Archive for the ‘Falconry’ Category

As Bede has said we explored both a Roman Fort and Bede’s World this week.  Arbeia Roman Fort is in South Shields at the far end of Hadrian’s Wall in Northern England.  This place is fantastic!  We happened upon a day with archery demonstrations and Leah and the boys lined up eagerly for a turn!

Bede Arbeia Fort August 2010

Emmett Arbeia Fort August 2010

Archery Arbeia Fort August 2010

Bede and Emmett had a long discussion with some Roman soldiers about life in the fort and discovered that despite supposedly protecting Britannia from the Barbarians, Roman rules were fairly barbaric, girl babies and illegitimate children were killed at birth, women were treated very badly and life was brutal.  It was a cold day after a rainy night and this really brought home how uncomfortable and bleak life must have been in the muddy, cold barracks.  I know why the soldiers slept 4 to a bed now – it would have been the only way not to freeze – and we are here in summer!

Arbeia Barracks August 2010

Bede enjoyed the large display of falconry birds – he’s hankering after a Peregrine Falcon.  I was more interested in the lovely knot garden full of traditional herbs.  Emmett and Florence had a great time with the miniature catapults which have been well photographed so we can attempt to recreate one at home.

Catapult Arbeia Fort August 2010

Freaky Falcon - Bede would know what it really is...

Herb Garden Arbeia Fort August 2010

We could hardly drive past somewhere called Bede’s World!  I was very impressed at the carefully thought out museum that made the quite academic life of the Venerable Bede accessible and interesting to our Bede and to Emmett.  The boys were fascinated by St Bede’s scientific knowledge – he was aware the earth was round and that the orbiting moon caused the tides and even discovered the concept of latitude, although he called it something else.

Bede's World August 2010

Calculating dates Bede's World August 2010

Bede’s writing about Anglo-Saxon Britain is the best record of this part of English history and the museum has a working Anglo-Saxon farm.  We’ve been discussing the option of getting a little bit more than our 1/4 acre of land when we go back to NZ and Bede, Emmett and Flo wandered around the farm talking about when we get “our pigs” and “our horse” – the adults were more imagining a creek, two trees and a rope swing in our future…

The Skinner-Vennell Round the World Family Trip Pose

Today we packed up and returned our camper and headed south in a rental car.  We managed to give much of our extra gear (no longer needing sleeping bags, bedding and many of the toys acquired while campervanning) to other campers before dropping the last off at a charity shop and posting 8kg of special things back to NZ (watch out for 4 parcels coming surface mail Norah and Papa).   Bede went in and offered our duvet to a charity shop as the previous one wasn’t able to accept it due to rules – the man at Red Cross said he’d happily pass it on to someone who needed it but that it had to be brought in by an adult as he thought Bede might be playing a prank!  Bede thought this was hilarious!

The charity shop pile

We’re off to Roald Dahl’s house tomorrow and then to play with our Wales camping trip friends who happen to live near London.  We’re getting excited about meeting up with both old and new friends in Vancouver very soon!


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Today, we went to Hadrian’s wall first thing in the morning and there was an archery activity there.  Of course I had to have a go and it was 1 pound 50 for 3 arrows, Emmett and I got 6 goes each.   Emmett got 5 points and I think I got about 10 points, Leah got a bulls eye and popped the balloon.  After that we went up an old fort and at the top there was a Roman soldier and his squire, there was some armour, some swords, spears and daggers and also wood and catapults and lead ammunition for the catapults.

After that we went to Bede’s World, the reason we went there was because I was named after The Venerable Bede, he was a monk.  He was the first person ever to work out that the tide was caused by the moon.  His teacher was called Benedict which we all find funny because my uncle was called Benedict – Ben for short.  There was an Anglo-Saxon farm there too, we ate some beans and peas but best of all we found some blackberries!

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We went to Allowee caves and the birds of prey center that was there.  I got to hold an eagle and it flew from my hand to Emmett’s hand.  I could feel its claws through the glove.  Eagles can see ultra-violet so they can see meat in a lot of pebbles that are the same colour as the meat.   Falcons are designed for speed, they have shorter wings and longer tails than eagles who use there large wing span to glide on wind currents.  Eagles circle to gain height using the heat from the day and then dive to down on to small or dead animals.  The Falcon chase there prey down relying on speed and agility to catch birds.

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On the 230m zip wire


Tarzan swing


The VW gets towed


A Devon Road - thank goodness for GPS


Eagle Owl

Very big ginormous owl- Not

Harris Hawk - the type that I am going to get







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