Gerald Durrell

Another gorgeous day. How lucky we have been with the October weather. As we stood on the balcony,  gazing out to sea before breakfast, we watched several swimmers plough what must at least be a half mile across the bay. They were a little too far out to see if they were wearing wetsuits, but our ferry captain of the previous day did mention that if we sank, the sea was presently at its warmest, 14 degrees.

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After breakfast we stood at the bus stop outside the hotel to catch the service into town. Chatting to several others while we waited I discovered that one couple used to live in Thurcroft and not only that but the wife was a teacher at Dinnington High School when I was a pupil there! She taught Domestic Science, which I took as a subject filler when I did my A levels, she must have been the young new teacher that taught me! What a small world.

Today we were going to satisfy a wish of Sue’s and visit Gerald Durrell’s Wild Life Park. She had read his book ‘My Family and Other Animals’ for her ‘O’ levels, we had visited his home in Corfu and also watched the recent series of his childhood on TV, so it was a ‘must do’ while we were here.

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We caught a bus into St. Helier and then another one out to the ‘Durrell’.

With our entrance fee paid we set off to follow the Specialist Talk timetable. We missed the first one at the bear enclosure by around 10 minutes, but we did watch them being fed.

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Next was the Gorillas. As you would expect the staff were very knowledgeable and they wove many amusing anecdotes into their talk.

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We diverted via the reptiles, aviary and charming meerkats before settling ourselves for some more information on the Orangutans. The ones on show were from Sumatra and more in danger that the ones we had seen in Borneo, but they looked the same to me and had a similar playful manner that was a prompt not to get too close.

We missed the talk on the Jersey Choughs as we spent too long admiring the Aye Ayes in their dim enclosure and the reptiles in their hot-house, but we did manage to fit in some splendid flamingoes and a multitude of other water fowl before taking our seats in the fruit bat cage. A really interesting talk, though we have seen many of these large sinister looking creatures over the years, it had always been observing them roosting at the top of trees, flying over head or hanging upside down along telegraph wires. These were just inches away on the other side of the netting, across which they crawled with their spiky little hooks,  to fight each other or look into the attached food pots, often in vain hope. They had lovely sweet faces and close up they didn’t look devilish at all, nearly cuddlesome. They pooped a lot though so I wasn’t going to risk it.

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We finished off our visit with a gander at the black macaques and some mongoose or is it mongeese? Before spending a lengthy amount of time wandering through the Gerald Durrell exhibition and discovering everything there is to know about the man. Most of which I promptly forgot as I left the building but as usual I shall rely on Sue to answer any future questions on the subject.

We caught the bus back to St. Helier and after a 15 minute wait we boarded the next one to St. Brelades Bay, then a refreshing coffee in our room by the sea.

After our evening meal and the now obligatory drink in the bar to wash down dessert, we decided on a walk along the front. It was a surprisingly mild, and starry night, but we appeared to be the only ones risking a late romantic October evening. That probably gives you more than a hint at the average age of the hotel’s clientele. We returned to our room to watch TV.

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