Joe was looking down his nose at a large green frog, who, as it so happens, was looking up its nose at Joe.

" What a stupid little animal." said Joe, having been staring at the frog for a good five minutes.

It occurred to me that the frog was probably thinking the very same thing. I ask Joe if he was going to stand there all day there are better things to do than stare at frogs all morning. Joe followed me down the path towards the monkey house.

" I do hope that frog doesn't think he's won." muttered Joe.

The Cow and Blanket is very old almost medieval and is situated slap bang in the middle of the zoo. It had been there long before the zoo, had survived two world wars, a proposed bypass extension and a proposal to turn it into a fast food restaurant. It survival might have been due to the fact that it served the best home made beer this side of the penguin pool, in iceland.

It was such a lovely day we decided to have lunch at one of the outside tables over looking the monkey cages.

Joe declared that we ought to come to the zoo more often as he delicately nibbled at one of his sandwiches. I told him that was bright coming from he who always protested when ever I suggested it. But not alot protested Joe.

I knew why hs did not like to come he did not like animals in cages or rather he did not like little animals in cages, because basically you can never find them and spend ages looking at seemingly empty cages trying to spot the Burmese Pygmy shrew or something.

A large grey gibbon pushed its long arm through the bars of the cage near where we were sitting and pointed at Joe. Joe threw some peanuts into the cage. The gibbon retreated into the cage, searched round and picked all the peanuts, then it the returned to where Joe was and threw them back at him.

The Elephant was nice it stretched out its trunk and blew at us. I do not particularly like being blown at by elephants. Fortunately the polar bear ignored us completely and went for a swim. I like the polar bear.

I also like the penguins, they had just been fed and were wandering about looking as if they had answered all the questions correctly on a quiz show. Penguins fall in a category between being big and small so Joe was not sure if he liked them or not. In the end he decided he did. Everyone likes penguins.

We decided it was thirsty work looking at animals so returned to The Cow and Blanket, the gibbon was still putting his arm through the bars and pointing at people. Joe said he was not falling for that one again. Joe decided to get some cream cakes wandering off to the little shop while I went to get a couple of pints. We sat down at one of the wooden tables outside the pub overlooking the flamingo pond. Joe had just taken a big bite of out of one of the largest cream buns when Patsy arrived.

" Hello you two." said Patsy. " I thought I'd find you here."

I assured her we had only just sat down and invited her to come and join us. Joe said that we knew we were here but what was she doing here, he said this mostly through a mouth full of cream bun. We were supprised to see Patsy because we she had told us she was going to the horse show and nothing as we knew to our cost, gets between Patsy and a horse show.

Patsy explained with a venomous tone that Aert decided to take his motorcycle apart last night, the night before he was going to take her the horse show at Upoverly.

" Have a cream cake." I said to change the subject. I offered Patsy one of Joes cream cakes.

Blow by blow accounts of the battles between Patsy and Aert are to be avoided if at all possible, stopping Patsy however is not that simple and certainaly not as simple giving her a cream cake. She went on to say she did not know why she bothered with him, as he knows very well he can not put that thing back together again first time.

It might have been my imagination but I thought I saw small amounts of steam coming out of Patsy's ears. I tried again with the old have a cream cake ploy trying and avoid the full details of the fight with Abert. To my surprise Patsy ask if there were any cakes to spare. I said that Joe always buys to many cakes.

Joe was puzzled the Abert thing still did not explain why Patsy was at the zoo.

Short Story Series - From the book - The Zoo Keepers Daughter Tony on the Moon