01 March 2010

February, all wrapped up...

Seeing as I only managed one update on here during February I guess I'd better try and bring things up to date a little!

The best part of the month, by a huge margin, was spending a week at Center Parcs. We’ve been countless times before but I still love it just as much as ever. The food, the drink, the wildlife, the messing about in the swimming pools, the water slides, everything. And also just being able to relax and do absolutely nothing too! Being able to spend the week with very good friends was the icing on the cake - thank you, Mark, Sheila, Adam, Charlie and Ben! When can we go back? Highlights, for me, included...

Monday, our evening meal was in Huck’s, the American themed restaurant. Here, I was able to sample my first ever “Pat’s style” Philly Cheese Steak. This combination of shaved roast beef, sautéed mushrooms and onions on garlic bread covered with melted cheese is something that my American friends have raved to me about for years but I’ve never seen it on a menu over here, until now. I think it’s fair to say that it may not be the healthiest thing to eat on a regular basis but it was well worth the wait and I loved it! The ice cream that I shared with Lynda went down rather well too!

Cheese Steak.

Ice cream - for two!

On Tuesday Mark and I took ourselves off to the spa for 3 hours of chill-out time. Perhaps “chill” isn’t the best word to use when describing the spa as the steam rooms have temperatures that are just about hot enough to cook your Christmas Pudding in! The effect is certainly relaxing though and I’d recommend it to anyone.

Our evening meal on Tuesday was in the Italian restaurant and was equally as enjoyable as the one the previous night. Pizza was the most popular choice with our group, closely followed by pasta. I chose Risotto, just to be different. Lynda & I also shared an excellent bottle of wine, which certainly helped lighten the mood - it was very, very good! Ben, in true Ben style, provided the entertainment. All he needed was a spoon.

Ben and his magic spoon.

Wednesday started off rather more energetically - Mark, Sheila and I went for a run before breakfast! Now that is something I don’t tend to do when on holiday I can tell you! We only covered a distance of around 2½ miles but it was enough to make my legs burn for the rest of the day and part of the following one too. I may cycle a lot but I use a totally different group of muscles for that, apparently!


Greylag Geese.

Mute Swan.

The rest of the day was much more relaxing. We spent time watching the local wildlife coming for food we had put out, we went swimming, and we sat in the warmth of the swimming dome reading and listening to our MP3 players. Life was good in there. Outside, it was very cold and snowing. The evening was then spent in the on-site pub where, once again, we all ate and drank plenty. Somehow, whilst waiting for our food to arrive, we found ourselves taking part in our own mini music quiz. I’ve still not quite worked out how it happened but we certainly dragged up some strange songs/artists between us! Nena - “99 Red Balloons”! Splodgenessabounds - “Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please”! Hmm, maybe I’ll stop there!

Thursday saw a more gentle start to the day. Breakfast in one of the restaurants, a gentle stroll around the forest and village paths and then a game of ten-pin bowling. I enjoyed the game very much, even though I played terribly and finished with a score of 118 - somewhat short of the 180/190 games I used to play years ago. It was still great fun though. The lighting in the bowling area was a little different to your run-of-the-mill alley as well!

The bowling alley.

We didn’t have an evening meal as such on Thursday but instead chose to spend time, after dark, in the swimming dome. The place takes on a totally different feel once the sun goes down and the subtle, coloured, lighting comes on. Food wasn’t missed out on though and we made good use of the fast food available inside the dome. A quick stop off at the on-site supermarket, on the way back to the villa, allowed me to pick up some extra supper to go with the cold beers that we had waiting in the fridge. Well, when you’re on holiday you have to eat and drink at every opportunity, don’t you?

An evening by the pool.

Friday was the final day of our break and once again we returned to the swimming dome, before Lynda and I spent a very relaxing afternoon at the spa. In the evening, before heading for home, we enjoyed another great meal in Huck’s - I had the Cheese Steak again, Lynda finished the holiday off with a cocktail!

Lynda with her cocktail.

As a result of our holiday, the weather and also work, I’ve not been out birding at all since the end of January. No new birds have been added to the “10-Mile List” but I have picked up a few species for the year outside of the area. A brief trip to Hampshire gave me views of a Red Kite as we drove along the A34 near Oxford.

At Center Parcs I did manage to keep an eye out for birds around our villa and also spent an hour or so in the wildlife hide. By the end of the week I’d recorded a total of 40 species. New birds for the year were Egyptian Goose and Siskin. All being well, I should be able to get back to my local birding again this coming weekend.

So, that just about wraps things up - apart from the cycling. That will be updated in the next day or two with (for me) some exciting news and photos! Safe to say, I’m feeling like a little kid at Christmas and have a grin from ear to ear!


  1. Is that an American flag/napkon I see at the table :-)

  2. Yes, Sarah, it is! :-)

    There is an American theme in there - and some great food!

  3. You need to come on over to this side of the pond to dine like americans...we have chinese...mexican...greek...get the picture? LOL!

  4. Ah, but what about Indian food? I need a curry too! :-)

  5. There are a couple of places in Ohio I believe. If not there's a grocery store calle Jungle Jims and an internet full of recipes. You can cook can't you? LOL!
    Look I spelled napkin wrong in the first post. So much for american education ;-)