Wednesday, 31 August 2011

At the Zoo

A Grumpy family reunion was arranged for Bank Holiday Saturday, venue London Zoo, and a good time had by all.

The last time I'd been there was on a school trip. How long ago that must have been you may judge from the fact that when I came across an information board commemorating Goldie the golden eagle I realised that I remembered following the saga of his escape on the wireless.

You would not expect this post to be moan-free. So here goes.

1. The twenty quid Frau G and I saved with our train tickets and a two-for-one voucher were recouped by the Zoo as soon as we paused for a cup of tea.

2. The presentation is remorselessly populist - "we're your friends and we just want you to have a good time, there's nothing difficult to understand here". Is this necessarily what kids want? Are they really so incapable of coping with the proposition that some things in the adult world are intellectually challenging?

3. In view of the supposed shortage of jobs in the riot-ravaged neighbourhoods just a bus ride or two down the road, it was remarkable how many openings the Zoo has created for young immigrants. From the Zoo's point of view they undoubtedly make better employees than third generation benefit claimants would. But what's best for the Zoo is not necessarily best for the rest of us.

4. I was much jostled by small persons with loud voices. I don't mind this too much in itself - it is a kids' place par excellence, and if you're six you're unlikely to feel that a stranger who could be your grandfather needs an uninterrupted view of the Galapagos tortoises or the poison dart frogs as badly as you do. What did bother me was that I didn't once hear a child being urged to show consideration for others by its parents. Aware as I am of the dangers of constructing a mythical Golden Age, I am pretty sure that things were different when Goldie was on the loose.

End of moans. Notwithstanding, it's a good day out.

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