April 19th, 2009

Fishy Circumstances

Weekend in a nutshell

On Saturday, we went on safari. Well, we drove up to Woburn Abbey Safari Park, with R. and H., for our first safari park experience. The skies were blue, the temperatures were clement, and the park was really pretty well done. Part of it is road safari, with langorous driving through giraffes, musk ox, elephants, camels, rhinos, and interesting deer variants. One tiger paced, large and muscled, paced while the other slept. A pride of lions occupied a large expanse of hill, perhaps fifteenth of them sunning themselves around the slopes. Monkeys created a continuous traffic jam, jumping engagingly from car to car and playing with each other in frantic chases. A wolf trotted down the road in front of us, while four black bears lolled in a sizable tree. The major sections of carnivores were divided from each other by sets of gates.

The "foot safari" section was like a well-done zoo, without the animals featured elsewhere. Penguins called loudly to each other. Rheas minced across the path while wallabies napped. Lorikeets swooped around in the aviary, setting up raucous competitions of calls. Lemurs played idly in the bamboo. A pair of lynx surveyed their territory. We caught a few of the demonstrations, trainers showing off their creatures. The sea lions pretended to be seals, leaps synchronously, and generally showed off. The macaws and other trained parrots were the real highlight for me though: gorgeously-plume, free-flying macaws of many-colored splendor, soaring around the open-air amphitheater, showing off their feathers to the crowd. They clearly lovely performing. One of the burrow birds ran through the demo tunnel a bonus time for the fun of it and, when the parrots clearly prefered loafing around in the sun to going back in the bird house, the trainers let them, at least for the show's duration. The whole place is well-maintained, frequently renovated and added to, from all indications. I'd be happy to go back some time. (Photos to come.)

Today, I took houseguest D. into London, which he had not previously seen, exception for BL trips. So, half-an-hour with the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin marbles, Covent Gardent, Leicester Square, Trafalagar Square, Whitehall, Houses of Parliament (with Tamil Tigers protest), London Eye, Westminster Abbey, St. James Park, and Buckingham Palace. Then back to King's Cross to put him on a train to Cambridge to add to the number of historians of twelfth century science there.