Saturday, 14 May 2016

Butterflies, spiders and ants

Hello, how are you today?

David has caught up with us again ready for our Big Summer Adventure so on Thursday we had a break from the hustle and bustle of Birmingham and took the train to Stratford upon Avon.  It was only £7.80 return each and took about 40 minutes.

It was the hottest day of the year so far and we had a great time, starting off with a stroll down by the river

We had lunch in a very good French Bistro folowed by a trip to the Butterfly Farm. I've always wanted to go there when we've visited Stratford in the past but have never found the time.

It was well worth the visit although I can imagine some people may find it a bit daunting as it's VERY hot and there are hundreds of butterflies flying around. They certainly aren't afraid of people and fly right in front of your face and land on your body regularly.


There were some beautiful flowers to attract and feed the butterflies

It's a good job they grow some bananas here

as there were rotten ones hanging up everywhere. The butterflies seemed to be more attracted to them than the flowers.

 As well as the butterflies there's a colony of leaf cutter ants which carry their booty in a convoy along this rope suspended around the room

They cut and carry pieces of leaf 3 or 4 times the size of their bodies and take them down into their nest to be composted and to grow the fungus which they feed on.

After the ant house there was the Arachnid house, although the occupants weren't so easy to photograph due to the reflections off the tanks. This Mexican Red Knee tarantula reminded me of our son-in-law who breeds tarantulas....YUK!

This is a Blue Tongue Skink. native of Australia

 and meet the resident Iguana who was resting in the sunniest spot and keeping a beady eye on us

 To keep the humidity high and constant there's a lovely Koi carp pond and waterfall

Some of the Koi were over 2 feet long

If you come to Stratford this place is definitely worth a visit, although be warned - it's very hot and very sticky!

To cool down we did a spot of gongoozling in the basin, although we didn't recognise any of the boats moored there.

The gardens around the basin were full of sun worshipers and it looks like it'll be a bumper crop of conkers this Autumn if this horse chestnut tree is anything to go by.

We wandered back to the station past the main Shakespeare attraction and through the thongs of obligatory Japanese tourists

and just to upset everyone, here's a reminder of things to come

as Roger paid his homage to Christmas decorations in the Christmas shop.

I've never met anyone like him for being obsessed with Christmas decorations. His view is that you can never have too many or any too big! When we lived in the house many moons ago we had 2 bay windows and some years he had a tree in each one, absolutely covered in lights and baubles. Can you guess who's job it was to take them down and put them away though?????  
Thank heavens for the limited storage space we have now, although there is a rather large bag of Christmasy things stashed away under the bed and the fairy lights are still up from last year.............

See you soon

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