Alright, it's a tenuous link - there's not much that was really Chinese themed about this, but the dragon heads on the boats were Chinesey, so I'm sticking with it!
It was the Dragon Boat Challenge yesterday. Something I need to add to my list of things to do next year. My mum and Janine were in one of the crews - the Quernmore Sheepdog Handlers crew, actually :) So we went along to support - we were actually going to go along and watch anyway, but the fact that we knew people racing made it all the more exciting.
Actually, it turned out to just be a lovely relaxing day. The boys were tired from being up late the night before, and the night before, and the night before. So they were fairly quiet, and happy to just stand along the river bank and watch the races. No telling-offs required at all, I was a very proud mummy :) There's not really much to tell about the day, which just consisted of watching (and photographing and videoing) Grandma Denise and Janine in their races, eating some burgers and hotdogs and chips, and visiting the Raptor Centre stall (pictures further down).
It rained a fair bit, on and off, all day. But we didn't mind that at all, it was rather pleasant because it was quite a muggy sort of day. So we got a bit soaked, but sometimes you've just got to say 'to hell with it', and get wet. Nice.
So, here's what we saw:
Lots of racers in their boats on the beautiful River Lune.
This is the stretch next to Halton Training Camp (the boys were very excited to be able to walk through the camp and see some soldiers!).
Here is our team, just about to come in with their second best time, and win themselves a mention as 'Most Improved Team', knocking 6 whole seconds of their first time. Yes, 6 whole seconds! Astounding!
Here's my mum, Grandma Denise, doing the drumming and shouting 'One... Two... One... Two...'. Very good. Very professional drumming. Those drumming lessons are certainly paying off.
In between races we went to explore some of the stalls, and after a good bounce on an ENORMOUS bouncy castle, we were surprised and delighted to see the Raptor Centre's stall. We've seen these birds before, at Cartmel Races, but we never tire of stroking them and watching their big eyes, and hearing their rescue stories. Thomas's favourite animal is the barn owl, and he's had his photo taken with a few now. This one is called Simba, and is 22 years old. Simba loves humans, and thinks that she is one :) He was pretty upset when this man was telling us that he thought barn owls would be extinct in the next five to ten years :( Let's hope something can be done to protect them in the wild.
This Eagle Owl is called Abu. Abu also loves humans, and enjoys the attention that he gets. He was taken into care because his owners couldn't be bothered to take him to a vet when he had a broken wing. Abu is about 20 years old. He should hopefully live for another 20 or 30 years, so we will see him lots more times. Simba too :)
Fire engines are always very good to have a sit in. If there's one around at this kind of event it's always important to have your photograph taken whilst sitting inside it. I always do. This engine got a call and had to rush off, but it was okay, we were not without something amazing to look at for long, because then a helicopter came in to land :) We think the helicopter brought a celebrity with it, but we didn't see who. I did spot Miss Morecambe 2010 walking around, but I don't think she came in on the helicopter.
This is me trying to sound knowledgeable about fire safety equipment, as Thomas bombards me with questions about what everything is. Of course, I did my First Aid badge at Brownies when I was 8, so I knew all about it. I think Thomas was very impressed with my knowledge about boots, radios and breathing apparatus.
And of course, you should always have your photograph taken at the front of the fire engine, so that everyone knows it's a fire engine.
Is there really a better way to finish off a weekend, and indeed a half-term holiday, than by sitting in the bay window watching the most stunning, clear and bright, full rainbow? I don't think so. This one reached from the top of the Chinese State Circus tent (as it was being dismantled yesterday evening), and landed in the Castle. Spectacular, and very beautiful.
That was a good weekend. Thanks boys, for being so well-behaved, and so much fun :) (And even Matthew, who was feeling poorly yesterday, but still got dragged to the river to watch the boats - well done little fella :) .)