I'm grateful once again to my old friend the Hoffmeister (www.hofflimits.co.uk) for pointing me to some important regional news.
Colchester Zoo is capitalising on Valentine's Day by offering a unique setting for marriage proposals. The detail of the scheme is so nuts that I can only assume it was dreamt up in the orangutan enclosure or after a failed full frontal labotomy of a PR consultant.
According to the promotional blurb, your partner won't be able to say no if you pop the question alongside their favourite cuddly animal. You therefore book a feeding or 'training' session with a keeper and ask suitably earnest questions about the dietary habits of sealions or giraffes. When the moment is right, it's suggested you then step in with your engagement ring as the Zoo produces a red rose and a glass of bubbly. The 30-minute 'experience' needs to be pre-booked, which is a real shame, I feel. If I were going to propose to someone alongside a gorilla, I'd want it to be spontaneous, wouldn't you?
If you're already happily married or don't yet feel ready to commit, there's a separate package available. 'Woo at the Zoo' - a concept borrowed from the US - allows you to 'cosy up with your nearest and dearest' during a 'special romantically themed event'. I can't do this one justice without reproducing some of the copy from the Zoo's website:
Enjoy an animal courtship themed show and learn the different ways that animals can attract each other in the animal kingdom in the 'Woo at the Zoo' theatre display in the Wild About Animals Theatre at 14.30!
Come and enjoy a range of unique Valentine Animal Enrichment Feeds with a talk by the Keepers taking place throughout the week including Chimps enjoying strawberries and ‘chimp champagne’ or Tigers in a ‘Tug of Love’.
At 2.45pm, we can join the wolves in a session entitled 'They call it puppy love'. A quarter of an hour later, we are hurried along to the tiger area for Amur 'Amour'.
If you don't hear much from me over the next few days, it's because I'm just loading a tranquiliser gun and pointing it directly at my temple.