FBF (Flatmate/Best Friend) and I decided to get out of London on the weekend. Sometimes it just has to be done. We did, however, have a very specific place we wanted to visit... Monkey World.
FBF has been obsessed with this show called "Monkey Business" on TV for some time now, set in a monkey sanctuary in Dorset that rescues monkeys from all over the world and bring them back here to be rehabilitated in to social groups. Many of the apes have been in extremely dire situations - some of them are used as photographers props, or in the case of Spanish 'Beach Chimps' are dressed up in human clothes and made to work in tourist resorts. There large canine teeth have often been crudely removed so they can't harm people and have often been badly abused and beaten by their human owners.
When FBF first started watching this show, I'll admit that I wasn't convinced. Monkeys?! I mean, whatever. But over time, I've grown to become quite attached to various chimps in the sanctuary, and their keepers (who are all so tirelessly dedicated). In fact, I even "adopted" a chimp for FBF's recent birthday so she is now a very proud mother of a young chimp called Seamus. (unfortunately he doesn't really look like FBF... quite a bit more hairy).
When we walked in to Monkey World on Sunday, I can't tell you how excited we were to be seeing these 'stars' in the flesh. We saw FBF's child, Seamus - who was incredibly naughty but looks like he will grow in to quite the alpha male (and wasn't FBF proud); Charlie - who was a photographer's prop in Spain and when he first arrived at Monkey World was a drug addict, had a broken jaw, cataracts, and only four teeth; Mike - one of the keepers who is often featured on the show; and of course... Gordon the Orangutan, who is quite a favourite in our place also.
We were both suitably starstruck and walked around with huge grins on our faces. Both of us have sighted a variety of 'celebrities' during our time in London, but none have incited the same level of excitement as these little critters. People may think we're dorks, but hey. What do I care? For us, it was a supercool day out.
A fantastic added bonus was that where we stayed in Dorset was incredibly near the coast.
Having grown up by the sea, I miss the ocean terribly living in London. Being landlocked creates demons in my brain sometimes I think... It just frees me instantly to look out over the ocean, hear the waves and smell the salt of the sea.
And what a coastline. The coast near where I grew up is long, white sandy beaches... but Dorset was amazing white cliffs, so stark and dramatic - I was awestruck.