You are a silly monkey roaming free!

You have a monkey mind, stop monkeying around, you are up to monkey business. What other insults do we have to describe these relatives? But here, on my third day of spending time with them I still find an involuntary smile of recognition and happiness on my face most of the time.

The story of nature. We are here at Apenheul outside Amsterdam where they celebrate it. We are with over 300 primates, over half roaming free with the visitors.

A tiny spider monkey perches on the shoulder of a five year old. During our days here we have hardly heard a moan amongst hoards of children here, and we are all walking far, through this dutch jungle all day. How can plastic Disneyland ever compete with this living enchantment?

There are loads of people here, delicious organic chips, and here at lunch today was one of the clearing up assistants, a peacock, its relatives were also ridding the path of the place of extra mice, we noticed.

 We were gazing at these extraordinary looking guys throw themselves at each-other across the trees.

‘Oh yes,’ says a young keeper, ‘his son died two days ago and the whole family must realign. That’s the dad. (and she mentions his name – every single monkey has a name and they all seem to know them) He is normally very peaceful but now they are jumping at him and he is responding.’ It looks dramatic and it is.

The lemurs are very friendly and we hear how the large group is led by the two matriarchs. Its the one who has most children and grandchildren etc who is the Queen here and her word is law.

As for the gibbons. Their elegance and grace. A top model cant do that. Especially not up a tree but not even on the catwalk.

Oh monkeys how can I resist? I love you. If I make another book you will be the heroes and heroines.