It seems that the Cheetahs have been thinking hard about the world around them over the last couple of days. Their keeper has been so very, very tired to the point that he has turned into a flailing rage of arms and legs (for those of you yet to reach this stage, never under-estimate the sheer exhaustion that the first term in Reception can cause!), refusing to eat and generally being quite revolting – but the distraction technique of asking about the Cheetahs still works, and for that I am extremely thankful.
The need to build for the Cheetahs continues to motivate their keeper, at pretty much every waking moment. Early on Saturday morning it was demanded that I make them a proper diving board (for them to dive into the surf pool) although it quickly became apparent (as I built them a viewing platform) that the surfing pool was quickly morphing into a recycling depot – with separate Duplo windows for cans, bottles, paper and compost to be thrown through. We haven’t worked out a way of segregating the recycling once it’s landed yet – maybe we’ll come to that.
We spent another afternoon at Whipsnade Zoo – just Giles and I – getting to meet Rhubarb & Custard, the European Lynx kittens we have been trying to see since May and checking up on Hula Hippo. We got to see 7 of the resident cheetahs (looking particularly handsome as their fur thickens for winter) and discovered from fantastic informer Catherine (how she must dread us arriving, my children always have a question) that the ostriches can only run at 45mph so the cheetahs will always win in a race. We haven’t dared ask why the cheetahs always poo on the top of their rock and what they do with the feathers from the chickens they get fed.
Giles’s Cheetahs weren’t going to come with us (the Banana People and Dinos spent all day asleep) but as usual, changed their minds, hopped on their skateboards and whizzed up to join us. We spent most of the afternoon following G’s cheetahs around – visiting the animals that they wanted to see (Chocolate the European Moose and his mum Minni, the otters and the Mongoose in the Discovery Centre) and collecting yet more conkers. These conkers are going to be footballs for all the cheetahs when they’re playing in G’s bedroom – and having collected the best part of a kilo of them in every shape and size, I think they’ll have plenty to see them through for a while. I’m a bit confused as to how the Cheetahs will be able to play with conkers as there seems to be a significant size difference, especially with the baby Cheetahs who prefer to play inside – no doubt I’ll be enlightened as days go by.
As we passed the goats on the way out, a sleepy voice came from the back of the car… “the Cheetahs think that why didn’t the 3 Billy Goats Gruff all go onto the bridge at once, boff the troll on the nose and then all cross?”
Good thinking Cheetahs – you’ll go far with that kind of logic.
On the way home we discussed why the Cheetahs had had to come to the zoo on their skateboards. Apparently their car had broken down – with the diagnosis that the engine ‘had gone fizzy’. Whilst they’d been driving up the stairs to his room (this is a car that can go over really bumpity bumpity bits) one of the brakes had got stuck on, they’d tried to make it go faster and that had made the engine go fizzy.
So how do they fix it? Well, because it’s not that bad, they fixed it themselves with their tools. Tools? Hammers, spanners and screwdrivers, of course. As the car already has it’s MOT (he informs me) it didn’t need to go back to the garage. And to release the stuck brake – you hit it really hard with a spanner. His father is very, very proud.
We’ve built them a scoring system for their football ground this evening and a set of terraces for the 8 year old, 4 year old and Granny & Grandpa cheetahs to sit on. Apparently they’re going to play some tennis tomorrow – I’m not sure how they’ll manage the rackets but can see the rest of the groups sitting on the side watching.