Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

We Can Stay All Day

Daddy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow,
Zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow;
Daddy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow, we can stay all day.
Tom Paxton

I have no pictures in my family albums to rival the one in this week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt. My Mum, remembers having a ride on an elephant a Regent’s Park Zoo in the 1920s, though we have no pictorial record sadly. Of course we have been to zoos, wildlife and safari parks, bird gardens and rare breeds farms over the years, but not one elephant picture. Instead, I offer a few souvenir photographs from some of those visits. 

The first two are of me at Dudley Zoo in 1956. I wonder why I took my little suitcase along. I hope it wasn’t with the intention of taking something cuddly home with me. I seem to be more interested in the gentler, domesticated animals than in elephants and tigers. Notice the little boy in the first picture - what was he up to? 
I was obviously on friendly terms with the rabbit, and in 1979 my daughter demonstrated the same fascination for them, though I think this was probably in a friend’s garden.

In 1990 we had acquired a budgie as a family pet and became somewhat bird crazy. Off we went for a visit to Merley Bird Gardens in Dorset. Here we met Brolly, who was an Umbrella Cockatoo. None of us can remember which TV show Brolly had been in, but it looks as though the sign is mentioning this. My daughter kept a summer scrapbook and wrote that there were lots of birds from doves to penguins and a free flying parrot, but there was no mention of Brolly. We all remember that the sign said not to put your finger in the cage. To an eleven year old boy that is in invitation to do so, with the inevitable consequences - one sore finger! He learned the hard way to always obey the signs. Yes, and that it was better to stick with those bunnies!

Having said there were no baby elephants in the our albums, I remembered that there were some baby elephant seals! These picture are of my husband’s tour of duty with the RAF in the Falkland Islands in 1986-7.

Here’s my husband and friends being brave on Sea Lion Island. These are the young elephant seals.In the picture below his colleague risked going a little closer to a female and got snarled at.

And the photo below, demonstrates why you would be foolish to get too close to the bull elephant seal. This one was taken in 1955 on Macquarie Island. If there was a sign saying: ‘Beware of the Bull’ I don’t think you’d be tempted to try and test it.

I’ve come full circle  with my sepia pictures this week because the above image comes from the State Library of New South Wales Collection via flickr creative commons, as did this week’s Sepia Saturday prompt. From baby elephants to daddy elephant seals. 

Why not join us and see what other contributors have to offer?


  1. The elephant seals were pretty scary because they were vast - the biggest bulls are 16 feet long and weigh 3 tons - but they were relatively immobile. The bull sea lions from which the island took its name were really scary, because rearing up they are about 6 feet high, and unlike the seal, can get up on all fours and run across a beach faster than a man. We stayed well clear to avoid much more than a pecked finger!

  2. Oh my goodness, what a lovely trip to quite an exciting Zoo! This was perfect, since I just was at one myself....but far different!

  3. I love your little suitcase. None of us had backpacks in those days and I don't think most kids had purses. Where else would you keep your really important stuff?
    Has a penchant for the "big bag" carried over into adulthood?

  4. I think that little boy was eyeing your suitcase. He really wanted to see the contents.
    Very nice post. Loved the pics of your handsome husband.

  5. Wonderful pictures : sea lions and elephant seals - you are just short of a buffalo fly or a tiger moth for a full zoo. Many, many thanks for being such a wonderful Sepia Saturday curator in my absence. I will be in touch so you can let me have your feedback and we can look at any changes you think we might try. Alan

  6. I was wondering about that suitcase too. Is there a doll in it? I'm sure I would have wanted my doll to visit the zoo too. As for those elephant seals - oh my! I can't imagine strolling out onto a beach full of those things. Rather scary.

  7. Hi Nell, I enoyed all your photos and how one thing leads to another. I am courios abot your suitcase...perhaps it was an early backpack?

  8. The rabbit seems to be quite interested in you.

  9. I remember a warning at a zoo about the sea lions. Something like, they can stay underwater for half an hour, can you? STAY BACK!

  10. I went to my first visit to the zoo at age 5 or 6. I remember thinking it was great that the lion was coming right up to the wire fence so I could get a good look.............until he peed on me!

    Some things you don't forget!

  11. The last zoo I went to was in Detroit in 2006. Before that when my daughter was small we took her to a small zoo in England (I can't remember where). She had her arm in a sling as she had broken her collar bone a day of two before. She was in my arms so that she could look at a camel close up. Wrong move - when she stretched ou her hand the camel bit her fingers.

  12. I'll go off topic of the other posters to say the soldier (your husband???) in the Falklands photo is quite the handsome fellow!

  13. I, too, thank the little boy was eyeballing your or your suitcase. Great story. The sea lions look dangerous. Thanks for calling my attention to my messed up blog. I knew it was out of whack but had not had the time to work on it. I love this topic since there has been some great posts on the topic.

  14. Fun photos! You were so cute and quite business-like with your little suitcase at the zoo. And that little guy at the Dudley zoo looks like he was trying to climb up that tall structure (is that a birdhouse?).

  15. Interesting lot of photos. I thought perhaps your suitcase was because you wanted to run away to the circus, or at least the zoo.
    and the bull elephant seal reminds me of one day I was on the beach somewhere in California and one of the damn things came charging towards me. I was well aware they weigh as much as a small bus (or something equally awful) and also that they won't stop once they're charging. I raced behind a huge boulder and it didn't notice me. But it still gives me a slight feeling of horror to see even a photo of one!

  16. That's an interesting picture made on The Falklands. I wonder what the seals are thinking...

  17. I can remember our three year old son attempting to clamber into an animal's enclosure when we went to a zoo with him. I can't remember the animal or the zoo, only the horror when I wondered what might have happened if I'd been a second or two later realising what he was doing.