Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Day out at Amersfoort Dierenpark

Today I had a much needed day off!  I've been busy working on the site pretty much around the clock.  Theo is now on holiday from work.  Dutchies do not take just one week or even two off work, an entire month is the norm.  So he is off for the whole of September!  We don't have an actual holiday booked for this year but had planned on having a few nice days out instead.  We have an annual pass for Amersfoort Dierenpark (zoo), as it's one of the few zoos that allows dogs in, and our not so little furry friend absolutely loves going there.  So we're regulars.  They don't just allows dogs to go in, they even provide big water bowls throughout the park too, so it really is dog friendly.  Of course you must keep dogs on a lead, and clean up after them (rightly so!), but it's a real delight taking him somewhere that they're genuinely welcomed.

Every time we go there, he seems to notice a new animal.  He doesn't take much notice unless the animals are right up close to the bars/glass, but then, he just wants to play with them!  Obviously he can't, but as he's much bigger than the average dog here (Dutchies in general, are very much a dog loving nation, but most seem to own the very small breeds such as Chihuahuas, Pekingese etc, so wherever we go with our 'little' boy, he draws in lots of attention) most of the animals seem to be quite interested in him.  Obviously if they appeared distressed at his presence, we'd move away, but so far that hasn't happened.  The last time we went, one of the tigers took a real interest in him, and they met face to face through the glass viewing area.  I'm not entirely sure the tigers motives were to be trusted however, but our Duke just wanted to play with 'Kitty'.  I so wished I'd had my camera out, but I missed it.  Today however, he did get up close with some donkeys.  Our legs took a lashing from his tail going nineteen to the dozen, but here he is, making friends!

Our visit was cut short, however, by a swarm of killer wasps.  That's right, I got attacked.  (I'm exaggerating somewhat here).  I have a very real phobia for spiders and insects.  Spiders are the worst, but I'm not too good with insects either.  I can control it if they don't land on me, or persist at flying around me.  This one particular wasp was really flying around my face.  I think it was attracted to my hair oil.  (I use Argan oil on my hair as I used to have waist length hair, and that kept the dry ends in good condition.  I've since had it chopped off shorter, but I still use the oil as its so nice, and 100% natural).  So I think the wasp was attracted to the smell of that.  It simply would not leave me alone!  I moved away, I ran in the other direction, eventually going into sheer panic mode.  After several minutes I did manage to lose the perpetrator, but by then I was almost reduced to hysterics.  After that, I saw wasps everywhere!  Ones that I'd normally  notice, but not get freaked out over.  Of course it's the time of year that they are out in droves, but getting dozey for hibernation/dying off.  I didn't get stung, but it's the time they're most likely to sting.  So I had it my head that this wasp, was not only going to sting me (it didn't), but probably kill me too.  Irrational, I know, but I just can't control it.  The zoo park itself has a lot of trees and plants so of course wasps were going in and out of the various bushes/plants etc there.  It's a very beautiful park, and lots of shade on a hot day, but today I just saw it as a wasp trap, so we ended the last half of the visit and just headed straight back to the car.  What we did get to see was very nice though, and Dukes newest friends are the donkeys!

The first time we took him there, there were numerous school trips that day.  I lost count of how many times I saw children pointing to him, and saying 'grote honde', some more interested in him than the animals in the actual zoo.  It tickled me pink to imagine lots of children going home to tell their parents what they'd seen that day on their big school trip to the zoo.....'I saw a big dog Mummy!'  That has become the norm for us now, and of course today was no exception.  There were no school trips, but there were a few younger children with their parents.  Whilst stood watching the new tiger cubs, a lady who was stood next to me turned and asked (in Dutch) what breed is our dog.  I not only amazed myself at understanding what she said, but also at being able to reply without giving away the fact I'm Engels (English).  I simply replied 'Boxer/Bullmastiff' adding a little Dutch accent as best I could.  At that point Theo joined the conversation (with a look of delight on his face at hearing me speak 'Dutch' (not speak it, as the words are the same as English, but survive a conversation without admitting defeat and owning up to being a foreigner!)

Anyway, tomorrow is back to the grindstone.  More work on the site.  But today was a much needed rest and relaxation day.  I'm feeling fully inspired, and raring to go again!

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