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A very piggy weekend
12 August 2008 ~ 14:56On Saturday Mark, Mum & I went away for the weekend to Ashford, Middlesex. Itís a lovely train ride through the Kent countryside, past oast houses, thatched cottages and even a beautiful herd of deer.
Our first stop when we arrived was The South of England Rare Breeds Centre. Weíve been there before but weíre always happy to go, and we hadnít visited for two years.
The star attractions, The Tamworth Two, are the two famous piggies who made their daring escape from an abattoir in January 1998, swimming the River Avon and hiding in woods for a week during which the worldís press followed their attempted capture. Once they were caught, The Daily Mail paid for them to be spared and live out their days in comfort. They are half Tamworth pig and half wild boar, and they have lovely long snouts which I find very fetching in pigs. I snuck them an apple each which they wolfed down quickly. They are brother and sister and obviously very fond of each other. Butch is the girl and Sundance the boy, (though in the TV film of their adventures the names are switched around).
After seeing the Tamworth Two we went for a drink in the cafť, then we looked around the rest of the animal collection including goats, sheep, cattle, other pigs including mums suckling piglets, horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, turkeys, spiders, snakes, snails, cockroaches, owls and hawks. Particularly lovely was the butterfly house. Itís toasty warm inside which was great seeing as it was a cool and rainy day.
In fact because of the rain, the pig racing was called off, which we had been looking forward to and which Mark had not seen before. So after browsing the gift shop (I bought a cuddly pig that I called Tammy and Mark bought a rat mug and a dragon figurine), we called a taxi and headed to our hotel.
We were staying at the Holiday Inn, in Hothfield, a very nice place which was actually a freebie because I had enough Holiday Inn loyalty points to get a free night. The room had two double beds which Mum liked as she often has to have a sofa bed when we stay in hotels.
We had dinner at the Hop Pickers Arms opposite the hotel. It was quiet because of the weather so we had the place virtually to ourselves. There were a lot of wedding guests milling about outside the hotel and I felt sorry for the bride standing in the rain in her strapless gown. Iím sure when she chose August to get married, she expected a warm sunny day.
We took drinks from the bar up to the room and got comfortable for the night, watched a little TV and looked at the pretty trees we could see through the window.
The next morning was quite funny. Apparantly, we didnít qualify for free breakfasts like we had when we had stayed in Holiday Inns using loyalty points before. Turns out only Holiday Inn Expresses do that. But I persuaded the company to let me have breakfast because Iím diabetic and we didnít have enough money left to pay extra. So I felt rather guilty going down to stuff my face while Mum & Mark sat upstairs with grumbling stomachs. I donít think theyíll let me forget that for a long time!