... that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
On Wednesday and Thursday this week I packed a picnic lunch and a good book and headed off for places I knew would be ideal spots for relaxing. My first choice was Ruffy Lake Park, just a short drive away. However, as I approached the car park I was confronted with maybe a dozen huge buses already there, marquees set up around some areas of the park and what seemed to be a few thousand high school students who were having a sports day. I figured the park was big enough for everyone and I chose a place right next to the lake and away from most of the activities. I'm glad I stayed - the day was wonderful. I didn't have my camera but this is the view I sketched from where I was sitting. There were lots more trees but I thought I'd quit while I was ahead.
On Thursday I went to the zoo. I go there frequently as we belong to Friends of the Zoo and get free admission. My main goal this week was to see the cherry blossoms in the small Japanese garden within the zoo. I was just a week or two too early for that, so I'll have to return for another visit.
Usually I visit just a couple of animal groups (always including the giraffes) before settling down for lunch and a read. Despite my frequent visits I always find something new, it's unbelievable how much change the staff can produce in a short time. This time I discovered a huge new area for the Australian animals, replicating the dry landscapes so often seen here.
These are kangaroos made of timber, but of course there are also real ones! You can see a grass tree to the right, and the red sand which is common to much of inland Australia (that's why they call it the Red Centre). I find deserts quite beautiful.
This is a lizard called a lace monitor lizard. They can grow to 8 feet, but this one would have been only about 6 feet long. It was quite lively.
I always feel quite relaxed after my zoo visits. And seeing the school kids on their excursions is always entertaining. The reactions of primary schools kids of course are fun to watch, and even high school boys can forget to be "cool" for a while and go "ooh" and "awwww" along with the rest of us, especially when watching the young gorillas. I'm also grateful to zoos for preserving endangered species. The Melbourne zoo now has a family of Sumatran tigers. For years the male was all on his own, but a couple of years ago a lady friend was imported for him and now there are three "cubs" - they've grown so fast though!