ and one with a rainbow stripe. two pounds well spent!IMG_2872 (3)

we then had a walk to the park, passing the castle wall with it’s flock of deer




sat sitting on a seat

later, we were back at the bay…


our new room with a view


what is says on the millennium centre



thursday was our last day. we spent the morning around the bay

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mister blue sky




checking out


moody blue


diddly bob in the red building


the ceiling light – the human definitely didn’t lay on the floor to take the picture ;o)


part of a piece of art

after some lunch, and collecting our cases we decided to walk into town – it was definitely quicker than the bus! we had a while before needing to catch the train home so went to the market to get a bag of welsh cakes – yummy yum yum! a perfect ending to our minibobs.

sydney and lyndon signing off; byeeee *waves*