So last year for his birthday I bought the husband a voucher to go for an experience day, well half day handling Birds of Prey. This was at the International Bird of Prey Centre at Newent.
This year just before the voucher ran out he actually redeemed it. When I bought it we lived about an hour away and had no intention of moving. How things change in a year. So as we’re now over two hours away and would need to travel during rush hour* up the M3/A34/M4 etc we decided the thing to do was make it into a mini break. Well, I decided I really need a holiday, so does the husband even if he didn’t realise it. So we booked ourselves for two nights into this beautiful one bed cottage on Middletown Farm.
We arrived Wednesday night after what felt like a really long drive through the wind and rain. It was actually just over two hours long but felt like an age.
When we finally arrived our landlady came to meet us and tell us where to park. She showed us around the cottage and told us how wonderful the Bird of Prey Centre was. There was free Prosecco in the fridge as well as the more useful milk and a bottle of farm apple juice which we need to try. There were madelines, granola and tea. Oh and coffee, but who cares about coffee? You’re made to feel so welcome. She even went out of her way to book us into a local pub, the Royal Exchange for dinner even though it was five to nine and they stopped cooking at nine. She brought her phone back to us so we could put our order in over the phone. We got burgers, mainly because that was the first thing the guy on the phone said. And I was hungry!
So we went to the pub ate and headed back to the cottage. The burgers were lovely by the way, just in case you were wondering. After our first introduction to the cottage we haven’t seen the landlady, which suits us fine. It’s a lovely place for being quiet and just spending time together.
The best thing for me was having a table. We own one but only brought it out for special occasions in Follytown as the downstairs was so small. And the conservatory too cold/hot depending on the time of year to use it. There’s something so civilised about eating around a table as opposed to off our laps or off a breakfast bar. This is something I’m really looking forward to in the new house.
Then there was the bed, you could fit four people into it – easily. I want a bed like that. It was huge. A super king size apparently. I’m seriously considering asking the landlady where she got it for. My one worry is how would we got things like say wardrobes into the bedroom with it? Would the doors be able to open? Do we even need a door?
I think the absolute only things that were missing was a fireplace and a claw foot bath! Then I would pronounce this cottage perfect. And I probably wouldn’t have even considered the fireplace if it hadn’t cooled down significantly over the last few days. To be fair.**
Yesterday we took ourselves off to the Birds of Prey Centre. Somehow despite being less than ten minutes away we turned up late… I don’t know how we do it. Thankfully they still let the husband take part and anyway they hadn’t started flying yet. I was a spectator as I felt too poor to book us a ticket each this time last year. I was so jealous though. It looked like so much fun. The birds were beautiful as well. The session was three hours long and then we wandered around the mews to have a look at the rest of the birds. It went from the truly huge, and ugly Condor to the tiny Little Owl and Burrowing Owl, who were just so cute. My favourite bird was Peebles. Which was apparently a Striated Caracara, she even has her own Instagram account. She was such a noisy bird. And due to something going on with her feathers ran about the place as opposed to flying which is usual Bird of Prey behaviour. Having said that, this is a bird which runs every day as opposed to flying. It’s normal hunting behaviour for this bird. The Falklands are a tad windy for flying apparently.
The husband got to handle a load of different birds. And even fly them and feed them. Here are the ones from the indoors handling session. The phone just wasn’t good enough to take photos on the flying field unfortunately. I’m really sorry I forgot my proper camera. Not that it’s a DSLR or anything fancy like that. It’s just a point and click (with a decent zoom) but still the photos would definitely have come out better. Using a phone for everything isn’t always a good thing. OK it probably is never a good thing, but that’s not the point.
Anyhow, we’ve had a lovely couple of days and are now heading to the parents in Wales to finish off our weekend. We’re also seeing the solicitor today to sign the contract for the new house. Dun, dun duuuun!
*It’s always bugged me that it’s called rush hour as it is goes on for so much longer that.
**Note: There was also no signal and the WiFi was appalling. Personally I was quite pleased by this. But some people (ahem, Lost Astronomer) wouldn’t be.