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Sandy Bramble

Sandy was so pleased to be back with his family again

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Sandy Bramblefield



by William Brighty Rands

I wish I lived in a caravan ,
With a horse to drive, like the pedlar man !
Where he comes from nobody knows ,
Or where he goes to, but on he goes !

His caravan has windows, two ,
And a chimney of tin, that the smoke comes through ;
He has a wife, with a baby brown ,
And they go riding from town to town !

" Chairs to mend and delf to sell! "
He clashes the basins like a bell ;
Tea-trays, baskets, ranged in order ,
Plates with the alphabet round the border !

The roads are brown and the sea is green ,
But his house is just like a bathing machine ;
The world is round and he can ride ,
Rumble and splash to the other side !

With the pedlar-man I should like to roam ,
And write a book when I came home ;
All the people would read my book ,
Just like the Travels of Captain Cook .

Sandy saw a red Gypsy Caravan in the lay by up ahead.

British writer William Brighty Rands anonymously published several volumes of children's literature and contributed to various periodicals for and about children, under pseudonyms, among them Matthew Browne, Henry Holbeach, and T. Talker. Despite resulting obscurity with broad public, he earned the title of "the laureate of the nursery" among literati. For most of his career, he worked as a reporter in the House of Commons in London, and wrote his works for children when the Parliament was not sitting. He was for some time a preacher, and composed several popular hymns.

If you have any ideas for stories do leave a message for me at seligorscastle@zoomshare.com



"Now before we carry on with the story I would like to dedicate it especially to Ayliya Byrne, my beautiful Great Niece who lives in Kent. I know she loves animals and I'm sure she will love Sandy/Gus and Carrie-anne as well as Marius and Rascal and all the strange animals and  friends they meet on their  journey around the country-side."

The bears were trying to build a damThe Tales of Sandy Bramblefield       

 Tale One – Saving the Village

         Boulder after boulder continued to cascade down the steep mountain side, already Bramble Cottage and River-side Croft lay waste under the rubble that was quickly filling the pass between the Bryn and the Berain. The small road into and out of the tiny hamlet of  Bramble-way, was impassable, and what was even worse  was the way the falling rocks were now  beginning to find there way into the raging river.
“I tell you Doris, if these rocks keep falling all night we shall wake up drowned in the morning.” Sandy said shaking his head from side to side as he looked at the water level rising on his legs.
“If we drowned and wake up in the morning that will be a miracle in itself.” Doris said without looking up from her task in hand, "and if you used you hands more to build this dam, hopefully we will not drown at all, Sandy Bramblefield. Now get your great paws down here and help me with this dam, Jeremy said he wants it at least ten foot high.”
Doris and Sandy

“Oh look Doris! I think that’s your kitchen table over there.” Sandy said a broad smile on his hairy face, “It only has two legs left, poor thing.
“Sandy” Doris yelled at the top of her voice, which was instantly drowned out by the noise from the river. “It is our job to try to stop the water getting into the hamlet from this left bank, now will you move them boulders over here now please?”

Sandy muttered something under his breath, before walking over to the nearest boulder and picking it up as if it were a feather he threw it over to were Doris was standing, who only just managed to get out of the way before it landed with a heavy splash on the edge of the river bank.
“For goodness sake Sandy what are you trying to do now? That almost landed on top of me. Sometimes I wonder if you were born with any brains at all.”
“I didn’t mean for it to land so close Doris, honest I didn’t, I was trying to get it so you wouldn’t have to lift it yourself, it is very heavy. I really am very sorry Doris.”
“I should blooming well hope so you great oaf Sandy Bramblefield” Doris said as she picked herself up and dusted some of the mud off her coat.  With that she turned on her heels and
started to walk away from the apologetic bear.
“Where are you going Doris?” Sandy shouted as she walked away, I didn’t mean it honestly I didn’t. I just got carried away. I'm sorry!
they moved over onto the other bank “I’m off to find Jeremy he will have to find someone else to help you finish building it, I really don’t want to end up squashed.” Doris shouted back as she carried on walking up the path.

         Sandy stood there, he felt really awful, ok, so he was a bit clumsy, you might even say he was heavy handed, but he was all heart. The fact that his brain and his heart walked two separate paths just made it a little harder to co- ordinate his good will and his daftness. 

He shrugged his shoulders and carried on working on his own. Within no time at all, the dam was almost finished only a couple more large rocks and it would be watertight. The small cottages that lay all along the bottom of the mountainside were safe.  The group of bears on the opposite bank had worked furiously to keep up with Sandy, now they movedEveryone was trying to help build the dam back away from the dam as Sandy moved himself into place, carrying with him a rock, so big  that very few bears could have moved together let alone on their own.  He dropped it into the hole and immediately the water in the river turned away from the village and raged down towards the weir which was a few miles further down the Ellewy.

  A huge cheer went up from the rest of the villagers, there were quite a few there who remembered the last time the mountains descended into the small pass;  

 The Bryn side of the mountain had always been a bit temperamental. Sandy’s own father had been killed in the land slide of forty seven, but since then there had never been such terrible storms, and without doubt they had had lots more rain and strong winds than ever before, this time another avalanche further up the stream had raised the level of the water and as the current increased, so the base of the Bryn collapsed and now there was a full scale rescue going on to save Brambleway.

Sandy stood up admiring his work and he bowed low to the bears who were applaudingSandy floating in the water him, a huge smile upon his big, brown hairy face. When the applause turned to screams, Sandy didn’t notice, and the next minute the sound of the falling boulders made him look up. He didn’t have time to move out of the way and the last the villagers saw of him was his huge head fall forward, as a massive boulder landed on top of his shoulders. Sandy was already unconscious when he was sucked under the waves that carried his body down stream towards the weir and certain death.

         Doris screamed, she was trying to keep her eyes on Sandy’s body from the river bank. Jeremy and the others ran down towards the weir but it was useless, parts of the bank had been washed away and they had no way of getting past without climbing up the side of the Berain. It seemed Sandy was going to be the first casualty of the storm. The bears made their way back to Brambleway with the rest of the villagers. There was lots of work still to do to save their cottages and farm buildings and although everyone was crying inside, there was no time to mourn for poor Sandy.

There was work to be done, and so the work on the dam resumed.

The river raged on carrying Sandy with it. Tale Two – Carried Away

          Sandy’s body was tossed here and there, hither and thither, up and down. The weir came, the water plunging over the top and down into the raging torrent below.  Miraculously  he passed over the edge like a cloud floating in a blue sky, his lifeless body seemed to weigh less than that of a pumpkin seed. It wound its way down into the raging torrent and then vanished from sight.
        Time passed and he obviously had no idea how long he’d been lying there, but when he eventually opened his eyes he was lying tight up against a huge log that was wedged in a corner of the river bank. Overhead the sky was pulling its evening blanket up and it was almost pitch black. He tried to move but the pain in his shoulders was so bad he sunk back to the ground falling back into a nightmare sleep of whirlpools and monsters trying to drag him down into the middle of the earth.The weir took him over

When he next woke up the birds were singing in the trees and there was a very watery sun shining in the sky, but at least the rain has ceased. The log had moved and Sandy was now in a sort of crevice under the overhang of the bank. Slowly he tried to get his thoughts together, yet he didn't really remember anything. He didn't recognise any of the terrain and every time he tried to move the pain stopped him, yet he knew he must get up from the waters edge for the river might still be rising.

Sandy had been washed down the riverTrying hard to roll over and gritting his teeth against the pain he eventually made it onto all fours, he scrambled up and out of the riverbank into a field, then very slowly he pulled himself onto his hind legs. The pain was incredible and he felt faint, he quickly sagged back down onto the green grass. He was covered in an assortment of things all embedded in his long fur;

There were twigs, small pebbles, grit, even bits of paper here and there, pieces of plastic from old shopping carriers, usually thrown away by the humans. He began the audious task of cleaning his fur. What a mess, under his left armpit he found a small pair of sunglasses, sunglasses how on earth did they get there he wondered. He laughed but quickly stopped it hurt too much. He glanced around wondering where on earth he could be. He recognized nothing, just strange fields and fences,  then it suddenly dawned on him. He didn't recognise anywhere because he didn't know where anywhere was.
He frowned, gosh he wished the pain would go, he could feel that all right, and he knew he had to find someone to help him.
The fur across the back of his neck was 
matted and sticky, he could smell the blood. He vaguely remembered someone shouting his name, and a rock coming straight towards him from above. But that was it, everything else was a blank.
Sandy saw a red Gypsy Caravan in the lay by up ahead. Very slowly he stood up again and moved along staying  close to the side of the hedge. He could be anywhere and there was no point in making any ones aquaintance until he was sure the area was friendly to animals, especially bears.

After walking the length of two fields he reached a gate that led out onto the open road.  He passed through it, making sure to close it behind him and stepped onto a small lane with grass growing down the middle of it, obviously it wasn’t used that often. He stopped for a moment to regain his breath, his head was hurting and there was fresh blood  on his neck. He rested a few minuits, then feeling a little stronger he strained his senses to try and decide which was the best way to go. He could hear music and possibly smell bacon cooking, the smell he was sure was coming from some were down the lane. The sun in the sky told him it must be about nine o'clock, so it could have been someone cooking breakfast. He walked carefully towards the sound, then as he rounded the bend, there sat in a lay-by was a brightly coloured caravan. He felt a slight butterfly in his tummy as he walked to the bottom of the steps and shouted.
"Hello, is anyone at home?” The caravan door was open and Sandy could hear the singing coming from the back of the van. It was a womans voice and she was singing a really pretty song, something about a woman and a wheelbarrow.
I don't often have brown bears visit  for breakfast."Hello there!" Sandy shouted again, this time knocking on the door as he did so.
The  singing stopped, a swift few running steps and a young woman of about  twenty five stood in the doorway. She had long brown hair that reached down to her waist, brown eyes that shone like amber, the smile never left her face as she gazed down into Sandy's upturned face.
"Well this is a surprise, it's not often I have a big brown bear knocking at my front door. Will ye be wanting to come in." She frowned, "you're not looking to well?" She reached forward and pulled a handful of bracken out of Sandy's fur. "Come on up, I think you need a nice cup of tea."
Sandy climbed up the four little steps and  turning on his side made it easily through the caravan door. Then as he took a step forward he suddenly felt very giddy. He felt himself falling to the floor and then everywhere went black, poor Sandy he was on the floor again.

Carrie-anne, without panicing went to the kitchen  and soaked a cloth with cold water. She knelt down besides Sandy and placed it on his forehead, then she placed some smelling salts under his nose and within seconds Sandy was beginning to come round.
"Gosh, I am so sorry Miss, I think I just might be a bit hungry and the smell of that bacon frying was more than I could take." He added with a laugh.

Carrie-anne smiled at Sandy. "Right," she said, "Let's first tell each other who we are." She held out her hand. "My name is Carrie-anne, this is "Rascal", she pointed to a big black cat with purple whiskers who was drinking milk from a blue bowl, then she walked over to a small corner of the caravan and came back carrying a baby, "and this here is Marius. He is my son and he's 2 years old." She stroked the little boy under the chin. "Marius this is... " she held out her hand.
Rascal with a bowl of milkThe big bear smiled a huge smile which showed all his teeth, this would usually have frightened an adult but Marius just sat and looked at him a smile still on his face. "Well Carrie-anne, it is really nice to meet yourself, young Marius and Rascal" he paused and thought for a moment, "but I can honestly tell you that I haven't got the slightest idea who I am."  
He sat on the floor a puzzled look on his face, then he looked up into Carrie-anne's face. "I'm so sorry but..." he stopped talking as he felt a huge lump in his throat. Was he going to cry, he could never remember crying before, but then again how could he know... he had lost his memory.
"Never mind, come on jump up, but slowly now, we don't want you passing out again. Let's get some breakfast inside you then we can try and work something out or you."
Carrie-anne popped Marius in his playpen and wrapping her arm around Sandy, she helped him up.  They sat down at the table to eat bacon butties followed by toast and jam without saying a word. Only when Carrie-anne placed a nice big mug of steaming tea in front of him did Sandy speak again.
"Well you had better start off by telling me everything that you do remember," she said quietly for wee Marius had nodded off in the playpen. 

"I'm afraid that won't take long. I vaguely remember waking up under a big log in a river somewhere. It was still dark, then I must have fallen asleep again for the next time I woke up it was daylight, the log had gone or maybe I had moved again, I really can't remember." He took a huge drink of his tea before continuing. "I crawled up the bank and made my way along the side of two fields."
"Which way did you come here, up the lane or down the lane? Carrie asked.
"Down, I heard the sound of your singing, smelt the bacon and decided this is where I should be," he smiled.
"And you can't remember any more than that, not even your name? The big bear shook his head from side to side. "Nope, not a thing."
The little table"Well we can't be friends if I have to shout "hey you" all the time, so I guess we will have to come up with a name of some sort." she stroked her chin and poured out another cup of tea from a big pot. What do you think , can't say I've given a name to many bears before but if I had, have done, I think it would be Gus."
"Then that's it, Gus it shall be." Sandy said not realising at that moment that he was going to change his name in this story and continue as Gus, instead of Sandy, till like, forever maybe! 

So with a smile reaching from ear to ear, Gus bowed in front of Carrie-anne, "I am at your service Carrie-anne, when would you like me to start?"
The both picked up their cups and together said a loud "Cheers to Carrie-anne and Gus! Let the adventure begin."  and sitting together at Carrie-anne's little table they drank tea and laughed till their tummy's ached

Here you may take a rest from reading and watch a few short video's that I think will go down well with "Gus's" travels.
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Jellystone Park, the home of Yogi and Boo Boo


Tale Three - Taking to the Road

Gus woke up, the sun was streaming through the caravan window onto the mattress Carrie-anne had found for him. He rolled over and smiled, for the first time in days he actually felt alive. Of course he had no idea where he came from, in fact he didn't even know how long he had been away from whereever he had come from. It was all very, very confusing. He hummed a little tune to himself and it made him feel good. "Maybe it's something from my past," he murmered.
"Maybe it is." Came a deep voice from outside his open window.
My name is Toby, you must be Gus!
Gus jumped up from the mattress, and slowly moved to the open window.  Peeping  through the narrow slit, there stood a beautiful grey horse.
"Hi  there!" Gus said. "I'll be out in a mo." And he was out the little door of the caravan and standing next to the horse in seconds.
The horse smiled, showing a mouthful of shining white teeth.
"Well hi back," he drolled. "I heard you arrive yesterday, but thought it best to stay out of the way until you got settled in. Rascal fills me in on all the news. My name is Toby,and I believe you're to be called Gus.
Gus patted Toby on his back with his paw, once again realising how lucky he was to have found himself such a wonderful new family, "That's right, I became Gus last night but one day I hope to find out who I really am, Carrie thinks a bang on my head has made me lose my memory."
"Diw, diw," Toby answered, his head bobbing up and down. "Not so good that, had a cousin once, used to pull a drey, then one day an empty barrel hit him on the head, knocking him out completely, lost his memory and woke up convinced he was a donkey, went around braying for weeks." Toby started to laugh as did Gus.
"Mind you he got hit by another barrel a few months later."
"Did that bring his memory back?" Gus asked excitedly, "I believe that could be the answer."
Toby nodded again, "But I wouldn't try it though, the barrel hit me cousin, who dropped to the floor and lay there. Of course everyone thought he would wake up a horse again."
"And did he?" Gus asked.
"Nah," Toby said still nodding. "He never got up again, dead as a Dodo I'm afraid, well it might take a while till you remember your name but I like Gus it's a good name, suits you somehow."
Gus smiled and knew that he was going to get on very well with this beautiful grey horse.
       Just at that moment Carrie-ann came down the lane, still whistling the tune she was whistling the day before.
"Oh good, I see you two have met, that's good. Now Toby have ye finished your breakfast?" Toby nodded his big head.
"Right then Gus, you and I will have our breakfast and whilst I'm feeding Marius, you and Toby can get the caravan ready to move." She walked up the steps, Gus following her.
 "I want to be in Llan y Marched by this dinner time so we can meet all the other folk before the dancing begins tonight."
      It wasn't long before they were all ready for the off. Carrie-anne was so used to packing things up that they were even able to have another cup of tea before they left.
Toby of course had water out of his own painted bucket.
     Gus couldn't  hide his excitement, all the time he had lived in Brambefield he felt he should be somewhere else. And now, now, he was going to go round Wales, maybe even across the border into England... "What about Scotland...."
"Sorry, did you say something Gus!"  Carrie-anne was looking at him questioningly.      
"Gus bent his head and smiled to himself. He lifted his head a huge grin on his face. "He he he, laughed over and over again. "I do believe I was talking out loud Carrie, why I haven't done that for years, since I was a cub I think" he started to laugh again.
"Go on then, what were you saying?" Carrie asked again.
"Well I was wondering if we could ever travel over the border, to England say, or even Scotland." He shrugged his huge shoulders.
"Oh what are you like," Carrie said putting her arms as much around him as she could.
"How do you know all these places? I have only been as far as Nottingham, to the Goose Fair, and that was many years ago."
"The Goose Fair, Nottingham, that sounds wonderful. Maybe we shall go there one day Carrie-anne. I should like that very much. Yes definitely," he muttered as he walked away from Carrie, not even waiting for a reply.
She smiled after him and asked Toby "to walk" on with a gentle flick of the reins. One last nibble on the grass and he was away, towing the little van with Gus and Carrie-anne at the reins and Marius in a little make shift play are behind them.
Oh yes, I've forgotten someone, Rascal. Well where do you think he was. That's right, sitting on Toby's back, purring away quite, quite happily. If we only knew that in his mind he was looking forward to meeting all his folk at Llan y Marched. Three brothers and his Mam, but he was guessing that there might be a few more by now. It was at least six months since they had been to his home. He settled down to have a nap in the early morning sun.



I have just finished writing a little bit more to Gus (Sandy) and Carrie-anne, not to mention Marius, Toby and Rascal, and I mentioned the Goose Fair. I went several times to the Goose Fair when I was living in Linconshire, we were stationedwith the RAF at both Conningsby and Cranwell and as Nottingham was so close, just across the County Border, we went. We being my three sons, David, John and Michael, husband and Diddily.

It truely was a magical place, and, it was there, that I also had my first
 visit to a real Circus, Chipperfields, I think it was called. oh wow, was this fantastic. The clowns, oh I loved the clowns, they were great and I can still see the trapeze artists as they swung to and fro on the trapeze, one fell and we all screamed. Of cause she wasn't hurt (It was all part of the act), but we all thought it was real at the time. David my eldest was a star. He actually got up into the ring and let the man put one of the snakes around his neck. It was bigger than him, and he had to hold it's head off the ground. Oh boy, was I terrified. But he wasn't hurt and all the animals were so well looked after. I do hope that Gus and Carrie will manage to get over there. I do believe it is on at the beginning of October most years, so if they are really lucky they might make it. Keep your fingers crossed. I am going to add a little bit now that I have found on the wonderful website. it is very, very interesting. Bye for now. Diddily. XXX

The Nottingham Goose Fair goes back some 1000 years. It is one of the biggest and the most well known fairs. Its origins are not, contrary to belief, based on geese but was a Goods Fair held to stock up before the onset of winter. Henry II granted a charter in the 1160s with a right to hold a fair for eight days starting on the feast day of St Matthew on 21st September and was granted to the Priory of Lenton, who were a very powerful landlord at that time.

In 1230, Henry III added four more days to the Lenton Fair which gave more revenue to the Church and Lenton Church was more important than Nottingham at this time. Nottingham’s Fair took second place to the Lenton fair and there were many disputes between the Church and the Nottingham Corporation over the importance of the two fairs as Nottingham was a borough of some importance with a large trading centre.

During the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) various charters were granted and increasing the size and status of the Fair. In 1284 a charter was granted which mentioned the existing St Matthew’s fair and granted a new one to be held over 15 days beginning on the eve of St Edmund’s day on 20th November, who was the patron saint of England before St George. A charter granted to the town of Nottingham in 1290 refers to the fair which then continued over 21 days.

The Lenton Fair, during this time, was very much for re-stocking of goods, as well as the sale of local produce. Goods such as gold, leather, fish and fine clothes were recorded by the Lenton Priory in 1538.

In 1541 the fair now became known as Goose Fair. The first mention of the fair as such is in the account of John Truswell, steward of Wollaton Hall (the old Hall by the church not the present day building), where he purchased a pair of breeches for 1s10d. During the middle of the 16th century some people thought only geese were sold at the fair! The geese were walked great distances to the fair, some 20,000 from the Lincolnshire fens and would have their feet tarred to make the walk easier! It would appear that by this time the original Lenton Fair had been moved into Nottingham and in 1579 the Mickleton Jury (the jury of court leets) requested that wooden stalls to be erected around the Market Square, which was cobbled, to bring in more revenue.

In 1634 a resolution was passed for the Mayor, Sheriff and Aldermen to formally attend and read out the proclamation to and to ring bells officially open the fair. The Sheriff had a right to choose what he wanted from the stalls.

The fair was still held on 21st September whenever possible, but there were occasions when it had to be changed: during 1300-1400 when leprosy came to England; during 1346 when the Black Death was particularly virulent and again when the plague struck in 1646. Strangely enough during the English Civil War the fair continued but was held in Lenton.

In 1752 there was a change of calendar. The Gregorian calendar was not fully adopted in Great Britain until then because of religious differences. Where the Roman Catholic countries were quick to adopt the new calendar, it was initially rejected by Protestant states. The fair was still held but moved to begin on 2nd October to fit in with the Sessions Court and lasted for one week until 1875.

During the 1760s great numbers of cattle and horses were recorded as being sold at the fair. It would seem that geese were not as popular as believed and in fact cheese was more important in the diet of the population. A riot occurred in 1766 over the high cost of cheese and constables had to patrol the fair.

By the end of 18th century the Goods Fair had changed and was no longer one of solely buying and selling produce. New attractions were to be seen including Madame Tussaud; wild animals; theatricals including dwarfs, fat ladies and gypsy singers. Nevertheless the idea of the sale of goods still continued with four stalls being erected at the front of the Exchange Building selling locally produced goods including lace and hosiery, willow baskets, whipcords and liquorice.

The fair was still held in the Old Market Square but in 1876 it was reduced from 8 to 5 days beginning on the first Thursday of October and then in 1880 it was cut again to two and half days, beginning at 12 noon on the Thursday. However, it was coming under severe criticism as being dirty, noisy as well as increasing intemperance. There were accusations of large number of pick pockets, beggars and prostitutes being attracted by the fair. In 1877 a resolution was passed by the Goose Fair Inquiry Committee, Town and Social Guild, to collect and tabulate evidence as to the moral, social, sanitary and commercial effect of the fair on the town. The Council’s answer was that it made a lot of money for them; £702.11d in rent! By 1977 this had risen to £3036, 00.

Whilst the fair was held in the Market Square many of the adjacent roads were taken over by travelling people all eager to sell their wares. The Theatre Royal also put on  performances to attract fair goers. The local railways put on special excursions to deal with the crowds.

Over the years since the nineteenth century the number and disparity of attractions has changed considerably. During this time performing fleas, Wombwells wild animals and Contrells swimming show was all part of the attractions. However, steam power gave the go-ahead for an invasion of bigger rides. In 1906 the first helter skelter, Big Wheel and roundabouts with motor cars were seen at the fair. The following year the cake-walk first made its appearance (so named after an African dance – the Cacka).

1927 was the last year the fair was held on the Old Market Square and it was also the last year that livestock was sold. At the end of the fair the Square was formally landscaped and the following year the fair was moved to the Forest – much to the annoyance of over 12000 people who protested about the move.

During the two world wars, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 no fairs were held. Today the fair is visited by thousands of people during the first full weekend of October each year. The fair is opened at midday on Thursday by the City dignitaries and closes at midnight on the Saturday. There are over 500 rides and 70 sideshows and over the years has attracted many famous artistes such as Madame Tussaud and Richard Chipperfield. The fair has featured every ride and amusement which has ever taken to the road.

All this wonderful History came from the Nottingham Heritage Site:-


There are many, many web sites, giving so much information about the Goose Fair but these two links I have given you are the ones I would recommend to you, but do please search around, there are many sites that have been added from people all over the world, who have come to Nottingham particulary to see the Goose Fair and the City of Notttingham. I'll tell you what the Castle is a bit good as well,especially the old chapel. If it is still accessible you need to pay it a visit. very, very creepy.


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