Monday, May 12, 2008

Gardener’s World And Monkey Nuts

What a weekend!

Task 1: Karen and I purchased and collected a brand spanking second-hand car trailer from Meriden – our latest acquisition from eBay. You know you’re going up in the world when you buy a car trailer. You know you’re going down in your own estimation when you start getting trailer envy on the journey hone... “Hmm, they’re trailer is a lot bigger than ours...”

Task 2: We spent practically the entire day on Saturday using the newly acquired car trailer to ship the mountain of junk, trash, garden waste and assorted detritus that we’d cleared out of the shed the previous Monday down to the local tip. Three round journeys of approximately 120 minutes each. By the end of it Ranulph Fiennes had stomped off to mountains new and I was covered in bruises, lacerations and puncture holes... but enough of Karen’s “incentivizing techniques”...

Task 3: Far more enjoyable. We took the kids to Twycross Zoo on Sunday. Tom isn’t old enough to really appreciate either the entertainment value or the dodgy politics of imprisoning animals from different habitats in big cages in the UK but seemed to enjoy the experience of new sights and new smells greatly. Ben quite enjoyed it too but Karen and I both suspect that his personal Holy Grail was the acquisition of an ice cream at the end of the visit. This was confirmed by his opinion that looking at the animals was “all very enjoyable but you wouldn’t want to spend all day doing it”.

Ah kids. If it’s not got a joy-pad attached to it, it just ain’t cool.

Twycross for me, at least, was something of a trip down memory lane. (Cue brass band music akin to that used in the Hovis adverts of old...) When I was a young nipper my Nan and Grandpa took me to Twycross Zoo with my sister and I had a great time looking at all the monkeys but my overriding memory is that of buying a rubber spider on a piece of elastic. It was quite a big spider as I recall and covered in small rubber spines that made it seem both furry and springy at the same time. The elastic meant I could also bounce it quite menacingly into the face of any adult female that came within range (I guarantee I didn’t get my face wiped with a spat-in hankie that particular day, no sirree). Anyway, boys being boys – and me being a boy – the spider was taken on many joyous trips to school where me and my best friend at the time, John McCrae, would throw it to each other as high as we could across the school yard. Such fun and larks lasted until the flying spider found itself at last flung over the school wall and into the garden of one of the houses that abutted the school grounds...

Never to be seen again.

I mourned that spider for a good week. They don’t make them like that anymore I can tell you (I know; I’ve looked).

But now I am a man. And I have a car trailer instead.

Growing up sucks.

15 comments:

-eve- said...

Hehehehe. Congrats on your car trailer! You're moving on indeed....! Choosing it together must have been so exciting :-)

Ben expresses himself so well! AT any rate, now you know what doesn't interest him; no need for many more trips to the zoo (I think the problem is that you don't feed the animals. That's the fun of zoos here; we bring bananas for the elephants, bread for the giraffes, etc... )

Steve said...

Thanks Eve. The next step is a winnebago... but I think we're a good few years away from that at the moment.

No interaction with the animals was permitted at all at the zoo. We looked at them and they looked at us. It certainly didn't have the atmopshere that I recall it having as a kid but it was good for Ben to see some live wild animals up close and get an idea of the sizes (and smells) involved!

Tenon_Saw said...

Twycross zoo? Don't get me started. I first took a class of pupils there when I was an NQT some 30 years ago; behind my back they started pelting the crocodiles with coins. On a return visit (now at another school) only last year I found the reptile house has gone but they had some amusing monkeys. Zoos, not my idea of a great day out.

TimeWarden said...

Ben's single-mindedness of purpose, regarding the purchase of his ice cream, must've put a smile on both your faces, though, Steve. It certainly did mine because it reminded me of my brother when he was younger and, now, his son, too, who had to have the latest Kaiser Chiefs CD only, then, to leave it on the bus! Sounds like it was an interesting day in more ways than one!!

Steve said...

Hi Tenon_Saw, I can certainly confirm that there was no reptile house at all. I'm glad to say that I didn't see anybody pelting the animals with pound coins either... a sure sign a recession on the way! The elephants and the giraffes were cool but the monkeys were so boxed in behind glass enclosures a lot of the time it was impossible to get decent photos. The whole zoo experience seemed strangely muted. I do wonder if part of that is a more general acceptance of the opnion that keeping animals caged is morally reprehensible.

Hi TimeWarden, it certainly wasn't amusing at the time. We made the mistake of telling him that if he was good he could have an ice cream at the end of our visit... he then nagged us continually to have the ice cream and kept wanting to leave. No sense of anticipation!

Reluctant Blogger said...

Ah yes, Twycross Zoo - I remember it well. I was probably one of those females at whom you thrust your rotten spider!

I would be a bit like Ben actually - I like to look at one or two animals but when you have seen a few feathered, furry and slimy things - you've sort of done it really. Not that it would be an ice cream I would be hankering after - more a nice ice cold beer!

Remember not to drive in the fast lane of the motorway with your trailer.

Steve said...

Hi Gina, you'd have been quite safe from Harry (the spider) provided you weren't coming at me with a moist hankie!

Give Ben a few years and I'm sure an ice cold beer will be on his personal goal list sure enough...!

As for the trailer, just when I think we're keeping up with the Jones's I now realise it's just gonna slow us down...! ;-)

Matthew Rudd said...

Trailer? Pah! You'd be amazed what you can fit in a Mondeo if you put the seats down...

Steve said...

Matthew, you don't fool me with your thinly disguised trailer envy...!

Flaming Nora said...

Next step will be an even bigger trailer then a bigger car for the bigger trailer. You just wait and see.

The Sagittarian said...

Can't see myself towing a trailer behind the Morris!! Are you going to have a trailer party, or would that be too trashy?

Rol said...

I had a spider like that when I was a kid.

Apparently, if you buy a bunch of grapes from Asda at the moment, you'll get a free tarantula. Perhaps it's time to relive those memories!

Steve said...

Nora, on the way home last night I spotted a range rover towing the mother of all trailers - so big the trailer had four wheels! I was practically salivating...

Amanda, are you accusing me of being trailer trash?!

Rol, thanks for the tip off. I have a strip of elastic at the ready even as we speak...

Daisy said...

oh steve...while growing up sucks you wouldn't have the stories to tell about the kids and the trips you are making...just think, you are making their memories and one day they will write about you as well...perhaps the title will be "my dad and his trailer"

Steve said...

Too true, Daisy, just as long as the title of the essay isn't "Where it all started to go wrong - my dad and his trailer"!