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Things I do instead of attending Russian lectures: putting on my warmest coat and my wellies, then head off to the countryside of County Durham to play with ponies and birds of prey. 10428035_10203034002519240_2934901085777181055_n   St. Aidan’s college is home to two lovely little ponies, and it’s only a ten-minute walk from my house. Suddenly a nice yet bitterly cold day becomes a brilliant excuse to get a few carrots and go meet the little fellas. Unfortunately they seemed far more interested in the carrots than they were in my lovely persona, but they were so pretty and lovely that I soon forgave them. After I ran out of carrots and the ponies therefore lost all interest, I took the X1 to the countryside for some jolly falconry. 1526406_10154853561775134_1053715904733285321_n   This cute little ball of feathers is Billy, the Barn Owl. Unfortunately we did not have time to fly him, because life is full of complications. I will get to the complicated part later. I had a lovely chat with the owner of the birds, who told me more about the birds I was about to handle, gave me interesting insights about their habits and most importantly, taught me how to hold them properly. 10393172_10154853561730134_2452518693857851945_n   This is Jasper. He is the little beauty I have been flying for most of the day. And so we set off into the woods with Jasper and his feathered friend Lady, facing the bitter cold of the North East with a bag full of meat (as to make sure the birds will come back to you). It was a very pleasant afternoon, just walking through the woods and seeing the birds quietly following us as we moved along. Things do not always go the way we plan them though, and things became a little intense when we indadvertedly set off our birds on a weasel. Needless to say, the poor weasel became dinner and it most certainly wasn’t the highlight of my day. Lady also got bit, so we had to rush back to ‘Bird HQ‘ so we could look after her. I don’t want to end this post with such a bitter note, so have a sneak peak into my next post featuring some rather interesting artefacts I spotted at York’s Jorvik Viking Centre the other day.   10551063_10202980353898058_737932852114926935_n   Human faeces! A very rare find – not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. See you in two days for more Viking turds and smelly museums (I wish that was a pun).