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Sunday, May 16, 2004

One of the tragedies of my life is that I'm frequently forced to stroke fat-tailed sheep alone, and my dreams of poking aardvarks with company have remained unfulfilled. But that all changed yesterday when Lisa agreed to join me in a hands-on experience at Colchester Zoo. Being a Saturday, the place was full of children, but fortunately, as the only grown man attempting to get close to small furry animals in the children's petting zoo, I was able to force a clear path through the crowds of people half my size, and get my hands on a sheep. And I'm sure Lisa didn't think my attraction to fat-tailed ruminants was anything to worry about. But she is quite polite. Except when she's talking about my taste in hats.

I was forced to admit that I've never actually poked an aardvark, due to the fact that they're always asleep, and unsportingly refuse to come out and be prodded. But I think I successfully demonstrated their big-eared, furry stomached appeal, and may have gained a willing partner in any future poking attempts.

Though possibly I'm alone in my desire to ride a pygmy hippo.

That aside, the underwater sea lion tank was strangely relaxing, and Lisa felt she could fit a baby agouti in her handbag given half a chance, but despite many temptations we failed to leave with any large animals under our coats. Which was mildly disappointing.

But still, spending an evening watching the Eurovision Song Contest will always make up for any disappointment. Especially when it features a French woman on stilts, and a gay Bosnian singing about disco.