JJ in London

Piranah Caiman Crocodile It's Jimmy the monkey Jean-Jacques and gorilla You go this colour on too many shrimps JJ in the new aviary walk through. I have just had such a hard day That nothing, I had a hard night
Click on the thumbnails for a larger picture Kick it over and look underneath Giving the snake a damn good thumping This one kept bouncing off my head Taking a leaf out of their book In the new monkey enclosure Meerkats Page 2

A visit to London Zoo

27 September 2005

Having left Jean-Jacques in the capable hands of the family on the Sunday I caught up with him in Slough on the Monday night after I had spent a very enjoyable day on the battlefields with some Canadians.

We had thought of going to Wipsnade Zoo which JJ had seen on television but the reality of it all was that the weather didn't look settled enough to make the trip. We settled on going to Regents Park instead. I haven't been to London Zoo in ages, in fact I think Chi-Chi the panda was still alive.

I rarely go up to London when in England and even in the space of the year since I was there with Johnny I noticed a steep rise in rail costs. The trains still run slow as well as late though, so it is nice to see that some things have remained the same - probably the wrong sort of passengers is to blame.

In an effort to get visitors to come back to London after the 7 July bombings there are a number of special offers and if you had a bus or Tube ticket you got 25% off which brings the price of a ticket down to just over ten quid.

We did just about everything there was to do in the zoo from studying all the reptiles and fish to watching the display by a number of predatory birds - one of which insisted on bouncing off the top of my head every time it flew over.

It was a bit cold so a lot of the animals were sitting about indoors or just out of sight. Of course part of the fun of being at a zoo is to spend lots of time looking through a glass screen trying to find the Lesser Spotted Microdot Mouse, which isn't actually there anyway.

There are a number of new features that Anton had talked about including an aviary which has some very rare species and a new monkey enclosure which allows you to almost come into contact with the wee creatures. There is a keeper there to ensure that you don't harm them and that they don't run off with your money for a night on the town.

The other centre is the BUGS building which deals in bio-diversity but appears to spend a lot of time with the more than four legged of this world. I was very wary of anything that even approached looking like a container of spiders - much to JJ's amusement of course.

JJ did however want to go and meet the Red Knee Tarantula and I went in with him.

JJ was quite impressed that I was within about two metres of this thing. He was not impressed to hear that she was in fact older than he was at 22 years of age. Males we were told die after about five years to ensure that there is no in breeding within the brood. By the time that the females are ready for mating the males from the same brood are all dead.

In fact the thing just sat on the keepers hand without moving at all. Even when he picked her up and turned her over she didn't seem overly concerned. When asked why she didn't bite him, the keeper pointed out that in her case, she knew that he was probably much bigger than her and thus a threat, so in fact she was playing quiet.

Other spiders though would however have attacked him immediately. These included such horrors as spitting and jumping spiders - which would have definitely precluded my being in the same room. I can even say that Mrs Not Moving Much was in great peril if she had tried anything other than lying still.

Back outside for a breath of fresh air we finished off looking at the nocturnal animals.

Pie and a pint with Alistair

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

After that we headed back into central London to meet up with Alistair and go for a wander a drink and a meal.

The first place we were in was a bar he knew from work functions - judging by the look on his face at the bill for three bottles of beer, he wasn't familiar with the prices.

The bank is in Piccadilly so we went out and around through Soho and down Charing Cross Road into Trafalgar Square. JJ picked up very quickly that Soho these days is the centre of gay activity and was very worried about meeting up with Big Ben !

We had a good meal and a drink at the Wetherspoon's in Whitehall before we all set off for home. Poor old Alistair having a breakfast conference at 06:30 hours the following morning.

Next day then was going to be Big Ben - bring your own leather.

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See also

Peter's Birthday Party

Route du Poisson