Well . . . we changed our plans yesterday and ended up somewhere completely different than we had said we were going to go. It was such a lovely day that we really wanted to make the most of it. There had been a place just outside of Chester that we had wanted to go to all last summer, but it was such a miserable and wet summer we just never got there. Yesterday we decided since it was so beautiful and sunny we would take the opportunity to go and see it while we could. The Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre & Country Park. It was an easy drive, not too far away, and just the perfect place to spend a sunny summer's day! What a beautiful area of Cheshire it was!
There is quite a large collection of fowl on the farm . . . ducks, geese, doves, swans, pheasant, quail and lots of beautiful chickens and roosters. I have a thing for chickens actually, and roosters too. I think they can be lovely birds and have their own personalities.
For the most part the birds were all wandering freely about. In fact you could also buy free range eggs at a pretty decent price. I had planned on getting some when we went in, on our way out, but . . . I actually forgot! Boo me.
There were lots of other animals too . . . pigs of all sizes and bunnies and baby chicks too. I didn't like the way the pigs were kept though. After having visited Jimmy's farm two years ago and seeing how wonderfully kept those ones were, the sight of these ones yesterday in their tiny little pens just made me really sad. Todd said, and quite rightly, that that is the way most pigs are kept . . . and sometimes even worse . . . but I preferred Jimmy's method. Nevermind . . . we moved on.
The scenery was quite stunning and it was a pleasant walk around the farm. It wasn't too busy this time of year but I could well foresee that in the summer school break it would be filled with visitors as it is quite child friendly.
I saw my first ever Pole Cats. I had never seen one before. When I was growing up my mother used to say sometimes . . . "You smell like a Pole Cat!" Not to me per se, but it was an expression of hers. I always thought Pole Cats must smell really bad. There was no smell to these ones at all and they were very friendly, and quite pretty.
There were also Otters. This one was sunning itself. I would have loved to see them at play in the water, but perhaps it was too hot for them. I have fond memories of watching Otter films on The Magical World of Disney when I was a child, and really would have liked to see some action here . . . oh well, you don't always get what you wish for!
This was the first magnificent shire horse we saw. They all have names, and of course I did not write any of them down. Bad me. I was just fascinated by their size and beauty. The Shire Horse is a breed of draught horse. (draft horse)The breed comes in many colours, including black, bay and grey. They are a tall breed, with mares standing 16 hands (64 inches, 163 cm) and over and stallions standing 17 hands (68 inches, 173 cm) and over, with an enormous capacity for weight pulling. Shires have held the world records for both largest overall horse and tallest horse at various times. Throughout its history, the breed has been popular for pulling brewery wagons delivering ale to customers. This practice continues today, with the breed also being used for forestry, leisure and promotional pursuits.
I just thought they were beautiful.
There was plenty of these about and it appeared that someone's job for the day was digging them out as there was a man with a tractor doing just that. I expect these would not be nice for horses to eat and so they must have to work hard to keep these under control, although for the life of me I could not imagine any creature wanting to eat one of these prickly things, but they were quite fun to take pictures of . . .
Which I did in spades . . . of course! But, I also took pictures of . . .
The lake . . . man-made I suspect, but still beautiful . . .
A fascinating old oak tree trunk . . . I wonder what stories this could tell us . . . I think our hair might possibly curl! This is on the Welsh borders after all . . .
Late blooming elderflower . . .
A barn owl eating his lunch . . . spooky what? Could we be next?
A wood pecker pecking . . . grass???
I know . . . I am cheeky. I just couldn't help myself. I promise to behave now . . . consider me told.
Todd really does enjoy days like this when we can get out and about together. My knees were behaving very well yesterday so that was good. I think he's a great poser and so very photogenic.
Queen Anne's lace in profusion . . .
The clearest, bluest sky you have ever seen . . . except for the jet streams. I think we must have been close to the Manchester airport . . .
Wild buttercups and grasses . . . so pretty . . .
Curious Colts . . .
The guys around the water cooler . . .
A truly magnificent Stag relaxing in the shade . . .
More elderflower . . . and yes, I'm getting all artsy-fartsy here. I can't help myself. It's the artist in me which just has to get out . . .
Tender moments . . .
You meet all kinds in these sorts of places don't you?
This was just the most beautiful colt. His tail was all curly . . .
You could see clearly that he will one day be a beautiful majestic animal . . .
I was quite taken with his beauty . . . really, truly.
It is hard to spend a day in such splendor and not see the fingers of God, not feel His presence. It was all around us.
After all of that walking around in the hot sunshine we were both a bit thirsty and feeling a bit peckish. There was a cafe in the Shire park . . . but we fancied something a bit more salubrious and so we stopped in at the pub right next to the park . . .
We munched on Pork and Apple Baps looking out over gorgeousness . . . it was just fabulous and very reasonably priced too. The Baps came with salad and fries and were not much more than the cost of a Big Mac at the Golden Arches . . . and . . .
Rumor has it that we aren't the only royalty which has been here . . . just sayin' is all . . . pardon me for
It was all in all a very good day which we both enjoyed with all of our hearts. Such days spent in the company of your best friend and the great love of your life are worth their weight in gold I think . . . worth their weight in gold.
“Aim high, but do not aim so high that you totally miss the target. What really matters is that he will love you, that he will respect you, that he will honor you, that he will be absolutely true to you, that he will give you the freedom of expression and let you fly in the development of your own talents. He is not going to be perfect, but if he is kind and thoughtful, if he knows how to work and earn a living, if he is honest and full of faith, the chances are you will not go wrong, that you will be immensely happy.”
~Gordon B Hinckley
Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Nectarine Salad with a Strawberry Balsamic Dressing.
Have a great Friday!!