Just Max and me – Adventures Day 9 – Techniquest.

Max looked tired when he arrived this morning. He still had the lines of his pillows imprinted on his cheeks. He still smiled and we took a long time to gently prepare him for the day!

Max ate 3 Weetabix for breakfast! He ate slowly, enjoying it and watching the wood burner glowing in the fireplace.We had our adventure planned already – a day at Techniquest.

techniquestWe had our adventure planned already – a day at Techniquest.

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Each month this exciting Science Exhibition in Cardiff holds a Toddler Day. They call it Snowflakes and Sparkles – although I wasn’t expecting to see either.

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We also received the good news that Max’s cousin Eli was also coming down, that would be great fun.

Max got dressed and prepared for the day. We set off just before ten for the short journey down to Cardiff Bay.

Techniquest first opened on 13 November 1986 on the site of the old British Gas showroom on the corner of Duke Street and St John Street in Cardiff Town Centre. There were 48 exhibits at that time, many of them were designed and built by Techniquest. The former showroom housed the centre for around nine months. Less than seven weeks after it had opened Techniquest had welcomed its ten thousandth visitor.

In 1988 Techniquest re-opened in a pre-fabricated building opposite the now demolished Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum in Bute Street. The two buildings were removed to make way for Mermaid Quay.

They moved again in 1995 about 100 metres along Stuart Street to its present location on the site of the former Baileys engineering workshop which is now its permanent headquarters. The building, the UK’s first purpose-built science discovery centre, opened on 1 May 1995. It uses the steel framework of the original building which can be clearly seen on the photograph.

We parked up and waited for Eli to arrive.

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Kids are free on Toddler Day. I asked for one OAP ticket but was rebuffed and told that all tickets were cheaper today, so I duly paid my £5.80, put on my wrist band and in we went.

Max absolutely loved it and so did Max. Every exhibit brought new delights.

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It was an effort to drag Max from one to another, he cried when we moved on but squealed with delight when he saw what was next it was truly wonderful.

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We did stop at one place so Max could have a tattoo done. Unusually, he sat quietly while it was being done. In all fairness the young man who was doing it was really gentle and kind. Max was fascinated!

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On our way round, we met several friends. Bibby was there with Oliver and Clive and Beatty French were on Grandparenting duty with their little ones.

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We had a great chat.

We even met with old Father Christmas…

IMG_4244Max wasn’t too sure though!!

We moved on and made our way upstairs to see even greater delights….

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These two had no body to play with!!!!

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Max and Eli are such lovely friends as well as cousins….

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We even let the boys make a bauble for the Christmas Tree!!!

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It really was a day filled with wonder…. and one of the greatest wonders of all…..

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Beautiful Elsie Joy….

On the way out, Max even sat still to have a reindeer painted on his face.

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Great stuff.

 

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The Old Bear

(For Jemima)

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Chapter 1

The old bear 

Day after day, month after month year after year the old bear sat in the cupboard at the top of the stairs. He shared the cupboard with some other old bears and some old ornaments. The shelf he sat on was a bit like an old people’s home for bears.

They just sat there… all day… every day. They had run out of things to say many years ago, but they liked each other’s company. Most days were the same. They all just sat on the shelf in the cupboard at the top of the stairs.

The old man and his wife, who lived in the house, would often walk past the cupboard, but these days they hardly ever stopped to look in and say hello.

Some days, and these were the days the old bear liked best, some children came to visit and the house was filled with lots of giggling and laughing and the young ones would run past the cupboard playing their childhood games of hide and seek or making dens from loads of blankets and pillows. The old bear loved the sound of the children’s laughter and excited voices, but he was sad that the children never stopped to look in to see him sitting on the shelf in the cupboard on top of the stairs.

The old bear loved company. He was created – bears are not born, they are created – a very long time ago, when the old man who owned him was a very little baby. He was a Christmas present. The old bear loved being a Christmas present, it made him feel special. The old bear was indeed a very special bear. His owner had loved him very, very much for many, many years.  All his beautiful fur had been ‘loved’ off. He no longer looked as beautiful as he used to, but he was still a very special old bear. He had been taken to bed for many years, he had been taken on holiday, he had been played with and thrown about but he always knew that he was loved.

But, there was one thing, one very big thing, that made the old bear very sad. It wasn’t that his fur had all been ‘loved’ off, that was a special thing and sitting with his friends on the shelf in the cupboard at the top of the stairs kept him warm, even in the winter. Neither was it the fact that the old bear had never been given a name. He often used to think about what name he would like to be called, but usually he was happy just to be called the old bear.

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It wasn’t even the fact that his music box had been removed. That had happened many years before and the old bear could hardly remember the tune, although he did remember that the little boy’s mother used to call it Greensleeves. The old bear though that Greensleeves was a silly name for a piece of music, although he liked green things usually!

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Nor was it even the fact that he had lost one leg. It was very painful when it happened, but that too, was a long time ago.

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What made the old bear really, really sad was that he could not see. When he was created, he had two bright shiny eyes made of glass. He loved to look at the face of his owner – the little boy who had loved him so much – he loved to look at all the other toys in the bedroom. Sometimes the little boy would take him outside into the garden and then the old bear would love to look at the beautiful blue sky and clouds, the birds flying in the sky and the lovely things around him, the flowers and vegetables that the little boy’s father used to grow in his garden.

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But now, the old bear didn’t have any eyes. He could no longer see. He lived in a world of darkness. If you close your eyes and look around that’s just what it was like for the old bear.

He lost his eyes a long time ago. While he was sitting on his shelf he would try to remember what the little boy who loved him was like.

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He knew the little boy was now an old man and he wondered if he still had the same face. He would feel his fur and remember how soft and fluffy he used to be and he worried, nearly every day, that now he looked a bit scruffy that he wouldn’t be loved so much.

But one glorious day, one very happy day, something happened. It was a day that the old bear would never forget.

It was Christmas Day, quite early in the morning and the old man opened the door of the cupboard at the top of the stairs and took him out. He was held for a while and although the old bear could not see, he felt sure the old man had a smile on his face and looked at him with a lot of love.

He was put into a bag and he hoped he was being taken somewhere very special. After a lot of moving around, the old bear was placed on the floor in the same bag. The old bear had no idea where he was, but he could hear people, a lot of people, all laughing and wishing each other a “Happy Christmas’. Then he heard some songs being sung. Soon after, he heard the voice of the old man talking. He was telling the people about the best Christmas present he had ever had and suddenly he picked the bag up and the old bear was taken out and held up. Was this true? Was he – the old bear – the best Christmas present ever? Even though he had no eyes, he felt a little tear trickle down his left cheek. He felt so happy.

If the old bear had still had his eyes, he would have noticed small girl, who was sitting, watching. This little girl had the face of an angel and her eyes were wide open as she looked at the scruffy old bear. Going through her mind was a special plan… a very special plan indeed.

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Chapter 2

The old bear finds a new friend

Noman the Snowman

Chapter 1

Noman the snowman was sad; nobody liked him.  All his friends made fun of him because he had green sticking out teeth. Other snowmen had nice teeth that were made from coal, like proper snowman’s teeth, Noman had green teeth and they stuck out a bit.

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All his friends said, “Noman you don’t clean your teeth…they’re green!”

But Noman did clean his teeth every night; he was a good snowman.

Noman wanted people to like him.

He wanted people to say nice things about his big pink buttons but nobody ever did.

He wanted people to say, ”Noman, I love your glasses, but nobody ever did

Noman was sad.

One very snowy night Noman got lost. It had been snowing hard and Noman lost his daddy and mummy and found himself in a garden. He had never been there before; it looked a little bit untidy. There was a lot of rubbish and some chairs that had not been put away for the winter.

Now Noman was even sadder.

When morning came he thought he would look for his daddy and mummy. He hoped he wouldn’t see his friends.  He didn’t like it when people said he had green teeth.

As he was deciding which way to go to find somewhere safe and quiet, he heard some children’s voices. He saw three little children with their noses pressed up against the window of a house nearby. They were very excited, they had never seen snow before and they had never, ever seen a snowman before.

The children were called Mia, Alfie and Millie.

Noman was sad, he thought Mia, Alfie and Millie would make fun of his green teeth, he wanted to run away, but when he looked he didn’t have any legs.

When they were dressed the three children walked very slowly out into the garden.

Noman was a little bit scared of the children and the children were a little bit scared of Noman.

“What’s your name?” Mia asked in a very quiet voice.

“I’m Noman,” said Noman.

“You look sad,” Mia said and tried to cheer him up by giving him a snowball right on the top of his head. It looked like a funny little snowy hat.

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Alfie was looking at Noman’s green sticking out teeth.

“You’ve got nice glasses,” Millie said. Noman smiled and hoped his teeth didn’t stick out too much. He tried to cover his mouth, but his arms were very thin.

“And I like your big pink buttons,” said Alfie.

Suddenly Noman didn’t feel sad anymore. He had found some new friends. They were not like his old friends. His old friends made fun of his green teeth.

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One of Noman’s cruel friends.

“Can I stay with you today?” Noman asked his new friends.

“Yes, Yes, Yes!” they all said at the same time, “We have never seen a real snowman before and we want to be your friend. Noman felt warm inside.

Mia and Millie ran in to tell their daddy and mummy about their new friend. Alfie stayed in the garden with Noman.

He looked hard at the face of his new snowman friend and wondered if all snowmen had green sticking out teeth. Alfie had never seen a snowman before.

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Chapter 2

‘I like you,’ Alfie said to Noman.

Alfie loved Noman’s stick arms. Alfie loved to pick up a stick every time he went for a walk. He thought it would be fun to have sticks for arms.

Alfie began to wish he was a snowman.

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Alfie stared hard at his new friend. He wondered what it was like to be a snowman. He didn’t think he would like to be a snowman. He thought it would be a bit cold. Alfie liked to be warm and especially enjoyed cuddles with his mummy and daddy.

‘Do you like being cold all the time?’ asked Alfie.

‘Yes I do,’ said Noman. I love it. ‘What I don’t like is the rain and the sun, they are not good for me.’

Just then Mia and Millie came running back out into the garden. Noman hoped they would not mention his green, sticking out teeth.

Now it was Mia and Millie’s turn to stare at Noman.

Noman was a bit worried.

‘Why are you wearing sunglasses?’ Millie asked him quietly. Millie had a lovely pair of sunglasses but she only wore them in the summer when she went to the beach in Cornwall.

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‘I wear sunglasses because I want to be a cool snowman and besides when I was made, my owner didn’t have any coal to use for my eyes,’ Noman replied in a voice nearly as quiet as Millie’s.

‘I like them,’ said Millie, ‘they suit you. You do look like a cool snowman. I am sad you have got no coal for your eyes.’

Noman thanked Millie for saying such kind things, he was not used to children saying nice things. Most of his old friends only made fun of him and his green, sticking out teeth.

Now it was Mia’s turn to ask her new friend a question.

‘Where are your daddy and mummy?’ she enquired. ‘Are you here on your own?’

Noman told the three children that he didn’t have a mummy or a daddy and that snowmen usually just lived on their own.

Mia, Millie and Alfie felt sad; they all loved their mummies and daddies very much, they were sad that their new friend didn’t have a daddy or a mummy.

Millie thought they could adopt Noman and he could live in their garden all year. She would ask he mummy later.

‘Do you have any friends?’ Alfie asked him, trying not to look at his green, sticking out teeth, which had started to chatter in the cold.

‘I have three friends, but I don’t see them very often.

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One of them looks just like me and he wears sunglasses and a scarf too, but my best friend is called Olaf. He is very famous and he is a film star. We have been friends for a long time.’

IMG_2177Mia was so excited to hear this. She loved to watch Olaf in her favourite film.

Noman told Mia that he wanted to be in a film too but no one asked him because of his teeth.

Mia looked at Noman’s teeth. They did look a bit green, but she thought that he still looked very handsome.

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“One of my friends is very rich, Noman told the children, ‘he lives in a big house and he has a real hat to wear on his head.’

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Mia remembered the snowball hat she had made for Noman. She wished she could give Noman a nice hat just like his friend.

snow6Just then Mia’s mum called them in for dinner and they said goodbye to Noman. They asked him to wait in the garden till they came back out. Noman said he had nowhere else to go and that he would see them later.

Noman felt happy to have three such lovely new friends.