Today, Helena and I went on our annual trip to the wildlife park. This is always an opportunity to get some great pictures of the wild, wacky, weird and wondrous world of animals. And we always fail to do so, one way or another. Last year, it rained and I didn't exactly distinguish myself with my impressive photography.
Helena now has a camera as well, so with two of us snapping away nothing could go wrong, right?
The first thing you need to remember, is to remember the cameras. David Bailey didn't get where he was by turning up to Vogue cover shoots without his equipment. On the other hand, they were lacking one vital piece of technology back in his heyday - the mobile phone.
Luckily for you, neither of us forgot our phones, which means that you have some pictures to look at. You have to squint a bit and use your imagination, but they could be worse. All the pictures that appear here were Helena's with the exception of the last one. This is probably because she took over 70 photos, many of which didn't come out well, compared to my carefully composed 9. She's got the better technique. It's like the Vogue cover photographers who take hundreds of pictures, and chuck all but one of them away.
Every time we go to the wildlife park, I'm always struck by the incongruity of seeing camels wandering around Oxfordshire. Not only should there be sand and pyramids instead of grass and trees, but I love the irony of keeping animals specifically designed to go for weeks without water in Britain.
We got lucky with the lions. Usually they're roaming around their very well isolated peice of land, but of course their coats that are intended to camouflage them from their future lunch, which makes them hard to spot. Today, however, instead of lean mean killing machines prowling through the undergrowth, there was a guy with a strimmer. I bet he's very good. I'd be very consciencious if I were him. Because if he did a shoddy job they wouldn't have to worry about filling in lots of paperwork and bureaucracy to fire him, they could just "accidentally" leave one of the doors of the lion house open.
If you look through most of the lion house's windows, you can see cage bars about 4 feet away, with the animals behind those, but there is one window that looks directly in. On the other side, with it's face pressed against the glass was a lioness.
Now I'm sure that the glass is really thick and safe and all that, but I personally didn't feel comfortable inches away from the large cat. Helena on the other hand was happily snapping away. Sadly, the glare on the glass ruined those particular pictures.
There were a couple of new exhibits this year. When you see drawings or models of giraffes, they always look wrong, as if the artist of sculptor wasn't very good. When you see the things in the flesh, you realise that the orignals look wrong too.
The other new thing was the Madagascar exhibition, where you get to walk in amongst the lemurs.
And no trip to the park would be complete without a visit to the penguins.
There were loads of other wonders - scary snakes and spiders, rhinos, monkeys, exotic birds and creepy crocodiles, but sadly not all of the pictures came out very well, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Still, there's always next year.