IBM Hursley’s Service Team Day Out in London

I had a day out in London on Tuesday thanks to the IBM Hursley Service Teams who invited me as a thank you for the work I’ve done with them this year. We were picked up from Hursley at 9am and the coach took us right into London. We arrived about 11am and were given some free time until 2.30pm. 
 
Regents Park Having had a bit of a browse on the web the night before I’d decided the weather looked nice and I wanted to spend some time outside so I’d pre-booked a ticket to London Zoo. Finding the nearest tube station I purchased a zone 1 travel card and jumped on the Bakerloo line only to discover that the Regents Park station was closed. So I got off at the next stop, Baker Street, figuring it was a nice day and I didn’t mind a walk through Regents Park. Walking out of the station it wasn’t immediately obvious which direction the park was so I bought one of the London pocket maps from the station.
Regents Park seemed a million miles away from the bustle of the Central London. It was looking pretty with all the trees turning different colours and the ducks playing in the stream.
Arriving at London Zoo I was given a map. They’d marked a route around the zoo that allowed visitors to see everything without missing areas, but I decided to walk the other way around it as I was keen to go find the big cats. 

Baby Dragon Komodo Dragon   
One of my first stops was to see the Komodo dragons. The dragons have saliva laced with deadly bacteria and so often wait for their prey to die from infected wounds. Next up I found the lion enclosure. At first I was a bit disappointed as I couldn’t find the lions anywhere, but then just as I rounded the last corner they were tucked up in a sunny spot asleep! 

Sumatran TigerAfter the lions I found the Sumatran Tigers. Although I knew the Sumatran Tigers were smaller than then Amur Tigers, like those we have at Marwell Zoo, I was surprised how much smaller they were.  One of the tigers was fast asleep, as cats frequently are, in the house, but the other decided to treat us to a prowl. He didn’t want to stand still for a photo and surprised me by suddenly turning and glaring through the window at me!

Tiger Eye

The zoo was a lot bigger than I had expected it to be in the centre of London with lots of smaller exhibits of birds that I didn’t have time to look around. The butterfly walkthrough was nice and I would have liked to have my better camera with me to take some close ups. 
 
Meercats

As I approached the meercats people seemed to be looking in briefly and then just wandering past so I wondered if all the meercats were hidden away. I too was about to leave when I happened to lean over the wall and find the entire family sunbathing against the rock well hidden from view!   

OkapiIn the Into Africa section I went to see the Tapir and found him asleep in his house. The giraffe’s were hanging around outside in the sun, as were the Okapi. I found it amusing when I got home to find I had taken a photo of this Okapi with 7 legs! 
 
After the zoo I met up with one of my friends, Chris, for a drink. Then we headed off to the Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue where we were meeting up with the rest of the IBM group to see Spamalot, the new Monty Python musical which is based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The musical tells the tale of King Arthur and his knights in a totally new light. Whilst we were waiting for the musical to start the ushers were even selling spam sandwiches in the aisles! Before I went I wasn’t sure that it was going to be my cup of tea, but I found it funny and well created.

Finally, we ended the day with a trip to the Rainforest Cafe near Piccadilly Circus. I’d been to the Rainforest Cafe in EuroDisney so knew what to expect, but I think a few people got a surprise when thunder suddenly crashed overhead! I had Mojo Bones (pork ribs) to start, a steak for main course and chocolate brownie dessert. Considering they were catering for around 100 of us I thought they did very well with the food.

And so my day in London ended with the coach taking us back to Hursley for around 11pm. I had a lovely day out and thank Derek Treagus, and the service teams for inviting me to join them.

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