Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sunday 17th June


Today we finally managed to crawl out of bed at around 9am after getting home near on for midnight from our previous adventures in sunny (?) Blackpool t’other day. Did I mention I was a little cold still? It seems that once I get cold it takes a while for me to warm up again. I think I am getting sick. Ok I know I am getting sick but I am in denial but ONE must soldier on, it is what ONE does when ONE is discovering the delights of ONE's fiancĂ©’s country.
Click here for the full Dave's Aquarium day album
So our plans for today meant that we were off to a delightful little place in nearby Bolton called Dave's Aquarium. You see, I had a list of furry little creatures that I wanted to see while I was in the UK because the UK has some wonderful animals that we just don’t have over here in Oz.  Well if you ask Andy, we don’t have any animals at all in Oz, they simply just don’t exist outside of zoos and it is all just a ruse we use to get the world to come over and see this country and try and meet our indigenous and dangerous animals.  Anyways, I wanted to see a squirrel (squizzies as Andy calls them), a hedgehog (a vessel in which to transport fleas) (Don’t ask) and a chinchilla (which looks like a cross between a bunny and a squirrel and has nothing much to do with the UK anyway).  So naturally, being the resourceful type he is, Andy suggested that Dave's Aquarium is probably the only place known to Lancashire folk where you can see, possibly purchase, and take home and pet or even cook chinchillas if you so desire!!!
I saw a Squirrel on my first day outdoors in the UK
As for me running late this morning, probably complaining about being sick and needing to carry on, we met the wonderful Caroline again at Tesco, about 90 minutes after we were meant to be at her place.  You see I got it into my head that I need to cook up some Thai curries and burn this cold out of me, so we needed fresh chicken, oh and milk and bread and of course, mini pork pies (oh I so love these).  Caroline was our designated non-drinker (driver) for the day and I got to sit in the front of her PUTT-PUTT, much to Alex's disgust; she wanted me in the back with her. Alex is Andy's niece. I think she likes me. Well I am new, and therefore a new potential playmate for her. Matthew, Andy's nephew didn’t seem to mind either way, he was now within arms reach of his sister, and so “let the games begin!" was the cry. Anyways, we were off in search of Dave's Aquariums. This was going to be an adventure, I could tell, just by the way the sat-nav had to be programmed and the way that Caroline was asking "are these directions right?"
Fresh water, tropical and marine at Dave's Aquarium

The first thing you’ll notice about Dave's Aquarium is how tiny the car park is and well, how does this place still exist when it is set in the middle of what appears to be an industrial type park anyway. How does anyone ever find this place I asked myself? After navigating the tiny car park and finding somewhere to land what seemed to be the space shuttle, Caroline's car, we went inside... Well we tried to, we couldn’t get into the door for all the people checking out the "BABY MEERKATS" OMG this wasn’t even on my to do list and they are just too cute to pass up on!!!  But damn, they don’t sit still long enough for a decent photo... SO first things first, they have a cafe... YAY coffee!!

I hadn’t even had breakfast and it was already 3pm and fortunately for us, the cafe was on the other side of the meerkat enclosure, so we could see into where these babies were playing.  And you know how they have those signs saying don’t tap on the glass, in glass enclosures? Well Andy soon discovered that if you tap on the glass, instead of being electrocuted and shot on sight, the baby meerkats and their playful nature, run to check out where the noise is coming from and actually sit still long enough for budding photographers to collect their spoils while waiting for you to tap again. See the gorgeous pic that Andy took – SIMPLEZ!! (Whatever that means).
OMG OMG OMG I WANT ONE!!!
We eventually ventured out of the cafe and walked through all the hundreds of fish tanks to see if there were any new fish species that I haven’t seen here in Oz. Sadly enough though, there was nothing of any note that I hadn’t seen before so it was off to the bird enclosure to play with the budgies; and budgies there were, hundreds of them. Colours I had seen before and even a couple I hadn’t. Unfortunately, “Sorry no pics allowed in the budgie enclosure” was the greeting we got. The parrots there were just gorgeous and I was playing with a couple of them through the cages; in fact, I think I spent most of my time with them.  

Cook for 20 minutes at gas mark 6
but don't wet it or it will disappear
Chinchillas, there were 3 of.  A mum and 2 babies.  They were very fluffy and it was sad to think they were normally used to make fur coats with. What I didn’t realise is that they are all fur and very little body. Just like when you bath a Persian cat, and there is hardly any cat because it was all fur, the chinchillas are the same. I wasn’t allowed to get near enough to even touch these guys.  But squirrel check, chinchilla check, owls a BIG check, meerkats, a BONUS check. And now there are only hedgehogs to go.

With the chinchillas spotting now out of the way it was time to go and finally meet Dawn, Andy's other sister. I had already met Debi (Dawn's daughter) and Steve (Debbi's fiancĂ©) at the airport, they came and picked me up with Andy and took us back to Rawtenstall. We had missed out on an engagement BBQ the day before as we had already pre-booked our day out with Jen in Blackpool and we really couldn’t disappoint Sir Elton; he was expecting us you know, so we did a post engagement party lunch instead.
Princess the pussy

Now while we’re on the subject of animals, Dawn has this beautiful cat, an Egyptian Mau called Princess (pay attention Andy). It has markings similar to that of a much bigger species of cat, just gorgeous but acts more like a dog. Well not in the doggie way of "I'll be your friend" but in the “I need to sit on your lap and be loved by the human I have bonded with” way even though it is normally not a sociable creature, Dawn has discovered that the kitty treats she likes will lure her out of hiding and into a more social space. She was just so playful until the budgie Indigo, was brought out. It turns out that the budgie is a bit of a bully and has Princess the cat totally bluffed, but at the same time, it gets jealous if Dawn spends more time playing with her. Indigo is a beautiful lilac coloured budgie, and just so chatty. It got to the stage where the only way to shut the budgie up was to shove it under my shirt and muffle it with my boobs (no animals were harmed in the writing of this blog), and needless to say the budgie spent quite a bit of time in there during lunch/dinner. It was dinner time by the time everyone got there because Debi and Steve had got sidetracked, like Steve usually does.
Don't eat the NOISY NOISY budgie Princess
It was a lovely way to spend the day with family. We were there to celebrate Debi and Steve’s engagement (no she isn’t), and to help make Debi cry at pictures of the church her and Steve are to get married in, over the internet. They are such a gorgeous couple and this is such an awesome family the way they all get along. 

This is how I always imagined family to be, relaxed, funny and just loving being all in the same space at the same time.  Oh and just as the day was ending Joshua, Dawn’s son came home from work. We got to say a quick hi before we needed to pile back in the car and get back home because it was a school night and we needed to get Matthew and Alex back home and into bed in time for an early rise.

It is a shame I am not going to be here any longer as I would have loved to have spent more time with the family getting to know them better, but we all have busy lives and I was just running out of time.  I think tomorrow I might just stay indoors and try and get better.  It has been a big 10 days so far but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.


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