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The location of this experience was, in itself, not so amazing, because we were at Howletts Wild Animal Park again - if we'd seen the anteater in Sainsbury's then the location it would have been EVEN MORE amazing - as The Wildlife In My Natural Setting were back in Canterbury. We'd had SUCH a lovely time there (and especially at Howletts) when we went in November that we decided to go again, not least because we'd got an offer of a FREE night in a Premier Inn (due to having had four stays in Premier Inns during the course of the year). As anyone who has been within 15 feet of me whilst I am on tour will know, I do like an IBIS when on the road but I have very much come round to the JOYS of the Premier Inn just lately, especially the beds which are LOVELY.
So yes, we went back to Canterbury and marvelled once more at a) the peasiness of getting there b) how hard it is for the BRANE to take this information in. Living in That London as I do, when somebody says "This place is only 40 minutes from London!" I IMMEDIATELY think "Aha! But then you need to factor in approx an HOUR to get to the mainline station". This happens even when I know - even when that was part of the original reason for GOING - that the train from Canterbury goes from Stratford International which is THREE MINUTES from my front door. Over a decade of living in the nation's capital means it is hard to SHIFT this idea.
Once there we had a lovely night out and then a VERY pleasant afternoon wandering round the park. As with our last visit it was RAINY and COLD so quite a few of the animals had sensibly decided to STAY IN, but there seems to be a SHIFT system in operation as nearly ALL of the animals we missed last time for this reason were out and about, allowing, for example, the BONGO to remain in the warm.
We had technically SEEN the anteater on our last visit but it had been curled up in a ball fast asleep in a corner. THIS time it was wandering about searching for food (I'm guessing ANTS) and basically BLOWING OUR MINDS. I have seen pictures of anteaters in BOOKS and on telly and so forth, but none of that had prepared me for what a MONUMENTALLY WEIRD looking animal it is, with it's GINORMOUS tail and long pointing face and STRANGE LEGS and ... well, it was a VERY ODD thing to look at, like someone had decided to go HECK for leather on the CGI animation studio and make the KRAZIEST looking creature they could think of.
It right did our heads in, so much so that I think we hurt the feelings of the ruddy great TIGER who was growling away behind us, expecting our attention for being MAJESTIC.
It's a great place, Howletts, and I reckon we'll definitely be going again, as we didn't see QUITE all of the animals we missed last time. We only glimpsed GORILLAS through glass inside their private quarters again, so I guess we'll have to go back again. Who knows? Maybe this time we'll go when it ISN'T tipping it down with rain!
posted 19/1/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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