The Petersons decided to go back to Lower Strangling from Eastbourne via Longleat Safari Park. Sure, it added another 3 hours to their journey, but they weren’t in any hurray. Will and Eleanor weren’t expected back at school until the following week, and Dave was not expected back at work until the following week either.
“Maybe we should’ve just gone back home”, Dave said as the drove through the famous Safari Park in the pouring rain. The rain had steamed up the windows so the family could barely see anything, and even if they could the animals weren’t particularly doing anything because of the weather.
Eventually, the Petersons drove through the Lion enclosure, in which that most famous of African beasts roamed freely through extremely English woodland, although today they lay on the grass in the extremely English rain. The Petersons stared in awe as a magnificent Lion lay next to one of his many Lionesses.
“Dad, can we have a Lion?”, Will asked his Dad, “it won’t be too different to having a cat.”
“I don’t think we have the space for one, son,” Dave told his son, “and also we’re more likely to be killed by one than a domestic cat.”
“They start out small”, Eleanor reminded Dave.
“Yes, but then they grow to be that big!”, Dave said whilst gesturing the big cats lying in the woods around them, “we just wouldn’t have the space. Also I think it’s illegal to have Lions as pets.”
“Even if it wasn’t illegal, it would be cruel to keep a lion cooped up in such a small space,” Sarah added, being the Guardian journalist that she was.
“We live near the countryside”, Will told Sarah, “It wouldn’t be too different to these woods.”
Dave sighed whilst observing the road ahead, “No, we’re not getting a Lion and that’s final.”
Will and Eleanor moaned as the grey ford focus drove through into the enclosure of the next pride of Lions.
A little while later, the ford focus went into the enclosure of the wolves. The wolves were also lying down in the grass because of the rain.
“Dad”, Will asked his dad once again, “can we get a wolf?”
“No, we cannot get a wolf,” Dave reposed, visibly annoyed this time, “for the same reason we’re not getting a Lion.”
“But Huskies and Alsatians are similar in size to wolves, so size wouldn’t be an issue,” Will answered.
“But there’s one big difference, dogs are tamer than wolves”, Dave said to his son.
“Look, if you’re good, then maybe in a few months time we could consider getting a dog or a cat,” Sarah told Will.
Will and Eleanor cheered at the Petersons car left the wolf enclosure, and the safari drive through.
A few hours later, the Petersons visited Koala Creek, home to the only Koalas in England. The Koalas were doing what Koalas do best; lying in their Eucalyptus trees, safe inside their house from the English rain.
“Can we get a Koala, Dad?”, Will enquired yet again.
“Definitely not,” Dave responded.
“But Koalas would be easy to look after, we just need to give them one of these trees to live in”, Will said.
“Yes, exactly, we’d need a whole forest of them. Koalas need a endless supply of Eucalyptus, which we just cannot afford,” Dave told Will.
“Well technically we could”, Sarah whispered in her husbands ear.
“Don’t you encourage them,” Dave whispered back.
Later on, having decided that they were as soaked as they’d like to be, the Petersons began to drive back home to Lower Strangling.
Three hours later, and the Petersons were back in their honey coloured 15th Century manor in their picturesque village.
“Are you sure we can’t have an exotic pet”, Will pestered his parents.
“Yes, we’ll consider buying a cat or a dog in a few months time like we said, but we can’t have the animals we saw at Longleat as pets,” Sarah said.
“Not even the Meerkats?” Will asked.
“Especially not the Meerkats,” Dave replied.
And so the Petersons readjusted to normal life, before pre-COVID life began to re-emerge the following week.