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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

How was your day?

As it dawned warm and sunny today I decided to go to the zoo. My journey was by train, tube and bus. On the bus, I heard a man ask the driver where to get off for the zoo. As he didn't seem to get an answer that satisfied him I suggested he and his family get off the bus when I did. We chatted, I showed them the way to the entrance - and there was a queue several hundred people long and no chance of getting in for at least an hour. As the man's father-in-law was blind, everyone was concerned about his welfare. Nevertheless, they had come far, and they joined the queue.
I am a Friend of the zoo, so I get to go straight in. I asked if I could take my "friends" with me. I could, so I went back along the queue till I found them, and took them to the front, where they had a five-minute wait to get their tickets. It made their day, and it didn't exactly spoil mine, either.
This automaton clock is a recent addition to the zoo. It's outside the newly rebuilt and refurbished bird house, where you can walk through a rainforest setting with free-flying birds.

The birds on the clock "escape" and reappear elsewhere on the clock.

Most of the time the toucans operate the pendulum.

The zoo has recently commissioned some sculptures to illustrate how humans and their waste are impacting on the planet and its wildlife.
This horse is made of a collapsed oak from woodland near the artist's home.

This shark is made of car hubcaps found at the side of the road.

Oops! This picture is sideways! The fish is hanging up, representing our overfishing of the oceans. It's made from galvanised pipe metal.

These bugs are made from metal from salvage yards. They are in the old Penguin Pool. It was totally unsuitable for penguins, though they had to put up with it for over 40 years. It's a listed building (gotta love architects who build these wonders that are totally unfit for purpose and get awards for them) so it can't be demolished. They keep trying to find new uses for it. This is a good one, as living creatures don't have to adapt to it.

This dance of the plastic bottles represents our senseless use of these items that last forever, bobbing about on our oceans, in our rivers, and filling up our rubbish dumps.

This face is made up largely of old CDs.

Oh yes, there were some animals, too. These Patagonian Mara are in the squirrel monkey enclosure, and sometimes wander across the path in front of you.

The keepers are clicker-training the monkeys in the rainforest exhibit. When they touch the pad attached to the clicker, they get a fruit reward. The noise level from the unruly kids in the place really dropped when they did this, making me wonder if we couldn't clicker-train them...

The baby, which I posted pictures of when it was only a few days old, still has a white tail so the parents can keep track of it.

I don't know if he's meant to, but the tapir crossed his moat and munched the vegetation on the human side.

The serval was tantalising people by sitting just behind the glass, but refusing to turn round to give photographers a decent shot!

I was really fed up with people at Gorilla Island. There are big signs everywhere saying not to use flash photography, but people persist in doing it. In the absence of a keeper or volunteer to stop them, I kept telling them to stop. One or two really didn't like my bluntness, kept saying I should speak more politely to them. Of course, it was all about them, not the animals. Selfish bastards. I got into conversation with a couple of women who really appreciated what I did, and I don't think the returning keeper was too upset by it either - she has to ask politely.
Highlight of the day was seeing the male gorilla pick up a piece of shit and eat it. I mean, he really made a meal of it, holding it in his hand and biting lumps off like it was an apple. Yum!
Halfway through the day, it started to rain. Not having a coat, hat or brolly I was getting quite wet. I decided to see what I could get in the gift shop. As usual I spent so long in there that I ended up going home during the rush hour, and standing almost all the way. I was KNACKERED!
When I walked into the kitchen, I was confronted with naughty one-eyed Beano and a baby starling trying to get out of a closed window. Luckily it had opted for a window that opens easily and is not especially accessible to the cats (because it has my tomato plants on it...) so it had survived. I let it out, then straightened up the pots, mourning the near-destruction of the best-developed plant and the promise of buds, flowers then fruit anytime soon.


tate31nym said...

I must say I enjoy your zoo pictures, as many of the animals you post about we do not have at our zoo. However, we are very fortunate to have a zoo at all, as most cities this size in the west US do not have them.

As for my day, let's put it this way, I have worked 36 hours, I still have to work two more hours tonight, and eight more on Saturday. Both of my floor managers called in sick today. So, being the boss, I get to figure it out and cover for them. And, being the boss, I am salaried and don't even get overtime pay for my troubles!

sigh. And it's raining again. Going on a week now.

But the delicious Bobby photos help to lull the frustration away. Thanks for that. :)

Drowsey Monkey said...

Fantastic photos!

Claire said...

I always love your zoo photos. The bug sculptures sure looked creepy! That serval cat- beautiful!!
I might be wrong, but I think gorillas practice caprophagia for the same reasons other herbivores do -recycling improves the overall nutritional value of their food.

Lozzie Cap said...

Wonderful pictures - just wonderful. I especially like art using recycled materials.

I hope to go to the Eden Project over the summer - I expect there are some similar photo-opportunities there too.

Mariajosé said...

Beautiful photos.

You would enjoy very much here, we do not have zoo, but we have a Park of the Nature (Cabárceno) with the wild animal in semi-freedom

JoJo said...

That clock and the trash sculptures are just brilliant!!

And as to speaking up about the flash photog, you are in good company. Brian and I were scolding people for climbing on a large tree at Yosemite, when there's a big sign that says, "DO NOT CLIMB ON THE TREE!" My parents were really embarrassed. And embarrassed b/c we were picking up trash that the public found suitable for dumping all over that beautiful park.

jazzy said...

i love recyceling art.
beautyful photos, val :) thanks so much for sharing

SnarkAngel said...

Terrific photos, Val! Most enjoyable. I believe when people enter a place like your zoo, they should be forced to sign off on a statement saying they acknowledge the rules and regs and understand that they will be FORCED OUT by security should they break even one rule ONCE! Idiots!

Regina Caschetto said...

Dear Val-
Thank you for the gorgeous photos-
What a wonderful zoo-
I loved the sculptures, especially the one of the horse, magnificent-
Thank you so much for sharing with us-

Goddessdster said...

Hey Val,

I haven't been able to visit your page in ages, but I'm glad I got to play catch-up. All kinds of lovely photos, Vincent and art-wise! Thanks as ever for the extra work you do to share your day with us.


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