I'm home again, after a wonderful week at center parcs (yup - that's how they spell it). Instead of relaxing, I ran around like a lunatic, cycling from one place to another to do horse-riding, archery, falconry, swimming, bowling... you name it really. And, er... sleeping too!
I would have written sooner too, only our BT Home Hub is being a complete git, and refusing to work properly! Hopefully, I'll have a connection long enough to complete this entry - as yesterday I just gave up!
The weather was superb. Out of our five days, we only had one dubious day, and as I was in the outdoor heated spa pool, and the skies remained blue, it didn't matter that hail stones were falling. In fact, it just made it all the more wonderful, especially as a little wild bunny chose just that moment to have a nibble on the lawn. Missed the bunny with the camera, but did snap a quick one of the pool.
I went to the spa twice - over indulgent perhaps, but I do have cancer, you know! And it did cost an absolute fortune but was worth it. Just. The first time I took A, the eldest, and we had some lovely mother and daughter time, giggling like little children in the Japanese Salt Steam Bath (smelled horrendous and was soooo hot!), and practically running each other over in a bid to get out of the Balinese Room (burning feet/face/lungs). Makes me wonder how people enjoy those things. For me, it was the hydrotherapy pool, with its under-water jets coming at you from all angles, the outdoor heated pool, and water-bed relaxation areas - not forgetting the shampoo and conditioner provided in the changing rooms.
With K, the youngest, we discovered the ancient sport of kings - falconry - and met some lovely people. The European Eagle Owl was a lovely lady of four years old, fantastic manners, and just look at her fluffy feet! We also saw/learned about Kestrels, Falcons, Buzzards, and Harrison Hawks - the aerial acrobats of the birdie world.
After that we went straight of to be Robin Hoods for the afternoon, although the bloke wasn't half as sweet as Bird Man, it has to be said! He handed out the kit for archery with a face that said he'd much rather be in the spa. Just to wind him up, we all made sure we had a cracking time!
K was a bit of a natural with a bow and arrow. We both got a bull's eye, but mine was more of a happy accident! She gave that one a four out of five, whereas the falconry scored a five out of five!
And yes of course, you guessed it, if there's horses, I'll find them! This is Warrior...
Warrior is a handsome cob who didn't flinch when a tornado jet buzzed us at what felt like a mere 100 foot above us. Nor was he bothered when roe deer flew out from the thicket and leapt across the road. Oh yes, it was idyllic, riding through Whinfell Forest, just outside the park. Fast gallops and gentle trots. Plenty of wildlife too.
But guess what? Warrior is scared stupid of bunny rabbits! He spooked each time a tiny white cotton tail appeared in the distance. And he didn't much like the air-brakes on the truck when we had to trot up the main road either!
There's so much to tell, and no room (or time) here. Suffice to say we had a much needed break. There were tears, when I cocked up the time-table and hubby, K and A, missed their activity climbing in the trees (oh dear - damn that chemo-brain!). They consoled me, and said it didn't matter, but I still felt like crap about it. Thank God I have such a forgiving family!
On the last day, K and I went walking with Llamas - and these guys are scared of nothing! Just nosey, curious, kissy creatures from start to finish. Now that's something I would recommend everyone have a go at given the opportunity!
Would I recommend Center Parcs? Well, a resounding YES! But only if you are very rich or don't mind just swimming (the only thing that is free is the pool complex). It was lovely to get out on bikes and feel safe in the knowledge that no cars are going to appear behind you, or your kids. And the wildlife was great too. Remember all the times I tried to snap a pheasant? Well, we saw pheasants every where - and they were as bold as brass too!