Monday, 22 March 2010

A short break

So the boyfriend and I escaped this weekend and ran away to Sherwood Forest to pretend we were Robin Hood and Maid Marion.

We went to Center Parcs.

A couple of months ago I had some kind of brain seizure and decided we should book a weekend away at Center Parcs. I'm not entirely sure what came over me because god knows it's not the cheap option and I really don't have the money but ultimately I'm beyond glad that I did. It turns out it was perfect timing and really came at a time when we could do with just getting away and having some time to ourselves.

Now I am Miss City Girl, I've only ever lived in big cities and even then I've not lived on the suburbs of those cities, I've lived on main roads, slap bang in the middle of the action. This means that I have a tendendcy to get over-excited when it comes to nature. Whilst I can't imagine ever living in the country, the petrol fumes are too well ingrained in my body for that, I do enjoy a bit of countryside action in short bursts.

We arrived at our apartment on Friday afternoon to be greeted by 3 mallards hanging out on the patio. Now granted, I see mallards all the time when I walk past Queens Gardens on the way too and from work each day, but these babies were close. Real close. So, leaving the boyfriend to finish unpacking the car I ripped open the bread we'd brought with us and flinging open the door, started throwing bits of bread to the quackers, all the while doing an excited, impish, I-love-nature dance. (I like to picture it as 'impish' and not 'retarded')

Duck feeding over I closed the door and started unpacking, only to hear a tap tap tap on the window. I turned round and discovered one aspect of nature I do not enjoy.

I hate geese. They're mental and I've never got over the fact that one of them bit me when I was a wee thing on a visit to East Park to feed the ducks. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.
Damn goose.

Luckily they never made a reappearance and soon I had the ducks eating out of my hand. Literally.
The weekend was in a word, acesome. Yes I have decided to create a new word. I needed something better than awesome, mainly because I'm convinced there are certain words that English people cannot pull off, awesome being one of them. Sometimes things just sound cooler in an American accent. So acesome I can pull off. You know, it's ace and awesome, all in one. Acesome.

(You see, this is what happens when I spend too long in that fresh country air, I need to come back and inhale some unleaded.)

We went down the rapids, we played in the waves at the swimming pool, we went out for a meal, we spent time in the spa, we laughed and danced and frolicked in the woods.

Ok maybe we didn't do the last one.

But we did do falconry which was possibly the acesomest (see how versatile it is?!) decision we ever made. I figured we'd see a few birds, maybe stroke a barn owl and that would be that. But there was more. Much more.

I held.....
A golden eagle.
Seriously. How cool am I? (And yes that is me in the photo, exciting times for the blog, the back of my head has been revealed!) I know I just went up in your estimation by about a thousand. I should be able to tell you lots of interesting facts about the golden eagle but unfortunately I wasn't listening hard enough to Darren the falcon man and spending more time looking at her enormous beak and claws and quite frankly terrifying wing span. I can tell you that golden eagle's are ridiculously heavy. Ok they're like 9lbs but when that's sitting on the end of your outstretched arm, you can't half feel it. So much so that Darren had to hold underneath your hand to keep it straight. (I also held a barn owl, a kestrel, a harris hawk, a buzzard and a vulture but I won't bore you with those)

But the thing I loved the most about the break?

I made friends with a squirrel.

He only had half a tail and at first I felt sorry for him but I didn't need to because he was more than capable of looking after himself. And he was a brave little chappy. So brave he decided that he'd be find coming up to me and letting me give him his peanuts. By this morning he was happy to come in and climb on to my knee and take them from me.

Yes I know he was probably diseased and riddled with fleas but I'm not listening la-la-la-la-la-la.

I was, in short, very sad to come home. Very sad. I didn't realise how much I was enjoying myself until it was time for it all to end.

So yeah it might have been more money than I could afford to spend but it was worth every single penny.
Don't make me go to work tomorrow.


Christopher said...

I'm a city person too, but unlike you animals scare me, particularly birds. I can't get used to em, they taste good though.

Boomka said...

You need to read this. You are lucky you escaped with your life. That is all.

J said...

I remember going to Centre Parcs when I was younger (alot younger, OK - maybe I was a teenager). I came home with a very impressive bruise on my hip from where I kept hitting it on the side of the steep water slide - I must have gone down the rapids a million and one times - it was great fun.
Sounds like this weekend was just what you needed to lift your spirits.

ana said...

Your geese photo is hilarious - they really look like they won't take no for an answer!

mooncalf said...

Oh I love a weekend break. It is like a mini-adventure full of a million possibilities. Then you have to go back to work

I hope retirement is like one great big long mini-break.

bellaboo said...

That picture of you feeding the squirrel is acesome!I'm very impressed with your crocheting.Your stitches are so much neater and uniform than mine.Do you use a special kind of wool may I ask? You'll have made a blanket in no time!

Bellaboo :o)

Petit Filoux said...

So glad to hear you had a good time!! Can’t believe you had ducks and that squirrel eating out of your hand!!!! And that eagle, wow, don’t know if I would have been brave enough!! I’ve also always lived in big towns, but mostly in suburbs close to capital cities, so feel more of a country girl sometimes – although I used to go mental as a kid if there was an insect within a 5 mile radius, I’ve now grown up and feel a little more relaxed about those things – and definitely think I would like out in the sticks – oh yes please!!! You could come and visit and teach me how to crochet ;-)

The Curious Cat said...

Wicked photos - sounds like you had a wonderful time! My mum got bitten by a goose - or was it chased?- when she was a kid...they are not the most friendly of birdies! Looks like you got a really good dosage of nature...I went to Sherwood forest once when I was at Nottingham Uni...never saw centre parcs though- you make them sound really rather nice! Perhaps I am wrong to have pre-conceived ideas! xxx