Barn 4: Pirates, play barns and Paradise Farm

Warning – photo of a hairy spider at the bottom of this page.

Although it was an early start this morning, we took it easy. The plan all along on this holiday was to take it easy. Previous holidays have been quite hectic and usually leave me needing another holiday to recover. This time, thanks to Bruce’s generous offer, we had an extra couple of days so we planned a leisurely itinerary.

Rufus went to Paradise Farm, the kennels we’d found and approved yesterday. He seemed happy enough to go and didn’t look back as he went into the kennel block. Back at the Barn, we took a stroll up to the top field where the pony was waiting for her carrots and some grooming. The hens in the next field down were out and followed us as we went to see if they’d laid any eggs. They looked like a procession following the regent. One hen was straining in the hen house so we didn’t disturb her.

After caffeine, we decided to go to Tropiquaria. It’s a small zoo with lots of other things to see and do. It’s a fallback for wet weather for us as it has a large indoor play barn, with castle and ball pit. What more could I ask for? The tropical room has a number of exotic birds and other creatures including a fine display of spiders, each one of which has been bred to look menacing and just a little too hairy for my liking. Despite the fact that both Em and I have held tarantulas in our hands, these made us nervous.

We  toured the outside grounds, sailed the seven seas on the pirate ships, found the raccoon that had escaped from its cage (and was trying to get back in) and slid on the cable ride. If only I could upload the photos of me being a kid again (and again).

Then it was time to go and pick up Rufus. We got to Paradise Farm and he was waiting. By the time we’d ¬†got back to the Barn, I could see he was tired and not long after we’d settled, he was flat out and snoring by the big side windows. As I type, he has only roused himself because I’m eating a thickly buttered crust, and he knows he’ll get a bit.

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It’s Saturday; this must be the Cretaceous Period

The Plan was to head down to Tenby, hop gracefully aboard a pirate ship bound for the high seas, sail to the east until land was sighted, sneak on shore and find pirate treasure.

We set off early but the weather was so good that we expected to hit the inevitable traffic jams pretty much from the start. In the past we’ve had to change plans as a result of queues of cars all wanting to go where we wanted to go. But as we drove along, trying to guess where we’d see the first signs of slow moving vehicles, we were surprised by the free flow of traffic. “Round the next corner…”‘ “over the brow of this hill…” where would the queue start? We kept going at a swift (but lawful) pace unhindered by the tide of holiday vehicles.

At Carmarthen, often a bottleneck simply because of the roundabouts and traffic lights, we sailed through with barely a dab of the brakes. Before we knew it, we were in Tenby. Tenby was where the pirate ship, in the form of a small boat, would (for a small fee of pieces of eight) take us across to the pirate island (known to all the pirates as Caldey). There we would search for pirate treasure (the famous Caldey chocolate).

Of course, nothing is ever easy in the world of of the sailor of fortune. We got to the harbour to find all the pirates were out, sailing the high seas. No boats were sailing for Caldey and no boats were sailing on the alternative voyage, a sea safari around the island. Disappointed, our adventurous crew set sail for the nearby beach, where we dug for pirate treasure instead.

After a quick parley, we decided that the best course to set would be for the nearby ‘Dinosaur Valley’. Nothing beats a journey into the distant past to overcome the disappointment of being let down by pirates.

Just down the road (only a few tens of millions of years ago), we entered the world of the dinosaurs, complete with cafe, indoor play area, crazy golf on the volcano course and bumper boats. We took a wander through the dinosaur valley, meeting a variety of colourful critters on the way. Alas, me hearties, the spitting dinosaur at the end had dried up and we were left high and dry until we reached the sanctuary of the Jurassic cafe (selling Jurassic coffee).

As the sun began to sink towards the yardarm, we set sail towards our home port and once again managed to avoid the worst of the traffic.

Arrrr, shiver me timber me old shipmates. Twas a rum do, and no mistake. I’ll see the cap’n of that old tub that left us stranded swing from the top mast afore I go to see Davy Jones..

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