Today we ignored the BBC's best attempts to keep us at home with a misleading and inaccurate weather forecast (I have a real gripe about the BBC online forecasts - have they been told to err on the pessemistic side or what?) and decided to have a day out. What a full day it was too.
We decided to go to Thorp Perrow Arboretum, a choice in part influenced by the fact we knew they had Meerkats there. Who doesn't love Meerkats these days? They were so cute, especially the baby ones and also when a light plane flew overhead. Obviously thinking it was some kind of bird of prey they all went on guard and watched it keenly until it passed form view (that's what they're doing in the photo). As well as the Meerkats they have Ferrets, Pine Martins, Rheas, Wallabies, assorted fowl and a huge collection of birds of prey.
Despite having some rather more illustrious bretheren around it, my favourite bird was the humble Kestrel, absolutely gorgeous and suprisingly gentle looking for a killer!
After seeing all the animals, the bird flying displays and the parkland (which we had to hurry, it's too big to see it all at a liesurely pace) we headed a mile or so down the road to Snape. This is a lovely old village, guarded by a castle and with a stream meandering through the middle of it. The castle was one of the family seats of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's final wife. It's a private residence now (or several, by the look of it) but its chapel is open to the public and seems to serve as one of the village churches. Within the chapel is an information board about Catherine and her life.
Finally, if we hadn't had enough fun, we went to Pizza Express in Northallerton to spend our Half Price Dining Voucher, which actually cost us less than half price (these vouchers are great value, we've had a couple now for different places). We were ready for our food as we'd had nothing to eat since breakfast!
A great day out, and blue skies all the way, despite the BBC's insistence on light rain all day.