Yesterday Mom and I went (in a car, sadly) to Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre in Staffordshire for an afternoon of fun and falconry.
As well as getting to meet and hold some of the owls and falcons…
…we also got to act as leather-gauntleted perches for them too!…
The staff were all brilliant and the centre is doing really good work. They only take on sick, injured or homeless birds (and monkeys, wildcats, terapins, raccoons, snakes et al.) and it was lovely to see how well-loved all the birds were. We were made to feel really welcome and there were only two other people in our group so we weren’t queuing to hold the birds or fly them and we got to ask loads of questions. We were there on a Groupon voucher so I expected the group to be bigger but they told us that, even though they had loads of people to fit in, they didn’t want to pack out the days and ruin the experience.
Fletcher’s Garden Centre, where Gentleshaw is based, was great too. It had a lovely teashop that did really good food in a hurry (which was good seeing as I’d made us late…as usual…), made awesome coffee, and had tables outside in the sunshine. I’d totally forgotten to put sunscreen on, and I was going red during the short wait for the jacket potatoes (the massive and delicious jacket potatoes)…it didn’t bode well for an afternoon of outdoorsy-ness. Unfortunately, the garden centre didn’t sell any (I didn’t think they would but I had to ask), but one of the staff was nice enough to offer me some of theirs! I owe my merely semi-burnt arms to his kindness.
The deli there was fab too, and I ended up coming home with my favourite cheese (Y Fenni…I find it on sale somewhere once in a blue moon. Once I have Red my first trip might be to Abergavenny just to get it from the source…), chutney, fruit punch and Bundaberg ginger beer (my all-time favourite ginger beer…they also make my favourite root beer too, but that’s like unicorn poops).
All in all it was a rather splendid day! I know it bucketed down with rain all over Redditch and Birmingham but we only saw a few spots all day long – and even then we were safely under a gazebo with owls on our gloves. I can’t wait to go back and do it all again!
(all photos taken on my HTC Desire that has a scratched lens…I’m fairly impressed with the results!)