Going to the zoo…later

It appears that London Zoo (I refuse to call it by its more recent name ‘ZSL – London Zoo’) has finally worked out how to get adults interested in zoology. Basically, it boils down to keeping the park open after office hours; banning children; encouraging grown ups to act like children; and providing booze. Not really rocket science…

Zoo Lates is a rather genius idea which turned out to be a sell-out success last summer. The premise really is quite simple. Close the zoo to its usual clientele (families) and market it at 20-somethings who want to connect with their inner-child, while drinking Pimm’s and dressing up as their animal of choice. When tickets went on sale this summer, quick thinking Jenni had already organised a group of zoo-goers and a suitable date, meaning we got our tickets for a bargainous £10 each. One of the main reasons why I haven’t been back to the zoo since I was a Brownie was because I had it in my head as being prohibitively expensive (a glance at the website reveals this wasn’t a misconception – an adult peak ticket costs £23.00), so £10 for a night out seemed like a good deal.

You could, if you wanted to, spend your evening at the zoo rushing around looking at all the animals before their 9pm bedtime. Or, you could decide to go to a few specific events – like the Giraffe Q&A (I’m gutted we missed that as I’ve always wanted to know what noise giraffes make, and perhaps one of the giraffes could have told me). Or, you could ignore all the animals and simply drink Pimm’s, have your face painted and dance at a silent disco…

We did something of a combination of the three. We kicked off with a picnic that probably went on too long, but we were over excited at being reunited for the first time in months. Pimm’s was drunk while sat in Pimm’s branded double deckchairs. Adults dressed as animals were laughed at (as were men in suits and women in stilettos, it was a zoo!) and animals were visited – but we left too little time before bedtime. Basically, we returned from one of the world’s best zoos having seen penguins, giraffes, a zebra and some otters – not really an impressive tally, but the penguins and giraffes were terrifically exciting!

The penguins were especially exciting and we learnt an awful lot. (In the photo above, the two women in green shirts are demonstrating how tall an Emperor Penguin is – did you know they were that big?!) We even made slight fools of ourselves by waving at Jenni & Gill’s mum via the webcam (she’s a big fan of the penguin beach webcam, so was warned when we were nearby so she could be ready to watch), but we didn’t volunteer to dress up as penguins – unlike others.

Talking of making fools of ourselves, the posting of photos from the evening on Facebook has revealed just how idiotic I can be at times. While taking the photo below, Gill suggested that we all act like tigers. As you can see from the photo, only I responded to the suggestion. As everyone else was behind me, I had no idea that I was going solo until the photo appeared online. Joyous. Always love looking like a total twit! (And yes, I know I don’t look much like a tiger either.)

Can I add that the drink in my hand is not mine and I had actually consumed no alcohol at this point.

Next summer, we have a cunning plan…
1. It will be better weather. (Yes, it will!)
2. We either won’t eat till later, or we’ll eat before we get there – picnicking took up valuable animal watching time.
3. We still won’t dress up as animals, but I’ll check I’m in the majority when doing animal impressions…

Classic Friday Fun with a French twist

As it’s been so long since I last managed a Friday Fun post, I thought I’d kick off this week’s with some classic, end of the week, fun – namely cute animals. There’s been a few of these doing the rounds lately, but I’m sure they’ll bring some amusement, regardless of whether you’ve spotted them before.

Firstly, 33 animals that are extremely disappointed in you. It had me at #1 – the disappointed rabbit:

Secondly – and, if possible, even cuter – 33 animals with stuffed animal versions of themselves. I was a particular fan of this pig:
If cute animals really don’t do it for you (craziness), what about some amusing humans? Specifically, amusing humans of a female gender and of British/Irish nationality who are on Twitter. The Huffington Post UK has done a good job of rounding up 50 of the funniest female tweeters and then created an amusing slideshow of top tweets, which I’d have included below, had they enabled it to be embedded… 
Finally, this post wouldn’t really be complete without some reference to my recent holiday (fear not, there’s still enough blog fodder for most of next week’s posts too). I’ve spent a couple of days frustratingly trying to get the hang of iMovie, and am now on my way to producing beauties akin to Jenni’s, but for now I’m satisfied with simply having combined three clips of car driving in Paris. I know that doesn’t sound fun, but if I can explain that the first clip involves the Arc de Triomphe (a multi lane roundabout with no logical rules) and the others were filmed when we were stuffed into the car like sardines, you might begin to understand the comic element within. [There are also more French videos to follow – including one so epic it’s too big to be transferred to me via Dropbox. You have been warned…] 
Anyway, this details some of the challenges faced in Parisian driving… 
(Warning: the first clip contains language some viewers – and French people – may find offensive. Otherwise, there’s just spontaneous ‘Yeehahs!’ and singing…) 

Cheesy Friday Fun

Classic fun, I believe, should include children and animals – after all, their behaviour is difficult to control and thus moments of comedy are usually spontaneous and utterly beautiful. So, despite it being hugely cheesy, here are three fabulous child/animal related moments to brighten up your day:

1. Kitten being hugged by a cat
Awwwwwwwwwwwwww! It’s a teeny-tiny kitten being hugged by its mummy! Awwwwwwwwwwwwww!

[Side-note: have just remembered that my friend Katie’s recently adopted cat gave birth to some teeny tiny kittens last week and I’m going to Bristol to visit her tomorrow. Maybe I’ll get to see the super cute kittens! Maybe they’ll be asleep and need hugging!]
Cat excitement now ends.

2. Small child catching their first fish (and naming it ‘Free’)
I adore this – I love the irony of his name for his first catch; the fact that he’s scared of touching it; and most of all, that he thinks the fish is beautiful.

3. Child Vs Otter race
This is pure, spontaneous genius. I love otters generally (it’s a niche joke, but I only have to hear the phrase “make me an Otter I can’t refuse” and the giggles are unstoppable…), but who knew that they could be so canny?

If children and animals really aren’t your idea of fun, what about actual cheese – and fonts? Why not waste a few hours of your Friday by playing Cheese or Font. Turns out I know neither my cheeses or my fonts well enough, clearly I need font top trumps in my life…

Friday Fun on Friday 13th

I honestly love Blogger – it’s a free platform that’s brought me joy for many years – but how I do not love it when it goes wrong. Thanks to some maintenance issues that brought the entire Blogger world crashing down for two days I couldn’t post Friday Fun as usual, so this is retrospectively posted while I kill several hours in my office on a Saturday afternoon. [Don’t ask.] 

A crucial member of my family is our rather gorgeous black Labrador Megan. While her arrival caused a certain amount of upheaval in my life, she has brought with her a high level of amusement – not just her reaction to the EastEnders theme tune, or her young-dog habit of eating socks and bras, but the fun you can have when a mute, yet communicative creature joins your household. Animals can be exceptionally expressive – we always know when Megan’s depressed (she hides when suitcases appear in the hall) and she does a brilliant line in “you know you love me and want to give me that apple core” facial expressions. I’ve often wondered what she’d say, if only she could talk – while my sister would take this a step further and speak for Megan, using the voice of Cartman from South Park. Honestly, utterly hilarious.

Anyway, this came to mind when Becki shared her discovery of Talking Animals on YouTube – beautiful:

As well as loving (certain) animals, I also obviously love all Christians (hmmmm), especially those with musical talents and especially those that are young. However, I may draw the line at this young man:

Libby, knowing my love of Christian parodies, sent me this last week and I truly appreciated it, until I made a disturbing discovery… Looking over to the right-hand side of YouTube, where it suggests related videos, was a song with the same name – ‘Nu Thang’ [oh help!] – but by one of my favourite and well-respected Christian bands. I own at least two, if not three, DC Talk albums and had found them to be significantly less cringeworthily cheesy than other bands of the genre – but this?? Oh dear. My only solace was found in the fact that that the album on which it featured came out in 1990, and to be honest we should all be forgiven the poor life choices we made in the late 80s, early 90s.

Unfortunately, fun has otherwise been thin on the ground – I blame a week of working too hard. However, I do have a funny story to share from last night, sorry, from tonight – I just know in advance that tonight’s going to be a good night… [Curse retro-blogging!]

Friday Fun – a truly random assortment

This week’s Friday Fun is being composed in haste, so is simply a collection of the week’s highlights – you are therefore spared my try-hard tenuous links.

First up, something beautiful, musical and involving a public transportation map – it’s like a Christmas and birthday combined! Found via the ever amusing Dave Walker, this is an audio-visual representation of the New York subway system at work: http://www.mta.me

You might possibly be amused by a Twitter exchange that followed (or not…):
LC: “Would be interested to see a London one, though parts would go silent during the obligatory rush hour signal failure.”
DW: “Yes, London would have to include (for instance) Circle line train stopping for an irritatingly long time at Aldgate, etc”
AM: “You know that’s only so the driver can get out and pee? I think they should have spare drivers for such purposes”
DW: “Really? They must have very ineffectual hand dryers or some such.”
LC: “Don’t start suggesting there should be spare drivers or no loo breaks – they’ll call for more strike action!”
DW: “All I’m calling for is for the staff conveniences to be near platform 1 and with effective hand dryers.”
Disclaimer – I’m not sure that all the information contained within the above is factually correct.

At the end of the week, what else could be more amusing that funny animals? How about a funny Hollywood actor like Tom Hanks? Ok, so he’s not that funny (except maybe occasionally in Big) but when you combine him with animals – even unfunny animals – it becomes hilarious. And thus, the world has given us “Tom Hanks is a Lot of Animals”:

I particularly like the variety of Tom Hanks’ faces used in these photos.

Finally, something for all you Musical Theatre obsessed First Aiders (this could be a post in itself as it simultaneously fascinates and bizarres me) – the St John Ambulance have formed a partnership with popular West End show Wicked in an effort to educate primary school children on the importance of First Aid*. 
Yes, First Aid and the West End. But it gets better, I quote from the website:

“Asking ‘What would Elphaba do?’ is an effective way to encourage pupils to think about the values that underpin first aid.”

Quite frankly, ‘What would Elphaba do?’ has been my personal mantra for some time. I’d like to see the campaign launch a wristband (preferably violent green in hue) bearing the letters WWED so that I can have a physical reminder at all times. If you spot me looking green, wearing black, carrying a broomstick and jumping on furniture while singing too loudly, then I’ll have taken the mantra a little too far… 
*Incidentally, First Aid is extremely important – I do not intend to undermine this. My Grandad drove an ambulance you know!