Ranthambhore, India 2009. Ranthambhore National Park was once the hunting ground of the maharajas of Jaipur and is one of the last few habitats capable of supporting viable populations of ‘Panthera Tigris” – the Royal Bengal Tiger. The guide tells us, ‘a tiger knows when a jeep enters the forest. Whether he chooses to show himself or not is his decision’. Seeing a tiger needs … Continue reading The Tiger Walks In The Morning.
Every October in the 8th month of Kartika, business and religion come together and the quiet town of Pushkar is transformed into the circus that is the Pushkar camel festival. Thousands of livestock owners stir in the Thar desert, pack family and belongings onto wooden carts, trailing camels, horses, and cows behind them, to trade on the Mela ground – a huge, dry, expanse of … Continue reading Pulsating Pushkar.
The weather forecast promised a heatwave. Blinding sunshine, blue skies and temperatures soaring beyond the twenties to the low thirties. We got mist. A white-out. And a few spots of rain. I wanted to find an ichthyosaurus, a plesiosaurus, or a scelidosaurus. We’d got bad weather under the circumstances, but what we needed was really big, bad weather. Rain coming down by the bucketful, wind, … Continue reading In The Footsteps of Mary Anning.
We don’t just look after dogs and cats. Sometimes there are sheep and goats. We’ve had guinea pigs and rabbits and fish, and once three little piggies. And often there are chickens. Not many people would consider a chicken to be a pet, but on a sit in Wales I had one of those world-within-a-world moments, and a whole new chicken-centred universe opened up before … Continue reading Chicken Talk.
I have just finished an online learning course on the Book of Kells. It was offered for free and I wanted to stretch my brain. And stretch my brain it did. In fact it quite bent it out of shape. A whole lot of facts to ponder and wonder over, and, rather surprisingly for a religious work, an inordinate number of cats prowling through the … Continue reading Cats and the Book of Kells.
‘It’s just you and the creatures now’, said Juan Carlos as he waved goodbye. The air was loaded with sound. We could see nothing, but knew that life was all around us. We were at the last outpost on the Yanayacu de Yacapana River, at the start of our Amazon Refuge adventure. Beyond lay only jungle and watery veins of the Amazon. We plunged right … Continue reading Into The Amazon.
It all started when a lorry driver brought them a monkey he’d run over. The owners of Sende Verde agreed to keep it, and now they have over four hundred animals, some rescued from illegal trafficking, some abandoned pets – all rescued from lives of misery. Visitors can see black spider, orange howler and capuchin monkeys at close quarters. Dangling from thin branches, bodies elongated, … Continue reading Sende Verde Wildlife Sanctuary. Bolivia.
You know you’re a house-sitter when you see a painting of a dog in one chair, and a girl in the other, and think ‘oh no, how sad’. Mary Cassatt’s girl does look a bit fed up. One of the perks of house-sitting – there’s always someone to share the sofa! Some let you drink your first cuppa quietly. Others perch stylishly on the edge. … Continue reading Couch-Sharing.
A place to call our own. For three weeks at least. We only had to share it with Coco, Derecha and Maisie. ‘We’re in the campo’, Jackie told us. We’d imagined Alora as a quaint little village, cobbled streets falling down a hillside. Don’t know where we got that idea from. Must have been the mention of ‘pueblo blanco’ that did it. In reality, Alora … Continue reading House-Sitting in Alora, Spain.
Not many people can say that they moved to France because they had to find room to house twenty-four animals. Roland used to work at Scotland Yard. He had a colleague in the mounted police. There is no money in the British system for pensions for police work-horses. The police can hardly fund sufficient policemen, let alone keep old horses in clover. Roland’s colleague knew … Continue reading The grass really is greener in the Dordogne.