Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Springtime Veggie Burgers

These are, hands down, my favourite burgers. They are bursting with a variety of flavours and are chock full of vegetable goodness but are firm and don’t fall apart like some other burgers that are full of veg. They also are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside and are baked not fried so fat free as well. Plus they can be gluten free, hoorah! I can’t tell you how many good looking recipes call for 1 cup breadcrumbs which includes the disclaimer “use gluten free bread to make it gluten free” which looks good on paper, but we really don’t eat much GF bread so I don’t have any just lying about waiting to be processed into crumbs. 

 Springtime Veggie Burgers

 1 ½ cups black beans
Which is 1 tin, drained and rinsed.  I cook mine from scratch because I’m a smarty pants, but do what you like. Also you can use any kind of beans, but we like the black beans best.
1 cup chopped, mixed vegetables
I do 1/3 cup dry (not oil packed) sun dried tomatoes, 1/3 cup carrot and 1/3 cup bell pepper, but again whatever floats your boat.
4-5 spring onions, (green and white bits) chopped
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 TB hemp seeds
or 1 TB pumpkin seeds or 1 more TB sunflower seeds. Whatever.
1 TB tamari or soy sauce
½ tsp dried dill weed
½ tsp dried basil
¾ tsp dried tarragon
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tsp hot sauce like *sriracha* or Tabasco
1 tsp ground flax (optional)
¼ cup fresh parsley or coriander (optional)
¼-½ cup wholemeal flour (I use buckwheat to make it GF)
1/3 cup frozen sweetcorn, defrosted

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place everything except flour and corn in the food processor and whiz until all mixed up and just small flecks of vegetables remain. If you like chunkier burgers, process a bit less.

3. Sprinkle in ¼ cup of flour to start and pulse to combine then check the texture. It should be moist but still hold together. If it’s too wet, add more flour.

4. Spoon into a bowl and mix in the sweetcorn  by hand.

5. Form into 7-8 burgers, depending on big you like ‘em. Flatten them to ½ inch thickness and place on cookie sheet, spacing evenly.
Here they are raw waiting to go in the oven

6. Bake for 15 minutes and then flip ‘em over and bake 10-15 minutes on the other side. They can also be cooked on a flat grill if you brush both sides with a bit of oil and grill 8-10 minutes on one side and 5-8 minutes on the other. But why stand over a hot grill when you can bung ‘em in the oven and go off and read a book?
Here it is cooked, mmm mmm good!

These would be great on a bun with all the accoutrements, but we tend to eat them with salad and a baked sweet potato.  A good way to get your 5 day in a burger form. Yum Yum!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Good-For-You Gingerbread

In an effort to save money (and to get to eat some awesome snacks) I’ve gone back to making us some GF healthy bakes as opposed to the Nak’d Bars we were buying which were 4 for £2.49. They were full of quality ingredients, but we were spending way too much on them. We’ve decided to save them for trips and special occasions because I can bake something amazing and healthy for about the same price that lasts the week, not 2 days.
 I have a rotation of brownies, blondies, duck flaps (which are sort of like flapjacks in the sense that they contain oats) and gingerbread. They all follow the same basic formula--wholegrain GF flours that are high in protein, calcium and iron, not too sweet, full of fibre and the secret ingredients far replacer--a tin of beans. This makes them dense and moist and “fudgy” textured, but without all that fat . Plus the beans are full of protein and so they keep you fuller longer.

 Everything I read about GF baking said that in order to be successful you need a ratio of 2/3 whole grain flour to 1/3 starch. Now a starch is high on the glycemic index and has no nutritional value. I used to make these with 1 cup GF flour and ½ cup starch, but I’ve abandoned that to make them healthier and ya know what? You can’t tell. Maybe you need that starch to make a lighter bread or cake, but when you want a dense, chewy bar it is not needed.

 Here they are in the pan. Whoops! Where did that corner piece go?

Good-For-You Gingerbread

 Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and grease a 9X12 inch pan.

1 ½ cups wholemeal pastry flour

To make it GF use a combination of flours that you like. There is no need to add unhealthy starches--the GF flours are fine. I used a combination of buckwheat, teff, quinoa, chickpea and oat  flour because of their different nutritional benefits. Plus it means I can use less of expensive ones and make them last longer if I use a variety of GF flours.

1 tsp baking powder

½ cup Demerara sugar

½ tsp (smoked) sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

¼-½ tsp ground cloves

¼-½ tsp allspice

Sift your dry ingredients together in a big bowl.  

Then combine the following ingredients in a blender:

 1 ½ cups haricot beans or chickpeas

I do find that tinned beans work best for these as they are mushier. I used chickpeas in these as I can get a tin for 35p and haricot beans are 99p a tin. The next time I cook my own beans I  am going to try to “overcook” some of them to be used for snack bars.

1 cup pitted medjool dates (about 7-8)

¼ cup molasses (blackstrap molasses is very high in iron)

1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger root (about 2 inches long) peeled and roughly chopped

1 cup water

2 TB flax meal (acts like an egg and adds fibre and omega 3,6,9)

1 TB lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

Blend that up for several minutes until it is completely mixed and a thick puree. Mix it into the dry ingredients. If it seems a bit dry, add in a splash or 2 of water of non-dairy milk of your choice. I had to do that, but mainly because oat and teff flours are very “thirsty” and soak up liquids more.

 Spoon into greased pan and smooth out to make sure it is level.

 Bake for 14 minutes, then remove and rotate the pan so it bakes evenly and then bake for another 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool and then cut into 12 squares.

 Store in the fridge. This will last all week for 2 people. 

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Games People Play

I read an article recently about the fact the couples who play together tend to be happier and stay together. I believe this is the reason for the success of our marriage--which approaches its 20th year in the summer. (edited to add: I wrote this five years ago and we are still playing games)

 Spiderman and I have all sorts of games that we play and now, for the first time ever, we will share the secret of our success with you. You too can play these games at home and enlighten your marriage (or drive each other crazy) which ever happens first.

Change the letters:
This is a popular game where you use a sharpie marker to change the letters on some object to make them funnier.

Example one:
This prompted Spiderman to say, “Gosh Ma, I just can’t wait to eat my Kountry Krisp cereal” in his best Bubba voice. Because for some reason, in Louisiana everything crafty is spelled with a K so you might have Kountry Kraft Korner as the (not very) klever name of your shop.

Example two:
This is from a box of Cracker Snaps that I use every year to make Christmas crackers. Spiderman has helpfully re-labelled it Snacker Craps. 

What’s that?:
This game must be played in a supermarket. You try to find the most disgusting thing and then casually point to it and hope the other person looks and gets all grossed out because that means you win. Variation: Put the offending item in the trolley and wait until the other person notices and screams.

Image result for tripe
Hide the Poodnoobie:
I can’t recall where the name Poodnoobie came from--perhaps from some badly written children’s book about an alien--but basically it involves hiding something and waiting until the person finds it unexpectedly and then hides it for you. We did this for years with a plastic baby Jesus from a Mardi Gras king cake and then for many years after that with a handful of tiny plastic spiders.  Haven’t played this in a while. Hmmm…must find small strange object to hide…

Our current incarnation of this game is hide the giant snail of doom. There is the creepy-as-hell short story in Chris Priestley's Tales of Terror From the Black Ship about bowling ball sized carnivorous snails that slowly creep up to you and eat your flesh.  We take turns hiding the giant snail of doom. Here he is in a kitchen cabinet waiting for an unsuspecting person to get a mug to make tea.

There’s your dream house:
This is a useful one when travelling as you have to point out the most derelict building you can find and say “There’s your dream house.” Variation: There’s your dream car.

Let’s have ten:
Said when you can’t get away from noisy, badly behaved, “no-necked monster” children. The proper response is, “Let’s make it twelve.” Especially if they are recklessly riding about unsupervised on scooters. That might make the number go up to as high as fifteen.
blurry--but if you look he's flipping you off

This stands for Real Blonde Sears Blonde. I didn’t make this one up--I got it from Marc Lenard. The Sears is just to indicate cheaply bought from the mall. It really is just  pointing out someone with very obviously dyed blond hair and saying “RBSB?” and the proper reply is, “Definitely R.”  Variation: Use the initial of any unnaturally coloured hair.

Image result for blonde with dark roots obvious
This stand for Poor Thing when you see someone dressed in something that they probably shouldn’t--a mini skirt the size of a handkerchief made from rubber that makes it impossible to sit down or an older lady dressed like a teenager. The Poor Thing is they probably thought it was a good idea, but it really isn’t. Variation: PTH which is where they have erred in the fashion way but I would have totally worn it in the 80s and thought I was adorable. I once made a skirt out of strips of newspaper just like Cyndi Lauper wore in the video for True Colours and wore it to school. Can you believe it, they sent me home for dress code violations???
Image result for cyndi lauper true colours
Word Variation Games:
1. Substitute the word fart in any Shakespeare quote. e.g. “But soft! What fart through yonder window breaks?” (Romeo and Juliet) or “To fart or not to fart, that is the question.” (Hamlet)

 2. Substitute a food word into a hymn. e.g. Oh how I love Cheeses or Amazing Grapes or Come Thou Fount of Every Dressing or Jesus Lover of my Sole.

 3. Change the general nature of famous characters from literature and make them say things in funny voices that are texturally accurate. e.g. The rabbits from  Richard Adams’ book Watership Down  being Chavs (white trash) saying things like,

The primroses were well over.
Fiver: (moaning) Oooo
Big Wig: Oh for Frith's sake 'azel, what's Fiver on about?
Fiver: Bloody fields, innit

Posh Kehaar: I say old chaps, that's some frightfully big water.
Well you need to jolly well get you some does, I dare say.

Image result for kehaar

Our current incarnation of this game is one that has been making the rounds on twitter. Basically you say the first line of any novel and then follow it with the words "And then the murders began."
So try these out and see if you can figure out what books they are from:

  • Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank and having nothing to do. And then the murders began.
  • In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. And then the murders began.
  • Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. And then the murders began.

Making inanimate objects talk:
Really exactly what it says. Spiderman is excellent at this and it makes me laugh until I cry. In college we had Francis the talking napkin holder and we have a toy stuffed jerboa named Hunterian (named after our favourite science museum) that says the following:

Spiderman: Would you like some more food Huntarian?

Huntarian in a squeaky voice: No thanks, I’m stuffed.

Seriously, every time he does this I scream with laughter.

You think you're the first person to say that?: AKA Yeah, like no one's ever said that to me or Like I've never heard that before. We invented this one recently at the zoo. Basically, you say the most obvious thing to an animal like "Hey Hedwig, I've got some post that needs to be delivered" to a snowy and owl and the owl guessed it...with the phrase, "You think you're the first person to say that???"
Image result for snowy owl

Jazz Chicken plays all your favourite tunes:
We stole the idea of Jazz Chicken from an Eddie Izzard comedy routine but Spiderman does this impression of a chicken playing a trumpet and plays lots of songs in a jazzed up way. A lot funnier than it sounds. Really.

Saying I Love You with sounds:
We have lots of secret ways to tell each other I love you. Mostly stolen from other sources.

(Fish go) pook pook pook (from Lenore the Little Dead Girl Comics)

Image result for lenore the cute little dead girl

Tkk Tkk Tkk (like Skippy the Goth Kangaroo an animation by Matazone which includes the lines:

Skippy: Tkk Tkk Tkk

Boy: What’s that Skippy? Lord Oberon dark god of the night has fallen down a well?

Skippy: Tkk Tkk Tkk

Boy: And he’s out of eyeliner!
watch the video here:

“Moo” and the reply is “Hhrrr” (Eddie Izzard’s impression of a cow driving a convertible with a velociraptor in the back seat.) Seriously.

Person 1: Woof

Person 2: Meow

Person 1: Eek

Person 2: I love you

This is from a 1988 advert for British gas and having a real fireplace that features a dog coming into a room to lie down by the fire, then a cat comes and kisses him and lays down beside him and then a wee mouse runs in and the cat kisses him and they all lay down beside a roaring fire together in peace and harmony to the tune of the Shirrelles "Will you still love me tomorrow?" To make the cat kiss the dog they put a prawn behind his ear and to make the mouse run in a straight line they made a trail of his own wee to follow. Knowing that does not diminish the magic, however.
Go here to watch it:

This is the secret to our successful marriage--we are both mad as hatters. But at least we are at the tea party together.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Mail Order Mysteries

We saw this book on one of the blogs we read called Pop Circus and we knew we had to have a copy. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the death of my beloved dad and he would have *loved* this book. In his youth I am sure he probably ordered every one of these things out of the back of a comic book. When I was growing up he was always keen to buy me crap like a fly in a plastic ice cube or a springy snake you crammed into a can labelled peanuts when I asked for it.  We bonded more than once over our love of useless tat that promised hours of entertainment.

I am just taking most of this straight from Pop Circus because he's got good pictures and captions. Thanks Anthony!

And thank you Dad. I miss you. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow. I love you with all of my heart.

(And it's all FREE.... for only $1.00.)

Just add water! Guaranteed to grow disappointment!
Not X-actly what kids X-pected...

Here's to you GLT, best dad the world ever saw, who died too soon.
Love from your Chaunkey-Chaunk.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Daytrippers. part the third

Our last day trip was to the Natural History Museum in Tring. We actually had to pass through Tring the day before on the way to St Tiggywinkles so this trip was a doddle.  I had been to this fascinating museum several times on class trips with year 3, but Spiderman had never been as there was no good way to get there from our town (we always take a big coach ((chartered bus)) when we take a class trip)

When we come on a school trip they run fascinating workshops where they pass around real animal skulls and the children have to guess what the animal might be and what it eats based on the teeth.  

 There are a lot of vegans who would not set foot in a place like this. It is full of dead, stuffed animals collected and preserved by an eccentric Victorian (were there any other kinds of Victorians?)
Zebra-drawn carriage driven by Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild

But I admire him as a person.

 From the museum website:

Lionel Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, was born in 1868 into an international financial dynasty, but was destined to be famed as a zoologist and collector rather than as a banker.

Building a museum

As a child, Walter knew exactly what he wanted to do when he grew up, announcing at the age of seven, 'Mama, Papa, I am going to make a museum...'. By the time he was ten, Walter had enough natural history objects to start his first museum, in a garden shed.

Before long, Walter's insect and bird collections were so large they had to be stored in rented rooms and sheds around Tring. Then in 1889, his father gave him some land on the outskirts of Tring Park as a 21st birthday present. Two small cottages were built, one to house his books and insect collection, the other for a caretaker. Behind these was a much larger building, which would contain Lord Rothschild's collection of mounted specimens. This was the beginning of the Zoological Museum, which opened to the public in 1892.

Passion for natural history

Educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, Walter worked for the family firm in London from 1889 to 1908, though his passion was for his natural history collection. At this time his collection was one of the largest in the world.

Walter's interest in natural history was not restricted to museum specimens. He kept an astonishing variety of animals in the grounds around the Museum and in Tring Park, including zebras, a tame wolf, rheas, kangaroos, kiwis, cassowaries and giant tortoises. He even drove a team of zebras into the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

Political career

Walter Rothschild also had a political career, as a Liberal and Liberal Unionist Member of Parliament for Aylesbury from 1899 to 1910. He was closely involved in the formulation of the draft declaration for a Jewish homeland in Palestine and in 1917 a letter from Arthur Balfour, addressed to 'Dear Lord Rothschild', set out the Balfour Declaration, which committed the British Government to supporting the establishment in Palestine of a national home for Jews.
Lionel Walter Rothschild at Tring.

This is a small museum, but it is packed with good stuff to look at. And whilst I would NEVER advocate collecting on this scale today, I am appreciative that someone did in the past because that is how we learn.
Here are just some of the interesting things you can see courtesy of their website:
Polar bear
A massive polar bear greets you at the entrance to the gallery. Victorian taxidermists placed a friendly smile on the face of this animal, which is in fact a powerful hunter.
Flees dressed as Mexican dancers
Open the doors of the specimen cupboards and see these fleas dressed as Mexican dancers. They were sold in Mexico as curiosities and these ones were made in 1905.
Extinct quagga
This extinct quagga originated in South Africa. The last one died in Amsterdam in 1883.
This mandrill once lived in London Zoo and may have met President Roosevelt. He has a bright blue and red nose, with a matching colourful bottom that particularly appeals to school parties.

Giant Japanese spider crab
The giant Japanese spider crab has a leg span that often reaches two metres or more. It is normally found at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

This is one Spiderman took (duh!) but one of my favourite parts of visiting here with children from my school is the way they all run over to me to proclaim, “Miss! There are spiders over there! Come let me show you!” and so I am led to see them about 10 times every time I visit the museum. And you know what? I don’t mind at all.

Being Easter holidays I wondered if the museum would be empty, but thankfully it was packed. Thankfully from their point of view as I want this lovely little museum to have lots of visitors who will become interested in science and animals and nature, but from our point of view it was packed with no neck monsters who were running around and making it hard to see the exhibits. But I was glad to see it is full and in a weird coincidence we ran into one of the year 3 children from my school!

It was a wonderful day and then we bussed home and rested and watched more telly and read and just generally “chilled out” until Saturday morning when it was time to leave.

I don’t care what other people say about what makes a holiday—this was definitely one of the best ones I’ve ever had.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Daytrippers, part the second

On Wednesday we decided to go to St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital which we have always wanted to do but was just too far away from Hitchin to get there. It was still a helluva long way from Edelsbourough, but we were closer than we had ever been so it was worth trying to get there. It was a bit like a triathlon to get there (if 2 bus rides and a walk in a ditch down the side of a busy road count as 3 separate athletic activities) but we managed it.

 St Tiggywinkles is a wildlife hospital that cares for sick and injured hedgehogs, badgers, wild birds, foxes, even reptiles and amphibians.
Every year in Britain over five million wild animals and birds are injured as a direct result of their encounters with man's world. We are a specialist hospital, dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating all species of British wildlife using all available veterinary expertise.

 You can totally see why we wanted to go right? Not to mention that it is named after Mrs Tiggy-Winkle the beloved hedgehog created by Beatrix Potter.

 First an hour bus ride to Aylesbury then a layover whilst we waited for another bus to Haddenham (20 more minutes) then the actual bus ride (another 20 minutes) and then the 30 minute perilous walk in a ditch by the side of the road as mentioned previously. Luckily I had toonage on my q-pod (my very cheap but well loved mp3 player that Spiderman bought for me when I was in hospital 2 years ago. We call it q-pod as it is perfect for a Quaker who needs few material possessions –have you seen the price of an i-pod??? They run like £200. We got this was for about £15. Hey—it works.) I had music on the q-pod and so was able to chill out on the long bus rides.

When we arrived we were greeted with this adorable sweetheart.

 A very friendly lady was giving a talk and we learned all sorts of interesting facts about our favourite hedgies.  

Take note gardeners or tennis players: if you have netting at ground level please, for the love of God (or the love of hedgehogs) lift it off the ground at night or poor little critters like hedgehogs and badgers can get all tangled in when they blunder into them as they ramble about at night. And whilst we’re at it, if you have badminton nets up in your garden, please take them down at night or owls can blunder into them.

Tiggywinkles does an excellent job at rehabilitating animals who have been injured (often due to motorcars, sadly) or abandoned and then fixes them up and sends them back into the wild unless there is something really wrong with them and they would not survive in the wild. In that case, they are allowed to live out their days in comfort at St Tiggys.  Like this case:

Here is a bird who appeared to have both wings amputated. Poor thing was a bit off balance but it still managed to get around.

Here’s a fox (well the back end of a fox) that was healing from an injury and would be reintroduced to the wild shortly.

They also had a wee nursery for abandoned baby animals (you couldn’t take pictures) but it was just like going to a people  hospital and being the proud parents peering through the windows at all the babies who were all just a bit of fluff cuddling a soft toy.

There was also a hedgehog museum with lots of hedgie figurines (several of which we had) as well as this which I insisted on having my photo made with—I am a sucker for seeing my name in print. You'll need to click on it to make it bigger to see my name.
the sign I'm pointing to says Heather hedgehog
Then it was reverse the polarity and walk in the ditch, take the bus, wait an hour and then take the bus again and then walk from the village centre through a field to get back to the lovely windmill and collapse in a heap.

 But it was well worth it knowing that the money we paid to go in (plus the money we spent on a St Tiggywinkles tea towel) would go to saving the lives of animals. Cheers.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Daytrippers, part the first

I love to take a day trip. You get to go somewhere interesting then come home and sleep in your own bed. Well in this case, someone else’s bed--but you know what I mean.
 We arrived at the Windmill on Saturday and since we had enough food with us we could have a meal without then having to go back out and hunt down a supermarket. On Sunday we pottered into the village of Edelsbourough which was quite small and scoped out the bus stop and found a well stocked newsagent/ post office where we bought a few items like crackers (wheat ones for Spiderman , rye ones for me), hummus, a cucumber and some frozen peas and oven chips. Then we toddled on home back to the windmill and chilled out.

 Monday we took the bus into Dunstable which is where Jesus was born, according to Alice Tinker from the Vicar of Dibley. But the Vicar put her right explaining it was it a STABLE  rather in DunSTABLE. We popped into the library to use their computers to check email and then did a spot of shopping at the big supermarket for some specialty vegan stuff like soya yogurt and took the bus home and had a peaceful evening in preparing for the day trips.

 Day trip one--Whipsnade Zoo

Whipsnade was the only place we couldn’t figure out how to get to by bus. We would have to call a taxi. It wasn’t until late Monday night, however, that we realized that the windmill didn’t have a phone. And if we were normal people who had a mobile phone this would not have been an issue, but we figured we would find a way to sort the issue in the morning. Early Tuesday we hiked into town and played “hunt the payphone.” I found one and Spiderman, armed with coins and a list of local taxi numbers entered the booth elated and came out a bit dejected. Apparently payphones don’t take coins anymore. You can use your debit card, but they will charge you £1.20 to do it. After much grumbling we decided to bite the bullet and just phone. I am so glad we did because 10 minutes later we were whisked off in a comfortable cab and dropped off at the zoo--just in time for opening. Then the extra special news was that because Spiderman is a regular volunteer at the London Zoo (2 Sundays a month) we got in FREE which saved us about £40. Hoorah!

 Many vegans shun zoos as cruel to animals. I have certainly been to zoos like that in my lifetime--animals in small cages with a concrete floor and nothing to do but pace around and bite themselves out of boredom and frustration. But the London Zoo and Whipsnade are really different. They work hard to give animals as natural of a habitat as possible and work with conservation and breeding programmes to reintroduce endangered animals back into the wild. Plus Whipsnade is ENORMOUS--600 acres of land for animals to roam about. We were there for 5 hours and walked many miles. There is even a steam train you can catch but it costs £5 per person and since we got in free and brought pack lunches and were feeling strong and energetic (read that: cheap) we gave it a miss.  

 Best bits from the zoo:

Ring tailed lemurs are about as cutie-patootie as you can get. You could get really close to them as well.

They also like to sit with chin up, arms and legs outstretched (with their little nuts just out there for God and everyone to see) to sunbathe because apparently their fur is thinner on their chests.

We saw a wolverine that looked nothing like Hugh Jackman.

Here’s me comparing how wide I can stretch my mouth open compared to a hippo. And I thought I was a big mouth.

The hippo was bathing in a pool of poo filled water--they like to mark their territory with excrement--so no matter how many times they get clean water, the first thing they do is crap in it.  But it was fun to watch them submerge and then pop up to huff a bit of air and then go back down underwater with a plip…plip…plip.

 Here’s a cheetah under Cheetah’s Rock.

Look at the adorable mongooses--or is the plural of mongoose mongeese??? They were dwarf mongooses all cuddled up for a nap.

Here were the funniest, most active animals we saw--baby wild boars. Look at those soft stripy coats that help them to be camouflaged. They were rolling around pell mell, tumble bumble so much that we couldn’t help laughing.

Later we came by and they were all tuckered out and snoozing  except one naughty looking one which Spiderman christened The Poky Little Peccary (peccary being a type of wild boar and The Poky Little Puppy being a favourite book from childhood.)

Here’s me again showing off what I would look like with antlers. Quite good, I think. You could hang your washing on them or Christmas lights.

Lastly, here’s the penguins. It’s not a zoo trip without penguins. Spiderman and I have a wonderful shared memory of watching the penguins all line up in a queue for their fish at the London Zoo in 1990.

These were fed by throwing handfuls of fish into their swimming pond and then all the penguins diving in to catch them. Here’s one little guy just hoping for another fish.

Then it was time to get on back home, but we had to figure out how to phone for a taxi. There was a very nice bloke working in the ticket booth who called for us, but unfortunately when the taxi arrived we had a bit of communication problems with our driver.

Him: Address?

Us: The Windmill,  Edelsbourough

Him: Address?

Us: Edelsbourough

Him: Street?

Us: there is no street name, it’s on a private road in Edelsbourough.

Him: Address?

We finally convinced him to drive and when we saw someplace that looked familiar we asked him to stop and then just walked the rest of the way home.

It was a lovely day, but for an allergic animal lover like me, it was sadly a two hankie day. I blew my nose all day due to hay fever from the grass and the animal fur. But it was worth it. Oh I almost forgot the magnificent white lion!!! This was carved out of chalk on the hillside by the zoo and we could see it from our windmill. During WWII it had to be covered up with camouflaged nets and plants so that German planes would not see it and bomb nearby Luton and Dunstable.

Stay tuned for Daytrippers. part the second tomorrow!