In a lush green field under the watchful gaze of Hadrian’s wall is a small oak tree at the end of a well-trodden path. If you should venture up the trail it’s likely you will make the acquaintance of Agnes. She likes to watch you from a distance until you reach the tree, then suddenly she’ll be right there behind you, sniffing your rucksack. Even though she knows curiosity killed the cat, she’s eager to find out everything about you.
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All Of Me
One half of our inseparable duo, Sandy the fox has a ticklish personality and a cultural heart. With music and mayhem in abundance, the pair have some amazing adventures. Sandy loves nothing more than a special night on the fells with darling Embers.
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All Of You
Embers the fox is the fiery companion of Sandy, the two are inseparable. Embers loves to dance and romance especially when the moon is full. They can often be found dancing the night away after a few glasses of gin.
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Although she's alert and watchful, her demeanor is very serene and tranquil. The ever watchful Amber keeps her ears to the ground, waiting for the next gem to come her way. Her powers of observation and stealth make her one of the best undercover agents this country has ever known.
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Barnaby is a handsome fellow and needs no introduction, the icon himself, the one they all look up to, the prince of hare style and finesse. Barnaby’s roguish charm and devilishly good looks set hearts on fire, look into his eyes and just feel yourself melt.
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As the sun begins to set over a mirror like pool where the river meanders out to the coast, Beatrix Otter is enjoying the last of the evening light as she splashes around in the shallows. Her peace is suddenly broken as her beau Harry arrives with a stone. Beatrix knows immediately Harry Otter has stolen her favourite stone and quick as a flash she’s chasing him up river, safe in the knowledge she can outrun him.
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Benedict Nevis (Ben for short) grew up on the estate in the Highlands, he has risen through the ranks without really trying, and today finds himself on the top spot; the number one stag, village elder of the herd. It was never his aim to take the crown, his monumental antlers seem to have done all the work for him. They just keep on growing and getting more magnificent by the day, they are also very useful for hanging out the clothes on wash day.
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Cyril the Squirrel
Cyril darts between the trees with armfuls of nuts. He spots me out of the corner of his eye and nonchalantly drops his rather impressive pile of hazelnuts, spins on one foot and poses for the camera. He has been preening himself all morning and prides himself on having the best ears, and fluffiest tail in all of Milk Wood.
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Elvis has a guilty pleasure; he cannot resist a Custard Cream. Other snacks come and go, but as long as he has his morning coffee with a few custard creams to dunk he’s as happy as Larry. Larry on the other hand was happier before Elvis started taking more than his fair share of Custard Creams, but they are good friends and every now and then Elvis manages to secure them some chocolate hobnobs, and that more than makes up for it in Larry’s eyes.
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Felicity The Squirrel
Felicty is also a collector of nuts and queen of the treasure hunt, Felicity the red squirrel is quite the practical joker. Her favourite game is to adopt an innocent squirrel pose and spy on her victims as they hide their nuts for winter. After the unsuspecting squirrel has departed, she quickly uncovers the nut for repositioning, leaving a cryptic note in its place.
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This stunning creature of the forest sprang over a 6ft hedgerow and floated to the ground with the grace of a ballet dancer. The sun was just beginning to twinkle on the crystals of frost that had grown overnight. Fern looked at me with a sparkle in her eye, she fluttered her eyelashes, flicked her right ear, and lifted off. You could feel the magic in the crisp morning air as her white tail vanished through the trees.
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Florence stands on top of a rocky outcrop waiting for her gang to arrive. It’s late afternoon and time for their daily adventure round the rocks and into the little ditch. Today they will mainly be jumping erratically, running to the grassy knoll, skipping wholeheartedly over the ditch, and fighting to be the king of the castle on the big boulder at the top of the field. This is Florence’s favourite game, and she’s determined to keep her crown.
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Fox of Delights
One of the last true gentlemen, Sebastian Bedford Victor Tod (the 2nd) - the Fox of Delights, is the keeper and collector of some of the most magical things in the world. The song of a skylark, the poetry of dandelions & the snowflake that stays on your nose and eyelashes. These are a few of his favourite things. Spend a few moments with him every day, and start see the world in a different light.
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Gladys is of the guardians of the Lakeland fells on the summit of Ladyside Pike. One night she had taken leave from her regiment after a disagreement about the beck at the foot of Whinlatter Pass. She was still wearing her colours, and was most insistent I share my cheese and marmite sandwiches with her. I was happy to oblige, as I’d spread the marmite a little too thick.
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Gloria flew in on a fast train from Hollywood. She loves to take centre stage, strutting around the garden like a superstar. She really owns that red carpet, striking a pose by the paparazzi to make sure she hits the front pages. Gloria is her stage name, at home she answers to Lucy, reads the guardian and knits jumpers for the smaller chickens. She’s a real softy, but I don’t let her hear me say that.
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Gregory is often found tinkling the ivories in our local jazz club. He loves the dark and slightly claustrophobic atmosphere here; there is something earthy and comforting about it. You can guarantee on a Saturday night, he is always the last to leave. He’d keep playing all night if he was allowed, but the club has to shut so Gregory reluctantly closes the piano and finishes his glass of porter. He’ll be back next month.
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Hector the fox has a roughish glint in his eye. This is beacuse I just caught him red handed, emerging from the the wine cellar with a bottle of Moet poorly hidden behind his back. I could tell by the swagger that he had already tasted a few bottles to make his choice, but what he doesn't know is I swapped all the real bottles for water after his last escapade.
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Herdy Gredy is a Herdwick sheep and guardian of the fells. She is highly skilled in surveillance and cipher, using the placement of droppings to communicate with scouts from nearby reconnaissance teams. Next time you’re out on the fells, watch where you step!
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Here Hare Here!
Uncle Monty has been chasing this fine hare for many years. Every winter she returns to the fells she loves and takes a lap of honour through Uncle Monty’s remote and desolate farm yard, knocking over his milk in revenge. Despite his best efforts he’ll never catch her.
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Contrary to popular belief, highland cows are so-named not because of their Scottish heritage, but because of their love and dexterity in dancing the Highland Fling. Miriam here won Gold in the 2015 dance championships. It was her unusual combination of asymmetric grand plié kick-ball change into a perfect pirouette that caught the judge’s eye.
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Deep in the forest, foraging for berries I came face to face with Invincible the stag. We were both rather startled at first, but after a few moments the calmness in Invincible’s eyes made me feel at ease. I shared some berries, he ate. The king of the highlands was my friend for 3.5 minutes, after which we parted company. He with a belly full of juicy berries, I with and empty bag.
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King Arthur's horns are like a badge of honour amongst Herdwick rams; If you have the biggest or most beautiful horns you’re onto a winner. King Arthur of Langdale takes great pride in his magnificent hornage, and regularly struts his stuff on the catwalks of Lakeland. His pruning routine can take up to 3.5 hours of a show day, but he knows it is worth every minute when he claims his prize.
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Kylie has a favourite tree just outside my cousin’s back yard in Melbourne. She sits there most days slowly picking leaves, catching 40 or 50 winks and waiting very patiently, for afternoon tea to be brought out. If it’s a really hot day she’s often tempted to ditch the tea for an ice-cold G&T and to be honest it sounds like a rather good idea to me – Cheers!
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Leap of Faith
The energy when a fox pounces is explosive! This painting is all about the movement and power of the pouncing fox. The queen of stealth and cunning; Margaritte is master of the hunt, and ringmaster of the countryside. She was recently spotted making camp in the grounds of Windsor Castle, and certainly showed those corgis a thing or two about finesse. She will put a spring in your step every day.
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Maggie likes a dance, but she loves to sing even more. On a bleak grey afternoon in the thick low cloud; the kind that sticks to your coat, Maggie is often heard calling. Her warm up exercises often scare away potential audiences, but if you stick around you’ll hear the sweetest rendition of Misty, her favourite Ella number.
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Margaret is enjoying her withdrawal from racing life. Her strategy for early retirement went according to plan when she abandoned her coaches training schedule in favour of her good freind Alison's motto 'Just rock up and run!'. Not only did this free up loads of time for other hobbies like cheese making and crochet, but she was able to make a good start on the bottle of Bolly before the other horses got back to the stable.
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When a cat looks at you like this from the corner of the room, without blinking, for a good 20 minutes, it’s hard to ignore. Mr Bojangles has a particular knack of unsettling those in what he regards as 'his space'. The sofa belongs to him, he wants it back. And he will win, he always does.
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I will never forget those eyes, they pierce your soul, read your deepest thoughts…. and then announce them to the world before you know what’s happening. Margery seemed so gentle and friendly, but let me tell you – if you ever find yourself in a confined space with Margery the Owl, don’t be fooled.
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Percival pecked a puck of pickled pepper thinking he’d just found the last sweet cherry in the basket. He wasn’t expecting what some would describe as the taste explosion that happened in his mouth a couple of seconds later. Though not wanting to make a fuss, he swallowed it down, flicked his tail up, and sidled off to the nearest watering hole, hoping no one would notice.
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Percy the Squirell
High up in the canopy little red rascals leap about, scampering up and down tree trunks. One in particular is feeling a little more daring and sneaks down close to my hiding spot. Before I know what’s happening he’s stolen my breakfast, and has his eye on my pink feather boa. Although it would suit him, that’s one step too far and he makes a hasty retreat with a cheeky look in his eye.
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Peter Puffin picked a peck of pickled pilchard A peck of pickled pilchard Peter Puffin picked. If Peter Puffin picked a peck of pickled pilchard, Where's the peck of pickled pilchard Peter Puffin picked?
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Prudence is the Harvey Nicks of the herd; she exudes luxury and class. Her glossy coat is well coiffured and regularly restyled, and she is way ahead of all the latest trends and colour combinations. That said, there is a different side to her that I like best; her true grit comes to light when she’s competing in ironman races, last month she beat all the boys, and still looked like a million dollars at the end!
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The master of disguise and quick thinking, who dresses in red for dinner and drives the women crazy. This unassuming super-hero arrived in my garden one morning last June, and demanded the finest food known to humanity. He says hello, and sings ferociously every day.
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Seal of Approval
The Seal of Approval lounges nonchalantly on the rocks in the bay. She is lapping up the last few rays of evening sun as another day comes to an end. She has had an extremely busy day approving, but I've learned over the last few weeks that as long as you are kind and generous and compassionate she will be more than happy. The Seal of Approval; making the world a better place, one approval at a time.
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Down in the glen on a grey February morning, Monarch stands strong and proud. Even though we are hiding behind the great oak he knows we are there, yet Monarch does not care. He is the Monarch of this glen, and he knows he will brighten our day.
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You only get to ask the Oracle one question, so choose carefully. Trust your heart, not your mind (that’s what they say, anyway). Cornelia knows everything. Look into those eyes, she knows what you need to know, the answer will come, it always does.
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Zeus; King Of Goats
It was a scorching hot day. All the animals were taking a siesta in the shade of the orchard. All that is, except for one. Zeus, King of goats was practicing his jumps, determined to reach the juicy pink and crunchy apples just out of reach in the higher branches. Not only that, but he was putting in a double 360 front side grab on the way back down. He persevered for 5 whole hours but it wasn’t until he enlisted the help of the rest of his team in pyramid formation that they managed to bring down a barrel load of Pink Ladies. I’m not even kidding.
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