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Friday, 11 January 2013

Tall Stories at Bristol Zoo



Ahh! What's all this?

Recently our zoo in Bristol ran a series of successful TV advertisements inviting visitors to see their extensive range of dinosaurs.  I'm not sure how the other more authentic animals got on with them, or even how long they survived, but the advertisement advised us to visit NOW before the dinosaurs became extinct.  I thought that this was a very clever piece of marketing which I found amusing, since it appealed greatly to my rather over-developed sense of humour.  However, I passed on the invitation, preferring to visit later when a swarm of taxidermists had time to stuff them all, rendering them harmless.  

This all brought back lots of memories for me - not of the dinosaurs because I am not that old I hasten to add, but memories of the zoo itself with it's large collection of animals and beautiful grounds.


We are most fortunate in Bristol to have such an impressive zoo.  Although I have not visited for a number of years when I was younger I did enjoy many a warm summer's day there.  When I was but a small boy some inspirational stroke of genius possessed me to buy my mother a small wooden model of a hippopotamus.  She was not at all impressed when I handed it to her when I returned home, as you may imagine, wondering why I had chosen that particular ugly and vastly obese creature when there were lots of far more feminine and attractive wooden animals from which to choose.  I rather think she wondered whether there was some hidden message I was attempting to convey to her.  Needless to say the creature never appeared on display since it was unworthy of a place alongside her other more flattering and appealing ornaments.


On another occasional my sister, Maggie, and our cousin Sylvia had high drama in the bird house with a large red and yellow parrot.  It took one look at the bracelet Sylvia' was wearing, belonging to her mother and supposedly in her safe custody whilst on holiday with us.  It swooped from it's perch like grease lightening, taking us all by surprise, and grabbed the bracelet proceeding to roll it into a small silver ball and fighting us violently when we tried to get it back whilst shouting at it to let it go.  In reply it just imitated us in a high screech, "Let it go! Let it go!" and clawed at us until we had to give up.   We were horror struck, particularly Sylvia, who wondered what she would say to her mother about the strange demise of her cherished bracelet.  Of course I did not help matters because even in my youth my keen sense of humour prompted me to send Sylvia, now at home in Nottingham, a photograph of the parrot calling it TELECARB RETAE which spelled backwards read BRACELET EATER.  I was rather proud of this title since I thought it quite plausible as a Latin name for that species of parrot and to me this name looked entirely authentic. I do not think her mother ever cracked the code, but Sylvia did and we enjoyed the joke for many years and I continue to smile about it sometimes even to this day.  What Sylvia said to her mother about the missing bracelet remains unknown.


Well these memories exercised my chuckle muscle and actually I was inspired to write them up when I read about an article appearing in The London Times, featuring Bristol Zoo and a missing car park attendant.  No I do not think he was eaten by a dinosaur or even a lion - he just vanished.


Here is the article in full:


From The London Times: 


Outside the Bristol Zoo, in England, there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 coaches, or buses. 

It was manned by a very pleasant attendant with a ticket machine charging cars 1 pound (about $1.40) and coaches 5 (about $7). 

This parking attendant worked there solid for all of 25 years. Then, one day, he just didn't turn up for work. 

"Oh well", said Bristol Zoo Management - "we'd better phone up the City Council and get them to send a new parking attendant..." 

"Err ... no", said the Council, "that parking lot is your responsibility." 

"Err ... no", said Bristol Zoo Management, "the attendant was employed by the City Council, wasn't he?" 

"Err ... NO!" insisted the Council. 

Sitting in his villa somewhere on the coast of Spain, is a bloke who had been taking the parking lot fees, estimated at 400 pounds (about $560) per day at Bristol Zoo for the last 25 years. Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over 3.6 million pounds ($7 million). 

And no one even knows his name.


What a clever chap!! I say, and for sheer ingenuity and cheek this chap deserves to get away with it, in my book!!  No, folks he was not me!! . . . just in case you were wondering.   Apparently, a few days after the article appeared, no less than 20 bogus car park attendants turned up at Bristol Zoo, sporting ticket machines, peaked hats and large money bags.  They proceeded to argue violently with each other as to who arrived first and who should claim the pitch when the real car park attendant arrived and sent them all packing.  Apparently the whole thing was a giant hoax.  Bristol Evening Post newspaper had made some investigations about the article and discovered some joker had sent this bogus story to The London Times - no folks, again it was not me, but boy did I laugh when I read this. Hope you enjoyed the stories - excuse me while I dash to find a suitable and promising pitch for my would be very lucrative car/bus ticket collecting operation. Now let;s see - I wonder where I should first try!! GOT IT!! NOT TELLING but don't look for me in Spain!!  BYE!  LOL.

35 comments:

  1. Love the zoo, too, my friend.
    What an interesting story about the figurine that you brought home...and it didn't get displayed. I'm wondering if you know where it is now...?
    And the bracelet! Oh no! That is amazing...and I would have been nervous to tell the owner where the bracelet was, also.
    Love your Latin name for the bird!
    Hugs,
    J.

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    Replies
    1. Great to have your comment Jackie and glad you liked the true stories, except the ticket man of course

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    2. Love the reply feature you've added.
      Now...You know that I will reply back to your reply (It's what I doooooo!) :))
      The ticket story was incredible. Hoping that you aren't considering this (knowing that you aren't)...but smiling, just the same.
      I love Spain. We spent a month there with family. We went to France while we were there. I would love to return to Europe...perhaps one day.
      Smiles and hugs,
      J.

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  2. hahaha funny...our zoo is rather small....i love the prairie dogs though and could literally watch them for hours....the latin name is funny....

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    1. Our zoo is a shadow of it's former self with fewer big cats which was rather cruel to keep them in small cages

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  3. Eddie! How delightful to run into you. Thanks for this cheery post. Happy New Year with Aloha from Honolulu,
    Comfort Spiral
    ~ > < } } ( ° >
    > < } } ( ° >

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  4. Zoo's always make me sad....gorgeous animals should be free to roam I think
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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    1. Nice to see you SueAnn - I am trying to figure how to get onto your blog. I will keep trying

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  5. Loved the stories, Eddie, and what a clever boy you were to come up with that Pig Latin for Bracelet Eater. You know, I actually think hippos are cute, and the Met apparently did, too, because they copied a statue some Pharoh had made of a turquoise hippo. Actually, the hippo wasn't turquoise; the statue was. Just wanted to clarify because that sentence might have confused someone.

    And by the way, I was rather hoping the car park story was true!

    In terms of zoo tails, once upon a time, I was playing around with a large ape, doing "Monkey See, Monkey Do" with him. Well, he got tired of playing, and he leaned back in his cage and actually spat at me! And I mean SPIT SPAT, or is that SPAT SPIT?. In either case, I was mortified. I guess he thought I was making fun of him and decided to get even with me. Newsflash... it worked!. ;-)

    XO,

    Sheila

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    Replies
    1. Nice to see you Sheila and thanks for the story. Hope you did not get too drenched.

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  6. Well, Eddie BlueLights is alive and well! Who knew? Long time since we've heard from you. Glad you've retained your sense of humor!

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    Replies
    1. Yes Eddie is alive and well but life is quite full these days and not a lot of time for blogging. I will try to treat myself to Silly Saturdays at your place.

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  7. Hilarious stories and great post! And I can see that you were good at writing in code, even when you were a kid! LOL And your sense of humor is amazing! Cheers!

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    Replies
    1. Call me 'Inspector Morse' with all that writing in code LOL

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  8. Well that took me down Memory Lane! It was all rather funny and I had to chuckle at the bracelet incident. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall when Auntie discovered the damaged bracelet.

    The zoo is very different now... only having mostly very small animals and devoting a great deal of space to childrens' play area and research area. I didn't like the idea of large animals being cooped up in small cages though, so I'm pleased at the change and children seem to love going until they reach a certain age (as all my grandchildren seem to have!)
    maggie x

    Nuts in May

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    Replies
    1. Thought that would jog your memory!! Do you know what happened to the wooden hippopotamus? LOL

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  9. hahaha...Oh, my goodness...you have WAY more fun at the zoo during your lifetime trips than I ever have! What a delightful post of memories. Good to see you posting again!

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    1. Glad this exercised your chuckle muscle Betsy LOL

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  10. Oh what a hoot.. all of your stories. Until you explained that it was a hoax, I was beginning to think that the parking attendant had also trained that parrot to steal jewellery.

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    Replies
    1. Great to see you Hilary and loved your logic LOL

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  11. Thanks all for your comments - I hope to resume blogging albeit occasionally, soon

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  12. Well, as you know I've recently become unemployed. Maybe I'll find myself a car park somewhere and go into business for myself :-)

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  13. Hi Eddie, enjoyed these stories, the car park attendant one did the rounds here too a while ago, it's a good one and plausible. Your TELECARB RETAE is hilarious! I'd love to know what she did say to her mother!
    Thanks for dropping in over at my place. I just realised that another upside to this virus is that I have some time to blog!! See ya soon!

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    Replies
    1. Great to see you, Mimi, and glad you are a bit better, hopefully soon, a lot better.

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  14. Hi Eddie, Wonderful story as usual. I hope all is going well for you.

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    1. Honoured to see you at my place Linda, as I am for all my friends and visitors

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  15. Hi Eddie, Nice to see you again!

    Love your zoo story. The Los Angeles Zoo is pretty nice too.

    Happy New year to you and Mrs. Bluelights.

    jj

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  16. Thanks for stopping by, Joanna - looks as though we have both had a Blogging break - me for much longer than you. Hope all is well with you and yours and best wishes for 2013.

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  17. Dinosaurs fascinate me and many animals still have pre-historic looks today. I think our nearest zoo is Edinburgh and I've never been! I reckon that parrot knew exactly what it was doing...!! (well trained me thinks, lol)

    CJ x

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  18. Great to see you braving the ferocious dinosaurs Crystal - thanks for the visit and hope to see you more often for a cuppa.

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  19. Great stuff! I was once in charge of 500 plus kids visiting a safari park. The 'jobs worth in charge insisted on putting all through his ticket machine 8 buses if I remember right!

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  20. Nice to see you Ken. Shall we go into partnership in a lucrative car park ticket business? LOL

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