Having seen the movie We Bought a Zoo Heather, Barb, Terry and I decided we’d like to visit the actual zoo. We took a long weekend and stayed at Boringdon Hall – which we’d unhesitatingly recommend for the stay, for the food and for the staff. (We missed the stay for free deal on Sunday night – but now you know you don’t have to miss it.)
The gods graced us. It was supposed to be a pissing it down weekend. There were some downpours – whilst we were in the car. But the only weather we were out in was a thirty second hailstorm. With the wind and rain the air was sparklingly clear. And when the sun broke through it was brilliant.
Dartmoor Zoo was wonderful. We even saw Benjamin Mee, who’d written the book of the movie about himself. What struck all of us was how contented the animals were. Usually they pace about – not here; the sole exception being a recently rehomed cheetah who was slowly recovering. We drove across a very dramatic and weather-lashed Dartmoor, We walked up Hay Tor watching the weather race by and the ponies graze.
The next day we all traipsed to Pennywell, a petting zoo to get our emotional fill of piglets, lambs, shire horses and children. Rather than zoom straight back to London we headed north, to Exmoor, home of Heather’s courtesy aunt, Anne. In Dunster, a lovely medieval village. serendipitously we caught the parade coming down from the castle onto the main drag too. Finally Terry pointed the car towards London – and we set off home, via Cheddar. We didn’t see the gorge but we did buy cheese.
Driving back to London, from about Reading onwards, dark gray skies opened and let loose. We were saved from utter despondency by the double rainbow over Heston Services. Yes, Heston Services, the gateway to West London since 1968, how we love thee.
Yes, of course I have photographs. About 35 of them, in a slide show, here.