Archive for April 21, 2014

When the guide dog became the attraction at the zoo

My guide dog is often admired when we are out and about.  Many people are surprised when they see a dog in an inside environment, such as a shopping centre or cinema.  But people appear much more surprised when they meet us at somewhere like a theme park.

As it’s the Easter weekend I got the opportunity to go to Drayton Manor to visit Thomas Land with my little boy.  We had a fabulous time in the park, lots of rides and my GD Vicky enjoyed all the fussing she was getting while we waited in line for our turn.

She didn’t go on any of the rides with us, she stayed with one of our party so that I had her to guide me, but didn’t have to miss out on the fun and thrills of the rides.

Drayton Manor have their own zoo with a collection of owls, monkeys and a black leopard.

Having phoned ahead of our visit, I had spoken with one of the keepers and they were happy for my GD to go into the zoo area, with the provision that if she of the animals appearedto be distressed I was to walk away.

There were numerous zoo staff around the zoo who were very happy to see us and help explain what was in the enclosures.

The monkeys were the first to spot Vicky.

They were very interested and intreaged by her.  They came up to the bars on their cage to see her.

Photo 19-04-2014 13 48 51

Photo 19-04-2014 14 02 43Photo 19-04-2014 14 02 43Then there was black leopard, she came right up to see Vicky, yet she wasn’t stressed or showing any aggression, just interest.



And then there was the gibbons, they wanted to play, they were chatting away to Vicky and she in return was making noises to them too.  But again, with a zoo keeper on hand, I was reassured that this was friendly chatter that they often sharedamongst themselves during play times.


Photo 19-04-2014 14 02 43I was able to get some lovely pictures of the animals in the zoo, so once home I could actually sit down and look through the pictures with my son and he was telling me about what he thought of when he had seen the animals.  For me, seeing animals when visiting the zoo with my children is not something that I get to do very often.

It is only in more recent years that zoo’s have allowed guide dogs and other assistance dogs into the grounds, with many restrictions for the safety of the animals and the dogs.  With Vicky by my side, both me and my son were able to have a much closer encounter to the animals than we had ever thought possible.

A Gem Lettuce of a Find

As A woman who has suffered from my ‘over-indulgences’ with food, I am tackling my life with a healthy eating attitude to food in addition to getting fitter. Like many who have suffered with depression, I let myself go and used ‘rubbish food’ as my crutch to make me happy…… And guess what? It didn’t work!

Anyway, now I am an active member of my local Slimming World group. With a fabulous consultant in Liz, who is herself on the slimming world journey. She has great snippets of information and ideas to help us all alone.

A few weeks ago, whilst in group, we were talking about how time consuming it is to make and prepare home-made chips. A member in the group admitted that she didn’t have the time for the ‘faffing about’, this was when Liz told us of a local greengrocers that sold pre-cut potatoes for chips.

As a VIP, it has been a very long time since I have had proper ‘home-made’ chips, as although I can peel a potato, slicing it for chips is far beyond me, without the risk if injury that is!!

So, off I went to a nearby Stubbington village to The Fruit Basket…..

WOW! it was a beautifully laid out store, clearly arranged by fruit, core veg, salad, root veg and a lovely selection of miniature veg. Then there was the fridge with the milk and next to that the largest selection of ‘fresh’ pre-prepared fruit and veg.

Not like the bags in the supermarkets, but simply washed, peeled and cut assortments of goodies.

Unfortunately, no pre-cut potatoes for chips.

They did have, peeled and cut potatoes, onions, (which I haven’t cooked with in years) carrots, squash and swede to name just a few of the bit I picked up. And at very reasonable prices with an offer of 4 bags for the price of 3 I was sold.

This in addition to fruit I had picked up, which I must say is still fresh over 2 weeks later (unlike my last fruit/veg shop from the supermarket)

I was a very happy bunny, with a large bag of fresh, healthy foods. That when I got home, I felt it was only right for me to contact the company to tell them how helpful I had found them.

They have 2 shops in my local area and their warehouse is based within Gosport where they supply many local restaurants and catering companies…. Which I why they are able to offer the freshly prepared fruit and veg within their shops to the general public.

So off went my email, I commented on how accessible the pre-prepared range was to me and would enable me to be more independent with my cooking and more adventurous with what I ate (to be honest if I couldn’t cut it or de-seed it easily, I often wouldn’t bother.) I also mentioned about the chips, especially as my Slimming World consultant had mentioned it to a room full of about 45 men and women.

This was the reply I got…….

Hi Theresa,
Thank you for your email.
Glad to hear our prep fruit & veg is useful to you.
We stopped selling the chips due to lack of demand, but we would love to give them another go and see if there is any improvement.
Our prep team will start preparing them in the next few days, so hopefully you will see them in the shop by the end of the week!
Many thanks

And true to their word, I went back on Monday this week and there they were….. Bags of big chunky chips.

All I did was par-boil them, then popped them in the oven with a light coating of ‘fry-light’ and salt……. They were delicious and went down a treat with the kids too (which is always a bonus!)

The Fruit basket will be my regular stop for my fruit and veg needs, you get what you pay for and in saying that, as I have actually found them better value for money than my local supermarket.

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