A very happy birthday to F


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Published: October 29th 2010
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Today was a special day indeed, it was F’s birthday! Not just any old birthday but his 13th. Throughout the trip Mrs G and I had been chatting about how we hoped that F didn’t do a Kevin and Perry routine and turn into a rotten teenager at the stroke of Midnight. For those that have never heard of Kevin and Perry, they were a sketch from a TV programme called Harry Enfield and Friends. The first sketch of Kevin is of him with his parents just before his 13th birthday, and he is meant to be a lovely 12yr old, BUT once he turns 13 he becomes a horrid, grunting smelly teenager. It is really funny, and I would highly recommend that you all go to You Tube and find the clip. To spare you the agony of wanting to know if he did turn into your typical 13yr old; no not really. He had his days (as we all do) when he was a little bit more argumentative, but for the most part he stayed as the nice kid that he was.

As it was a special day today we had a lot to get done before we
Feeding a KangaFeeding a KangaFeeding a Kanga

Not as easy as it looks
went out on the days adventures. The breakfast table had been all set up with lots of presents and decorations. My present to him was a wooden puzzle that you have to take apart and then be able to put back together. He likes those sorts of things, although I am not sure that he has figured it out yet. His last present was in a humongous box in the library. HB and I were hoping that it was a real Crocodile; we were in fact wrong - obviously. What it actually was was a model Pelican made entirely out of drift wood and metal. It really was an amazing piece of art. The man that made it was called Indiana James, that wasn’t his real name though, pity. The really amazing part of it was how they were going to get it back to Germany? In the end I think they shipped it back, all I know is that at the beginning of August it still hadn’t arrived yet.

Enough of that and on with the day. Our guide for the day was Nathan - not much to say about him, he was rather quiet. During the night
Much nicerMuch nicerMuch nicer

see this way works just as well
there had been a fair bit of rain - not really interesting by itself, but it kind of made our first activity rather difficult. We were meant to spend the morning sand dune boarding in an area called Little Sahara! Cool huh? The answer to that is; I’m not sure as we didn’t manage to successfully do it. As you could probably imagine, even if you have never been sand dune boarding, rain makes it really difficult to do as it creates friction so the boards don’t go anywhere. We first tried it on a little dune, but it really wasn’t happening for us. The boys went off in search (I say search but you didn’t really need to) for the big sand dune while us girls stayed were we were playing at running down the dune, which was much more fun. As it started to rain I was sent off to get the car keys. Now this really is a case of appearance can be deceiving. HB and I had been chatting about how if she wanted to go up that sand dune after the boys she would climb up it herself and not on my back because it wasn’t that steep. Yeah right! That sand dune was a) a lot taller than it looked and b) a lot steeper. I could barely get to the top of it, and then when I reached the top I almost got blown off of it from the gale force winds. Nathan told me he could have just thrown the keys down to me, what and miss all the fun of getting up there and down again? I think not. As soon I got back down to the bottom the boys decided to cut their losses and come down too.

Our next stop was Paul’s Place Wildlife Sanctuary at the other side of island near to the beach we were at yesterday. Now this Wildlife Sanctuary wasn’t your typical type of place; when you think of the word Sanctuary you think a safe place for animals or somewhere that sick animals come to. Well the better name for Paul’s Place would have been Paul’s Petting Zoo. That is exactly what it was, albeit an Australian version of one. You could only go in at specific times with a large group of people, and then were herded from one place to another like animals are selves. The first area was just a large part of his garden that had Kangaroos, sheep, ducks, goats and an alpaca that spat at a man that got a little too close. Paul made all the kids sit down with a parent including F, HB and Mrs G; the whole point? It was feeding time. Paul picked up a Kangaroo (let me tell you these were no small Joeys) and literally dumped it on this poor unsuspecting lady who was standing up. At this point I tried to hide, no way that I wanted that to happen to me. Once he had done this to a few ladies he put the Kangaroo on the children’s laps so that they could bottle feed it as well. This poor creature was shoved from pillar to post, I really felt for him. HB, F and Mrs G were last, and they were less than impressed by what was going on. So that was it right? Wrong! My invisibility cloak must have been malfunctioning because WHAM before I knew what was happening I had this rather heavy Kangaroo in my arms. It is very difficult to hold a creature that is not much smaller than you while trying to feed him a bottle. I wasn’t happy about that. So that was the first part of this session. The next part was to feed them oats. It was total bedlam, all the kids (and adults I would like to point out) pushed their way through like this was the last bucket of oats on earth, and of course the animals knew what was about to happen so they all tried to get their heads in the buckets. F, Mr and Mrs G all watched from the side lines slightly aghast at what was happening. HB and I we made our way to the buckets after the feeding frenzy had died down. We thought it would be a good idea to feed the ducks, they’re pretty laid back birds and unlikely to hurt you. Oh how wrong was I! They were vicious brutes with tiny sharp teeth. Thankfully they got to me first so I could save HB the pain. After that we decided to go for the Kangaroos - they were actually very gentle. They put their heads into your hand and held onto your wrists with their paws, it was rather sweet really.

After about 10 minutes we were moved to another area where it was the same feeding set up, just with different animals. We had the same as last time, but with a few emus and a deer. The part I really didn’t like was the dog. I am guessing it was Paul’s dog but it kept chasing after the animals and frightening them. That really bugged me. It was fun while you were calmly feeding the deer or kangaroo to suddenly be trampled on by an Emu that is being chased by a dog. The only animal that stood up for itself was the deer; she turned and chased the dog back. HB and I feed the deer (or Bambi as we called her) a few times and some more of the wallabies and kangaroos. HB wasn’t too keen on the Kangaroos in the end as she didn’t like how they held onto her wrist. She ended up with a huge cut down her arm were she tried to get away but they kept holding on.

The final holding pen we went to was a place to hold some of the animals like the Python, Possum and Koalas. Paul spent some time trying to get a Koala out of the tree, that poor thing really didn’t want to come out. It took one look at him and tried to move up and out of reach, probably thought “oh no not this again”. HB was too young to hold onto the Koala so I had her one hip and the Koala on the other. Not sure which weighed more HB or the Koala. It was a good thing she wasn’t allowed to hold him as the nails on a Koala are very sharp. By this point Mr and Mrs G were ready to go, so we left. As I said this place was more petting zoo than Sanctuary. Not sure I would recommend it to people, I really didn’t like now the animals were treated. Both the kids and adults were playing with them as if they were toys and not wild that should be respected. HB and I always went for the animals that weren’t crowded and were gentle with them. I also didn’t like how Paul wasn’t doing anything to stop the dog from running around. When we eventually got back to Ocean Lodge Mrs G told the management not to take people there on trips. They were rather appalled by it all.

Well that was over so now it was time for lunch. We stopped at a children’s play park and had a picnic, with the best baguette I think I have ever had. The ham was very very yummy. For entertainment we were sung to by an Australian version of a magpie, really a very good singer.

The final part of the day was to Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action - F’s favourite bit. As you could probably get from the name it was outdoor action, which could only mean one thing: Quad biking. F was over the moon, he was talking about this for weeks afterwards. Mrs G asked if I would like to do it or sit this one out. Ermmm let me think about that for a min? Hmmmm like heck am I sitting this one out! I think she was half hoping I would say that I wouldn’t take part. Well, if she had wanted that she should have said “would you mind sitting this one out? We want to do it as a family.” I would have had no problem with that, but she didn’t ask me that, so I did it. OMG it was amazing fun. We were out for about an hour over rough shrub paths and open plains. I brought up the rear so at a few points I thought I was lost as I couldn’t see Mr G in front of me. Towards the end I was so far behind they almost came back looking for me, but I showed up (only just though, I really thought I was lost as I had no clue which path they had taken through the bush). Pity, it would have made a great story about being lost and having to find the nanny. To show how good our guide was she managed to spot an Echidna while driving her quad at about 20mph from about 40 yards away. Now the one thing we were constantly told was how unlikely it was for us to see an Echidna, so for her to spot one while driving and at a distance was pretty impressive. It was a very good ending to a very good day.

All that was left now was to go home and have a birthday dinner for F. Can’t really remember what happened - I am sure it was nothing special. HB and I left early and she was asleep before I had finished reading the first page to her. So another early night for me.

To be continued...


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