Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Longleat Love

I had the most AMAZING day yesterday. I have wanted to go to Longleat since I first saw the lovely Ben Fogle looking scared of the tigers on the BBC back in 2000. Even though my Mum's house is much closer to it than london it was still a 2 hour drive each way, punctuated by me stopping to take pictures of fields and sky, such as this one.
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I have been thinking of doing a fairisle in landscape colours since a discussion with Nickerjac on a drive back from SkipNorth. I have been collecting bad photos of the landscape since then. Then a query on twitter led me to a colour palette generating tool
I chose this one because it gives you 5 colours and a choice of dull or vibrant whereas a lot of the others - google, there are loads - give you 10-20 colours which is too many for fairisle. Or too many for what I had in mind. I am yet to find my perfect landscape but it will occur at some point and then I'll be on to Jamiesons for the wool. 

Back to Longleat - it is the seat of the Marquess of Bath and consists of an enoooormous house, an animal centre with things like guinea pigs and bats and then a mahoosive safari park which has all the wild animals you can think of. Prepare yourself for many, many photos. I am not going to go into it all blow by blow as that would take about 3 pages of text so these are the highlights. 

1. Boat Ride around gorilla island where we saw the silverback gorilla who gets grumpy when it is "too hot, too cold, too wet or too windy" so was obviously grumpy. Hippos and sealions also in the lake. Real, big hippos. 
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2. Feeding the Rainbow Lorikeets. I had one on each shoulder, two on each wrist and then one landed on my head. 
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3. Holding a python called Sir Hiss. (No photo of this - the downside of doing these things alone is no one to hold a camera.)
4. Seeing an escapee American Chipmunk in a beautiful rose garden.
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5. Watching a rhino take a mud bath and wriggle to squidge about in it.
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6. Having a tiger walk nonchalantly right by the car - about 2 metres away. 
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7. Watching a tiger try to catch a squirrel. There's actually a very poor quality video of that here. This is it pretending it's cool afterwards. (It is cool.)
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8. Seeing the lions lying on their backs, legs akimbo, enjoying the sunshine.
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9. Zebra bottoms
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My top thing for the whole day has to be the Lorikeets. The word 'hard-boiled' kept coming into my head and I realised they made me think of wool which has been felted and has gone quite robust and tough. They did look a bit like normal sized parrots which had shrunk in a hot wash and their expressions were so grumpy - as if they had just felted their best jumpers by accident. But then when I occasionally tried to shoo one of the zillion hanging off me away it would just look at my hand with this world weary expression and give my finger a little nip. Not in a violent way - just to indicate that they had been shoo'd away by better people then me and so I might as well give up. 
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I do like animals with attitude. Awesome creatures. 

If you were so inclined you can see all my Longleat photos here. I would 100% recommend visiting and that's without actually having made it into the house. My Mum was a bit worried about the animals being cramped but look at this:
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That is just a bit of where the giraffe, rhinos, zebras, camels and a few others hang out. They are free to wonder all over the place and they are all in excellent condition. 

Today looks like being the best weather I'll get down here so I'm up for a quick run into Minehead to look in all the charity shops and a trip to the best fudge shop in the world. Then back here to lounge in my sun lounger and do a bit of knitting in the sun. Knit knit knit. 

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