For a time Amazon was regularly offering deals rather like Groupon, giving big reductions on advertised goods and services. One that intrigued me was falconry. A half day's experience of it was on offer at just under an hour's train ride from London. A friend and I decided to try it out. After the initial briefing for the group we were with, we got to know the birds, including owls, falcons and eagles. It was with some trepidation that we handled them, but they were quite used to humans and would sit on our shoulders or arms in a relaxed fashion. We wore big leather gloves when they sat on our wrists, to avoid injury from their talons.

It's not for the squeamish because we fed them dead chicks, supplied frozen in their hundreds from local farms. Finally it was time to fly them, starting with the horned owls, and moving on to the falcons and eagles. The birds are trained to land on the wrist, and are rewarded with a dead chick when they do so. The friend with me took a superb video of an owl taking off from a fence and swooping low over a field. Right at the end of it I suddenly came into view as the bird landed on my outstretched wrist.

One of the birds slightly missed my wrist and tore a slit on the sleeve of my padded jacket. I later sewed it up and showed it afterwards with a nonchalant, "Oh, an eagle did that."