One sunny weekend, my husband and I decided to take a tram to the end of the line to see what we could see. We get out and are greeted by an imposing castle gate. Slightly deterred I fish out my phone. My map app tells me there is a vast green space mere metres away so we march on hoping we aren’t trespassing.
We soon see signs of plebeian activity. Unrelated children running amok, an assortment of grandparents sitting around, dog-walkers with little black bags and then the most comforting, runners of various shapes and sizes galloping past.
We walk on happily and take in the summery beauty all around us. Spotting signs that politely ask you to stay on the marked paths, “or else”, we start wondering why you would have paths through tempting meadows in the first place. We soon find out that this park is actually the grounds of a stately home that has been opened up for the public to enjoy and is home to a variety of woodland creatures. Happy not to disturb them, I take to stopping at
annoyingly regular intervals to pick up a seed pod, look at a stone, point at a worm, etc. My husband rolls his eyes at the city-kid.
On our way back to the tram, I drag my
willing husband to the petting zoo. I join in the squeals of the children who happen to be the majority at the fence and point excitedly at the animals. The goat kids hop about awkwardly, the pygmy pigs snort around their pen and the insects buzz around their mansion. So much to see and do so I decide we should bring our niece here when my sister visits.
Fast-forward a month, my sister, my niece and I go to the end of the line again to see the animals. Unfortunately, there was a fire that spread across the petting zoo, killing several animals. Massive fail. While my sister and I were busy thinking sad thoughts, my niece was occupying herself with some stones she found. She doesn’t even know there are animals missing when she doesn’t see one. City-kid.