I was woken up this morning by the gentle pitter-patter of raindrops falling through the leaves outside and a symphony of birds. As I turned over I could feel the dawn's light through my eyelids and smiled inwardly; holidays! The view that greeted me was a towering mesh of deciduous skeletons.
The night was a mixed bag. I flitted between sleeping soundly and then getting really hot legs and feet and having to throw off the bed covers; I'm used to a 7.5tog duvet at home not a 10tog! The Boy first stirred at 5.45, but then settled back down by himself until 7.15 (a full 12 hours in the end)! Hoorah for the great outdoors and fresh air!
We had a fabulous breakfast of variety pack cereals (like children aren't we?), croissants, pain au chocolat and coffee, accompanied by yet more bird song as the window in the kitchen slides all the way back to bring the outdoors in. Wellies on and up we squelched through the mud (by the way, the Maclaren didn't get bogged down at all) to the reception centre for our welcome talk. It's a lovely touch to have this chat explaining the facilities, the ranger's job (including activities for children and night-vision walks), the food & wine delivery service (to your room, ordered through your television!), the bike hire and the local attractions and walks. All of this is accompanied by a bacon butty and a cup of coffee. Vegetarian like me? No problem, would you like a croissant or an egg roll?
After lunch, we visited Dick Whittington Farm Park. We will never go again & I wouldn't recommend it. It's £6 for adults and children over 3 years old, and £5 for children under the age of 3. Babies who can't walk are free. Personally I think that's really steep, toddlers should be cheaper than that, if not free. I don't think I've ever heard of a place that charges for at least under 2s. The total cost was £17 and we were there for 1hr and 15 minutes. In that time, we spent 40 minutes in the reasonable-quality soft play area, which was packed: lots of weekend dads who unfortunately were spending more time on their iPads than playing with their children. The toilets are, um, functional but the floor is quite frankly filthy.
And so to the animals. Yes there are a selection of farm animals including pigs, some sweet lambs, donkeys, goats, chickens and geese. However, these chickens are in a ridiculously low pen which made me think of battery farming. I was not particularly impressed with the conditions that many of these animals were living in. The aviary is four foot by five foot housing a large amount of small birds, too many for that space. There is a 'tropical' house with a couple of terrapins, one tank of goldfish, some lizards and snakes, tortoises and something large and worrying, I forget it's name which is quite frankly probably for the best. To be honest, the place looked like a pet shop rather than something intended for visitors. 'Extras' on the farm included a snowy owl, a pedal-kart track (an extra £1) and a sandpit. I will admit that we were chuffed to see a couple of llamas, The Boy thought they were camels which I thought was quite an impressive connection to make.
However, back we came to out beautiful cabin which The Boy is calling our 'little house'.
Oh and his new favourite word is 'huh-woh', as in 'hello'. Very cute!