Sometimes I feel as if I'm living in a cartoon strip

23:07, Sep 30 2012

It was a scene that British comedian Bill Bailey would surely have approved of.

Yesterday my family toddled off to the ''zoo'' - well, Orana Wildlife Park.

It was the first time my twin boys, 5, and my littlest daughter, Hollie, 3, had seen llamas, lions, tigers and giraffes in the flesh outside of story books - albeit through many layers of electrified wire netting.

Such visits are expensive, of course, which is why we haven't been there before, but it was well worth it.

Having just watched castrated, maneless lions scoffing huge hunks of meat, we made our way down the dusty path towards the three Rothschild's giraffes.

At the back of the queue to handfeed the three female giraffes, the anticipation from my trio of small children was palpable. It was impossible to gauge the mood of my teenager who just stood rolling her eyes continually.


Each small child held their offering bearing yellow flowers tightly, mindful of the keeper's instructions to hold on tight to the stem, to allow the giraffe to strip the flowers.

The keeper told the assembled crowd that one of the females was elderly - 24 or so from memory, and warned another was ''hormonal'', pregnant and ''ferociously hungry''.

Everything was going great - one twin bowed out gracefully when faced with the slobbering mouth of the giraffe by dropping his flowers and hiding behind my skirt. Hollie, 3, fed her giraffe with much pride and gripped fiercely to the plant and was rewarded with a lick by the friendly giraffe. Miss 12 put her cellphone away long enough to giggle delightedly when the giraffe licked her hand too.

Bloke stood at the back wondering aloud, as blokes do, how the giraffe had become pregnant as there were no boy giraffes present.

Miss 12 rolled her eyes and said ''gross'' as bloke and another bloke nearby started talking about the height difficulties of artificial insemination and giraffes.

The wind picked up and dust was swirling everywhere, obscuring my vision.

The feeding platform was crowded with children and their eager parents and before I knew it a really hungry, hormonal, pregnant giraffe had headbutted me. Cue much laughter. My face was redder than a baboon's butt.

Sometimes I feel as if I'm living in a cartoon strip.

It's fair to say I now have qualms about feeding hormonal giraffes.

I'm really looking forward to having a good laugh tonight as comedic rock star Bill Bailey performs his new show Qualmpeddler, inspired by his experiences in China, at the CBS Canterbury Arena. I've been looking forward to it for months.

Bailey says he's always liked the word ''qualms'', with its positive and negative connotations. It's a word his grandmother used often.

''She had qualms about everything . . . 'I've got qualms about these pancakes', she'd say.

''Qualms are worries, concerns, general anxieties about the world and things in it. A qualmpeddler is someone who is hawking these worries as wares.

''It is quite a versatile word. In some situations, it is a moral judgment - 'He had no qualms about lying'. It's one of those words which is quite pious.''

Bill Bailey headlined the Sonisphere festival last year in one of the biggest comedy gigs in the world, in front of 65,000 metal fans and on the same bill as Metallica, Slayer, Megadeath and Anthrax. Before the gig, he filmed a message to Metallica which saw him performing his own version of Enter Sandman using his horn set, referred to affectionately as Horntallica, which he'll have in Christchurch tonight.

In a world full of comedians, Bill Bailey is the king. He has perfect pitch, perfect timing and is one of two comedians I have ever interviewed who isn't a wanker/depressive bastard in real life.

Last night after the family was all tucked up in bed, presumably dreaming of roaring emasculated lions, my pride still smarting from the giraffe bump, I watched the episode of Black Books where Manny runs away to work for the evil book conglomerate next door.

This morning I had an encounter with a man who looked like evil book store slavedriver, Evan.

He was riding a scooter and looked like he'd enjoy the Stereophonics. He almost ran me over. He stopped his scooter to swear at me for walking on the footpath where he was attempting to ride his scooter to cut ahead of traffic.

I looked him in the eye and said ''Who is this rudderless hippy? How do I get away from him? Has he got a hunting knife strapped to his shin?'' and the man I had named Evan rode off quickly.

Bill Bailey. Half Iago. Half Fu Manchu. And today, he's in Christchurch, somewhere.

I do hope he's remembered to bring my dwarf clipping with him.

The Press