We had a jaunt to Colchester Zoo this weekend or, as we’ve now renamed it, Keeping Track of the Grandparents day. Both sets were present, as were my sister and my nephew. I wanted to have a moment with them as they go on holiday in a couple of weeks and we’re house-sitting as a kind of holiday so we decided to meet in the middle. We were staying at S’s parents for the weekend, which is how Colchester ended up being the middle. Anyway, I figured that with E wanting to walk everywhere now and my nephew being two and a half and wanting to chase people and see things, it would be the children who would exhaust us. This was not really the case.
Well it was, both children were tiring. J did indeed run about a lot and E only had a few moments where she sat in her pushchair. She was happy in there at times but the barriers and walls were too high for her to see anything so I kept getting her out to show her the animals. If she was less interested in them I might not have bothered but she kept pointing them out and having a look and I felt like we needed to encourage her. So she walked most of the day too. It was everyone else who I had trouble keeping track of. We’d be walking along and I’d think everyone was there but would then realise that one set was missing. Either they’d gone after J, or stopped to take photos or gone round a corner or nook and cranny and sometimes I just had no idea what was going on. I was standing by the giraffes with mum and my sister and E, Mum said “Where’s everyone else?” I turned around, located the others, turned back and Mum and C had disappeared. Seriously it was only about 10 seconds and they’d melted into the crowd. They may have been trying out for some kind of MI5 job is my only guess.
So I felt by the end of the day that I needed some kind of lead for them all, just to keep hold of them. The other problem was that being out with S’s parents you don’t get to stop for a cup of tea at all. They’re not really tea people. For my mum, who is very much a tea person this was a problem. Though as it turns out not as much of a problem as the moment where she watched a child pull a lavender plant to pieces jumping up and down on a bee and yelling “I got it!” to his parents. Four dead bees lay on the ground. His parents did nothing. Nothing at all. At a zoo. They watched their child destroy a protected species at a zoo and did nothing. That little shit. If it was easy to throw him to the tigers I would have done.
I speak as someone who has justification to dislike stinging insects. I got stung by a wasp at the zoo. Twice. There were loads of wasps and one of them flew down my top and got a little disorientated. Who can blame it for freaking out? It stung me twice trying to get out and left its sting and half its bum behind. Bloody thing is still itching. I’m afraid not swearing in front of the children and grandparents went out the window. S’s dad went to find ice from the cafe snack bar and came back to report they had something in the first aid box for stings. The kid behind the counter was probably not used to women in their mid-late thirties bearing their breasts at him to spray but he didn’t bat an eyelid. That’s customer service for you. Unfortunately the spray was useless but a friend’s mum once told me that Sudocrem was good for this kind of thing so out of the nappy bag it came. It was more useful than the spray but the damn sting was painful for hours. According to my mother I made more fuss than a small boy who was also stung. Yeah yeah. I bet he was only stung once.
Anyway, it was a lovely day. There were orang utans.