One of the originals

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poolboy
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One of the originals

Post: # 879Post poolboy
Wed Apr 12, 2006 8:29 am

Hi there, thought I'd done an intro some time ago but can't find it so perhaps not. I'm the eldest son of the original head dolphin/whale trainer. Dad was a trainer at Flamingo Park at the time and we moved into the upstairs flat (above the garage) in the brick building at the top of hill. I recall we had to decorate it etc, and there was plenty of attic space for Dads home brewed wine. When we lived there there were two wings to the place, once became staff accommodation, the other side was empty stables. When I visited in the 80's those wings had gone.

We arrived in the late 60's and Dad was responsible for designing the pool and filtration system and then getting things built. I remember spending weekends looking into the big hole that eventually became the pool, and marvelling as it had concrete sprayed onto the walls, then watching the tiles being layed at the pool surround. My first swimming lessons were in that pool.

We were there when "bubbles" (the only name I know) the Orca was caught and released into the winter pen. I have memories of sitting astride Bubbles when the pool was emptied for his physical exams.

We were there when the Zebras escaped and ran amock, and I can recall being invited to St Leonards Manor to celebrate one of the Smart childrens birthdays (David I think it was). We used to go to school in their Rolls as Dad had been asked to take the Smarts children to school in Windsor. From school (Oakfield?) I had to walk home.

I grew up helping muck out the stalls of Elephants, Zebras, etc. being chased by Maribou storks (even know I hate those birds) and generally having a ball. The woods and Queens forest around the Park gave us a huge playground, tho' we were so far away from our school friends living in the town we didn't get many visitors.

We left the zoo in 1971 or 1972 I think after Dad had a falling out with Billy Smart (no more free trips to the circus for us) and we moved to Scarborough and then to New Zealand were we remained ever since. I visited in the late '80s and tried to introduce myself to the staff at the pool. I was hoping to have a look at the old filter room and hear what had been happening to the dolphins and Bubbles so I could tell Dad back home. Unfortunatly the staff weren't interested so I never found out :( .

THat's enough for now. Hopefully this intro will stick and I'll get around to scanning and posting some pics sometime soon.

Cheers

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falkor
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Post: # 880Post falkor
Wed Apr 12, 2006 9:20 am

hi poolboy :mrgreen:
Hopefully this intro will stick
we haven't lost any posts my friend > here's a 2003 topic in perfect condition! <

posts like yours will NEVER be deleted I can assure you. :wink:
I visited in the late '80s and tried to introduce myself to the staff at the pool. I was hoping to have a look at the old filter room and hear what had been happening to the dolphins and Bubbles so I could tell Dad back home. Unfortunatly the staff weren't interested so I never found out . :cry:
how awful, stuff like this has happened to me too :x

:D poolboy is your Dad still around today? if so what's he up to?

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Post: # 881Post orcaartist
Thu Apr 13, 2006 5:14 am

We were there when "bubbles" (the only name I know) the Orca was caught and released into the winter pen. I have memories of sitting astride Bubbles when the pool was emptied for his physical exams.
Could "Bubbles" also be known as Cuddles? If this is the same orca who was caught in October 1968 then he was moved to Dudley Zoo in 1971. I'm afraid he passed away in 1974.
I'd love to hear any information about him if you know anything.

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Post: # 978Post poolboy
Sun May 28, 2006 4:18 am

Aw shoot. I posted another reply and it went west. Gotta stop doing this late at night so I can blame operator error.

Hi Orcaartist, I'm afraid I don't know if Bubbles is also Cuddles. I can't recall any Orca being moved away from the park while I was there either (although I was only 9 or so then). We (my brother and sister) used to have fun trying to get visiting kids to look through the observation windfow at the Orca jumping. At the right moment we'd step away and the visitors would cop the shower. Mum and Dad weren't impressed when they found out what we were doing.

Remember Kenny Everett? When he had his TV show Dad wasn't keen on watching it, and didn't have to many nice things to say for Kenny. Turns out Kenny had visited the dolphinarium and made a mistake of being a smart alec. Dad didn't like his dolphins being ridiculed so threatened to throw Kenny in with them. Fortunately for royalty the Queen Mother was much nicer when she visited so she wasn't threated with a swim :-).

As I mentioned earlier when we lived at the top of the hill the old coach house had two wings, one was staff accommodation. Mum looked after the staff living there by doing their sewing. The only one I can recall is a Conrad who looked after elephants I think. There was a storage barn across the courtyard which was a mecca for rats and for some reason I took one home because it was "poorly" (I guess poison will do that to a rat) and I wanted a pet (like we didn't have enough on the zoo). Squirrels (the introduced ones) where something else my Dad wasn't fond of so he'd stroll around the woods with an air rifle (so as not to traumatise the visitors) and knock them off.

Some (many!) things I can't quite remember. I have in mind that there was a field behind that barn and we went picking mushrooms there and we'd have them for breakfast. WE'd also go tadpoling in those lakes down the bottom. I have distinct memories of caparks going in, with workcrews cutting down the trees and broken up concrete being used as a base.

The park took delivery of some whale bones to use as an archway or something, somewhere in the zoo. There were press photos of us and Reg Blooms kids cleaning them.

Playing conkers at school was great because we had such a massive supply of horse chestnuts on the zoo. I always did well at the sport.

It's funny what triggers memories. If I'm around boxes of carrots or bananas at a market or something, the concentrated smell brings back memories of the animals being fed these. Frozen fish does the same.

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Post: # 979Post BRIGHTON121
Sun May 28, 2006 11:37 am

poolboy wrote:Aw shoot. I posted another reply and it went west. Gotta stop doing this late at night so I can blame operator error.

Hi Orcaartist, I'm afraid I don't know if Bubbles is also Cuddles. I can't recall any Orca being moved away from the park while I was there either (although I was only 9 or so then). We (my brother and sister) used to have fun trying to get visiting kids to look through the observation windfow at the Orca jumping. At the right moment we'd step away and the visitors would cop the shower. Mum and Dad weren't impressed when they found out what we were doing.

Remember Kenny Everett? When he had his TV show Dad wasn't keen on watching it, and didn't have to many nice things to say for Kenny. Turns out Kenny had visited the dolphinarium and made a mistake of being a smart alec. Dad didn't like his dolphins being ridiculed so threatened to throw Kenny in with them. Fortunately for royalty the Queen Mother was much nicer when she visited so she wasn't threated with a swim :-).

As I mentioned earlier when we lived at the top of the hill the old coach house had two wings, one was staff accommodation. Mum looked after the staff living there by doing their sewing. The only one I can recall is a Conrad who looked after elephants I think. There was a storage barn across the courtyard which was a mecca for rats and for some reason I took one home because it was "poorly" (I guess poison will do that to a rat) and I wanted a pet (like we didn't have enough on the zoo). Squirrels (the introduced ones) where something else my Dad wasn't fond of so he'd stroll around the woods with an air rifle (so as not to traumatise the visitors) and knock them off.

Some (many!) things I can't quite remember. I have in mind that there was a field behind that barn and we went picking mushrooms there and we'd have them for breakfast. WE'd also go tadpoling in those lakes down the bottom. I have distinct memories of caparks going in, with workcrews cutting down the trees and broken up concrete being used as a base.

The park took delivery of some whale bones to use as an archway or something, somewhere in the zoo. There were press photos of us and Reg Blooms kids cleaning them.

Playing conkers at school was great because we had such a massive supply of horse chestnuts on the zoo. I always did well at the sport.

It's funny what triggers memories. If I'm around boxes of carrots or bananas at a market or something, the concentrated smell brings back memories of the animals being fed these. Frozen fish does the same.
Hello Poolboy.

A very interesting post if I may say :D Are you still in New Zealand :?: Seems there must be something there that everyone is keeping a secret! A few old timers from the zoo field have have made there way to that Island and made it their home or gone back because it was their home and is the best place to live.
I must say that having a thirteen year old son in this day and age I would give almost anything to see the sport of conkers catch on in the school playground again :(
Thank you for the interesting post,have a good weekend.
Lee

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