Yesterday, we arrive at the Zoo at 4.45pm and park in the Members’ car park. The Zoo closes at six o’clock.
First we see Asim:
Suzy hasn’t seen him before so she’s excited to meet him. He’s not excited: he’s sleeping. He’s such a handsome boy.
The camels are next to Tiger Territory. Sadly, Bactrian camels are severely endangered now:
Then we visit Land Of The Lions – it’s done up as an Indian hill railway station in the Gir forest and contains four very rare Asian lions. We have an excellent sighting of Bhanu:
And two of the lionesses, Heidi and Ruby:
There are no lion cubs yet but there’s no keeper to talk to about why not: this late in the day the Zoo is deserted.
We take the tunnel under the road to the other side of the site and see the tamanduas sleeping on top of a light. They like it there because it’s warm. They’re tree anteaters so the climb up is easy for them:
“Where are Marilyn and Lento?” I ask a keeper in Rainforest Life.
“Lento is in isolation because now he’s two he’s moving to another zoo, in Norfolk,” she says.
“Oh no, I’ll miss him,” I say.
“Marilyn’s just over there, hanging from a tree,” she says, pointing to a brown, hanging, furry bundle.
“I love sloths,” Suzy says, smiling as she looks at her.
We go downstairs to Moonlight World and see the potto, bushbabies, bats and a Grey Slender Loris stepping slowly and carefully along a branch, moving one long leg at a time. Can’t take photos down there because it’s dark. The Slender Lorises are some of my favourite animals: their huge liquid eyes are lamps in the darkness.
Over to Into Africa and we see the zebras and glimpses of giraffes in their house: huge patched flanks moving behind the windows.
Oni the okapi is near her fence:
She must be on heat as her boyfriend is desperate to be with her: climbing his side of the fence in an effort to scale it:
“I didn’t know about okapis till recently,” Suzy says. “They’ve only just been discovered I think and…”
“In 1901,” I say, laughing. “Quite a while ago now.”
It’s 5.55pm and we make our way out through the gift shop. Driving through Camden, we find a parking place where we can pay up to six thirty, when parking becomes free here, and walk to Mildred’s.
Dinner is lovely. Have a stir fry with tofu and tender stem broccoli and a kale salad with fried strips of lotus, which we haven’t encountered before.
“I wish you could just work part time so we could go out at four o’clock more often,” I say. Suzy is a teacher and has to work all day and then do paperwork all evening.
“That’s the dream,” she says, eating her dumplings with the chopsticks that I still haven’t mastered aged almost forty.
We have a walk along the canal and it’s not yet dark at eight o’clock – which is great:
Suzy stays the night.
Wake up at 7.11 this morning and walk to the gym. Do four sets of all my weights:
Walk home, say goodbye to Suzy and then Mum picks me up with my case. We drive to Dolly’s house. She’s in the garden when I arrive and bounds over to me: jumping up and placing her paws on my shoulders which she is not allowed to do.
“Dolly, no,” I say, turning my back to her and crossing my arms.
“She seems to have perked up,” I say to her owner’s son, as he answers the door.
“She’s been up and down,” He says, putting her harness on.
“She must think your mum has recovered and gone out somewhere,” I say. “You’ve had a haircut and…”
“I wanted to do it before Mum died,” He says, smoothing a lock of hair behind his ear. “But I’ve done it in time for the funeral which is next Wednesday so…”
“Oh that’s a shame: I’m going away for ten days on Friday,” I say.
“I’ll get you a copy of the Order Of Service,” He says.
“Thank you,” I say. “Come On Dolly.”
Dolly rushes up to Mum in the street and rests her head against Mum’s thigh in greeting.
“Is that a bear?” Mum says, stroking her soft head.
It is drizzling on our walk but we still have a good time. Dolly seems much cheered and isn’t so clingy. She always looks around for me if I lag behind though.
There is a beautiful ceanothus in her road:
The magnolia there is still flowering:
We drive back to the parentals. Fluffball is inside on his black chair as the rain is heavier now.
Have a quick bath and lunch then pick the Fraud forms up at the bank. They have had their mail van taken away so have to post forms at the Post Office which costs me £6.60 for next day signed for. It’s a cheek but can’t risk them not arriving and Barclays taking more than four hundred pounds back out of my account (the flights and insurance that the fraudster paid for using my details).
At the dentist, for the first time ever have a bit of tartar on lower teeth. This is because my mouth ulcer caused by the cancer treatment is so painful just in front of those teeth. Dentist advises me to purchase a Curaprox Ultra Soft toothbrush which is a manual one, and an anaesthetic mouthwash called Iglu. Get that in the pharmacy next door and it stops ulcer hurting. It contains Lidocaine. Order the special toothbrush from Amazon and it will arrive tomorrow.
Just watch a Mel Wells video replay of her yesterday’s webinar on Reclaiming The Feminine, which is good.
Now must take some clothes out of suitcase.
We have spaghetti for supper tonight – yay!
Happy Tuesday everyone!
*1992. By Ian McEwan. Literary fiction novel.