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Dr John Hawkins

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Whipsnade Zoo

Posted on 2017/10/07 21:38:54 (October 2017).

[Sunday 24th September 2017]
Kyle, Hannah and Ralph had moved to Harpenden earlier this year, which isn't far from Whipsnade Zoo, and Kyle had suggested we all go there together today. I was very glad of any suggestions for helping to keep Erika entertained while Chie was away, so gladly accepted.

Erika and I got the train up to Harpenden in the morning (very convenient from Kentish Town, there's a direct train), met Kyle, Hannah and Ralph there, and then got a lift with them from there to Whipsnade.

Not long after arrival at Whipsnade we had a picnic lunch, looking out over the surprisingly impressive views that are to be had from there - I'd always imagined that part of the country (Bedfordshire etc) to be very flat, but the zoo is actually on a bit of a hill with the flat bits all laid out below it. It was quite a treat to be able to have picnics two days running in the second half of September and the weather was particularly nice today for the time of year.

We then went for a somewhat random child led tour of the zoo, with Erika and Ralph forging on ahead on their scooter and balance bike respectively. Kyle commented that it was interested to observe the differing attitudes to risk the two of them had - when the path came to a downhill section, Ralph would zoom fearlessly down with his feet practically up on the handlebars, and Erika would be constantly slowing herself with one foot on the ground.

Inevitably we got to the playground which consumed quite a large chunk of the afternoon and I overheard many other parents questioning why they bother to come to the zoo at all when all their kids seem to want to do is play there. I personally was happy with Erika doing whatever she wanted as long as she was having fun, and being ZSL members we hadn't paid to get in anyway.

By about 3pm both kids were starting to flag a bit, Erika hadn't had a great night's sleep either of the past two nights, what with all the disruption to her usual routines etc, and I could see she was starting to get tired and a bit grumpy. So we started to head back. There had been talk of chocolate cookies earlier, which Hannah had baked for the kids to eat at the zoo, then forgot to bring, and Erika was quite insistent that we go back to their house first to pick hers up before getting the train back to London.

Back at home, the evening was a little bit of a struggle. Erika seemed to be coming down with a cold, and was starting to develop a bit of a temperature, which combined with the fact she was quite tired meant dinner time turned into a bit of an ordeal. There were three separate teary outbursts - a very long sustained one when she managed to accidentally bite her cheek, plus she also dropped a bit of hot food on her arm, and somehow scratched her leg. I was feeling the strain a bit by this point - and was only two days in to my 11 day stint of temporarily being a single parent!

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