Friday, 14 October 2016

Farewell to the Great Big Rhinos!

Chill winds from the sea have sent waves crashing over the promenade this week, and the dogs are back on the beach... all signs that summer is over, and so is my Great Big Rhino hunt.

I tracked down my final rhino at Exeter's Bernaville Nurseries on my third attempt to access the west side of the city... who would have thought a few extra miles would prove so complicated? The first time, I tried to catch a bus from the city centre but waited at the wrong stop... or maybe the bus was stuck in traffic... and had to dash back to the station for my train home. My second attempt to drive my mum out for lunch at the garden centre ended in failure when we met a massive traffic jam into the city, where apparently an accident had blocked the road. Lunch would have stopped serving by the time we got there, so we turned around and went somewhere else. The third time I chose a Sunday (hoping for less traffic - ha!) and put up with a slow crawl around the ring road to reach the garden centre, where I finally found summery Blossom, who looked the happiest of all the Exeter rhinos standing on her sheltered plinth surrounded by fragrant plants.

Blossom basking in the late summer sunshine.

The tranquil setting even left time for some flower-spotting. These are the blooms I found on Blossom's floral hide:

Can anyone identify the pale lemon climbing flower, second on the right?

And here are the results of the rhino-colouring competition Bernaville Nurseries ran for children over the summer:

Rhino competition winners!

The Great Big Rhino Trail officially ended earlier this week, when George and Badak returned from their posts at Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads to take up position outside Paignton Zoo, welcoming people for the Great Big Rhinos Farewell. Buying a ticket for the zoo this weekend will get you in to see all 40 of the Trail rhinos lined up along the main path in all their painted glory. Unfortunately, the zoo entrance fee is rather out of my rhino-hunting budget and you can't see them from the ticket hall, so here are the travelling two:

Badak - his name means "rhino" in Indonesian.
George -  named after 'Father of the Railways' George Stephenson.  

Both of these rhinos were painted with scenes inspired by 1950s tourist posters. George is named after George Stephenson, whereas Badak is Indonesian for rhino, which apparently means "gift from god". That seems a good place to end my blog mini-series about our endangered real-life unicorns, the rhinoceroses.

If you've taken a fancy to any of the Great Big Rhinos (and have a couple of thousand pounds to spare), you can buy your favourite at auction on Thursday 3rd November... in my fantasy world, I'd like Cath for my library, Blossom in my rose garden, and Sir Richard the Rhinoheart guarding the gates of my castle.

For those with more modest budgets, next week the unicorn will be back to tell you about some spooky ebooks on special offer for Halloween!

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