Lee (husband) had to work on Saturday morning, so I dropped him off and headed into town. As mentioned before Lee has been bitten by the photography bug and he wanted his own kit. He didn't want to go the whole hog and get a DSLR at first (and he has my SLR to play with when he wishes to), so we went down the bridge camera route. Previously I had a great bridge camera from Fujifilm so that's what we have gone for again.
I bought it in the morning, dropped it home, then continued on to Newton Abbot to visit Luisa Plaja during her book signing in Waterstones. We had a lovely chat with Luisa and she signed a copy of her latest book, Kiss, Date, Love, Hate for Chelsea. Luisa is a genuinely lovely person, with a smile that could make melt the hardest of hearts. We have known Luisa personally for a while now, and Chelsea has been very inspired by the friendship.
The rest of Saturday is a bit of a blur. I remember having a tiredness headache due to having little sleep. I remember having Chinese takeaway for dinner which was extra yummy (our local takeaway had been closed for a month whilst the owners went on holiday, we have missed them a teensy weensy bit!)
Sunday skies were disappointingly grey, and the rain was flowing first thing. This was a bit of a nuisance as Lee was chomping at the bit to use his new toy. We had planned on driving somewhere nice to take photographs - Brixham maybe, or possibly Dartmoor, but the weather proved to be a bit of a hindrance with showers throughout the day - it wasn't at all a-get-to-know-what-all-the-buttons-on-your-camera-do day. Instead, my wonderful husband finished off the main lot of painting for the dining room makeover. Just how glad am I that the ceiling is now painted and the walls look clean and fresh? The skirting still needs glossing, as does the door frame, and there are a couple of areas that need touching up, but that is of little importance right now. The big job is done, phew!
Our nature table is back in it's rightful place again after being demolished due to the painting. Whilst in TK Max, I saw a gorgeous sign just right for Easter that I fell in love with and *needed* to have. Isn't it sweet?
I shall have to find the right spot on the wall for it.
The teens went to church on Sunday morning, then walked around town with friends for much of the day. Sunday evening was a bit emotional for them for personal reasons, and I think we were all glad when bedtime came and we were able to rest our weary heads.
Then on to today.
Monday is our local group day and this week that meant a visit to Paignton Zoo. I had planned on buying an annual pass so we could return to the zoo as often as we wished to for a year. We have had one previously and we made good use of it. Often we would pop across to the zoo after lunch and stay maybe just for an hour or so, knowing we could return again and again. Obviously we had splurged out a bit on Lee's camera so the annual ticket has to wait for another few weeks, but I did manage to get in for reduced home-educators rates (on a par to what the schoolchildren pay).
The weather was really very obliging today, with the sun shining down on us for much of the time. It did get a little chilly towards the end of the day, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
We didn't manage to get around all of the animals, but did do a fair few. We even found time to listen to the 'Meet the Keeper' talk and ask questions. This time it was the Big Cat keeper. The tigers are just stunning.
Paignton Zoo has two Sumatran Tigers, a male and a female. The male is extremely important to the global breeding programme. He is currently ranked at number 1 for the best male in Europe, valued so highly for his genetic gene pool.
Such an awesomely handsome fella huh? Unfortunately the female tiger with which he shares the enclosure with is a bit of a nuisance and continuously bothers him. We watched a few tiger domestics going on, with loud roars and at one point the female swiping the male around the face with one of her huge paws. The female is off to pastures new very soon, heading to Jerusalem to retire from the breeding programme (they only have a few litters each due to the importance of keeping the gene pool fresh). One of the female tigers from Jerusalem will be sent to Paignton zoo as a replacement and there are high hopes for the then pair of Sumatran tigers to breed.
The zoo has been celebrating a number of births recently. We were very fortunate to see plenty of little (and rather long legged in one case) bundles of joy.
The baby zebra was ultra cute. He stood in his large pen looking rather forlorn and sorry for himself.
Rest assured he wasn't alone in that pen. There is an open entrance to the next pen where his mum was busily stuffing her face with hay from the hay net. He had everyone ooohing and ahhing at him, many thinking he looked so sad. Fear not! A few moments after this photograph was taken, the little fella dashed off at baby high speed around the pen to his mama. He stayed with her for a milli-second before dashing off again around the pen. Obviously someone else was full of the joys of spring as he felt the warmth of the sun rays upon his back.
We had a little hiccup when one of the children from the group lost her hat in a gust of wind and it flew over the fencing into the Camel enclosure. Fortunately the camels were inside their housing at the time and there was a zoo keeper very nearby who was more than happy to pop into the pen and retrieve the hat as he let the camels out. High drama indeed! At least it wasn't actually one of the children in the pen.
The baby giraffe was of course cuter than cute...
(That photo is taken behind plastic 'glass', hence the quality issue).
Bubba giraffe will grow up to be like these gorgeous creatures...
There is something ever so serene about Giraffes don't you think? They move with some sort of elegance despite their oversized limbs.
The dear favourite elephant is looking old and lonely since her friend passed. Quite heartbreaking to see her like this.
In stark contrast, these guys live with many friends. I could stand and watch them all day...
They show so much love for one another (in between the inevitable noisy squabbles and rough play!).
I love this picture, so full of mama and child adoration and love. Beautiful, just beautiful.
The cheetah was actually still for once. Usually he is pacing a route right around his pen, but today he was munching on meat...
When we spoke to the ig cat keeper, she talked about how different Cheetah's are to breed. You can't just chuck in a male and female together as they would fight. The female doesn't come into season regularly like other animals, instead it is the presence of a male that brings her into season. The problem is though, to evoke this reaction, they have to be living way away from each other for a while first, before putting them together. They have tried putting the male over the other side of the zoo and even that was too close. They are having to think of another plan.
The tortoises were as fascinating as ever with their slow-going take on life...
The crocodiles were awesome as per usual...
Whilst the prize for the cute factor definitely goes to this little guy...
We came home after a visit to the supermarket, and whilst the children filtered off to do their own things, I took today's photograph of Tiegan's seed.
I think Tiegan has been surprised by it's growing rate.
After dinner we read the zoo guide we picked up, and Taisia enjoyed making all the animal noises as we flicked through the pictures.
Joseph seemed to be a lot better in himself by this evening, and he ate some of his dinner - a good sign.