Bank holidays is a euphemism for anything that might be offensive. It is obviously offensive - for radically different reasons - to call them May Day and Ascension, as they are still called in The Old Country, but there have always been holidays in May, so therefore there are two Bank holidays in May. I don't mind. What we call a rose...
My dear friend Jean celebrated her 60th birthday on Sunday, so we went to her cottage in Herefordshire. The weather was gorgeous, and everybody had fun, as it should be at a birthday party. We stayed at The Green Man Inn in Fownhope, which boasts of being 15th century, and there are perhaps bits of it that old. It was nice anyway, and the man in the reception spoke a very genuine dialect.
In the morning we went to the International Birds of Prey Centre, just a half-hour drive from where we were. Staffan had been there before, about fifteen years ago(when it still was National), and had been talking about it ever since. I have seen other raptor demonstrations, both in Sweden and in San Diego, and it is always amazing. Even so I felt ambivalent. It's fantastic to watch falcons, owls and eagles in flight. But it is horrible to see them roped to their pegs. The broschure describes how happy they are, and how they are exercised every day and get food. But when I saw an eagle trying to fly from his perch, with a three-foot rope holding him back, I almost cried.
The Centre offers "experience days": you can get to know some birds, train them, maybe even fly them. You can choose between falcons, hawks and owls. I know what I want for my 60th birthday.