Wigs’ folks were keen to see us and join in the birthday celebrations. It was also his sister’s birthday, so we all got together for the weekend.
I’m up at 6am brimming with childish joy imagining the cute furry animals and bright feathers of birds. I prepare healthy and wholesome lunches so we don’t have to eat pizza and marshmallows when we’re there. We set off early at 7:45 and arrive before it opens. The zoo’s focus is entirely on wild life conservation and working with different countries to prevent the extinction of endangered species due to hunting and habitat destruction. The enclosures are large and open and straight away I notice they’ve invested in the animals’ habitats even more than before.
The new butterfly house is a fairy tale of fluttering wings. In the aviary, my eyes fill up with the spectacular colours of exotic birds and walking around the park my heart is warmed by the loving nature of the animals towards one another. When we come by the jaguar area we stop in awe. For four years we’ve looked for them but they never showed. Today both the jaguar and panther were right in front of us. It was like finding out that Elvis is alive after all!
By 4pm I’m hungry and my heels are hurting. We have just enough time to drive our van to the restaurant where we’re meeting the family. I duck down into the back, whip off my rain coat, jumper and leggings, put three layers of thermals on so I can wear a playsuit, splodge some eyeshadow on with my fingers and pencil some eye liner on so I don’t look like a wild wanderer!
I can feel the warmth of the restaurant as soon as the door opens and I scurry inside to a large glass of dry rose and hugs all round. The plates of food can’t some soon enough and once it’s infront of me I shovel the contents into my mouth, feeling my energy gradually returning. When we get to Wig’s folks house, I’m furnished with a cup of soothing rooibos tea and beautifully wrapped gifts, like treasures from Aladdin’s cave. A cosy blanket and a chat takes me to 9pm and my eyelids are drooping. I heave myself up the stairs and drift away as soon as I lay down, feeling protected and cared for.
Read about the final day of my celebrations in Final Weekend, Sunday.