Is my daughter mad keen on animals or is she not? (Let's forget her slight distress when Mr Bat was in HER room). Anyway high on her list of 'things to do in france' was to visit any wildlife parks in our area.
We avail ourselves of our pile of brochures which we pick up at every tourist office, our map of Les Landes, and the trusty TomTom. Now, we have not had a huge success with Mr T, twice he has lead us to strange places. On first outing he was determined (no, adamant) that we were going to Pau (about an hour away to south), when we were actually trying to go half an hour away to the north. The other incident involved a VERY large corn field and nowhere to turn. There is nothing less satisfying than shrieking at Mr T as he just burbles on about taking the next turn….
The little park is situated in woodland outside the village of Mugron. A beautifully peaceful place you could not hope to find. And find it we did, with the help of a lovely lady in Mugron who spoke no English but just happened to live in a farm in that direction. The French have a rather quaint habit of giving you nice big colourful signs for a place but not actually putting an arrow or anything remotely useful on the sign. This ensures that tourists get full benefit of beautiful countryside as they drive round and round looking for things.
At first the sight of a pregnant donkey and some pygmy goats wasn't really doing it for me. Had we hunted out this place to see animals who live next door at home? Never mind, unpack our picnic and settle down to eat in the sunshine. Note how good mother has made effort with pasta and salad and not just stuffed a baguette in the car and a melted bar of chocolate.
Again, this being rural France there is a distinct lack of signage as to where any other animals may be lurking. We wander through the trees and find little paths and vast enclosures all very subtly done so that you are right there with the animals.
We have done the standard tourist thing and bought a little bag of corn from the ticket lady, so we can feed the animals.
Idgy has a thing about deer, she adores them. This little Bambi fella was just adorable, and Idgy was perilously close to stuffing him in her pocket.
Don't think Bambi's Mum would be too happy with that, See, she is still alive, unlike the movie.
And then she sees HIM and all thoughts of Bambi fly from her head. he is magnificent, he is beautiful, immediately he is named White Heart.
Idgy is in love. He is not only beautiful, he is tame too, my daughter cannot be dragged away.
His magnificent antlers are covered in the softest velvet. Beautiful to the touch.
A kind eye, a velvet muzzle, those fluttering eyelashes. My girl has no chance, she is lost. Her heart belongs to White Heart.
I drag her away to see other animals, more deer, wallabies, ducks and llamas.
But it's no use, we have to wander back round the dusty tracks to find her hero. For one last glance and a stolen kiss.
At least someone fell in love in france.