I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really had a thing about primates.

Those hairy, goofy guys. I can only say that, having finally visited Dorset family attraction, Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre, for the first time at the weekend, I was disappointed on a number of counts. Not once did we see lemurs, chimps, baboons or gibbons:

1: making tea.
2: moving pianos.
3: serving on the turnstiles.
4: jamming.

Now, call me old-fashioned. But I think Tara, Ryan, Caroline and I were all disappointed when we asked one of the keeper ladies “where they set up the drums” only to be told that “this is an ape rescue centre. We don’t encourage our monkeys to form jazz bands”.

Obviously the delightful niece and nephew suffered the kind of disappointment grown disproportionately fast by a 45-minute drive with a hyping uncle, but still. No swing? In a monkey house? C’maaan, lady.

We did however learn a couple of things I had no idea about, including:

1: Orangutans are found only in Borneo and Sumatra. That’s it.
2: long-tailed Lemurs are found only in Madagascar.
3: loads of the really cool monkeys and apes are stupidly close to extinction.
4: uncle Tim looks like a lot of them.

Obviously had some idea about point 4, but my overall point is that Monkey World is a great day out with kids. Or it is if the sun shines all day and you have two such basically gorgeous young people with you as we did. If I ever actually get to pretend to be a parent for real, I’m not doing it unless I get a couple of little monkeys like them. And that’s that.

So anyway, in the words of Michael Jackson: “Mama se, mama sa, moo marmoset”.

Previous weekend saw a bit of monkeying around too. Year two of our Eight Men Rolling Manfully Around The Solent weekend and we had a grand time, yawing and jarring our way up and down the coast of the Isle of Wight in the very good ship Mawimbi. Thanks in huge part to the good skip, King. Steve once again put together a good crew of easy guys to hang off a sheet with.

Young Chris, the only cast replacement, turned out to have a sager head and more practical hands than most of the rest of us and even managed to scale the 46-footer’s imposing mast, just to amuse us all. He didn’t hang off the top spreaders by his knuckles exactly, but he did sit perched up there for an hour as we cruised around Cowes.

I cooked a hack’s galley meal on the Friday night and managed not to tank the ship into anything during manful moments behind the wheel.

In fact, the boat and the sailing weather and the ambience in harbour were all so good, we expended more energy bickering about cheese and music choices than anything else.

Of course, while carving your award winning local soft blue, from the late night speciality deli, I personally think you can’t go wrong with a nice bit of swing.

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