Things are starting to settle down here in ECS. This morning, we were allowed back into our offices in Zepler, so I've been able to commune with my books again. My umbrella plant is beyond saving, however. I've donated my meeting table to one of the secretaries from Mountbatten who is being rehoused in Zepler, and a bunch of my shelves (most of which are empty) to a professor from Mountbatten who is moving the contents of his old office into the rather smaller office next door to mine. We're only allowed into the building during business hours (0845-1730), which is a fairly powerful incentive not to let work eat into my own time as I did on Saturday morning. The best way to spend the morning of one's birthday is not to get up at 0600 and spend four frantic hours trying to whip a paper into shape for a 1000 deadline (2359 Hawaiian time) which you end up missing anyway.
The rest of Saturday was rather better. ias made Eggs Benedict for us both (using bought cheaters Hollandaise sauce, but I won't hold that against her), then we went off to Marwell Zoo. The zoo was rather good (even if the lemur centre wasn't a patch on that in Jersey Zoo), and I shall look forward to dragging garklets around it in the future. My top animals in the zoo were:
The mighty Capybara. Apparently they're eaten in Venezuala during Lent, being semi-aquatic rodents, and therefore a type of Fish.
Patagonian Mara, even though they were lying down and not spronking. ias's initial reaction was "oh, look at the rabbits" before she realised that they were actually the size of small deer. We then amused ourselves by pretending that they spoke with Patagonian Welsh accents. It doesn't take much, as you may be able to tell.
As an aside, ias clearly has a rabbit/South American rodent problem, since she loudly exclaimed "oh, look at the rabbits" while leaning over the guinea pig enclosure in the children's zoo.
Prevost's Squirrel, which is by far the most beautiful squirrel I've yet seen.
Red Ruffed Lemurs, Black and White Ruffed Lemurs, and Ring-Tailed Lemurs, even though the latter are quite obviously the hooligans of the lemur world. If they were people, they'd be given ASBOs.
That evening, went out to George's in town for a meal with the usual suspects (including gnommi, hobbit_dave, evildrem and elseware). Rather a new experience - managed to eat my way through the mezze without being completely stuffed by the time the kleftiko and moussaka came around (the eighth and ninth dishes, if I've counted correctly) by the simple approach of not bingeing on houmous at the beginning, and even had space for some baklava.
Some lovely gifts from people - what looks to be a rather good bottle of wine from evildrem and J, a Tony Millionaire book from Rich ("It only takes ninety seconds to read, but it's really good", he said, and he's not lying), yummy chocolates from Jules, and a copy of The Usborne Book of the Future from elseware (I had commented that I'd been looking for a second-hand copy earlier in the week, so he gave me his copy!). The in-laws got me Roberto Innocenti's recent illustrated Pinnocchio and the John Peel (auto-)biography Margrave of the Marshes. If you've not already got the latter, buy it now - Peel's inimitable voice comes through beautifully in the first half, and it's a delightful portrait of the man. I'll certainly never think of the Bay City Rollers in the same way again.