Two souls with but a single thought
Two hearts that beat as one
Celebrating an anniversary was a tribute and yearly reminder of love, dedication and determination that a marriage needed from two people. I always believed that one’s anniversary must never be overlooked, no matter how long you had been married because it reinforced the fact that the marriage was a priority. An anniversary celebration allowed you to rein back from the daily hustle bustle and remember the moment that changed your life forever. And that was why I’m so happy to be celebrating not one but two wedding anniversaries, a British and Muslim.
A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity.
The order varies for any given year.
There was no such thing as a perfect marriage, only perfect moments. We must always remember that life wasn’t measured by the number of breaths we took, but by the moments that took our breath away. I’m looking forward to adding more and more perfect moments together for the rest of our lives. Everyday was a day waiting to be celebrated.
To find someone who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons,
that is the ultimate happiness.
We celebrated our wonderful day by doing the things that we enjoyed and loved doing together. No huge parties or lavish presents or expensive stuff. We did gave each other a card and a present each. I gave Babe the Farinelli il Castrato dvd that he was searching for a very, very long time. In turn, I received a Tommy Highler winter coat. All very practical gifts. Our first perfect moment together was another trip to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. The temperature was 19.8C when we set off on our adventure. It had been a very cloudy and dull day.
Although it was Friday, the parking lot was quite full but thankfully we managed to park a bit closer than before. After using the facilities, we checked out the map and plotted our journey. But first, we’d to say hello to these very playful yellow Mongoose and Meerkat. One of their pen was being cleaned and so all of them were huddled in two different pens. They were chasing and tumbling over each other and stopping to dig for something juicy in the ground. As usual, on the highest point, a Meerkat was acting as a lookout, standing on its hind legs, scanning for predators.
“It is the hardest thing in the world to frighten a mongoose, because he is eaten up from nose to tail with curiosity. The motto of all the mongoose family is, “Run and find out” and Rikki-tikki was a true mongoose”
~Rudyard Kipling ‘The Jungle Book’~
This time we took the opposite route to what we’d done before. First, we strolled over to the 10 acre Lion Country. From a distance, we could see that all the 3 prides were fast asleep. What do you expect on a gloomy afternoon? As we got closer, the females woke up and had a little rough tumble and then went to sleep again. The males in another enclosure looked around to check his surroundings. After a huge yawn, he went to sleep again. We didn’t walked around the place because there was too many visitors about. We decided to check out the other animals first and return when it was quieter.
“A lion sleeps in the heart of every brave man’
We walked along the African Plains and noticed that all the animals were at the further end of the field. The new Big Bug play area had just been opened and it had been a hit with the younger visitors. Meanwhile, in the field, among the Ankole, Lechwe, Antelopes, Zebras and Ostriches, we spotted a young Common Eland with its mother. A native of the savannah and plains found in East and Southern Africa, they were the second largest antelope in the world. We watched the male was sniffing around the females and we hoped to see some action but none of the females were interested.
‘Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the sky is not cloudy all day’
~Brewster M. Higley~
A huge crowd were lining the fence near Leopard Heights and we managed to squeeze in to find out what they were looking at. A leopard was snoozing at the top of the platform and all we could see was his tail. We were hoping to see the critically endangered Amur pups which were born in June. We climbed the tower to see if we can get a better view but the enclosure was empty. I guess they were still under quarantine although we’d seen photos of them on-line. From here, we also got a very close encounter with a Kestrel.
Opposite the Leopard Heights tower was the giraffe enclosure. Only one was feeding on the leaves that were tied on tall poles which were distributed along the paddock. 2 more giraffes came out but when back into their house when they spotted the crowd. We walked down and checked out the Land of the Tiger. We were so delighted to have seen a mother with three of her adorable cubs that were born in March under the shade. The cubs were in very playful moods as their mother was trying to give them a wash. We were at the right place at the right time.
Tschuna had moved to Dudley Zoo after she was rejected by her own mother at birth at Wuppertal Zoo in Germany. She then moved into the Park’s purpose-built two-acre reserve to take part in the breeding programme for endangered Amur tigers and was introduced to the cubs’ father Vladimir in September 2013. And the rest was history. It was so heart-warming to see how Tschuna took to motherhood.
‘It is not part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than is to make sheep ferocious’
We stopped at the family of camels that were lingering very close to the barrier. We noticed that the red tape which had been used to deter the baby camel from the electric fence had been taken off. Hadra, the adorable wee lass, had grown up quickly but was still attached to her mum, Elizabeth. The male bull, Khan, had traded places with Baxter, and travelled to Flamingoland in Malton. It was a common practice to swap bull camels to help maintained a healthy bloodline and genetic diversity to the population.
We continued on along the wetlands and noticed that the Sitatunga was no longer there. Hmm… I wonder where they’d gone? We checked out the Common Marmoset which were having a fun time chasing after one another. We were entertained by one which was trying to have a drink but somehow ended in the water. It looked shocked to find itself soaked. But a quick shake and a spot of sunbathing, it dried off quickly. The Marmoset shared a living space with an Armadillo which refused to come out. We could see him wandering indoors through the glass walls.
Nearby was the Giant anteater enclosure but it too refused to come out. We then nipped to the South American viva which we missed before. It was a one-way route system and we followed the meandering route walking past Giant rodents which were either sleeping or checking the visitors out. At the end were the adorable but naughty squirrel monkeys. We were warned not to get close to them because they gave nasty bites. But it was quite difficult not to be near them because they were wandering very close to the visitors. In fact, visitors were asked to move away if they come close.
Then straight to the Project Polar corner where a huge crowd was already gathering. Since we’d powerful DSLR cameras, we stood a distance away and saw 16 year old Victor and two year old Pixel vowing the crowd. They were having a swim in the lake and it was not often you see these giant mammals having a swim. Victor was looking very well and he was huge compared to Pixel. It was lovely seeing grandfather and grandson interacting with each other. They looked like little and large as Pixel was a third of the size of Victor.
Pixel was in a very playful mood and kept on teasing Victor to play with him. According to the keeper, when they play 480 kg Victor will always sit down so that he don’t intimidate Pixel. Victor was over 3 metres tall and when he stood on his back legs, Pixel would run away. After a few rough and tumble, Pixel left Victor alone who just wanted to have a siesta.
“The polar bear by being white
gives up his camouflage at night,
And, yet without a thought or care,
he meanders here, meanders there;
and gaily treads the ice floes
For after dark nobody dares
to set out after polar bears”
We walked into the forest and stopped to say hello to the Red River Hogs which were busy rooting among the undergrowth. It was quite dark and swampy under the trees just like in the Guinean and Congolian forests of Africa from where they originated. We were standing by their corral when they came closer sniffing us out as they snuffled their way around the deciduous woodland.
We continued on and joined the visitors in Lemur Woods, a walkthrough enclosure housing groups of endangered and endearing Madagascan Brown, Ring-tailed and Black-and-white ruffed lemurs. These lemurs faced such severe threats to their survival that none of them may be left in the wild within 25 years. I hated to think that these captive ones in the zoos around the world will be the only place for people to see. With their wide-eyed, eerie stare and night time activities, Lemurs were spectre-like figures of Madagascar’s forest and soon they might be just that as as ‘lemurs’ meant ghost in Latin.
This poem written by Lucy aged 8 in 2010 about the Lemurs at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. She summed them up brilliantly.
Lively leaping lemurs jumping from tree to tree
Furry acrobats performing for all to see
stripy tails flying through the branches
Oh look at those fancy dancers
Pointy faces peeping through the leafy trees
As they rest their paws on furry knees
Through the woodland trail, we kept our eyes opened for the Rukuni Painted Dogs but only found them near the Baboon enclosure. Also known as Cape hunting dogs or African wild dogs, they were pacing on the hill at the far end of the tall wired-fence. They looked exactly like their Latin name which meant ‘painted dog’ referring to the irregular, mottled coat which featured patches of red, black, brown, white and yellow fur. Then they suddenly shot off through an open gate into the forest. Their enclosure had a variety of habitats for them to explore and run about.
‘And let me remember that my courage is a wild dog; it won’t just come when I call it. I have to chase it down and hold it down and hold on it as tight as I can’
Last but not least were the Guinean Baboons which were in their usual quarrelsome mood. They were either chasing after each other, foraging about in the nearly-bare compound, grooming and climbing the various structures. They were highly communicative too, communicating with one another by using a variety of vocalizations and physical interactions We watched them sitting on the ground and shuffling along as they fed on grasses and seeds on the ground.
‘Our descent, then is the origin of our evil passions!! The devil under form of Baboon is our grandfather’
We took a breather by the Tsavo picnic area and had our lunch. We observed children feeding the ducks and the geese and the Flamingos having a siesta. House sparrows were picking leftovers that had fallen onto the grass. By this time, we were quite exhausted and decided to check out the leopards again before we headed home. As we were leaving, we spotted a pair of Guinea fowls feeding on the restaurant compound.
We headed straight to Leopards Height with a quick glance to the Wallabies. At the Leopard enclosure, we were greeted by this handsome fella pacing up and down the enclosure. It was nearly dinner time and he wanted to be in his feeding station. We often wonder why these animals were fed indoors and not out in the open for the visitors to see. But I guess it must be due to the strict health and safety regulations. We gave the lions a miss and headed home. It had been a wonderful day and we hoped to come back again in the next year and hopefully see the Amur cubs.
‘We do not remember days, we remember moments”