What stunning weather...today is the 1st october, and Laaandaaaan is already basking in 29 degrees, of incandescent sunshine. Just finished a very late brunch of olive bread, haloumi, and the tiniest tomatoes called tomberries...so cute, and tasty.
As you all know, recently it was Hubster’s birthday. It was a big one, so I had to make it spech....very spech. And it had to be a wonderful surprise, that I knew he would never guess, but boy..did he try??? Flying lessons, car racing, painting balling? No ,no ,and no!!!!!!
He and I adore...ok...ADORE big cats, and little cats too. We watch docu’s on them, glued, and sometimes Gizzi ( our little Bengal mix) is glued too. Majestic, allusive, and so so gracious. Big, small, they are so similar.
So I took him to Paradise Wild Life Park http://www.pwpark.com/index.html, the only place in the UK where you can feed Big Cats on a one to one,...citing!!!!!! We got there about an 2 hours before his experience. Mem wasn't too keen on the Big Cats being caged, and it was uncomfortable to see them, because we both would have loved to have seen them in their natural environment, but having spoken to the keepers, this was their natural home, having been brought up in captivity. And they are so well cared for. We saw leopards, Tigers, Lions, Jaguars, and a rare White Tiger, and we just walked around with our mouths open. Im sure Mem and I lived in a jungle, in a previous life, and had close connections with tigers and lions. Being here took me to a very special place. I had no fear, and just wanted to be closer. Strangest thing though, every time Mem went to a cage, or enclosure, the Cats would come right to the edge, closest to him as if they were saying ‘hello’. Didn't do it to anyone else, just him......Tarzan!!!! And because of this I got some amazing piccies.
It was here, the moment we had both been waiting for. We were met by the gorgeous (really I couldn't take my eye off him, beautiful blue eyes, and blond hair..phew..ok back to the story) Aaron Whitnall, who happened to be the Director’s son. He was so informative. He told us the history of the park, and about the animals, and then took us to the hut where the meat is cut up for the Big cats. Mem and I were so intrigued as to how the Cat would be fed. Aaron explained simply that, “anything on your side of the cage is yours, and anything on the tigers side of the cage is theirs.....so fingers in”!!. Now we really couldn't wait. Aaron told Mem that he would be feeding Rocky, a 16 stone tiger, because he had been starved for a day. This is done as to mimic the fact that they cant feed everyday in nature.
So we got to Rocky’s enclosure which he share with a Tigress called India. And in true cat style, Rocky was not the least bit interested in being feef by a human, Aaron tried everything. Mem and I were laughing so much, Luckily India was more than interested, and so the show began. I had to stand just behind a small barrier, but I was very close. Mem and Aaron were right by the side of the cage. I must admit, the adrenaline was shooting around my body, and Mems too, I’m sure, as she approached for her bit of meat. Aaron held Mems hand which had the meat in it, and India, very graciously took it ,and made a very soft growling noise as she was eating it. I was just ‘ oh my goshing’..like a child and having never ever been so close to a big cat, it was so hard not to jump over the barrier, and push Mem outta the way, so I could have a go. I cannot describe the feeling, just a completely captivating, dream like sensation. And she came over again, and again, this time Mem made her stretch up to take the meat, and she obliged, most graciously, and thanked with cozy, doughy growls. Aaron explained that Mem was actually helping to care for India’s heath, because by getting her so close Aaron could check her teeth, her fur, and her body. Mem was absolutely smitten. He was silent. He had no words, and I knew that we were both in that same place, joyously united in Big Cat Heaven. And then it was over, physically, but will remain in our minds, and heart forever, and ever. Mem was so grateful, “the most perfect present, that he will never, ever forget”
And so on to Marriot Hanbury Manor Hotel in Ware, for more delights. A beautiful Manor House in Ware, just 20 minutes drive from the Wildlife Park.
We had the most gorgeous room, with stunning views of the golf course. We rested, and spoke of the day, and after a lovely thai meal in the village, we slumbered, on very comfy bed, until 10am!!
After a hearty breakfast, we walked the gardens around the Manor, which had very large old trees. I love big old trees, and yes, I’m a tree hugger, much to Mem’s embarrassment. He thinks I am ‘nice, but loopy’. I hug, and put my ears right up to them, and can hear a very deep sound, and a feel a very powerful ancient, grounding energy, which just makes me smile, and makes Mem run away from me lol!!!! He nearly joined in with me this time, but then he changed his mind..I’ll get you one day darling..just you wait!!
And so we walked, and chatted, and enjoyed each other. Mem had his big party coming up on Saturday, so off we went to the Molton Brown Spa in Bluewater, for a much needed relax, and pamper, before the fun times, with dearest family and friends began.
I will write about the party next week because Mem is in the garden, and Im getting out there too