Tag Archives: Bristol Zoo

Mixed bag. Sick bag.

I think I’d have to sum half term up as mixed.

All the omens were good as Steve had booked some time off and we’d planned a couple of days in Bristol doing things that pleased everyone. Zoo, an art exhibition, a kids theatre show at the Tobacco Factory.

Valentines day was my usual dichotomy of glee at the opportunity to celebrate and decorate and dislike of the whole hallmarkedyness and idea that I’m being bidden to declare love. It’s a regular cardfest here as everyone makes cards for everyone – Ida refusing to be left out of any paint and glitter opportunities. My best card this year was from Zeph. A carefully rendered picture of a shark savaging a swimmer. I’m particularly moved by the entrails gracefully drifting down to the seafloor.

A biting indictment and perceptive summing up of love I’m sure you’ll agree. Especially from someone so young. *sigh*

These and the chocolate ladybirds Steve threw into the mix made for a cheerful morning piled into the bed which was probably the highlight of the day where I made an effort to de-mould the bathroom.

Our time away was lovely. I like that we’ve established some family rituals about train travel – like taking bagels for breakfast which we can’t eat ’til Cam and Dursley. Watching out for the llama farm and the field where there’s often deer watching the train pass with the seriousness of spotter anoraks.

The zoo was also its usual pleasure with everyone absorbed in their favourite routines. I’m pleased to see how the new stumpery, adorned with a lovely range of ferns, is blossoming and Ida spent the usual ludicrous chunk of time inspecting the ants. The sun shone as well, casting hopeful thoughts of spring and more garden time.

Although the camellia walk showed a sad array of frost burnt flowers there are plenty of new buds pressing through.

I may have attempted some kind of heavy life metaphor  if I hadn’t been shoved out-of-the-way and trampled by other people eager to get to the fruit bats. Nevermind – I always have you guys for weighty introspection eh?

There was the usual riotous joy at booking into the travelodge and then a really delicious meal out at a fantastic tapas place in the docks. Followed by a happy wander home through neon landscapes.

We went for breakfast the next morning at Bordeaux Quay on the waterfront. Gorgeous food, upmarket place – Zeph is desperate to do one of their kids cookery days. Well – he was.

Ida was explosively, spectacularly, slow-motion-horror sick right… in…the… middle of the restaurant… and then into my hair and down my back as I ran with her to the toilets. She was then sick in an art gallery, on a boat, by a boat, in Boots, at the bus stop, on the bus, in the train station, in a lift, and several times on the train home.

We arrived home – pale and wan. Everyone had sick in their hair. There was elbowing around the shower door. Never have clean clothes and the soapy scent of shampoo been more welcome.

Inevitably the rest of half-term was spent being ill.

*sigh again*

Zeph was incensed by recovering just in time to go back to school.

Still we fitted in lots of happy stuff. I finished an order that means the mortgage is achievable this month. We ‘ve had a lot of happy domestic stuff with Steve. PJ days with the papers and lazy afternoons playing board games that usually end badly, (show me one that doesn’t when there’s a three-year old involved.) Lots of story sharing and book mooching and some secretive present preparation for Steve’s birthday on Wednesday.

Also, actually a lot of strangers were very kind during what I have mentally christened; the grand vomit tour of Bristol. Thank you universe and thank you anyone who drops a pebble of kindness in the pool.

Zoo days

I read a very wise post over on one of my favourite blogs recently. It has led me to feel less as though I’m failing when I don’t post every day. This is still my aim but it’s not the end of the world when I fail. Which I think is exactly as it should be.

It’s halfterm and we’ve spent our days doing fun stuff and my evenings are engaged in will-wrestling with Ida. She’s winning. Of course. Last night she finally consented to sleep when we went to bed ourselves and she had no one left to defy. She was up at the usual daybreak and has spent the day in her usual high spirits. However, touching all near wood, she is in her cot right now. I am taking nothing for granted but maybe the novelty of bed building has worn thin?

Yesterday we went to the zoo. The sun shone and it was the most lovely day. We even got cuddling-close to a fruit bat chewing a mouthful of banana.It was very hard to resist rubbing its tummy. It blinked at us with clever teddy bear eyes and licked banana off its snout. We admired its beautiful stretchy silk umbrella wings.

We LOVE these bats I tell you. We all reminisced about the time we were in the enclosure and a bit surprised and alarmed at how they swooped very close to us – something we’d never seen before until I realised that baby Ida was covered in fruity flapjack crumbs. Oops. Nearly lost her to  a pack of ravenous fruit bats, parent fail 101. She’d of loved that, raised by a pack of bats.

I couldn’t resist the urge to put her in the patchwork dress. This is her peering across at the Gorilla island. A couple are playing chase up and over the bars and in and out of the hot air balloon basket hanging there. She was fascinated. We noticed how much more interested she was in the bigger animals on this visit. It’s as though her horizons have expanded a little. Last visit she was more fascinated with pigeons than most of the caged animals.

It’s the zoo’s 175th birthday and they’ve got loads on. They’ve also got these new photo opp models.  I’m particularly fond of the ‘tortoise’ face Zeph is pulling, successfully I think.

There was a hideous tantrum when we tried to drag Ida away from this penguin. She seems to think this is how big the “baby” ones on the pebble beach are going to get. There was also a nasty scene when another poor child wanted to post some money into his chest – I had to drag her away screeching, “Mine, mine, ‘e’s miiiiine.”

 It was  a tantrumy day. Inevitable with a tired two-year old. In between the devilment she was gorgeously, heartstoppingly, tears-to-my-eyes adorable. (Though of course the tears could have been the pain from where she’d just sunk her teeth in or kicked me in the face.)

The new meerkat environment was lovely in the sunshine. My favourite bit was Ida showing Armadillo a meerkat and the meerkat staring back – fascinated by her cuddly;

We spent a pleasant ten minutes hanging out in the underwater bit even though all the penguins were up on the beach waiting for fish. Zeph thinks we should have a front room like this, just with more fish. A bit like Nemo’s sub (à la Verne and not Disney) I love watching the light streaming down through the water – just so soothing. 

Water is generally soothing. Today we spent half an hour lying on our stomachs watching our minipond and the insects in and around it. Less as exotic but more satisfying. BT’s abounding.

I’ve just run up to check – she’s asleep IN the cot. Don’t worry, I know it’s not over and just a blip – but still – a good one.



The ice is drip dripping away. Mostly sped on its way with a daytrip to Bristol Zoo. Z has an in-service day tagged on to the end of half term so we skipped grey gloucester on the train for a day at the zoo.

As you may gather – we love zoos. I’m willing to listen to arguments about them being irrelevant remnants from a Victorian age and may have swayed nearer that way before meeting S. He thinks they’re the flashy tip of a collected scientific endeavor to conserve, convert and educate. He was a zoologist. I think he’s biased…

Anyway we’re members of Bristol Zoo and hence wring every penny’s worth from our free entry. Today was a great day skidding past all the usual suspects, saying hello to the two new lion cubs – first successful breeding of the critically endangered Asiatic lion for the zoo – and a look at the new meerkat environment – it’s good – there’s a brand new baby meerkat too – like a tiny pink rat. Ida is enchanted.

The longest time was spent in the bug house. There’s a new mantis and the jewel wasps have a new tank. All have to be examined in minute detail and discussed. Luckily S has more expertise and patience in this field than me. I like stuff but mainly because they’re pretty – my favourites are the love beetles… “quite shallow mum”  Indeed. Indeed. 

Here’s my reprobates pretending to be otters begging for fish which scared the bejezzus out of some passing people. One of my best BT’s today. That or Ida’s telling off of the woman behind us who announced really loudly that all the rats we were looking at should be killed – “bad! bad! lovely ratses!” finishing by slobbering kisses all over the glass. You should have seen the look she gave us unkempt lot as she edged her fastidious way past and teetered down the steps to safety.