Friday, 20 August 2010

Next time I'll ride the rabbit

My mum once invited her late brother-in-law (back in the days when he was early) to accompany her and her sister to Butchart Gardens
"I've seen 'em," he said laconically.

That's rather like saying you've seen Hamlet and therefore never need to see it again. We who live or have lived in Victoria tend to take "Buchart's" for granted, to dismiss it as a touristy thing, but actually (I may have to whisper this): They're kind of wonderful. Like Hamlet, they're never the same. They change from season to season and from year to year. I've seen the gardens roughly every two to five years since I was ten. I've seen them at Christmas, in spring, in the summer, at night.

Today, we went for the carousel. The Rose Carousel is new to the Gardens, with about fifty different animals to ride on. It's enclosed in its own building, and looks and sounds ancient, although it was especially designed and built for Butchart's by a California company about two years ago. Younger daughter made a beeline for a large flowered horse, much like the carousel horses in the Disney version of Mary Poppins. My mother, rather to my surprise and to the astonishment (and perhaps slight consternation) of the carousel operator, clambered on to a zebra. I managed to straddle a dog.

The merry-go-round started up, complete with calliope music, and spun with surprising speed. Our animals rose and sank a considerable distance, making this actually rather an exciting ride. Younger daughter was ahead of us, gliding up and down, looking very fetching and lady-like with her pink straw hat. Oh, how I wish I'd kept my camera handy.

"I wish I could see her face," said my mother, leaning toward me from her zebra.
"Look at the arch in her back," I replied. "I'm pretty sure she's Mary Poppins."

As the ride ended, I managed to scramble down, and my mum, who was higher up, descended with grace as the operator hurried forward to help her.

"My mum was a fine horsewoman," I explained. "And she grew up in Kenya."
"I didn't ride zebras though," she quickly clarified for the lady who was passing her cane to her.
"We have a giraffe too," said the lady.
"That's next time," grinned my mother.

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