Every now and again I have to return the subject matter that started me blogging in the first place – the Cheetahs that lived in their Keeper’s shoes. Obviously imaginary ones (just in case you were wondering). They’ve been with us for a good 2 years now and although not quite as domineering as they were originally, they’re still a fairly regular part of every day life.
The move to Year 1 has been a challenge for the Cheetah Keeper – the physical effort needed to keep up is exhausting him, as is the processing of all the new facts, information, time-table and having to sit still for slightly longer than a nano-second at a time. We’ve had tantrums (including the removal of trousers and pants in the street on the way to school and trying to give himself a nosebleed), refusal to eat – and subsequent very early morning starts because he was hungry and a defiance both at school and home that has raised more than a few eyebrows.
We’ve instigated a complete change of diet, rationed the screen time severely and carried out our threats. It’s working but the changes have obviously been rather stressful for the boy as the Cheetahs are back big styleeee. Even in his shoes before school this week – they haven’t been in them for months – preferring the snuggliness of his duvet. They’ve been sleeping under his new orthotic insloes – because they’re so comfy and they need looking after. We have to make sure that they’re out of his shoes before school otherwise they will be trodden on and that would not do.
This morning we set out for a
nother trip to our beloved Whipsnade Zoo. I love autumn at the zoo – the colours, the lack of visitors – it becomes ‘our’ zoo again before the harshness of winter sets in. The conkers aren’t quite ready yet (cue another visit in a couple of weeks) but there are zoo babies in abundance and I have yet to see them all.
It was a real ‘pea-souper’ of a foggy morning. The M1 was engulfed by thick fog (note dear reader, if you are driving in this, put your headlights on) and a little voice pipes up from the back of the car…
“The Cheetahs have got their fog suits on today… and their fog helmets… and fog shoes…. and fog coats… and fog gloves for their paws….”
“And it means they can ride on the top of the cars so they’re safer….”
“and their fog lamps are so bright that once they’ve got really hot they start pouring out boiling hot lava that cuts through the fog and sends it back up into the sky ready to turn into snow in time for Christmas”
ah – ok – but doesn’t the lava burn them?
“no, they have knee pads, and elbow pads and paw pads that stop the lava”
So that was that – until we got a little closer to the zoo. The Cheetahs were riding on the road next to us on their “fast car bikes” – seemingly they can give Sir Chris Hoy a run for his money – cue much discussion about whether Chris Hoy riding against the Cheetahs would be a fair race and how it could be judged who was fastest in the world…
We had a wonderful time at the zoo – being surrounded by thick fog makes you look harder and appreciate it more. It’s a beautiful place, one where we genuinely feel ‘at peace’ with ourselves. As the staff and volunteers say, if you’d gone today and seen a load of foggy paddocks and some sleepy animals you wouldn’t feel like you’d had that good a day. For those of use who visit again and again, we see the circle of life moving on (a week old giraffe today – he’s just gorgeous) and the seasons changing in their own good time. It’s perfect.
As for the Cheetahs – they loved coming up with us today – unfazed by the boiling lava they apparently loved seeing the Cheetah cubs playing together and eating a chicken (yes, with feathers) with their mummy. They came back with us in the car and as far as I’m aware are snuggled up with their Keeper in bed. It’s getting a bit chilly in the porch now.