Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Cotswolds - Day 3

Day three of our visit to the Cotswold and it was still grey but, with the hint of sun lurking behind the cloud layer, we set off for the Falconry Centre at Chipping Camden. 

The birds were just amazing and the talk by the expert was enlightening. Birds, it seems, do not fly for fun, only necessity – food and to escape danger. It’s pretty obvious if you think about it. I suppose it’s because we’re earthbound that it looks so thrilling. The sad truth is that half of them die of starvation in the first year of their life.

Their enclosures were large and full of natural plant life and birds were all looking glossy and gorgeous and it was lovely to see again some that were familiar from the time we spent in Africa. The last time I saw a Secretary Bird it was walking alongside the runway at Bulawayo Airport!

The flying displays were thrilling, but everyone  lost their heart to the tiny burrowing owl from South America. Flint didn’t fly much, but he ran brilliantly. :) He’s only a few months old but has already played a stunt-double for a natural history film to be shown in the late autumn. They do close ups in the studio using a blue screen. It’s cheaper, and less dangerous than filming in the wild.

We had lunch in the Arboretum, although contented ourselves with looking at the trees from a distance since the dodgy knee was not feeling up to the trek.

In the afternoon we had a walk around Snowshill Manor which is just opposite our cottage. 

Unfortunately it involved a walk of close to a mile to actually get to the front door which the knee did not appreciate, but it was worth it. 

Charles Wade never lived in the house – he bought it to house the collection of objet d’art and “stuff” that he began when he was seven years old.

He was clearly fascinated by Japan. There are stunning lacquered cabinets stuffed with pretty things, and Samurai armour. There were bicycles of every age, from the ubiquitous penny farthing onwards. Toys, models, sedan chairs and navigational equipment.

There was a dovecote (and doves) and charming gardens. Sadly his costume collection is on loan to Leominster Museum at the moment, although there were a couple of very pretty Regency dresses.


Louise Reynolds said...

What a lovely day! I've never heard of secretary birds (must check my Aussie bird book) but we often see Apostle birds in the bush. Such cute names. Would be interesting to know how they came by them.

Liz Fielding said...

Louise, the Secretary Bird looks as if he's wearing an old-fashioned frock-coat and has a bundle of quills behind his ear! I once wrote a children's story featuring one. :)

Louise Reynolds said...

Thanks, Liz. Interesting!

Donna L said...

GOING TO A WRITERS' GROUP TO-NIGHT, lIZ. Fell ushaned of my-self for notkeeping up with the rest. Find writing my autobiography a challenge.

Liz Fielding said...

We all have our own speed, Donna - and emotions involved in personal writing can cause a blockage. Hard to distance yourself. Bird by Bird as Anne Lamott says.