Someone’s little entrance at the bottom of a tree? I wonder who could be small enough to go through this doorway? (As seen in Paignton Zoo today – lovely to see that the Zoo keepers have a sense of humour.)
In April we renewed our membership of Paignton Zoo. That day, you may recall, we had overlooked the fact that we’d had heavy rain the day before and as the car park was full to bursting, we attempted to drive over some grass to where we could see a place to park the car. Big mistake, our car became stuck in the mud and the Zoo employees came to our assistance and pushed the car out.
That day the Zoo was very crowded, we were nose to tail with the world and his wife and their many children, and after about 20 minutes we decided to call it a day and return home, it simply was unpleasant.
And so today we decided, as we’d woken up early, we’d be at the gate when the Zoo opened at 10 o’clock. And we were, only to find a queue of people there already! But they were queuing to pay the entrance fee. There wasn’t a queue at the season ticket holders desk so we went straight in, literally stealing a march on all those waiting to go in.
We actually went today not to see animals – although it’s nice to see them – but simply for a walk. We decided to use a different route from the one we have usually taken, via the Reptile & Tropics House, which then leads through the Dessert and on up to Monkey Heights and the Elephant and Giraffe House. We went, instead, through the Aviaries but we saw few birds – we think they were still roosting. And on to the Asiatic Lions and the Sumatran Tigers enclosures. There is actually a walk-way which takes you high above these enclosures so if the animals are out and about, rather than snoozing in the shade as they were today, you have a very good view of them.
At one of the play areas we saw that the café was open, so we treated ourself to ices … vanilla for husband, strawberry for me, which was delicious, a vanilla ice with actual strawberries in it, much nicer than the strawberry-flavour ice, which is usually bright pink.
We were the first people there but shortly afterwards other families arrived, the children running to climb the wooden towers and clamber onto the swings.
The Zoo is quite hilly, so that even in 3/4 hr we felt we’d given ourselves some exercise, and began our journey back to the car park, passing the lake in the centre of which is Gibbon Island and also some spectacular Chusan fan palms …
Just at the entrance/exit is Flamingo Island, and here are the birds, sunning themselves in the early morning sunshine …
Once home I set about making lunch which we had in the garden.
Flowers from the garden on the garden table
The day became rather hot and we were glad of the shade from the walnut tree. It was a simple lunch …
Fresh baguettes bought on the way home, French Comte cheese, a tomato/feta/red onion/basil salad, Italian salami and olives, and this was followed by whipped cream, strawberries and amoretti biscuits, a sort-of Eton Mess but without meringue.
And as there was some whipped cream left over, I made strong black coffee and put some whipped cream on top, not something we have regularly. Indeed, we have this rarely but oh, it was so good.
We spent the afternoon in the garden – husband finished painting what has been the toy box for our grandson and is now the receptacle for garden compost, and I sat and read. And then our elder son and our little grandson called on their way home from school, and Grandson showed us his latest reading book and promptly read it to me while husband and son had a chat. I am truly impressed with the standard of teaching in his school if a child who has only just celebrated his 5th birthday can read fluently and, when he comes to a word he’s not seen before, through having been taught phonics, can work it out for himself. Thank goodness that the Look and Say method of teaching (a picture of a ball and the word BALL next to it, no phonics involved) which our sons received has disappeared down the hole from which it should never have emerged, and phonics are again being taught in our schools.
And finally, and for no other reason than we’ve been to the Zoo , I thought I’d show you Brian who lives in our garden …
Those of you old enough to remember the children’s television programme The Magic Roundabout will understand why we have named this garden ornament Brian. It was a present to me on my birthday in 2010 from a dear friend who died three year ago, someone whom I still miss and will always miss, I’m sure. Seeing Brian in the garden reminds me of her. We’re not ones for garden gnomes but Brian is lovely and he sits near the hellebores.
On that note I will close.
Until next time.