We travel to Longleat Safari Park.
Longleat is fairly unique amongst major tourist attractions in the UK, in that it is not rubbish. I have been there once before, and whilst it is expensive – and no Dollywood – it clearly has a heart and offers value for money.
I think this is probably something to do with it not being owned by an Evil Corporation. As most people know, Longleat belongs to the Marquis of Bath, a man who, let’s face it, commands a certain amount of respect amongst the English heterosexual male fraternity. He provides good recreation facilities and quality animal contact opportunities.
The only thing that spoilt my previous visit was that the monkeys had herpes. I was disappointed by this, as to me a safari park is defined by the monkey experience, and not being able to drive in to the monkey enclosure (due to the herpes) had been a blow.
We trundle up the long drive towards the pay kiosks.
‘Due to unforeseen circumstances,’ reads a sign, ‘the monkey enclosure will be closed until further notice.’
I do not believe it!!! There are no monkeys once more!!! I wind down my window as the ticket lady looks down on me.
“Are there no monkeys today?” I demand.
Her eyes refuse to meet mine. “No. I’m afraid the monkey enclosure is closed,” she says. “Until further notice,” she adds helpfully.
“The monkey enclosure was closed last time,” I complain. “What is the problem with them?”
The lady shifts her stare once more. “They have… a virus,” she replies evasively.
I fix her with a look. “Is it the herpes again?”
She confirms that the monkeys have herpes once more. It is typical. “I can’t believe your monkeys keep reinfecting themselves,” I reply.
“It is not them; it is the humans. They get it from the humans. Then they give it back to us. The monkeys themselves are not that affected.”
“Oh,” I say, taking my change from her before scrubbing at my hand with a baby wipe.
We drive on into the attraction. We have a fine, monkeyless day.