Dogs And Cats Living Harmoniously

You know, there’s real truth behind the saying “fighting like cats and dogs”. It’s because these two animals don’t usually get along. However, there are some things you can do to ensure harmonious living between your cats and dogs.

Raise Them Together

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If you have the option, raise your kittens and puppies together. When we moved to a farm, I was 10. Dad brought home a black and white puppy (a border collie) and a black and white kitten. The two were best buds their whole lives. We still tell stories about these two and their antics. When you rase the two together, they learn each other’s body language early on. This enables both the dog and the cat to recognize when they have pushed the other too far. Plus, they really learn to like each other.

Choose Breeds Wisely

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Almost all cats are predatory. They have a very strong prey drive – that’s why they pounce on anything that moves. Some really sweet cats learn to play without using their claws, but if they haven’t been raised that way, they will use their claws to grab on. It is the act of pulling away that causes claw marks.

Some dogs are nurturing, and some are prey driven. We have two Alaskan Malamutes. This breed was developed to hunt for its own food in the harsh environs of Alaska, eating anything that moves. This does not mix well with our Tabby cat. We NEVER leave our Mals alone with the cat, because even though she has her claws, our dogs have demonstrated that they can work as a team, with one distracting while the other goes in for the kill. That’s how they get the opossum and raccoons that wander into our yard.

We also have a collie – the kind that looks like Lassie. This is a very nurturing dog, who is protective of his lambs. His lambs are anything in his house and yard, including the cat. The drawback to this is that the collie wants to play chase with the cat, which triggers the prey drive in our Mals.

Introduce Calmly

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If yours is to be a “blended family” of pets, with rescued animals or pets that belong to your new spouse or stepchildren, you can take precautions to ease the introduction. First of all, try to introduce the animals in a neutral environment. Cats and dogs both can be very territorial, and if you bring a strange animal into your home, the pet that already lives there might react differently than he would in a neutral area.

Also, try to introduce the animals at eye level. If there is any aggression or fear, remove both animals for a few minutes and try again. Keep this up until they are bored with the activity, and ignore the other animal.

Always Supervise

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Allowing your cat to “teach the dog a lesson” can result in a blind dog and expensive vet bills. By the same token, you don’t want to end up with a dead cat. Always supervise their interactions.

Keep Your Garden Picturesque

Keeping your garden picturesque can be a lot of work, but the payoff is worth is. Gardeners take hope in the beautiful blooms, healthy shrubbery, and velvet grasses that make up their gardens. And, whether you do all the work yourself or hire some of it done, the reward is a beautiful garden and a healthier planet.

Winterizing

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Now is the time to winterize your lawn. Most lawn services will winterize it, if you do not know what to do. Basically, you put down a fertilizer that will boost the roots and make them stronger so that they can survive freezes and slow snow melt. You don’t want to mow it down at this stage, because the grass will hold snow in place and allow it to melt, rather than blow away or run off.

Pruning

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This is also the time to consider pruning your trees and shrubs. For deciduous trees, wait until the sap has retreated to the roots. This will keep the tree from being weakened. Once the trees have lost their leaves, you can see the branching patterns better. It is easier to identify branches that are rubbing against each other and remove them, and thin out the canopy.

Most shrubs that are evergreen do not need pruning. They will have colorful berries this time of year. However, once the berries have all been eaten by neighborhood birds and squirrels, you may want to trim them back to the size you want. The spring growth spurt will make up for any over-pruning you do.

Some shrubs, such as roses, do much better if you trim them back. Find out the specifics for your type of roses. By cutting them back, they will have much more vigorous growth in the spring, with larger, healthier blooms.

Mulching

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Now is also the best time to mulch your flower beds and tree bases. Make sure that the mulch does not pile up on the trunks of trees, as this can strangle the tree and rob it of oxygen. Many homeowners rake up the leaves from the lawn and use them as mulch. The problem with this is that, as the leaves decompose, they can leach nutrients from the soil. It is better to compost leaves and let them decompose to the point where they begin to put nutrients into the soil, rather than leach them out. Other gardeners prefer commercially processed mulch. The mulch not only protects the roots from all but the coldest of temperatures, it holds in moisture, chokes out weeds, and looks really nice in the winter landscape.

Planters

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The winter landscape can be rather bleak. But, you can brighten up the garden with well-placed ceramic plant pots and flower planters with colourful winter plants. Holly bushes covered with red berries, cabbage and kale with pretty blues and greens, Nandina shrubs with their varied colours of foliage and bright crimson berries, and pansies can all add color, motion, and texture to your winter garden. If you don’t know how to care for these plants, contact a landscaper. It is well worth the investment.

How To Be A Sociable Tourist

Now, be honest. Most English speaking people expect to be understood, no matter where they are in the world, right? After all, English is the most common second language spoken on the planet. While most school children in the UK and United States study Spanish, French, German, or Latin as a foreign language in school although they won’t become fluent. Other nations study English However, shouldn’t we at least make the effort to become familiar with the countries we plan to visit? Too many times I see English speaking tourists using translation services without making an effort to understand. Perhaps simply making the effort to learn a few phrases and customs would make our trips more rewarding. And, who know, it might make the trip a little smoother, too.

Language

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The most obvious problem, at first, for international travellers is the language. Although most educated societies learn English as a second language or, as in India, speak English as a primary language, it is a mistake to assume that everyone you contact will be fluent enough in the language to converse with you. In any country, even English speaking ones, it is simply good manners to try to learn a few basic phrases in the native language. If it does not earn you a place in the native’s heart because you are trying hard, it will at least entertain him for a while. Learn, too, the usual forms of address used in the country you will visit. It is better to err on the side of formality, than accidentally insult an official or inn owner with an informal familiarity normally reserved for family members. In fact, expecting everyone to understand you just because you speak English is like expecting everyone to drive on the same side of the road as you do. It just isn’t going to happen.

Non-Verbal Communication

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At least ½ of your communication is non-verbal. It pays to study the customs and gestures of the people who are natives of the country you are about to visit. Something as simple as nodding your head can confuse those to whom you are communicating. In the UK and US, nodding the head indicates agreement, or “yes”. In some countries, nodding the head indicates disagreement or “no”. This can get you in untold trouble, if you are not aware of the difference.

Former president Bill Clinton committed a tremendous faux pas in Brazil when he made the “ok” signal with his circled thumb and forefinger. This is a profanity in Brazil, and raised quite a few eyebrows.

Customs

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In some countries, women are expected to walk behind their men, and are not allowed out in public without a man. If you go against these cultural norms, you can incite anger and find yourself unable to even check into a hotel room. Keep in mind that even if you are not prejudiced or sexist, that does not mean that other cultures share the same general acceptance. If you plan international travel, it is just simply good sense to study their customs and social taboos before crossing their borders.

Ways Physical Activity Can Relieve Stress

There are many different ways that physical activity can relieve stress. Surprisingly, even the most simple of stretches can lower your blood pressure and relieve headaches. Different levels of physical activity can reduce stress, which makes it much easier to cope with on a daily basis. Here are some suggestions that might help.

Stretching and Balancing

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As you work at your desk, in front of your computer, consider doing isometric exercises and stretches. This helps boost your circulation and reduce the chances of developing blood clots. For more strenuous activity, consider a yoga class. Yes, yoga is strenuous, if you do it right, and it improves your sense of balance, as well. In fact, yoga is one of the best stress fighters in the workout repertoire. You can either go “all in” and participate in the meditation and philosophy involved with yoga, or you can simply focus on the exercises, which stretch and tone every – single – muscle – in your body. Believe me, when you are participating in a yoga class, or even yoga in your den at home, stress cannot find a foothold.

Dance

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Yes – dance! Dancing has gained in popularity every year for the last decade. In fact, more people are signing up for dancing lessons and buying dancewear every day. Whether your taste is in pop music, ballroom dancing, hip-hop, jazz, or even ballet, there is a style of dance and music for you.

Forty years ago, aerobics was the big thing. It was strenuous exercise set to music, and you had to basically learn dance steps with the music. It was a great workout, but as most exercise programs go, it fell out of fashion. However, one of the reasons aerobics was so popular was that is was a form of dancing, even if it did incorporate things like sit-ups and pushups.

Today, dance has been revived as a legitimate free-time activity, and has gained even more popularity due to programs such as “Dancing With the Stars”. After all, if overweight, faded actors and actresses can lose weight and “trip the light fantastic” convincingly, why can’t ordinary people? And, on the show, ordinary people do just that. People who have never danced a step in their lives learn to move gracefully and powerfully, to the envy of the nameless rabble that watch enviously. So, try out dancing. It is artistic, athletic, and beautiful, and works that stress right out of your body.

Bootcamp

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If you are one who likes to “get down and dirty”, then bootcamp may be the direction for you. Yes, you get pushed far beyond what you thought were your limits, just as with any clichéd thoughts about this military style workout. But, those limits, you will find, constantly expand. Believe it or not, some of the most dedicated bootcamp members are women in their 30s and 40s! That’s because they have a lot of stress, and what better way to deal with it than to yell, kick, and punch?

Physical activity will restore your circulation, strengthen your respiration, and reduce stress. So, work it into your daily routines.

 

Learning To Surf: What Surfing Can Do For You

Learning to surf is surprisingly easy, and an enormous amount of fun. Believe it or not, everyone from toddlers to grannies learn to surf these days. How do they do it? Where are some pointers on learning to surf, as well as some insights on what surfing can do for you.

Learning to Surf

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You don’t have to grow up in California or the Bahamas to know how to surf. In fact, you can learn this fun sport on your very first trip to the ocean. Every beach, from Devon to Maui, has professional surf shops that rent boards and safety equipment, and offer surfing lessons in Cornwall at an affordable rate. Just as you would rent a bicycle for the day or take snow skiing lessons, you can take surfing lessons when you go to the beach.

The professionals at your surf shop can match you up with a surf board that works well with your height and skills levels. You may want a board that is wider so that you can keep your balance more easily, or if you have some experience, you may want a long, narrow board to add speed to your ride.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to “hang 10” to enjoy surfing. You can paddle out to meet the waves, and then lie or sit on your board and ride the wave back to shore. Enough people do that now that it is a common sight. If you are concerned about more experienced surfers in the area, remember that surfing is a lot like ski slopes – the more skilled athletes stick to the more challenging surf or slopes.

What Can Surfing Do For You?

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So, what exactly can surfing do for you? It is one of the best whole-body exercises you can do, and it is total fun every time you go out. Unlike some exercises that work your muscles only, surfing works on your sense of balance as well. In fact, older people especially find that even simple boogie board surfing improves their balance. They have a better ability to recover if they stumble or stub their toe. Some compare the skills in balancing to yoga.

Your core muscles get a workout, simply from staying on the board. Even if you just sit on the board, staying upright on it strengthens your core muscles as well as your ability to regain your balance. As you lie on the board and paddle out to the waves, you work your arms and chest muscles. If you swim beside your board, you are working your leg muscles. Swimming is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do, and there is no impact on your joints when you swim. Swimming with a board, and balancing on it, is just another step to strength and independence.

And to think, you are having fun in the sun the whole time! Regardless of your age, you can enjoy surfing. Give it a try, and you’ll see!

 

Hotels And B&Bs: Which Have A Better Atmosphere

 

Planning your holiday can be exciting. It can also be stressful as you arrange transportation and lodging, look up dining spots, and order tickets to various attractions. Let’s start with lodging – which has a better atmosphere, hotels or B&Bs?

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Starting with the rooms, let’s compare hotels and B&Bs. Quite often, hotels have a cold, clinical feel, while the B&B often has a reputation as being frilly and covered with knick-knacks. However, the stereotype of B&Bs is not exactly fair, considering the growing number of these businesses in the UK.

The Bed and Breakfast has come a long way from the over-the-top pseudo-Victorian. Without losing any of the ambiance, B&Bs have become modern and spacious. Land owners who convert their building, manors, and farmhouses to B&Bs are savy about the desires of modern travelers, and now install bathrooms for each room, rather than the hackneyed “bathroom down the hall”.

The rooms themselves are far from the clinical feel of hotels. Antique furnishings are sturdy – or they wouldn’t have become antiques – and they add a warmth and welcome that you seldom find in a hotel room. Antique headboards and footboards are retro-fitted with new, modern mattresses, creating a bedroom that is both comfortable and beautiful.

Location

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The weary traveller is often relieved to find his chain hotel right off the roadway. You can see the sign from a distance, and know exactly where you should go. Hotels located in town are often in the newer parts of development, with valet parking.

However, there are some benefits to hunting out the B&Bs. Those located in the city are usually right in the heart of historic districts. Mature landscaping creates an oasis around private patios that offer views of well-tended rose gardens. The advantage here is that many of the activities that attracted you to the city in the first place are within walking distance. That’s right, these older, modernized houses are often right down the street from some of the most beautiful sights and activities that drew you to the city in the first place.

Accommodation in Somerset or anywhere in the countryside have their own draw, with ready access to hiking, fishing, bird watching, and many other activities. The B&B you choose may be near the beach, where you can step onto the veranda and dig your toes into the sand. This is the best of rural holidays, with few people around.

Service

Did you know that most B&Bs serve lunch? They will often pack a picnic lunch for you to enjoy. This is especially true in the rural settings. They also often have arrangements with restaurants, cafes, and diners in nearby villages to give their guests discounts on dining. In the city B&Bs, you may well be right across the street from some of the best restaurants in the area.

So, on your next holiday, check out some B&Bs. You may discover that the space, ambiance, and convenience easily trumps that of hotels.

How To Create The Perfect Social Environment In Your Home

Creating the perfect social environment in your home can be as simple as your choice of furniture and its placement. Here are some great ideas for what type of furniture to get for your home, and how to place it in the room for perfect social interaction.

Space

First of all, assess your space. Do you have a communal room that you want to dedicate to socializing? Typically, rooms on the front of the house are more formal, while rooms at the back of the house are more casual. Around my house, that would be because, by the time a guests walks through all the clutter and dog hair, there are no illusions. Any attempt at formality would be ludicrous.

Of course, you do not have to stay with these traditions. If your largest room is on the front of the house, and you want to use it for the family as well as guests, it is your prerogative. Aside from family clutter, there are ways to maximize the space to make guests feel comfortable.

Furniture Arrangement

That larger room may or may not have room for multiple seating areas. This is a great way to maximize every square inch of space. For instance, most family rooms have a TV prominent for family entertainment and gaming. But, what about that window? There may be space there for a couple of chairs and/or nests of tables. Consider placing a chess board over there, or a jigsaw puzzle. Often, quieter guests will gravitate to such areas. When you provide them with a refuge, they feel more included, and enjoy themselves more.

Use the corners of your room wisely. Corners can be wasted space. I’ve always said that I would prefer round rooms, just so there aren’t any corners. This, also, is a great spot for your little table and chairs. Or, consider a corner sofa. This can free up room in the middle for a large ottoman. If you select a large, upholstered ottoman, it can serve several purposes. Use a nice tray for drinks and decorations while the family is using the room. When you have guests, move the tray, and you have extra seating. One of the advantages of this type of seating is that it is open to all areas of the room, so people can converse easily.

Clutter

So, what do you do about the clutter of the family room? I remember going to a friend’s house, and noticing a lovely wicker basket full of children’s toys near the hearth. I thought it looked so nice, like she was welcoming her children to play in the adult areas. Little did I realize that she used the basket rather than a toy box! This simple detail created a grown-up atmosphere in the room, rather than a nursery feel. Throws that the family cuddled under to watch TV matched the furniture.

As you plan your entertainment spaces, consider furniture placement and automatic de-cluttering. Guests will feel more welcomed.

Adventurous Social Getaways

Going on holiday is almost a necessity for most people. You get away from it all, and have fun without having to devote any of your attention to bosses or customers. More people than ever are electing to go on holiday with not just their families, but with their friends as well. This is partly due to the fact that so many people elect to marry later. After all, they have to have somebody to go on holiday with, right? Here are some of the top adventurous social getaways for people who travel with friends and family.

Theme Parks

Any list of holiday destinations simply must include theme parks. Disney World is everyone’s world, and in the States, the 6 Flags Resorts are popular. But there are many more theme parks you can visit and have plenty of fun. In the UK, there is Legoland, Alton Towers, Paultons Park, Gulliver’s Land, and many more theme parks for your entertainment. Rides and stage performances, along with food and souvenir vendors, create a stay-all-day venue that can help you escape from the everyday world.

In Europe, some of the same theme parks are popular, such as Legoland and Alton Towers. There is also the Walt Disney Studios Park, Tivoli Gardens, and Parc Asterix, among others.

Beaches

If you would like a holiday somewhere with less mechanics and more nature, you and your friends might consider the beach. Every continent has stunning beaches, so there are getaways for every time of year. Perhaps the best thing about beaches, besides sand and sun, is that so many people are surfing now. It is not just a sport for hippies, yippies, and beach bums. Everyone, from children to grandmas, can get a boogie board and enjoy the waves. There are even classes that teach you how to enjoy surfing at a beginner level.

Hiking

Anyone who enjoys walking for exercise will probably enjoy hiking. It is a little more strenuous, and requires special boots if you want to find purchase on slopes, but hiking can take you and your friends to beautiful places. In the UK alone, there is almost unlimited hiking that takes you to breathtaking cliffs and beaches, and across historic plains and fields.

But, don’t stop with your own back yard. There are hiking and walking trails all over the world. You do not have to be a mountain climber to enjoy some of the most awe inspiring sights in the world. Go to Peru, and follow the Inca Trail. It is a 35 mile hike, and classified as one of the world’s best hikes. It is a 5 day trip up to Machu Picchu – one of the 10 wonders of the world.

Don’t leave out the Great Wall of China. Now, there is an adventure for your group, with 1500 miles stretching out ahead of you. Of course, you don’t have to walk the whole thing, but what a trip!

 

Theres more than just hiking too,  if you’re looking for something slightly more extreme then why not try out some Adventure Activites? I found some great Adventure activities in Devon where you can go Kayaking, Surf rafting, coasteering and much much more. A very exciting adventure, that’s for sure.

So, get with your friends and family, and check out adventurous social getaways. You’ll be glad you did.

Social Activities To Keep You Calm

When a person is dealing with stress, he or she usually looks for ways to get away from life and take a break. However, there are actually ways to cope with the demands of life and still be part of a thriving social community. The amazing thing is, when you participate in social calming activities, you find a whole new world of support and strength that you otherwise would have never found.

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Social activities are great for bringing you out of your shell, sometimes you just want to be alone, but social activity can help you. It’s not just about going out and meeting people, it’s a joint activity that will help you stay calm by releasing chemicals into the brain through exercise. You don’t need to go to a weight loss bootcamp, there are activities that will help.

Yoga

Yoga has been a form of exercise and meditation for thousands of years. Over the last several decades, the West has adopted various forms of yoga for those reasons. Yoga as exercise is remarkably strenuous, if you are physically capable of doing so. However, it is also, among exercise regimens, uniquely adaptable to the physical limitations of each individual. The gradual stretching and, later, hyper flexion, creates muscle tone and amps up your metabolism.

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The spiritual aspect of yoga also makes a big difference in people’s lives. The meditation and centering that practitioners use create a more balanced emotional and spiritual life. In addition, you have the benefit of being around people who also exercise their spiritual body as well as their physical one. The camaraderie of those participating in the exercises strengthens all involved as much as the exercises do.

Meditation

It has been referred to as the “Maharishi Effect”, and it happened in 1978. For 3 weeks, over 7000 people joined together in meditation to help their city. It, apparently, worked – in fact, not only did suicide rates and auto accidents decline in their city, they were reported as being reduced all over the world. In addition, there was a huge decrease in terrorist activity while the people were meditating.

In Lebanon, in 1983, when groups participated in meditation assemblies, deaths from acts of war significantly dropped. In Wales four years later, Merseyside was suffering from the third most extreme crime rates of all of the metro areas. After initiating group meditation, the crime rate dropped by 40%.

This is called the “field effect” in physics. Once you get past the technical jargon used to explain field effect, it basically means that groups of people can affect the overall consciousness in their environment through meditation and emanating peace. Several universities are working on this, as a way of reducing violence in schools and prisons, and in any other populations where people are forced to spend a lot of time together.

Hugging

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Yoga, with its spiritual connection, may seem a little “out there” for some people, but they may still be willing to go along with it. Group meditation may seem even stranger, but worth trying if it can create a field effect.

The newest thing, coming from the States, is hugging. The Americans are always pushing the envelope, and now they go beyond psychic energy and have started “cuddle clubs”. Just as it says, groups of people get together to share hugs. Whether this will catch on with Brits is still to be seen.

 

Social holidays In the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom offers many social holiday destinations. Whether you prefer elegant, glamorous, exotic, or quaint destinations and accommodations, you can find it all in the UK. Here are some great places to visit in the UK that will be sure to create a talking point amongst friends.

Scotland

In Scotland, you find beautiful deserted glens and breathtaking coastlines. You can explore historic towns and villages. You can enjoy big cities, such as Stirling, or small villages such as Pittenweem and Crail. The scenery in Scotland as almost mystic, leaving a lasting effect in your psyche. The white sands of its beaches and other-worldly lochs create a contrast to the sophistication of the cities.
Scotland is made up of 800 islands. Only about 300 of them are inhabited, and as pristine as they were 500 to 1000 years ago. The Scots are proud of their heritage and history, and you can find culture that reflects the wealth of poetry, music, writing, and sculpture that have enriched the lives of Scots.
More specifically, coma and enjoy the Edinburgh Castle. This is a World Heritage Site, with breathtaking views and rich history. The Whisky distilleries are another great draw, as is the Loch Ness. Who knows, you may be the one to get the definitive picture of Nessie!

Glamping

No, glamping is not a country or village. It is a way of camping out with all the glamour of a 5 star hotel, one could say luxury camping. Companies specialize in this type of accommodation. Imagine how wonderful it would be to arrive in a secluded glen in the mystical countryside in Scotland, and find a luxury pop up or tent ready and waiting for you! You have the chance to be part of your surroundings, yet have all the conveniences of meals. Gone are the days of having to find a hotel in a remote area, just to get to take a shower. You’ll find that, with glamping, your pop up or tent will be fully prepared to give you all the comforts of home.

Wales

The country of Wales will create memories that rest in your soul for the rest of your life. This beautiful country, with its culture, myth, history, and legend, has over 640 castles. That is more castles than anywhere else in the world! There are six different sites in this country alone that are on the World Heritage Sites travel brochure. This country’s history is so rich that the city of Cardiff, while the youngest city in Great Britain, dates all the way back to the Roman occupation!
Not only can you tour castles for the duration of your holiday, you can visit Roman forts. There are even destinations that are associated with the legend of King Arthur. Come and enjoy the Offa’s Dyke Path that outlines the border between Wales and England. Or, climb Mount Snowdon or dine in a waterfront café on the Cardiff Bay. You can even visit one of the most haunted places in the UK at Llancaiach Fawr Manor.
Where ever you go in the UK, you’re sure to find fantastic memories. Enjoy your visit!