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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Another Visit to Whipsnade

The thought of just sitting indoors all day today because of the awful weather we are currently experiencing was not going to be repeated. Daytime television is so awful. We wanted to get out, at whatever cost. Anywhere was preferable to being in the house. It seems unfair to Carol in particular, that you look forward to your summer holiday and plan things to do and then the weather turns nasty, wet and cold. Infact, too cold for the month of July. So, regardless of the weather (and when we set out mid-morning, it was cloudy and definitely threatening rain.) we decided on another visit to Whipsnade. We put together some items of food so that we didn't have to buy stuff to eat when we got there and went to Tesco's in Oldbrook to buy sandwiches and drink. We actually had a £3 Tesco Clubcard voucher which needed using before it expired. And once we'd been to buy our picnic we drove off out of Milton Keynes on the A5 south towards Dunstable and across the Downs to Whipsnade Zoo. For the first time ever we drove into the zoo, using Carol's new Z.S.L. Fellowship to not only get our entry free but also avoid paying to take the car in (all told about £75.) It was great to be able to drive around and park in the various spaces around the site. We saw a lot of the animals in action due to the fact that the weather was cooler, in particular the lions (took some great pictures of them.) as well as hippos wallowing in their pool, rhinos as well as very close-up views of cheetahs. We ate our picnic sitting on benches near the elephant enclosure.

We couldn't believe how cold it was, considering it was July. We took coats with us and I really didn't think we'd need them. I have recently bought a hooded fleece off Amazon and imagined that I'd not be wearing it until the winter months, but I was really glad I'd taken it to Whipsnade as it was really warm and cozy as we walked around the zoo.

As we were walking through the 'Africa' section of the zoo, having been to see the cheetahs (and, goodness, how close we got to them. I don't think I've ever seen them that close, or, if it comes to that, so active. We also saw a red kite flying overhead. Quite exciting to see these amazing birds as well as the zoo animals.) Carol said she saw Brendan Cole, one of the professional dancers from the B.B.C. Saturday evening show "Strictly Come Dancing." With his wife and children, although I didn't notice as there were so many other families. Apart from that, I'm not a particular fan of this show. Just over-rated, personally, and I don't go for television 'reality' shows stuffed full of 'celebrities.' Several years ago we were on holiday in and around Northumberland and Hadrian's Wall. We drove up to Gretna Green, as we had joked when we were about to get married that we could go there to get married. We were disappointed in how naff and contrived the place was, expecting there to be only one of these places where you got married, something about a blacksmith's forge or something. It turned out that there are numerous places, all making money out of the 'marriage' industry. Anyway, we didn't stay long and then drove away and went to an outlet shopping centre just outside Gretna Green, a bit like the Bicester Village outlet we visit often. As we were walking around the shopping centre, Carol said she saw someone famous sitting and having coffee outside somewhere like a Costa or Starbucks. She said it was Elton John. I wasn't sure and we didn't stand and stare, as most people would do. We could, I suppose, have gone up to him and asked for an autograph and probably a photo, a 'selfie' with him. I wasn't sure whether she had seen him or not, but when we got back to the cottage we were staying at for the week, we turned on the television and apparently Elton John was about to do a concert somewhere in or around Carlisle or a near-by town. So, it was very likely it was him we'd seen, although he had made every effort to not be recognised. Who would imagine he'd have gone to somewhere like the shopping outlet centre for coffee, as a superstar and famous person?  I think he must have been relieved that we didn't break his cover by going and speaking to him or acknowledging him because I reckon we must have been the only people to recognise him as he was dressed in such a way, with a cap on and a scarf around his neck, that without looking closely you wouldn't have known that was who it was and also it was an unlikely place for him to be. Anyway, whatever the reason, it certainly made Carol's day!

A few years ago we managed to get free tickets for a recording of the B.B.C. Television comedy show "Dead Ringers." It was quite an event, not only getting the tickets, but going to Television Centre in Shepherd's Bush in London and being a member of the audience. As we were queued up to go into the studio, who should walk past but Gary Lineker, the former footballer and sports presenter. Carol got quite excited, but to me it was just another bod off the television. I'm not that keen on football, but I suppose he would have been working there on some show such as "A Question Of Sport." 
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