Bernard The Badger

Bernard the Badger, or Mr Higgins as most know him, has the most incredible coat that grows faster than any fur available and if he doesn’t trim it regularly his coat would pick up half the Forest on his walks!

For a long time, he insisted on keeping his coat long and he simply picked all the leaves and twigs off before going inside and leaving them all over the front lawn to Mrs Higgins' annoyance.

One stormy day he fell into the Great River whilst crossing over Pine Tree Bridge and his coat got so heavy in the water that if Pedro the Penguin wasn’t passing by and jumped in to rescue him, that would have been the end of Mr Higgins and his long coat. Since then the Pine Tree Bridge area is simply known as Higgins Brook.

These days Mr Higgins always keeps his coat well trimmed and since that dreadful day he has become best friends with Pedro. Together they play Scrabble and drink plenty of silver tea or, if the weather is a bit damp and cold, a drop of Pedro’s finest brandy does the trick to warm up the bones and keep the cold away.

LIKES: Long walks in the woods, learning Spanish and hairbrushes.

DISLIKES: Rude behaviour and Marmite.

MOTTO: A walk a day, keeps the doctor away.

Fleming The Arctic Fox

Fleming the Arctic fox's family runs Fleming's Lodge which is situated on the southern slope of the highest and the most popular ski slope in the area. This wonderful restaurant has been in the family for generations and many come just to visit the restaurant and leave the skiing for more eager ones like Hector the Arctic Hare.

Fleming Senior (Fleming the Arctic fox’s father) learned all his skills as a chef from his father, who learned from his father and so on and Fleming Senior is eagerly teaching all he knows to his son, Junior, but it is not going quite as planned as his son really wants to become a travel photographer.

LIKES: Photography, traveling and collecting old cameras.

DISLIKES: Cooking (but don’t tell Fleming’s dad!) and washing lasagna dishes.

MOTTO: How do you know what’s it like in other countries if you haven’t visited?

Findlay The Fox

Findlay the Fox is the youngest son of Mr and Mrs Fox and he has seven sisters and six brothers.

Being the youngest of the family is not easy because everyone treats him like a baby and they often say that there is no point of telling him something because he wouldn't understand being too young!

Findlay hates that and he prefers to spend time with Henry the Harvest Mouse who also happens to be the youngest of his family! Together they explore Bilberry Woods and if you ever need a guide through the Woods these two would be the ones to ask since they know most of it as well as the back of their paws.

Findlay also loves building cars and other moving objects. His sisters think it is a total waste of time as most of his inventions don’t really move that well, or parts of them break off in the test runs. But Findlay has grown a thick skin and won’t let his sisters' sneers to dampen his spirits, in fact, one day he is convinced he will build a spaceship!

LIKES: Bits of metal, nuts and bolts. Exploring the Forest and blackberry sweets.

DISLIKES: His sisters (at least most of the time) and being the youngest sibling.

MOTTO: You can build anything.

Pedro The Penguin

Pedro is originally from Spain and his initial arrival caused a lot of a stir in Bilberry Woods.

Apparently they said he didn’t fit in since he wasn’t a woodland creature. But Pedro didn’t mind and in fact it was slightly questionable if he even understood what the neighbours were saying.

Pedro simply settled into his little cottage by the second fork of the Lanes and even though it was a fair walk from the Lake, he was happy. Every day he would walk to the Lake and test the water. Up to this date he still hasn’t swum in the Lake, he says it is still too cold and too wet.

The only exception to his non-swimming days is the day when he saved Bernard the Badger or as the folks in Bilberry Woods know him, Mr Higgins, from drowning in the river.

That day didn’t only earn him the full respect of the Bilberry Woods residents, but also Mr Higgins became one of his best friends and most afternoons they meet up for a cup of silver tea with a dash of brandy.

They would either sit in the front garden by the Cherry tree or inside by the fire and have a game of scrabble. The aim was originally to teach Pedro English, but he still stubbornly insists on using Spanish words on the board and if nothing else Mr Higgins has learned quite a bit of Spanish himself.

LIKES: Well aged brandy and log fires.

DISLIKES: Swimming – water is usually too cold. When you loose a scrabble piece.

MOTTO: Life is like well-aged brandy: rich and full bodied, but full of surprises (it may sound better in Spanish).

Onni The Polar Bear

Onni comes from the great Arctic bear family that has been living in the Arctic for as long as there has been the Arctic.

These polar bears are very much like their brown cousins, both having mystical qualities.

Onni is a Finnish word and means 'happiness' or 'luck' and his and his whole family's great ability is to bring good luck and fortune to those who are lucky enough to find them since they can be very elusive.

They’ve been much admired by sailors for their qualities of keeping the sails safe and the weather favourable.

Onni is one of the rare ones of the family that ventures down to Bilberry Woods. He finds it a bit hot at times, especially in the summer, but then, on the other hand, he just loves all the vegetation and he has really good friends down there too that are always so lovely to visit.

LIKES: Flowers and evergreen leaves.

DISLIKES: Weather so cold that it makes your eye lids to freeze shut unless you blink all the time.

MOTTO: Good friends are worth more than anything else in the world.

Ollie The Owl

Ollie the Owl lives high up in the Tree and has a reputation of a wise owl or at least a very knowledgeable owl, but sometimes you do wonder when you see him bumping into branches when he’s forgotten to swing his head back to see where he is going.

He is doing that a lot since he is always observing what is going on below him and with his excellent eyesight and acute hearing, he’s the one to ask what is going on in Bilberry Woods.

Ollie the Owl also loves information and is constantly collecting news and top secret files which he gets Benny the Bat to deliver to him.

Who knows what he is doing with all this information and indeed what the information is, but it seems to keep him happy and well occupied between his teaching at the Village School and choir singing.

The only trouble seems to be though that Ollie has so much information that when you actually want to know something it takes him what feels like days to get to the correct paper and by then you’ve either found out the answer from someone else or the information has become irrelevant. Ollie though doesn’t seem to have any problem with that, he thinks is well worth waiting for some good bit of info or juicy gossip.

LIKES: Singing, but only in a group. He couldn't possibly even imagine singing solo – terrifying. And collecting information,

DISLIKES: When he is the last one to know something.

MOTTO: Never discard any piece of information, it may become useful in the future.

Marie The Mouse

Marie loves sewing and is always doing some alterations for the other inhabitants of Bilberry Woods, especially for Henrietta the Hare who loves 50’s dresses and is always asking Marie’s help to alter them to fit her.

Marie doesn’t mind, they often sit together, sew and drink lots of silver tea and have a good gossip about pretty much everything and anything.

Marie is also learning French and is hoping to go to see the lavender fields in France one day. Her dream will come true when she marries Mika the Mouse and they travel around Europe for their honeymoon. But that is in the future.

Marie also teaches at the Bilberry Woods School.

LIKES: Sewing, needlework and well-ironed sheets.

DISLIKES: When you leave tailor’s chalk onto the floor, step on it and it crumbles into dust.

MOTTO: With needle and thread I can do anything!

Henry The Harvest Mouse

Bilberry Woods Character Henry The Harvest Mouse

Henry the Harvest Mouse loves exploring Bilberry Woods with Findlay the Fox, not only because Findlay is a great friend of his, but also because Findlay has so many cool gadgets and stuff.

When they are exploring any new area of the vast Bilberry Woods and are not sure where they are, Henry runs to the top of the tallest tree and gets their coordinates. Findlay then records them to his pathfinder that he is working on at the moment and together they form an excellent exploration team and their adventures are endless.

Henry also would like to become a pilot when he grows up and he is often talking about his prospects with Benny the Bat.

LIKES: Planes and anything to do with aviation. Exploring woods. Trees – the taller the better – and eating uncooked cake mix.

DISLIKES: Burnt toast, which happens often, and homework.

MOTTO: Never stop dreaming as dreams do come true!

Henrietta The Hare

Bilberry Woods Character Henrietta The Hare by Laura Mirjami

Henrietta is a thoughtful little hare who often ponders life’s great mysteries like how something so small like a carrot seed can possibly grow into a full sized vegetable and how does it know when to stop growing?

She is also often gazing up the stars and wonders if there are any other hares living on the distant planets.

LIKES: Candied fruit, 50’s vintage dress style, and her homemade ginger carrot marmalade that is not only the best in Bilberry Woods, but it has won many national awards too.

DISLIKES: Runny marmalade – Henrietta likes hers to stay on her toast even if you tilt the slice of bread. And cloudy nights as they are no good for star gazing.

MOTTO: Never stop wondering about life and its mysteries for there is always something new to learn.

'Tonttu' - Dwarf

Bilberry Woods Character 'Tonttu' - Dwarf by Laura Mirjami

These little dwarfs with different coloured hats are everywhere in Bilberry Woods although they are a little difficult to spot. Their main job is to carry messages from fairies to the rest of the world, so really you could call them couriers. They move incredibly fast – sort of hovering – their little feet dangling in the air – and if you really focus you can see them whizzing all around you.

The different coloured hats often (but not always) signifies what messages they are carrying. Greens are generally related to plants and trees, blues to the rivers and lakes and pinks and yellows for different flowers.

The red hats work only for Santa Claus and his fairies and they are probably the hardest to spot until December arrives and they are absolutely everywhere!

There is not much more we know about them at this moment, but I will keep you posted as we learn more.

LIKES: We don’t know them well enough to say.

DISLIKES: Again it is hard to say as we don’t have enough knowledge of them.

MOTTO: We shall be asking this if we get to talk to one.

Hemingway The Squirrel

Bilberry Woods Character Hemingway The Squirrel

Hemingway is a hairdresser and he has a new Salon in Bilberry Woods called Hair by Hemingway. He fell in love with the premises at first sight and an additional bonus was that the Bilberry Woods Candle Factory, run by Mr and Mrs Mole, extends underneath the Salon and with some negotiation Hemingway managed to get a good deal with the Moles Family to rent one of the underground halls which is absolutely perfect for his nut collection.

When Hemingway arrived at Bilberry Woods he quickly established a solid customer base including Mr Higgins (Bernard the Badger) who wasn’t that keen on a fancy Salon at first, but after his unfortunate fall into the river he had to get his long fur cut immediately and as he figured out that he couldn’t let Mrs Higgins know about the foolish incident at the river (rightly so since Mrs Higgins would have been furious!) he had to pay a visit to Hair by Hemingway as the other barbers would have meant passing by his house and most likely being spotted by Mrs Higgins and most definitely being scolded by her, probably even shouted at.

LIKES: Scented candles which he can get a discounted rate from the Candle Factory as long as he keeps Mrs Mole happy with various different hair treatments.

He also prefers pink Christmas baubles instead of more traditional colours.

DISLIKES: Liquorice, at least the salted type and he doesn’t know how to say to Mika the Mouse that he doesn’t like it as Mika always brings him back a bag or two from Finland. He should have said no right at the beginning, but he didn’t want to hurt Mika’s feelings and now he has a cupboard full of liquorice.

MOTTO: When feeling down, have a haircut. But do have it some other times too. Happy people are also very welcome in the salon. And indifferent ones too. In fact any types really.

Rupert The Reindeer

Bilberry Woods Character Rupert The Reindeer

Rupert the Reindeer originally comes from tundra high up north from Bilberry Woods, but his joints are suffering from cold and therefore he has moved permanently to Bilberry Woods. He still visits tundra regularly, but mainly in the summer months.

Rupert is a cousin of the very famous Rudolf the Reindeer who, as we all know, works for Santa Claus. Rupert himself has worked a bit for Santa too in his younger years, but these days he prefers to stay in his cosy home at Christmas. He does though always serve refreshments for Rudolf and his co-workers on Christmas Eve and often even Santa himself comes in for a cup of spiced silver tea!

Rupert is also a very keen knitter and crocheter he regularly makes new multicoloured knee warmers that keep his joints cosy in the winter months. Other Bilberry Woods inhabitants also have various knitted or crocheted items from Rupert who is very eager to give his creations away as presents. In fact, there is not one soul in Bilberry Woods that doesn’t have something knitted by Rupert whether it is a hat or a scarf or a tea cosy.

LIKES: Knitting, crocheting, sunshine and wrapping up presents.

DISLIKES: Cold weather, yarn that gets tangled and over boiled eggs.

MOTTO: Knitting makes you happy!