|Me and My Mob: Birthday shenanigans with the meerkats|
As some of you may be aware last weekend was my birthday, and I celebrated turning 53 by spending a couple of days in the company of wonderful furry creatures, all thanks to my long-suffering wife.
On the day before my birthday, Rachel (with financial assistance from Paul) had arranged for me to sit in with the meerkat mob again at the Hemsley Conservation Centre.
The joy it brings me, sitting there with a bowl of food cradled in my hands while a horde of screeching, tiny clawed, creatures run all over me, is indescribable.
Since we visited last year, the meerkats have moved to a larger home, which allowed me to sit outside with them.
Although we chatted with the zookeeper, I went to my zen space and just enjoyed the feeling of engaging with these precious little animals, knowing that I was helping to contribute to their upkeep and well-being.
|It's feeding time, and we hear you've got the food!|
|Portrait of a happy man!|
|Did you guys hear something?|
Then, on my birthday, Rachel and I decided to make an impromptu return visit to The Reindeer Centre, Capralama Farm, Bethersden.
And I'm so glad we did. I know it's not Disneyland, but, for me, this is the happiest place on Earth.
We'd missed a year, and since we had last been there had been a lot of changes to the centre, but it was still the wonderful, small scale, Christmas experience we remembered.
As ever, we got to feed the reindeer, see a variety of other animals, visit Santa, eat my first mince pie of the season, drink hot chocolate, and generally have a fun, yet relaxing, time.
In another life, I like to think I would have, somehow, worked with animals. I just find their presence so calming, which is a very useful trait for someone as anxious and jumpy as me.
|Sharing a joke with Jimmy the Reindeer and the centre's owner|
|My New Bestie: this stunning white reindeer wanted to come with me, honest...|
|Meeting Santa... now it's Christmas!|
|All creatures great and small...|
|I like to talk to the animals...|
|First mince pie of the season!|
|As well as a free mince pie with your ticket, you get to keep the mug if you order a hot drink!|
|The woman who made it all possible... no, on the left!|