Friday, April 20, 2012

... not to mention, the coolest zoo ever

These have been some action-packed days! Callum hasn't been too forthcoming with the blog content, so I guess it's up to me again. Monday was Cal's Granny's actual birthday, which we celebrated with a BBQ at Janet's sister's house. More cool family times, and Cal met his cousin Milly and her daughter Ella for the first time. Tuesday, Janet and her sisters took Granny to see a matinee of The Mousetrap down in the West End, so Callum and I took a drive to Great Missenden (about a half-hour from where we're staying), to the Roald Dahl Children's Museum and Story Centre. Great Missenden is a beautiful little village, where Dahl lived and wrote for the last 35 years of his life, and the Museum and Story Centre is a really cool place, designed to encourage playful creativity. They hand out little notebooks at the entrance for kids to write down their story ideas and Cal came up with a couple of sequel ideas, like "The Twits 2: The Twits Escape in a War Plane." The cafe there had a portable ramp that they brought out so he could get up the step to get inside.Forecasts of constant rain have threatened to derail all our plans for the second half of our trip, but luckily this is the South of England and the weather is so changeable, we've actually had no trouble; instead, we get to see the lovely spectacle of the clouds parting to reveal a gorgeous sunny blue sky, several times a day.Wednesday we took an awesome trip to Mead Open Farm, where Cal got to hang out with horses, cows, sheep, rabbits, and even had his coat nibbled by a goat. He's been running a non-stop alien invasion/robot war narrative, which is occasionally mildly disconcerting but mostly entertaining and funny as he alters it to suit the real-life occasion. Janet's old friend Una came for a visit in the evening.Thursday was our big trip into London, to take a cruise on the Thames and go up in the London Eye. The futuristic architecture along the riverbank provided fuel for Cal's robot war story - patrons of the Tate Modern took in the art blissfully unaware that they were walking the hallways of a robot factory, where Callum was preparing his mechanical hordes to overtake the city. And the London Eye provided the perfect vantage point from which to survey the destruction.Here is where I pat myself on the back for driving us there and back in the thick of London traffic without having a nervous breakdown, and where I pat Janet on the back for her patience with the difficulties of this trek.Thursday night brought a nice visit from Janet's old friend Kate.And today was our zoo trip. Another day that threatened rain but came with enough warm sun to make a zoo trip worthwhile. Cal originally wanted to visit London Zoo and set the animals free, but two successive London day trips would have probably sent his parents to an early grave ... and as luck would have it, we are just a 15-minute drive from Whipsnade Zoo, which is the largest zoo in England, on a massive plot of high land in the English countryside, and which is partly set up as a drive-through safari park where the animals run free. Wallabies and Muntjacks were jumping across the road, and when we parked for our first short walk to see bears and penguins, we were greeted by a peacock, who we followed along the footpath for a while. We got super-close to Yaks and Rhinoceros, and herds of deer and antelope running free in the "no-pedestrians" area of the park. So, Cal didn't exactly get to set any animals free, but he got to see a lot of them living in the freest conditions I've ever seen in any zoo.Our internet connection out here in the country is extraordinarily fickle, and all my pictures are in my phone, which can't seem to get online. When I get a connection, I'll upload some of the zillion pictures we took.Tomorrow: the big throwdown, Granny's Birthday Party Pt. 2!


Life Is Grand said...

I love that you guys got to take a big vacation with Callum. It sounds like he had a wonderful time!
<3 Kim

Vern Midas said...

The London Eye photo is a rad picture. Sounds like a cool zoo with that much up close interaction.

R.C. Killian said...

That is one sweet-ass top hat, which he is rocking in style.