Le Day Off

I was feeling a bit lost today. It’s a day off in the Tour de France so there was no racing to watch this afternoon. Mind you, after a particularly exciting start to Le Tour last week, the weekend’s stages in the Pyrenees didn’t seem to provide much actual racing, either. All but one of the main contenders seemed uninterested in chasing down any breakaways and were content to plod home (relatively speaking) and maintain the status quo. Everyone seems to be waiting for a showdown, hopefully in the Alps but at least up the killer Mont Ventoux on the penultimate day. Somebody should inform the team managers that cycling is of itself worth absolutely nothing and that the entire team becomes worth something only when/if entertainment is involved. Fortunately the Pyrenean scenery was stunning in the glorious weekend sunshine. Let’s hope a few flat sprint stages back across France in the coming week inject more life into the proceedings.

Since we also had clear calendar and were effectively thumb twiddling, we decided to brave the forecast showers, some of which might be heavy, to go and see if there was any activity at Whipsnade Zoo. It would, after all, be one of our last chances for a civilized visit as it is fast-approaching the time when it becomes a no-go zone courtesy of the summer school holidays. I can’t help but think that Wimbledon fortnight was summer and that, since the weather now seems to have resumed normal service, the poor little rugrats have rather missed the boat, but I digress once again …

An emu clearly having a bad hair day Most of Whipsnade’s inmates appeared similarly unimpressed by our blistering July temperatures and were mostly subdued. A group of people on what I imagine was a keeper experience day did get the small-clawed otters jumping around with excitement as they threw them pieces of dismembered rat for lunch. I decided I didn’t really want a picture of a painfully cute small-clawed otter rather ruining its image with a rat tail dangling from its mouth as it chewed its way through the pelvic girdle. Patience was rewarded by a decent photo opportunity as we made our way towards the exit past a few emus that were clearly having a collective bad hair day. Mind you, the rain probably wasn’t helping their coiffures.

Sail-finned lizardAfter the emus became bored with posing, we added a completely new critter to our collection when we made a rare excursion into the so-called Discovery Centre, which seemed like a reasonable place on a relatively quiet day to escape the cool and damp. In a pleasantly calm and quiet atmosphere, an impressive sail-finned lizard was basking under its sun lamp, and who could blame it. I didn’t really notice the stunning blue colour of its eye until we returned to process our efforts.

We’ve had more interesting days at Whipsnade but I did come away with something. 😉

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