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A Day At Whipsnade Zoo - by Mary Morris

The Avenue Road resident, who passed this rhyme to us, said Mrs Morris was a rather eccentric lady.
The Morris' lived at Woodbine Villa at the top of Higham Park Lane.

On the 17th. of August '36,
To go to Whipsnade, I did fix.
So Alewyn, and Eileen, Alfred, and ME,
Started quite early, so excited were we.

The sun was shining the whole of the way,
So I was pleased I’d selected that day.
We just stayed to lunch on the Dunstable Downs,
And were thrilled with the views with which it abounds.

Then being anxious, Zoo inmates to see,
We resumed our journey with alacrity.
When the business of parking our car was all o'er,
With our tickets we entered the Zoo to explore.

At the gate bought a guide and a bag of M. Nuts
The former was handy to show us short cuts.
The bag of M. Nuts we thought would be useful
Proved no help to ME, if I’m to be truthful.

[M. Nuts – monkey nuts or peanuts in their shells]

Eileen studied the guide and proceeded to state
Which way we should or should not take.
To the Elephant residence first we did go,
One Elephant each to four rooms in a row.

Electrically heated and each room had
Gadgets to suit any elephantine fad
And a water contraption to drink or to wash in,
Which was better for them than a crockery basin.

We soon got busy, Eileen, Ale, Alf and I,
As into their huge mouths some nuts we did shie.
When one mouth was opened I could not but stare,
For to my surprise three nuts were still there.

When he heard me say, "There'll be no more for you"
That mortified elephant made no more ado.
He filled up his trunk and with such wicked glee
Emptied the whole of its water on ME.

With a sudden gasp I gave a quick jump
Out of the way of that animal's pump.
When all the laughter was over and done,
With my arm as a horse my coat dried in the sun.

[Clothes horse – rack for drying clothes]

Now resuming our tour of inspection we hied
Many Birds, Beasts, and Plants of rare species, we spied.
Marked like a striped six were the two Zebras' coats,
They agreed to have nuts as I had no white oats.

The Giraffes were on view with their spotted necks long,
'Twould be hard to say when the measles had gone.
An Ostrich adapted its gait to mine,
On the other side of the boundary line.

The cane-like necks of the Cranes were cute,
'Twould not take much leather to make them a boot.
The Wolves and the Dogs next to them looked so meek.
But an encounter with either, would leave me quite weak.

The White Bears were very adorable dears,
Their food catching antics aroused many cheers.
The Brown Bears then, for their "Forget-me-not" cries
Were awarded the last nuts as a special prize.

The Kings of the Forest were sleepy and tired,
But their dormant expressions were duly admired.
Rhinos and Hippos with tough hides and tusks,
Did their Ma's feed them on "Ovaltine Rusks"?

The Ponies and cattle of very high class
Were grazing in pastures of verdant grass.
Swans, and Turkeys, and Peacocks, too,
Geese, and Ducks and Sparrows, a few.

The Camel had got the hump I could see,
I sometimes suffer with that malady,
Tigers and Leopards with velvety tread,
Well knew the time they were going to be fed.

[To get the hump – be grumpy or dissatisfied]

To look at the Monkeys next we did go,
They did not even say "Hello"!
The four Chimpanzees we then went to see,
We laughed at them and they laughed at we.

I pictured Bluebells growing in Bluebell Wood,
But enter Cut-throat ditto, didn't feel that I could.
Very pleased were we sometimes to sit down and rest,
And observe round us Nature attired in its best.

Long pedigrees these creatures have that roam inside this Park,
Their kindred were the Two and Two that went into the Ark,
And from infants to adults their rig-outs you’ll agree,
If plain or spotted, striped or furry, fit just to a T.

Not a word of welcome would the Cockatoo say,
Perhaps sometimes, a Cockatoo’s speechless all day.
Since Silence is Golden, his tongue he was holding,
Not e'en would he utter a guttural scolding.

At last we decreed that home we must go,
Having greatly enjoyed all at Whipsnade Show.
And now my dear friends, after reading this through,
If a chance comes to go there, most certainly do
(And beware of an Elephant wetting you too)

Be careful to choose a lucky date,
Get up early for once to avoid being late.
You may miss an Elephant's watery fun
If, instead of three nuts, you give a bun.

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