Thursday, 25 September 2014

Birthday boys

 Yesterday started well, donut's as a breakfast treat can never preclude a bad day, and rug rat MkII tucked into his with relish whilst the apprentice busied himself opening his little brothers birthday prezzies. Soon the living room was a colourful blur of wrappers, bits of do nut, puzzle pieces and large dogs (see dog blog) which all had to be bulldozed away (including large K9s) so we could set out on the days adventure to Chester Zoo. This trip was a change of plan from going to usual Zoo in Bristol, conveniently named Bristol Zoo, mainly due to current TV programme based on how to make your own zoo with a large overdraft and a big shovel.
 The show, Our Zoo is the tale of Chester Zoo, which is very handily next to Chester (so original these Zoo names) telling us how a bunch of shopkeepers and ex soldiers turned this fine old house into a magnificent Zoo despite upsetting the local god botherers. The original house is still centre of Zoo and still looks like work in progress.
 Naturally there was lots to see, this marvelous specimin caught mine and the apprentices eye, a Series IIa Land Rover in its natural state, a very tame beastie and great fun once it gets to know you.
 Now the USP of Chester Zoo is its lack of bars, not the beverage type (although there were two of those) but bars between prey visitors and animals and the vast acres of space the animals have to play in. Now apparently I have been to Chester Zoo as a child (I remember this when it was all fields) and part way round I did have a vague recollection of walking round some bits and not seeing any animals as we walked around not seeing any animals. The trials and tribulations of getting a three year old to look carefully through the third bush on the left of the watering hole next to the fallen tree and just by the large leafed plant behind it you can just see the arse end of a Jaguar have to be experienced. Especially if said three year old is only interested in pressing buttons (especially ones marked do not press) and more so if pushing buttons makes monkey noises and how much fun is pressing all five together. Couple that with a now one year old who tries to put anything and everything in his mouth (bat guano anyone?) and in quieter moments likes to keep everyone on their toes with his screech owl impressions.
 That said a great time was had by all and it is amazing how close you can get to some really big animals, this picture taken without zoom on the mobile phone (real camera died in the sands of the Gower, RIP camera you join a band of brothers sacrificed with monotonous regularity at Rock HQ)
 and some not so big animals, like these, my favourites, Aardvarks (anyone owning a spare one please feel free to donate it, I promise not to eat it) The bat house was just mind blowing, standing in a dark cavernous space with real live fruit bats swooping down and flying inches from your face was a real test of nerves. So many animals, painted dogs, hyrax, tapirs, giant otters, blind fish, not blind fish, so  much more, lions, cheetahs, boring monkies and apes (not a fan) and tigers.
Now I have never been this close to a real live tiger without a foot of reinforced glass between me and it, or a large fence and survival shell of a car, but here we stood on a platform level with the tree house of the Sumatran Tigers, and if there are cubs in however long the gestation period of a tiger is then you can say you saw it here first.

Today was birthday of oldest son, youngest yesterday, oldest today, no trip to zoo as we were both working in different parts of the country so we shared a long distance Nando's, its like a chicken zoo, but hotter, with fries and spices.

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