Friday, 30 August 2013

A Trip To Marwell Zoo, And The Case Of The Extremely Small Shorts

L goes back to school next week so this morning I treated him and his mate W to an outing to Marwell zoo.

I suspect L has more or less outgrown zoos now, judging from the way he and W talked of nothing but minecraft and creating castles all the way round, zipping past most of the animals with barely a cursory glance and then spending ages exploring the delights of the high-rise wooden towers and ropes of the adventure playground.

Ah well, we have made the most of it being on our doorstep over the years and we can still visit it ironically, even if serious visits are now beneath us.

Marwell has an interesting history. The land was granted to Winchester by the then King of Wessex during the 10th century and the manor house was built in 1320 by a relative of the Bishop of Winchester. During the 1550s it was inhabited by Sir Henry Seymour, brother of Jane, and Henry VIII was a regular visitor (local rumour has it that Marwell was the setting for King Henry VIII's marriage to Jane Seymour). Their son Edward's initials are emblazoned above one of the fire places in the hall. In 1644 it was the setting for a Civil War skirmish, and by 1972 had become a zoological park, one of the earliest in Europe to place an emphasis on conservation, a theme it has continued to expand on and today is well known for. It is now home to a wide range of animals from leopards to leaf cutter ants.

 Marwell Manor House, with many 19th c additions

 In 1999 the park's entire penguin colony was wiped out by avian malaria. It was restocked and everyone was looking well today.

 Terrifyingly fast Cheetahs.


 A Frilled Lizard

Can you guess what this is? It's the underside of a lizard's foot.

Poison Dart Frog
(which connects neatly to the story I was reading yesterday about a young American man trekking through the Amazon to find his mother, a tribeswoman. Fascinating story and worth looking up if you haven't already seen it)


The park's two White Rhinos

The boys preparing to see whether they can run faster than a tortoise. It turns out they are midway between a tortoise and a road runner, but no-where near as fast as a human being, which made them scratch their heads a bit.



These lovely murals are outside the shop. I thought they were great, really cheerful.


Our minds are turning towards Autumn here, with the start of term just round the corner and cooler nights drawing in. I like the turn of the seasons and would not want to live in a land that didn't have them. My college course starts towards the end of Sept too, which is something else to think about and manage. I suspect it will mean fewer blog posts but we'll have to wait and see how the days pan out in that regard. I will also be jiggling my healing work around study and family life which may prove to be a challenge, but not one I'm overly worried about. Life has always been full to the brim regardless of what I'm doing with it so there's nothing new in that!

I'll end today's post with some pictures taken in and around the garden this afternoon. We have vegetables aplenty, despite the best efforts of caterpillars and blackbirds, and the hedgerow harvest also looks to be a good one, so jam and jelly making will start soon.


Corn on the cob

 M's Black Pearl Chillies
(great name)

The drying seed head of a Hollyhock

I think this is a Ruddy Darter Dragonfly up by one of the ponds, but my DF ID skills are shaky to say the least so if anyone knows any different please feel free to correct me.
*Update- Margaret (birdingforpleasure.blogspot.co.uk) has kindly done some investigative work for me and confirms this is in fact a Common Darter. Thank you :-)

I'll leave you with a pic of the Faithful Hound who accompanied me on my Garden Perambulation.


Said hound is currently sitting at my feet with a very expectant look on his face indeed. This has been caused by his Arch Enemy our postman, (who is actually three different people but Ted doesn't know this - to him all posties are the same and are treated with identical ferocious woofing regardless of any facial or bodily difference that may temporarily exist beneath the fluorescent tabard), delivering a new pair of running shorts. Teddy therefore, not unreasonably, suspects this means we will soon be Going Out For A Run. 

I, however, am uncertain about this because the shorts are a good deal tighter and more skimpy than I had bargained for, and as I am now the wrong side of forty I am not entirely convinced it would be fair to let them loose on the world with me in them. This is particularly the case since we played host to a gaggle of almost-but-not-quite-eighteen-year-old-girls over the weekend, all of whom were (as Boris Johnson would doubtless put it) as sleek and slender as young otters emerging from water, and believe me, that kind of thing really brings home the fact that you are a member of the younger generation no more, and that tiny shorts are no longer a birth right and will quite probably look ridiculous on you.

It's pointless asking Ted his opinion because a) he wants to go for a run and therefore has a vested interest, and b) he is a dog, and they consider sniffing bottoms a normal form of greeting for goodness sake. Neither can I ask my husband when he gets home from work because he will just say yes, and my son will shrug and offer no opinion whatsoever. Perhaps if I wore a Very Long T-Shirt that reached just below the shorts that might work? Or I could just run so fast no-one would see me and then it wouldn't matter anyway.

Oh dear, thus running malarkey is proving to be Much More Trouble Than It's Worth. Maybe it would be easier just not to go running in the first place?  I think I'll go and look up the local swimming baths times instead.....

Have a peaceful evening all,

CT :-)


16 comments:

  1. Love penguins.
    Mike has an arrow on his study wall, a souvenir from Africa, that allegedly still has frog poison on the tip. I don't know why he keeps it, but he must have his reasons?

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    1. For the mice perhaps? Or could it have a more sinister purpose, like ensuring good wifely behaviour?

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  2. Swimming is FAR better but then that involves the horror of the swim suit. I've opted for what is described these days as a 'leg suit' for maximum coverage and a slightly 1930's look bar the Slazenger logo. I haven't done shorts for years....

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    1. Welcome back Em! Hope you had a good break?

      I LOVE swimming, and have got around the costume dilemma by wearing a pink lycra vest over the top, which covers almost everything and sucks it all in to boot ;-)

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  3. Well now, you see I too am suffering lack of fitness and sleekness anxiety, because I have just discovered that I am going to be a granny again. And whilst one grandchild is acceptable because it can be passed off as an accident, a second seems like deliberate sabotage to my youthfulness. I'm not even 48 yet. Something has to be done, but I doubt it will involve running, especially not if tiny shorts are de rigeur.

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    1. I think you should just tell everyone you were a child bride, and your son was too. And: CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

      I did go running in the shorts, and was then forced to brazen it out when W's father arrived to collect him, coinciding with the very end of my run by which time I was pink faced, out of breath and sweating not inconsiderably. Nice.

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  4. HI CT Loved your post (read and photos) Now as yu know I am just learning about butterflies etc this summer and I did wonder would that be a Common Darter?This is just a thought. The light bits on its side maybe looks more like Common than Ruddy but I sure could be wrong. See what you think! Have a great weekend.

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    1. Hi Margaret :-)

      Hope you had a good week in the Isle of Wight?

      The Common Darter was my other thought so you may well be right. Either way it means two different dragonfly species in the garden which I'm pleased about. I didn't get a pic of the other one but it was stripy green rather than red and I've seen it several times.

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  5. Terrific photos - the Cheetahs are beautiful and I love the little Poison Dart Frog. And I love Ted looking very alert. I wouldn't worry about the shorts; I saw someone the other day running in shorts and a tee covered in studded jewels (fake, I would think...) I guess anything goes!

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    1. Jewel-covered shorts! Whatever next? (I dread to think) :-)

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  6. Love the hollyhock seed head and the marvellous ears of your hound Ted. Hubby likes the look of those black chillies-are they hot? I might have to try growing them next year for him.

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    1. We haven't tried them yet but the packets says "hot" so hopefully they will be. Mind you, M only considers a chilli to be hot if the sweat pours off him when he eats it! :-)

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  7. Great post CT. I love the hollyhock seedhead too and the pictures from the zoo were great :) Trying to decide on a chutney recipe myself at the moment :)

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    1. Seed heads are brilliant things aren't they? So interesting to look at. I've got a great green tomato chutney recipe, if you're interested I'll post it for you :-)

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  8. I agree on the darter ID. One sure sign is the legs - if you can get a look at them. Common D's have vertical yellow stripes on their legs and ruddy's are black. Ruddy's also tend to have a more bulbous end to their taily bit :) Teddy looks adorable in that photo! His ears are so fluffy!

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    1. I've learnt so much this year and a not small amount of it has come from other bloggers- always appreciated, so thank you.

      I have told Teddy you think he looks adorable in the pic and he is blushing.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x