JOURNAL Ju l y 2 0 1 3 of my life with Wilson
es entur v d a â€™s ilson W w o Foll k at: .co.u t daily o p s log rs2.b a w t n //a http:
Original photographs of Wilson used by kind permission of TamanduaGirl: www.livingwithanteaters.com
We have a long day ahead of us, so Wilson insisted we have an early and substantial breakfast.
He was very impressed by our attentive waiters and by the grandeur of our
surroundings. Also the
vegetarian breakfast options
available to him.
I lost count of the
number of times he
buffet bar, but I think heâ€™s eaten
enough to last him at
least until we see
After an (extremely) hearty breakfast we made out way to the Jersey Tourist Office, where Wilson bought two Jersey
Tourist Passes, which will get us into most of the attractions on the island without charge.
The first place we visited was
the zoo - The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Wilson
proudly handed over our visitors’ passes and we were ushered in without further payment.
W is looking after both passes
because, as he said, ‘You might get overexcited and lose
them. I know what you’re like, New Dad!’
Today we set off to see Jersey’s famous Glass Church.
Wilson had been a bit worried about this, saying that if it had
recently been cleaned we might not
be able to see anything, or even find it.
This proved not to be the case.
We parked the car behind a large white concrete building which, it
turned out, actually was the ‘glass church’.
Wilson looked at it scathingly
before pointing out the blindingly obvious to me: ‘It’s not made of
glass - it’s made of cement! Only
the windows are glass… What a gyp!’ For the rest of
the day, whenever
we passed a church Wilson would point and say, ‘Oh look!
“glass church” made of cement! The
island is full of them!’ Today being
Wilson gave me
a pack of prototype
Oddsies! and took me to a beautiful beach-
side restaurant in St Brelade’s Bay for dinner.
I must remember to wear my Oddsies! tomorrow when we make our much-anticipated visit to The War Tunnels…
Here is Wilson posing for a photo on the steps of our hotel before we head off to the Jersey War Tunnels. This is a much-anticipated highlight of our visit for Wilson â€” he absolutely LOVES tunnels! The War Tunnels are
probably the reason that we are in Jersey instead of Worthing!
It might be worth mentioning the politeness of drivers on Jersey
- they are preemptively, almost
aggressively polite, stopping on busy
main roads to let us pull out of a side road, for example.
But here we are at The War Tunnels, where Wilson is almost beside himself with anticipation!
I have seen quite a few exhibits like The Jersey War Tunnels over the years, but I have to say that this is one of the very best I’ve ever visited - it really is excellent!
Wilson is taking everything in, reading every caption, watching every video, even making notes in his guide book.
This could be quite an extended visit, but I’m not complaining; I’m enjoying every minute here.
We completed our tour of The War Tunnels yesterday, then came Wilsonâ€™s favourite part of any tourist attraction: the Gift Shop and the Restaurant!
In spite of the
sunshine, today we
spent the afternoon in our room at the hotel watching tv.
Thank goodness we
can receive the BBC
here in Jersey, or we would have missed the
Wimbledon Menâ€™s Final, and the day I never thought to see!
Well Done Andy!
Both W and I were emotionally wrecked by the end on the match!
As Wilson has planned quite a heavy schedule for the next few days, we decided to spend a quiet day in St Helier.
He was a bit nervous about standing next to the mine, saying, ‘Just read the sign! It says it’s a REAL MINE! It could go off at any minute! Hello?’
In the evening I spotted the St Helier Steam Clock and I
was reminded of the fantastical Guinness Clock which I’d seen in my childhood. I persuaded Wilson to wait until it struck the hour.
‘It’ll be amazing,’ I told him. ‘I
expect people will pop out and the paddle wheels will turn and the whistle will blow and there’ll be
steam everywhere - you can’t imagine how great it will be!’
We waited. The clock passed six. Nothing happened.
Well, that’s 50 minutes of
my life I’ll never see again!’ Wilson remarked, a trifle testily I thought.
Today we’re off to visit Fort Elizabeth, which apparently involves a short sea-crossing in an amphibious vehicle.
Wilson is - how can I put this without causing offence? - a
nervous sailor, so we were both relieved when we arrived to
find the tide was out and our craft the “Charming Betty” would not be required to float, merely to drive over some very wet sand.
Nevertheless, W paid very close attention to the location of the life-jackets and the ‘evacuation procedures’ video.
Disembarking from the amphibious and entering Fort Elizabeth, Wilson confidently explained to me that it is called Fort
Elizabeth because Mr Prince Philip gave it to Queen Elizabeth for her birthday when she was 100.
We soon came across a man dressed as a soldier from the
1850s demonstrating how to use a bayonet and fire a musket.
Wilson felt a bit poorly during the bayonetting demonstration,
then during a talk by a blood-spattered â€˜surgeonâ€™ about battlefield operations (mostly amputations) he had to be helped outside and given a glass of water.
Although itâ€™s well paid,
I think he should cross Surgeon off his list of possible careers!
A number of male visitors, including Wilson, were press-ganged into becoming army recruits!
They were drilled and marched around the parade ground
for a while, then led away to the battlements where, with the recruits’ help, the ‘18th Century soldier’ fired the one o’clock cannon.
This is a day
young Wilson is unlikely to forget in a hurry...
After a long day at Fort Elizabeth we had an uneventful crossing back to the mainland.
Wilson just had time to take a tour of St Helier on a Land Train before we headed off for dinner at a really lovely Italian restaurant overlooking the harbour at St Aubin.
The waiters seemed to take a shine to W, calling him bello
piccolo mangiatore delle formiche and lavishing him with extra attention and antipasto.
W took great
pleasure in this,
whispering between courses that I
should treat him more like this
when weâ€™re at home.
Our time on Jersey is drawing to a close, but there are still
one or two things Wilson wanted to see before we leave. One of these was Sand Wizard Simon, whose display is filled with
magnificent and enormous sand sculptures. W chatted at length
with the sculptor, hoping to pick up some tips for his next trip to the beach.
We spent the rest of
the day in the beautiful grounds of a stately home. There were
several bee hives in the kitchen garden area,
and Wilson took a great interest in these.
Later he asked me
whether he could have
a pet bee. I told him I was sure that could be arranged but he should
wait until we were back in England, rather than have to declare a pet bee at customs.
W was very excited, and told me he would call his bee Polly and
would sell her honey
in tiny jars when our
garden was open to the public.
I had rather hoped he had forgotten about opening our garden to the public...
Since our visit to The War Tunnels, Wilson has felt quite a
connection to Jersey and its people. Today he said he wanted to re-visit the statues in Freedom Square, so he could demonstrate his solidarity with the Jersey Islanders. Once we arrived he stood
amongst the bronze figures and, paraphrasing the late President
Kennedy, shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Ich bin eine Jersey!’ He
then raised one paw aloft in the
universal gesture of fraternity and asked me to take his photo.
It was a very moving moment… although I’m pretty sure W’s
shouted slogan translates as ‘I am a pullover!’
Then back to St Brelade’s bay
for another wonderful dinner
on our last full day on Jersey.
Wilson always gets a bit melancholy when a holiday draws to a close, and today is no different.
We spent the morning at the
St Helier Maritime Museum
which was in fact very good and
filled with excellent interactive displays, though W was too
morose to pay much attention. He did like this giant copper fish-head which opened its
mouth when you pressed a foot pedal, however!
After lunch he spent some time forlornly arranging his ‘We’ve Been to Jersey’ car stickers in the rear window before we head off to the ferry terminal later today.
Following an uneventful journey back to Poole on the
ferry and an undisturbed night at the hotel (to Wilson’s
disappointment - no refund this time!) I thought we’d be heading straight home.
But Wilson has a knack of seeking out fun, and he
directed me to Bournemouth where he
discovered a seafront fairground. He had a ride
on the carousel (scarier than
it looks) and an ice-cream (not as big as he expected) before finally declaring himself ‘completely holidayed-out!’
Climbing into the back seat of the car he settled down to
sleep, telling me that I’d have to rely on the sat-nav to get me home as he was too tired for any more map-reading.
Without Wilsonâ€™s constant diversions to fairgrounds etc we made good time back to Uckfield.
Once W had woken up he went next door to retrieve Diesel
the Goldfish, and they had a tearful reunionâ€Ś although I never worked out how W could be so certain that Diesel was crying, what with him being underwater.
Wilson presented Diesel
and Antony with sticks of
Jersey Rock, and an extra-small stick for Tiny Toy, before heading out into the garden to see sTony and sToneye.
Wilson has presented the sTone Brothers with their souvenir sticks of Jersey Rock… though I can’t imagine what they’re going to do with them: sTony can’t find his to eat it, and
sToneye can only look at his… but W says that they are both pleased with their gifts.
I expect he’ll be back later to help… possibly by eating the rock for them!
At the moment Wilson is busy on-line ordering up a paddling pool from Amazon.
Although his family originates from a very hot country, Wilson
has spent all his life in Sussex, and he’s not used to the current high temperatures which he’s finding a bit oppressive. So he has bravely put aside his inherent dislike of water, and bought a paddling pool from Amazon.
He was waiting anxiously this morning for the postman to
deliver it. When it finally arrived Wilson took the box and
ran into the garden, tearing it open as he went, and erected it quickly. Then using the hose he added gingerly lowered himself in.
/4” of water and
After a few minutes he was splashing about happily and I
suggested he might like a little more water. He refused, saying that anything deeper than Antony or his Tiny Toy.
/4” might pose a drowning risk for
Wilson loved his paddling pool, staying in it all day yesterday
until his paws went all wrinkly and he thought he was starting to dissolve!
Since we got back from Jersey, many of Wilson’s friends have been in touch to tell him how much they liked his car window
stickers... so he has produced a version for you to print, cut out and stick in your own cars!
He understands that most
of you will not be fortunate enough to have an anteater of your own, but he says
that using these stickers will
‘Spread the Anteater Love!’
- and surely we all want to do that!
Following yesterday’s brief blip in the weather, today the air feels even hotter, the sun even fiercer.
Straight after breakfast Wilson headed to the pool, admitting
he was relieved he no longer lived in his ancestral homeland of Costa Rica.
‘I just couldn’t stand the heat, New Dad!’ he groaned, dabbing some Factor 50 on to his nose. ‘It’s totally doing my nut in!’
This morning Wilson reminded me of my promise to let him have a pet bee.
Half an hour later he popped Antony and Tiny Toy into the salad drawer of the fridge (he said they couldnâ€™t handle the
heat) and we set off to the Garden Centre to choose a Bee House for Polly.
I had no idea there would be so many to choose from!
In much the same way that, when we pop in to Waitrose for a
litre of milk Wilson finds a trolly-load of other shopping we can’t manage without, so it was at the garden centre. Between the Insect Hotel section and the Exit, we passed any number of plants W just had to have.
This bee is turning out to be an expensive pet… and we haven’t even got her yet!
Wilson can be very handy around the house… as long as he’s doing a job that interests him!
After just 20 minutes with my cordless drill, two boxes of
screws and seven strips of Rawlplugs his new Bee House is now installed on the Folly, ready for its new occupant.
I asked why it took so many screws and Rawlplugs, and he
told me that he didn’t want to risk the Bee House falling and injuring Polly.
I think the only risk of it falling is from the weight of screws he’s used!
A bee has moved in to Wilson’s Bee House!
When she alighted on one of the flowers in the garden, W
immediately sprang into action: he picked the flower, carried it round to the bee house and poked her into one of the ‘apartments’ with a stick.
He then explained to her that this was her new home, and
henceforth she would be known as Polly. W told me that she took this news very well, saying ‘Zzzzzzzz zzzzzzz’
which, although he doesn’t fully understand it, probably means ‘Okay, thankyou.’
Or possibly, ‘Why did you poke me with that stick?’
Wilson has put a vase of flowers in the niche next to the Bee House, so that Polly doesn’t have to travel too far to work while she’s settling in to her new home.
He’s also left out a tiny jar, for Polly to put her honey into.
He’s promised me honey for tea tonight - I’m really looking forward to that!
At teatime yesterday I asked Wilson, ‘Stands the Church Clock at Ten to Three? And is there Honey Still for Tea?’
Err, no. There wasn’t. Apparently Polly had had a bad day and there wasn’t enough honey to go round. In fact, there wasn’t any honey at all. Wilson has confessed that he is ‘Mystified.’
But he is not discouraged: he answered the door this morning and the postman handed him a large ‘To Be Signed For’
envelope. He scurried off to the tumble dryer to open it in private.
I expect I shall be told of its contents in due course…
Wilson called me into the kitchen where he had laid out the contents of yesterday’s envelope for inspection. I found Antony and Tiny Toy already there, so I was the last to
be shown; clearly W values my opinion less than that of two stuffed toys!
‘These are my new logos,’ he announced. ‘One for my
Oddsies! brand, and one for all my Wilson Vermilingua business enterprises!’
I admired them for a few minutes, then asked how much they had cost.
‘They were done by a very good agency,’ W replied. ‘They were
recommended to me!’
‘But how much is the bill?’ I persisted.
‘Oh, I don’t know yet,’
he replied, breezily,
‘They still have the Oddsies! packaging to
I’ve approved these logos.’
With that he
artwork in the envelope and left.
His evasiveness says ‘expensive’ to me!
Ant Wars II:
Last night Wilson signed off his new logos, so the design agency
is now working on the wrapper for his Oddsies! project. He has put a lot of effort into this - I hope it doesn’t end in tears… He has just popped into the village to buy some pollen tablets for Polly from the Health Store and to pick up some tiny
samples of wallpaper, in case she wants to redecorate her rooms.
I think he’s mollycoddling that bee!
In order to give Polly the best possible care, Wilson has
ordered a couple of books on apiary from Amazon. He was
initially puzzled, saying he was interested in keeping BEES, not APES, but eventually worked it out!
While he awaits their arrival he’s spending a quiet day working in the garden… and keeping an eye on Polly… and dozing, of course.
Wilson’s beekeeping books have arrived from Amazon and he’s sitting in the conservatory reading them.
In other news, a gang of earwigs has moved in to Polly’s Bee
House. According to Wilson, Polly has apparently told him that they’re playing loud music all night and she can’t get any sleep because of the noise.
W confides in me that he wishes he’d taken out Landlord Insurance, to avoid tenant problems like this.