Living with Cerebral Palsy 🍋🍋

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

We're going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo.....

We live 25 minutes away from the (recently voted) best Zoo in the UK, Chester, but Elin has never been. I KNOW. Six years old and never been to the Zoo. I bet you feel like ringing Social Services. I feel like ringing them myself to be honest. I'm not really sure what brought about this strange Zoo-absetenance. It could be worry about the dreaded 'sitting in her chair' situation, as to get around Chester Zoo is quite a walk. It could be the price for a family of four (woah). Maybe it's because I go every year with my Nursery tots and Chester Zoo is synonymous for me with risk assessments, repeated head-counting, multiple trips to the loo and fear of exuberant boys toppling into the Lion enclosure. Either way yesterday was Elin's first ever trip to the Zoo. It was my birthday and it seemed like a good way to celebrate. I love the Zoo, so long as I don't think too much about the animals forced out of their natural habitat, on the other hand I think Chester Zoo was voted the best Zoo in the UK mainly down to it's conservation efforts and the vast, 'as natural as possible' enclosures provided for the animals. (Apparently the UK is waaaay ahead of some European Zoo's who leave even the biggest animals to stalk up and down cage's all day long. I really wouldn't want to see that).
Anyway off to the Zoo we trotted. Needn't have worried about the cost as it turned out, very generously they let me in for free as Elin's carer. Also on the Monorail and the Water-Bus, the lovely ticket men assumed Elin was under three (probably because I was carrying her) so let her on for free!! Ok so maybe  this was slightly dishonest of us but was my birthday! So it was allowed :-)
The Zoo was packed and it's easy to see why, they have some amazing animals and great viewing points for all sizes and ages. Elin's 'good sitting' spell from last week had been broken, so there was lots of hokey-cokeying in and out of her chair at first. However after a while she settled and managed half an hour at a time roughly, which was great. Her favourite's were the Giraffe's (OF COURSE), the noisy Monkey's, the Butterfly House and the Monorail and Water-Bus. She was thoughtful in the Bat House and a little suspicious of the assault on her senses and who can blame her? Let's just say  'Eau de Bat Poo' is probably not a scent Calvin Klein will be releasing anytime soon (eucccchhhh)
For this trip I learned from my mistake at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and took a packed lunch!! Yes that's what happen's when you turn 33, you start taking packed lunches everywhere because you're 'not paying THOSE prices!!' We were very lucky and didn't have a drop of rain all days got to enjoy a bit of a picnic on the grass. Elin enjoyed having a little sunbathe. During this time, she met a little friend. A little boy came over to us, he must've been two and a half ish I think. His mum and Dad weren't far away. He liked the look of us and got chatting. "What's that?" he said, pointing at Elin. "Ermm...that's Elin's Giraffe mask" I said thinking he was pointing at that. He continued to scan Elin from head to foot, his own head cocked to one side. I realised he may have been looking at Elin's splints, not the mask. "She...." he paused. "She get better soon?" I was kind of flawed that such a young lad had noticed Elin's condition, especially since she was on my knee. I suppose the splints are a bit of a give away. "Yes, she'll get better soon" I said, in the absence of anything else to say. "Better soon" he repeated, satisfied. Before I had time to dwell on this I asked him which animals he had seen and his little face lit up. "Lions" he said "Raaahhhhh!!!!" Now, at this, Elin laughed her little head off. I told our little friend that she liked him so he did it again "Raaahhhhh!!!" he roared, delighted, and Elin laughed again.  It was the cutest thing ever.The two repeated this little game until the boy's Dad came to get him, no doubt slightly concerned about why his son was roaring in the faces of complete strangers for a good five minutes. I was glad we had decided to make the most of the sun with our picnic and not sit in a cafe or we definitely would not have met little Ethan. Thanks for coming over little dude, you brightened up our day :-)
I'm also glad to report that Elin was allowed on both the Monorail and the Water-Bus boat ride. In Blackpool last week, she wasn't allowed on anything at all, not even riding with me on the baby rides such as the Carousels or the Tea Cups ride because of 'Health and Safety' (she had to be able to get up and walk independently if the ride broke down they explained. I didn't like to point out that the teacups don't go anywhere and don't leave the ground but hey ho). She loved the Monorail because of the sound of it and also the way the light was dappling in from the tree's through the windows. She loved the boat I think because it was so gentle and slightly breezy and she loved the sound of the motor.
My favourite part of the day by far were the Giraffe's they're just so majestic, and we have a complete Giraffe obsession in our house already anyway. My sister has seen them 'in real life' on safari in the Serengeti and I am soooo jealous. But for now this was the next best thing. Elin enjoyed introducing Sophie to her family (ha, ha) and we got some amazing photographs.
Speaking of which I think I have bored you enough, so it's time to leave you with some pics of our lovely day. Until next time, blog fans!!

We found a happy little Giraffe at the Zoo!

Selfie-time. Couldn't resist.

Elin and the Elephants!!

(Above) Elin checking out this guy (below)

Penguins!! Can you see Daddy and Elin in this shot??? :-)

I can see another one Mum!

Elin in the Butterfly House checking out the fruit for them to feed on.

Paul's cracking camera get's another good shot!

Yaaaay! The Giraffe's!! How beautiful are they??

We think this might be Sophie's Mummy...


Good sitting again. Goodbye Zoo we'll come again!


Footnote: A quote from Robin Williams, who has nothing to do with Chester Zoo or Elin but who's suicide we awoke to hear about on my birthday before we went to the Zoo and actually which made us feel very sad, as we are huge fans and I have loved him since I was a child. What a terrible waste of an amazing man and what a talent to be able to bring people such joy through comedy and laughter. I don't know much about his personal life of course but I do know a little something about laughing through pain and  how tough that can be sometimes. I can only hope his high profile death can bring about changes in the lives of others battling with depression, or related conditions, because if one of the most well respected and talented men on the planet can feel like there is no way out then perhaps it is a much more common problem than the taboo of depression suggests.



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