Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Sunday, 26 October 2014

A Trip to London Zoo

It has been many, many years since I was last at London Zoo in Regents Park.  I can remember Guy the Gorilla still being alive and enjoying watching and learning about the exotic animals, especially the larger predators as well as the large snakes.  If only the memories could still be real years later.  Is it because we grow taller and wiser that we sometimes feel a bit disappointed when the venues are not so impressive?  However, the promised rain kept away and Miss Teen and Miss B came along for another trip down South so that I could show them one of my regular haunts as a child.  So, let's see some of the animals that came to say hello - just be careful not to upset the tiger!
We had been trying to get a clear view of this beauty for hours and kept going back to the Tiger enclosure but due to wired fences, overgrown trees and shrubs, other enclosures in the way, it was so, so hard to see them even with the naked eye.  Just before we left, we finally got a chance to see this magnificent creature.  There was good visual entertainment to be had with the penguins though.  However I could have looked at this little fella all day!
Even though I thought at any moment his sleepy slumber would knock him off his feet...
Our other favourites had to be the meerkats.  Unfortunately once again due to the reflective glass I had to lift the camera up to get any kind of photo, but it certainly got this one's attention - he is even smiling...
... and this one...
Near the entrance of the zoo is this 1920's building, the Reptile House...
I used to love going through the doors here, to be face to face with the large snakes.
Even the famous scene in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone was filmed here.  Things have changed as you will see from the notice next to the exhibit since the film, and the snakes were a whole lot smaller!
I tried to get a shot of the items inside but with the highly reflective glass it was impossible.  So outside we went and along to see the Gorillas.  After looking at the Silverback inside (again highly reflective glass so I couldn't get a decent photo), I went outside to see what else was going on and was happily followed by the magnificent creature before he disappeared into the long grass.
This cheeky fella on the other side of the Gorilla's enclosure was not happy with the leaves inside his area so kept foraging for any leaf that had some greenery on it.
And now some colour, the beautiful pink flamingos...
... and this interesting looking Eastern White Pelican.
Not the best looking of the birds, but I loved the different textures of his face.
Then onto another enclosure, this time to walk with spider monkeys.  Well, I say walk, but in fact they were above our heads and looking from the bushes to see if they could take something from us!
They were moving so quickly, but this little one stopped for a second.
Now time to see the kangaroos in the Outback section.
The Africa Section was next but there was only the giraffes to be seen.  This one was very happy to pose though, poking out his blue tongue for the camera ...
Over to the aviary now which was full of Sacred Ibis.
They were feeding on dead rats... no didn't take photos of those!
To go over to the aviary means that you cross the Canal, which was a welcome break to watch the river activity.
And yes, there has to be a canal boat!
It's a busy canal...
So, time to say goodbye to London Zoo, a little disappointed I have to say.  We will return one day to a zoo, but it will probably be Colchester's Zoo which is more open and has far more space and opportunities to see the animals.  They don't seem as bored there.

Our day finished with a walk in Camden Town.  The evening was drawing in but to see the lights gradually coming on in London town was just great!
We will re-visit this place along with the markets, lock and fantastic shop very soon!
But now I am waiting for my laptop to be returned (the blue screen of doom came to visit it!!), and next week both Miss Teen and me will re-visit the Tower of London's Installation to hear one of our ancestor's names being read at the Roll of Honour at sunset (my last visit is here).  Yes, camera will be with me... and tissues for when his name is read nearly one hundred years after his death.

Until then, have a wonderful week!!

Take care.

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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Lunch with the Swans

Well, another week has passed in a blink of an eye and we are fast tracking to the end of October.  Is it me, or does the momentum of September and October get quicker each year?  I have been chasing my tail all week (what's new? I hear you say) but there was a brief moment when the sun shone so I decided to get away from the office and take a short walk to the River Nene to visit the swans for an hour  Want to come along?  
It was surprisingly quiet of people when I chose the bench to sit at.  Only one other person was sitting a few benches down, just gazing at the swans on the river.  As I sat down, I spent a moment drinking in the colours that surrounded me, especially up against a beautiful blue sky.
In front of my bench was an old rustic narrow boat.  It had seen better days, but this was clearly a loved and lived in vessel, getting ready for the cold days and nights ahead.
A commotion could be heard on the river and it didn't take a detective to work out what it was.  This swan clearly wanted everyone to know that it was time for a deep clean.  The violence and vigour of his wings as they crashed against the water, followed by the serene grooming was wonderful to capture and I became aware that I was this lonely middle aged woman smiling widely on a park bench!  Oh well, it made people keep a wide berth when they walked away.  Have you ever done that?  Suddenly realising your expression!
After the spectacular display, the quiet elegance was returned, with gentle lapping of webbed feet against the smooth rippling river.
It's feathers were now clean and looking like mounds of snow on a mountain side.
Lunch consisted of a Greggs sausage roll - oh go on then, maybe there were two in that paper bag!!
They were still hot, giving me extra time to savour my surroundings, including building work noises and the shrill noises of the geese nearby.  The other reason for buying two, yes there was a reason, was that there were more pastry to leave and feed these elegant birds.
Slowly they came to finish off my lunch scratchings, quickly joined by seagulls, geese, pigeons etc etc.  This little one though was having a bit of an afternoon rest!
He seemed to be happy enjoying the narrow boats that were a little further up the river.
Once finished, I headed back to work looking across the park which had colourful lorries, full of rides that were being packed away to move onto their next venue.
I love walking around these ancient walls of Peterborough Cathedral, and seeing the different seasons in progress.  The Cathedral is coming up to its 900th birthday and has certainly seen its fair share of all weathers through the years.
My walk to the office takes me past the Monks Kitchen, the oldest part of the precincts and was the place that the Monks prepared food all those centuries ago.
You can imagine how old this ancient graffitti is!  Those monks!  Tut tut!
And the ancient carvings.  I can never be tired of looking at these old, weathered carvings and hoping that they will be there in another 900 years.
But, time was up and I had to return to the office.  The view from the window is very different now  that the scaffolding has been taken down, so it means unfortunately I can't climb up again and touch those turrets and windows (for those new followers who are wondering if I've gone mad, my post on this is here - don't forget to wear your hard hat!).
Just an hour to refresh the batteries, take in a good walk and share lunch with the swans.  Perfect!

London Zoo beckons us for our trip next week!  I haven't been for years so counting down the days.

Thank you so much for your visits and comments last week.  My dad is very slowly improving, but this is taking longer than expected.

Have a lovely weekend and week.

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