Writing in the Wild

Leopard cub 1Nicola here. Today I’m talking about wild animals and getting writing inspiration in the most unlikely places.

A few weeks ago I went on holiday to Namibia in South West Africa. When I’m travelling I almost always end up wanting to write a book that involves some element of the place I’ve visited whether it be Scotland, the Arctic or the Sea of Cortes (still working on that pirate book!) However with Namibia I really didn’t expect to feel that way. This was going to be a holiday, pure and simple. Except of course that you can’t keep a writer’s imagination from working even when it’s supposed to be at rest!

We started off in the capital, Windhoek, and drove northwards. This part of the Lion1trip was all about the animals as we were heading to Namibia’s famous National Park, Etosha. I’ve been lucky enough to go on safari before but I had forgotten how exciting it can be to see animals in the wild. I love the experience at home – deer, badgers, foxes, they are all fun to watch. But out in Africa there was a different quality of experience in seeing animals in their natural habitat, animals that quite frankly I wouldn't want to bump into when I was out walking, such as lions, leopard, elephants and rhino!

Wolf cubDigressing slightly into history, if you go back far enough there was a time when lions, tigers and jaguars larger than today’s predators roamed the Northern hemisphere. In Britain and Europe these huge lions died out in the wild 13 000 years ago. Bears were wild in Britain until about 1000 AD so the Anglo Saxons would have been familiar with seeing them, whilst opinions vary as to when the wolf died out but it had gone from England by the 17th century and from Ireland and Scotland a hundred years or so later. (The photo is me meeting a wolf cub a few years ago at a place where you can go for walks in the forest with them. It's trying to lick my face rather than eat me!)

Throughout English history, however, there has been an appetite to see exotic animals. The first lions Lion attack 1816were recorded in the Royal Menagerie at the Tower of London in 1210 during the reign of King John. Everything from tigers to elephants, kangaroos and ostriches were kept there. Travelling menageries toured the country.  One of the problems with both static and travelling zoos, however, was that the animals would escape every so often. In 1816 the Exeter to London mail coach was attacked near Salisbury by a lioness that had escaped from a travelling circus and in 1832 the Duke of Wellington in his role as Constable of the Tower of London closed down the Royal Menagerie, sending the animals to London Zoo because they kept escaping and causing mayhem.

LeadwoodAs I discovered, though, Namibia is about a great deal more than the animals, fabulous as the wildlife viewing was. (And let's not forget the birds either – they were beautiful!) It has a stunning landscape and a rich history and at almost every turn I was confronted by storytelling. There were the wonderful myths and legends associated with the sacred Leadwood Tree, said to be the tree that gave birth to humankind. There were the tales of the wrecked ships of the Skeleton Coast and the sailors who perished in those dangerous waters.

Like so many African countries Namibia was a part of the European scramble for Africa and as early as Dune1793 the Dutch and then the British established a trading post at Walvis Bay, the only deep-water harbour on the wild Atlantic coast. It was Germany, however, who declared South West Africa, as it was called then, a colony in 1884 and German involvement in the country lasted until after the First World War. The history of South West Africa is full of war and violence, struggle and heroism but also exploration, diamond mining and ostrich farming. It's a rich source of ideas!

Given that my current book is a dual time story set in the Tudor period and modern day England it was difficult to imagine how the history of South West Africa might winkle its way into the tale. But the writer’s imagination will not be constrained! I wanted to find a way to include those fabulous sunsets over the desert and the stunning Quiver trees and the wild Atlantic breakers. I wanted my heroine to feel the hot sun on her face and the hot sand beneath her feet and to experience an exotic upbringing far beyond anything her contemporaries might imagine. 

Quiver treeWhen I got back home I emailed my editor. How would it be if instead of a current day thread in the story I wrote about a girl who had grown up in South West Africa with her explorer father and on his death returned to a Victorian England that was a vastly different society from anything she had experienced before? To my amazement my editor agreed and so my current day thread became a Victorian one that gave me the scope to bring in some fascinating detail of setting and background researched in Namibia.

Cats, dogs, lions, elephants… Are you an animal lover? Is there a bird or animal, living or extinct, that is your favourite or that you would like to see? One commenter between now and midnight Thursday BST will win a copy of The Regency House Party, which features a particularly adorable dog!

130 thoughts on “Writing in the Wild”

  1. Ooooh, Africa!!!!!!! You make we want to hop over to a safari site, Nicola! I’ve not been to Namibia, but I’d like to change that. *G* And how brilliant that your WIP is at a point where you can change one of the story threads to use these wonderful experiences. (Trying not to be too envious here. *G*)

    Reply
  2. Ooooh, Africa!!!!!!! You make we want to hop over to a safari site, Nicola! I’ve not been to Namibia, but I’d like to change that. *G* And how brilliant that your WIP is at a point where you can change one of the story threads to use these wonderful experiences. (Trying not to be too envious here. *G*)

    Reply
  3. Ooooh, Africa!!!!!!! You make we want to hop over to a safari site, Nicola! I’ve not been to Namibia, but I’d like to change that. *G* And how brilliant that your WIP is at a point where you can change one of the story threads to use these wonderful experiences. (Trying not to be too envious here. *G*)

    Reply
  4. Ooooh, Africa!!!!!!! You make we want to hop over to a safari site, Nicola! I’ve not been to Namibia, but I’d like to change that. *G* And how brilliant that your WIP is at a point where you can change one of the story threads to use these wonderful experiences. (Trying not to be too envious here. *G*)

    Reply
  5. Ooooh, Africa!!!!!!! You make we want to hop over to a safari site, Nicola! I’ve not been to Namibia, but I’d like to change that. *G* And how brilliant that your WIP is at a point where you can change one of the story threads to use these wonderful experiences. (Trying not to be too envious here. *G*)

    Reply
  6. I am definitely an animal lover. Grew up on a ranch farm with all sorts of farm animals and cried buckets when an animal I had tended faithfully as a friend was slaughtered to feed the family. 🙁 But we always had cats and dogs to and I’ve had both in my adult life as well. I’d have to say my fave of all is the Yorkie I have right now…my darling Maggie Mae. She is a fun-loving imp who brightened our days and goes everywhere with hubby and I, either on a leash or in a sling or stroller. She is a 7 lb. love. As far as extinct animals, most of which were huge, I’m glad to visit them in a museum. And as for today’s predatory wild animals, I think we humans malign them instead of caring for them and giving them the respect and space they need and deserve. Thanks for the interesting question.

    Reply
  7. I am definitely an animal lover. Grew up on a ranch farm with all sorts of farm animals and cried buckets when an animal I had tended faithfully as a friend was slaughtered to feed the family. 🙁 But we always had cats and dogs to and I’ve had both in my adult life as well. I’d have to say my fave of all is the Yorkie I have right now…my darling Maggie Mae. She is a fun-loving imp who brightened our days and goes everywhere with hubby and I, either on a leash or in a sling or stroller. She is a 7 lb. love. As far as extinct animals, most of which were huge, I’m glad to visit them in a museum. And as for today’s predatory wild animals, I think we humans malign them instead of caring for them and giving them the respect and space they need and deserve. Thanks for the interesting question.

    Reply
  8. I am definitely an animal lover. Grew up on a ranch farm with all sorts of farm animals and cried buckets when an animal I had tended faithfully as a friend was slaughtered to feed the family. 🙁 But we always had cats and dogs to and I’ve had both in my adult life as well. I’d have to say my fave of all is the Yorkie I have right now…my darling Maggie Mae. She is a fun-loving imp who brightened our days and goes everywhere with hubby and I, either on a leash or in a sling or stroller. She is a 7 lb. love. As far as extinct animals, most of which were huge, I’m glad to visit them in a museum. And as for today’s predatory wild animals, I think we humans malign them instead of caring for them and giving them the respect and space they need and deserve. Thanks for the interesting question.

    Reply
  9. I am definitely an animal lover. Grew up on a ranch farm with all sorts of farm animals and cried buckets when an animal I had tended faithfully as a friend was slaughtered to feed the family. 🙁 But we always had cats and dogs to and I’ve had both in my adult life as well. I’d have to say my fave of all is the Yorkie I have right now…my darling Maggie Mae. She is a fun-loving imp who brightened our days and goes everywhere with hubby and I, either on a leash or in a sling or stroller. She is a 7 lb. love. As far as extinct animals, most of which were huge, I’m glad to visit them in a museum. And as for today’s predatory wild animals, I think we humans malign them instead of caring for them and giving them the respect and space they need and deserve. Thanks for the interesting question.

    Reply
  10. I am definitely an animal lover. Grew up on a ranch farm with all sorts of farm animals and cried buckets when an animal I had tended faithfully as a friend was slaughtered to feed the family. 🙁 But we always had cats and dogs to and I’ve had both in my adult life as well. I’d have to say my fave of all is the Yorkie I have right now…my darling Maggie Mae. She is a fun-loving imp who brightened our days and goes everywhere with hubby and I, either on a leash or in a sling or stroller. She is a 7 lb. love. As far as extinct animals, most of which were huge, I’m glad to visit them in a museum. And as for today’s predatory wild animals, I think we humans malign them instead of caring for them and giving them the respect and space they need and deserve. Thanks for the interesting question.

    Reply
  11. I think you would enjoy Namibia, Mary Jo. The wildlife viewing is wonderful, the lodges are extremely luxurious (!) and there is so much else to see and do!
    Yes, it was fortuitous that I was able to find a way to bring my holiday experiences into my story as it was such an inspiring trip I can’t wait to write about it!

    Reply
  12. I think you would enjoy Namibia, Mary Jo. The wildlife viewing is wonderful, the lodges are extremely luxurious (!) and there is so much else to see and do!
    Yes, it was fortuitous that I was able to find a way to bring my holiday experiences into my story as it was such an inspiring trip I can’t wait to write about it!

    Reply
  13. I think you would enjoy Namibia, Mary Jo. The wildlife viewing is wonderful, the lodges are extremely luxurious (!) and there is so much else to see and do!
    Yes, it was fortuitous that I was able to find a way to bring my holiday experiences into my story as it was such an inspiring trip I can’t wait to write about it!

    Reply
  14. I think you would enjoy Namibia, Mary Jo. The wildlife viewing is wonderful, the lodges are extremely luxurious (!) and there is so much else to see and do!
    Yes, it was fortuitous that I was able to find a way to bring my holiday experiences into my story as it was such an inspiring trip I can’t wait to write about it!

    Reply
  15. I think you would enjoy Namibia, Mary Jo. The wildlife viewing is wonderful, the lodges are extremely luxurious (!) and there is so much else to see and do!
    Yes, it was fortuitous that I was able to find a way to bring my holiday experiences into my story as it was such an inspiring trip I can’t wait to write about it!

    Reply
  16. I really don’t know how I would cope with losing my animal friends like that, Janice. It’s bad enough when we have to hand a guide dog puppy back!
    Maggie Me sounds gorgeous. I do think domestic pets can be the most wonderful companions. And I’m totally with you on not wanting to see prehistoric animals in the flesh. Jurassic Park would not suit me!

    Reply
  17. I really don’t know how I would cope with losing my animal friends like that, Janice. It’s bad enough when we have to hand a guide dog puppy back!
    Maggie Me sounds gorgeous. I do think domestic pets can be the most wonderful companions. And I’m totally with you on not wanting to see prehistoric animals in the flesh. Jurassic Park would not suit me!

    Reply
  18. I really don’t know how I would cope with losing my animal friends like that, Janice. It’s bad enough when we have to hand a guide dog puppy back!
    Maggie Me sounds gorgeous. I do think domestic pets can be the most wonderful companions. And I’m totally with you on not wanting to see prehistoric animals in the flesh. Jurassic Park would not suit me!

    Reply
  19. I really don’t know how I would cope with losing my animal friends like that, Janice. It’s bad enough when we have to hand a guide dog puppy back!
    Maggie Me sounds gorgeous. I do think domestic pets can be the most wonderful companions. And I’m totally with you on not wanting to see prehistoric animals in the flesh. Jurassic Park would not suit me!

    Reply
  20. I really don’t know how I would cope with losing my animal friends like that, Janice. It’s bad enough when we have to hand a guide dog puppy back!
    Maggie Me sounds gorgeous. I do think domestic pets can be the most wonderful companions. And I’m totally with you on not wanting to see prehistoric animals in the flesh. Jurassic Park would not suit me!

    Reply
  21. I love animals but other than dogs and fishes I’ve not had much experience with them. I adore dragons. Does that count? 😀

    Reply
  22. I love animals but other than dogs and fishes I’ve not had much experience with them. I adore dragons. Does that count? 😀

    Reply
  23. I love animals but other than dogs and fishes I’ve not had much experience with them. I adore dragons. Does that count? 😀

    Reply
  24. I love animals but other than dogs and fishes I’ve not had much experience with them. I adore dragons. Does that count? 😀

    Reply
  25. I love animals but other than dogs and fishes I’ve not had much experience with them. I adore dragons. Does that count? 😀

    Reply
  26. I grew up in a city (what was the tenth largest of the U. S. in the 1930’s — it’s much lower in rank today) so I only knew domestic animals. But we have always had cats. I particularly remember the kitten I rescued one high school morning (thanks to the teachers who let me keep him with me all day and to the bus drivers who let me carry him home)! He lived to be 20. And the kitten we kept from a stray litter who moved to metropolitan New York with us. And finally the pair who lived with us here in mid-Missouri for most of our 26 years here. I miss them all.
    I have always loved Zoos (and the St. Louis zoo, first shaped by Vierheller and then by Marlin Perkins, is one of the premier zoos in the nation). I have visited the Chicago and Brooklyn zoos also.
    The highlight of my east-coast trip in 1941 was the hall of the Smithsonian which housed the dinosaur bones. And the the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural history were a favorite visit when we lived in Jersey and worked in Manhattan. But like other contributors, I prefer my dinosaurs as bones.

    Reply
  27. I grew up in a city (what was the tenth largest of the U. S. in the 1930’s — it’s much lower in rank today) so I only knew domestic animals. But we have always had cats. I particularly remember the kitten I rescued one high school morning (thanks to the teachers who let me keep him with me all day and to the bus drivers who let me carry him home)! He lived to be 20. And the kitten we kept from a stray litter who moved to metropolitan New York with us. And finally the pair who lived with us here in mid-Missouri for most of our 26 years here. I miss them all.
    I have always loved Zoos (and the St. Louis zoo, first shaped by Vierheller and then by Marlin Perkins, is one of the premier zoos in the nation). I have visited the Chicago and Brooklyn zoos also.
    The highlight of my east-coast trip in 1941 was the hall of the Smithsonian which housed the dinosaur bones. And the the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural history were a favorite visit when we lived in Jersey and worked in Manhattan. But like other contributors, I prefer my dinosaurs as bones.

    Reply
  28. I grew up in a city (what was the tenth largest of the U. S. in the 1930’s — it’s much lower in rank today) so I only knew domestic animals. But we have always had cats. I particularly remember the kitten I rescued one high school morning (thanks to the teachers who let me keep him with me all day and to the bus drivers who let me carry him home)! He lived to be 20. And the kitten we kept from a stray litter who moved to metropolitan New York with us. And finally the pair who lived with us here in mid-Missouri for most of our 26 years here. I miss them all.
    I have always loved Zoos (and the St. Louis zoo, first shaped by Vierheller and then by Marlin Perkins, is one of the premier zoos in the nation). I have visited the Chicago and Brooklyn zoos also.
    The highlight of my east-coast trip in 1941 was the hall of the Smithsonian which housed the dinosaur bones. And the the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural history were a favorite visit when we lived in Jersey and worked in Manhattan. But like other contributors, I prefer my dinosaurs as bones.

    Reply
  29. I grew up in a city (what was the tenth largest of the U. S. in the 1930’s — it’s much lower in rank today) so I only knew domestic animals. But we have always had cats. I particularly remember the kitten I rescued one high school morning (thanks to the teachers who let me keep him with me all day and to the bus drivers who let me carry him home)! He lived to be 20. And the kitten we kept from a stray litter who moved to metropolitan New York with us. And finally the pair who lived with us here in mid-Missouri for most of our 26 years here. I miss them all.
    I have always loved Zoos (and the St. Louis zoo, first shaped by Vierheller and then by Marlin Perkins, is one of the premier zoos in the nation). I have visited the Chicago and Brooklyn zoos also.
    The highlight of my east-coast trip in 1941 was the hall of the Smithsonian which housed the dinosaur bones. And the the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural history were a favorite visit when we lived in Jersey and worked in Manhattan. But like other contributors, I prefer my dinosaurs as bones.

    Reply
  30. I grew up in a city (what was the tenth largest of the U. S. in the 1930’s — it’s much lower in rank today) so I only knew domestic animals. But we have always had cats. I particularly remember the kitten I rescued one high school morning (thanks to the teachers who let me keep him with me all day and to the bus drivers who let me carry him home)! He lived to be 20. And the kitten we kept from a stray litter who moved to metropolitan New York with us. And finally the pair who lived with us here in mid-Missouri for most of our 26 years here. I miss them all.
    I have always loved Zoos (and the St. Louis zoo, first shaped by Vierheller and then by Marlin Perkins, is one of the premier zoos in the nation). I have visited the Chicago and Brooklyn zoos also.
    The highlight of my east-coast trip in 1941 was the hall of the Smithsonian which housed the dinosaur bones. And the the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural history were a favorite visit when we lived in Jersey and worked in Manhattan. But like other contributors, I prefer my dinosaurs as bones.

    Reply
  31. Personally, I’m a cat person. I currently share my home with two Siamese lolcats. But away, I branch out. On a recent extended China/southeast Asia trip, I visited pandas in Cheng Du, fed and washed elephants in southern Thailand, got next to monitor lizards in a Bangkok park, petted the tummy of a pregnant Bengal tiger in northern Thailand, watched (thank goodness) my two travel buddies get groped by a hyper monkey at Angkor Thom, and visited a wonderful nature conservancy for birds, primates, and reptiles in Siem Reap. Oh, and I mustn’t leave out the various domestic dogs and cats we encountered everywhere, including the “melted dog” sprawled on a cool stone restaurant floor in Phuket. Great memories!

    Reply
  32. Personally, I’m a cat person. I currently share my home with two Siamese lolcats. But away, I branch out. On a recent extended China/southeast Asia trip, I visited pandas in Cheng Du, fed and washed elephants in southern Thailand, got next to monitor lizards in a Bangkok park, petted the tummy of a pregnant Bengal tiger in northern Thailand, watched (thank goodness) my two travel buddies get groped by a hyper monkey at Angkor Thom, and visited a wonderful nature conservancy for birds, primates, and reptiles in Siem Reap. Oh, and I mustn’t leave out the various domestic dogs and cats we encountered everywhere, including the “melted dog” sprawled on a cool stone restaurant floor in Phuket. Great memories!

    Reply
  33. Personally, I’m a cat person. I currently share my home with two Siamese lolcats. But away, I branch out. On a recent extended China/southeast Asia trip, I visited pandas in Cheng Du, fed and washed elephants in southern Thailand, got next to monitor lizards in a Bangkok park, petted the tummy of a pregnant Bengal tiger in northern Thailand, watched (thank goodness) my two travel buddies get groped by a hyper monkey at Angkor Thom, and visited a wonderful nature conservancy for birds, primates, and reptiles in Siem Reap. Oh, and I mustn’t leave out the various domestic dogs and cats we encountered everywhere, including the “melted dog” sprawled on a cool stone restaurant floor in Phuket. Great memories!

    Reply
  34. Personally, I’m a cat person. I currently share my home with two Siamese lolcats. But away, I branch out. On a recent extended China/southeast Asia trip, I visited pandas in Cheng Du, fed and washed elephants in southern Thailand, got next to monitor lizards in a Bangkok park, petted the tummy of a pregnant Bengal tiger in northern Thailand, watched (thank goodness) my two travel buddies get groped by a hyper monkey at Angkor Thom, and visited a wonderful nature conservancy for birds, primates, and reptiles in Siem Reap. Oh, and I mustn’t leave out the various domestic dogs and cats we encountered everywhere, including the “melted dog” sprawled on a cool stone restaurant floor in Phuket. Great memories!

    Reply
  35. Personally, I’m a cat person. I currently share my home with two Siamese lolcats. But away, I branch out. On a recent extended China/southeast Asia trip, I visited pandas in Cheng Du, fed and washed elephants in southern Thailand, got next to monitor lizards in a Bangkok park, petted the tummy of a pregnant Bengal tiger in northern Thailand, watched (thank goodness) my two travel buddies get groped by a hyper monkey at Angkor Thom, and visited a wonderful nature conservancy for birds, primates, and reptiles in Siem Reap. Oh, and I mustn’t leave out the various domestic dogs and cats we encountered everywhere, including the “melted dog” sprawled on a cool stone restaurant floor in Phuket. Great memories!

    Reply
  36. LOL, Sue, I think it’s amazing to see dinosaur bones in museums too, but when I hear about scientists trying to clone extinct animals from DNA it does make me slightly worried! I really would not want to be walking the dog one day and meet a woolly mammoth.

    Reply
  37. LOL, Sue, I think it’s amazing to see dinosaur bones in museums too, but when I hear about scientists trying to clone extinct animals from DNA it does make me slightly worried! I really would not want to be walking the dog one day and meet a woolly mammoth.

    Reply
  38. LOL, Sue, I think it’s amazing to see dinosaur bones in museums too, but when I hear about scientists trying to clone extinct animals from DNA it does make me slightly worried! I really would not want to be walking the dog one day and meet a woolly mammoth.

    Reply
  39. LOL, Sue, I think it’s amazing to see dinosaur bones in museums too, but when I hear about scientists trying to clone extinct animals from DNA it does make me slightly worried! I really would not want to be walking the dog one day and meet a woolly mammoth.

    Reply
  40. LOL, Sue, I think it’s amazing to see dinosaur bones in museums too, but when I hear about scientists trying to clone extinct animals from DNA it does make me slightly worried! I really would not want to be walking the dog one day and meet a woolly mammoth.

    Reply
  41. Wow, Mary! What fabulous experiences! I would love to see a panda. I haven’t seen one since I was a child and we went to London Zoo. Not so keen on the monkey groping though! It sounds an amazing trip and as you say, the memories and photographs are a wonderful reminder.

    Reply
  42. Wow, Mary! What fabulous experiences! I would love to see a panda. I haven’t seen one since I was a child and we went to London Zoo. Not so keen on the monkey groping though! It sounds an amazing trip and as you say, the memories and photographs are a wonderful reminder.

    Reply
  43. Wow, Mary! What fabulous experiences! I would love to see a panda. I haven’t seen one since I was a child and we went to London Zoo. Not so keen on the monkey groping though! It sounds an amazing trip and as you say, the memories and photographs are a wonderful reminder.

    Reply
  44. Wow, Mary! What fabulous experiences! I would love to see a panda. I haven’t seen one since I was a child and we went to London Zoo. Not so keen on the monkey groping though! It sounds an amazing trip and as you say, the memories and photographs are a wonderful reminder.

    Reply
  45. Wow, Mary! What fabulous experiences! I would love to see a panda. I haven’t seen one since I was a child and we went to London Zoo. Not so keen on the monkey groping though! It sounds an amazing trip and as you say, the memories and photographs are a wonderful reminder.

    Reply
  46. While visiting Swaziland many years ago we spent a few days on safari. It was fabulous and great fun seeing the animals and having my hat stolen by monkeys (I assume that’s where it went — no proof, though). But my most lasting memories are of the warthogs, which were cute and polite, and the ostriches, which are the most obnoxious birds in existence. They grabbed food from the breakfast table and had to be chased away over and over again. I came to dislike them so much that I wanted to buy an ostrich-hide purse as petty vengeance (but it was way too expensive). I’ve always wanted to find a way to put an ostrich into one of my stories.

    Reply
  47. While visiting Swaziland many years ago we spent a few days on safari. It was fabulous and great fun seeing the animals and having my hat stolen by monkeys (I assume that’s where it went — no proof, though). But my most lasting memories are of the warthogs, which were cute and polite, and the ostriches, which are the most obnoxious birds in existence. They grabbed food from the breakfast table and had to be chased away over and over again. I came to dislike them so much that I wanted to buy an ostrich-hide purse as petty vengeance (but it was way too expensive). I’ve always wanted to find a way to put an ostrich into one of my stories.

    Reply
  48. While visiting Swaziland many years ago we spent a few days on safari. It was fabulous and great fun seeing the animals and having my hat stolen by monkeys (I assume that’s where it went — no proof, though). But my most lasting memories are of the warthogs, which were cute and polite, and the ostriches, which are the most obnoxious birds in existence. They grabbed food from the breakfast table and had to be chased away over and over again. I came to dislike them so much that I wanted to buy an ostrich-hide purse as petty vengeance (but it was way too expensive). I’ve always wanted to find a way to put an ostrich into one of my stories.

    Reply
  49. While visiting Swaziland many years ago we spent a few days on safari. It was fabulous and great fun seeing the animals and having my hat stolen by monkeys (I assume that’s where it went — no proof, though). But my most lasting memories are of the warthogs, which were cute and polite, and the ostriches, which are the most obnoxious birds in existence. They grabbed food from the breakfast table and had to be chased away over and over again. I came to dislike them so much that I wanted to buy an ostrich-hide purse as petty vengeance (but it was way too expensive). I’ve always wanted to find a way to put an ostrich into one of my stories.

    Reply
  50. While visiting Swaziland many years ago we spent a few days on safari. It was fabulous and great fun seeing the animals and having my hat stolen by monkeys (I assume that’s where it went — no proof, though). But my most lasting memories are of the warthogs, which were cute and polite, and the ostriches, which are the most obnoxious birds in existence. They grabbed food from the breakfast table and had to be chased away over and over again. I came to dislike them so much that I wanted to buy an ostrich-hide purse as petty vengeance (but it was way too expensive). I’ve always wanted to find a way to put an ostrich into one of my stories.

    Reply
  51. Thank you, Sarah! I am so pleased you liked it! Yes, it’s hard to believe that the wolf was only a cub of 6 months old. Up to about 9 months they are very playful and like puppies but apparently after that they are not allowed in close proximity with humans because they become less friendly!

    Reply
  52. Thank you, Sarah! I am so pleased you liked it! Yes, it’s hard to believe that the wolf was only a cub of 6 months old. Up to about 9 months they are very playful and like puppies but apparently after that they are not allowed in close proximity with humans because they become less friendly!

    Reply
  53. Thank you, Sarah! I am so pleased you liked it! Yes, it’s hard to believe that the wolf was only a cub of 6 months old. Up to about 9 months they are very playful and like puppies but apparently after that they are not allowed in close proximity with humans because they become less friendly!

    Reply
  54. Thank you, Sarah! I am so pleased you liked it! Yes, it’s hard to believe that the wolf was only a cub of 6 months old. Up to about 9 months they are very playful and like puppies but apparently after that they are not allowed in close proximity with humans because they become less friendly!

    Reply
  55. Thank you, Sarah! I am so pleased you liked it! Yes, it’s hard to believe that the wolf was only a cub of 6 months old. Up to about 9 months they are very playful and like puppies but apparently after that they are not allowed in close proximity with humans because they become less friendly!

    Reply
  56. What a wonderful story, Barbara! Thank you so much! That’s funny about the monkey thieves and the hat. In an odd coincidence my hat disappeared on holiday too and I have no idea where it went. I hadn’t thought to blame the monkeys! Interesting about the ostriches. The ones we saw were scared of humans and ran away from us, which given your experience sounds like a blessing!

    Reply
  57. What a wonderful story, Barbara! Thank you so much! That’s funny about the monkey thieves and the hat. In an odd coincidence my hat disappeared on holiday too and I have no idea where it went. I hadn’t thought to blame the monkeys! Interesting about the ostriches. The ones we saw were scared of humans and ran away from us, which given your experience sounds like a blessing!

    Reply
  58. What a wonderful story, Barbara! Thank you so much! That’s funny about the monkey thieves and the hat. In an odd coincidence my hat disappeared on holiday too and I have no idea where it went. I hadn’t thought to blame the monkeys! Interesting about the ostriches. The ones we saw were scared of humans and ran away from us, which given your experience sounds like a blessing!

    Reply
  59. What a wonderful story, Barbara! Thank you so much! That’s funny about the monkey thieves and the hat. In an odd coincidence my hat disappeared on holiday too and I have no idea where it went. I hadn’t thought to blame the monkeys! Interesting about the ostriches. The ones we saw were scared of humans and ran away from us, which given your experience sounds like a blessing!

    Reply
  60. What a wonderful story, Barbara! Thank you so much! That’s funny about the monkey thieves and the hat. In an odd coincidence my hat disappeared on holiday too and I have no idea where it went. I hadn’t thought to blame the monkeys! Interesting about the ostriches. The ones we saw were scared of humans and ran away from us, which given your experience sounds like a blessing!

    Reply
  61. I would love to visit South Africa, what a great experience. New and different places always give me a boost, and bring on the “what if” thoughts. So great that you can transcribe that into a story that captivates the rest of us “want to be there’s!”

    Reply
  62. I would love to visit South Africa, what a great experience. New and different places always give me a boost, and bring on the “what if” thoughts. So great that you can transcribe that into a story that captivates the rest of us “want to be there’s!”

    Reply
  63. I would love to visit South Africa, what a great experience. New and different places always give me a boost, and bring on the “what if” thoughts. So great that you can transcribe that into a story that captivates the rest of us “want to be there’s!”

    Reply
  64. I would love to visit South Africa, what a great experience. New and different places always give me a boost, and bring on the “what if” thoughts. So great that you can transcribe that into a story that captivates the rest of us “want to be there’s!”

    Reply
  65. I would love to visit South Africa, what a great experience. New and different places always give me a boost, and bring on the “what if” thoughts. So great that you can transcribe that into a story that captivates the rest of us “want to be there’s!”

    Reply
  66. I live with 2 dogs right now. Have had cats, birds, & skunks as pets. I love zoos and have visited some wonderful ones. One of the loveliest events was being able to pet a baby tiger…I fell in love. I think that large cats and gorillas are not protected enough. But, when it comes down to it, I am not sure we are protecting any of our beautiful animals enough.

    Reply
  67. I live with 2 dogs right now. Have had cats, birds, & skunks as pets. I love zoos and have visited some wonderful ones. One of the loveliest events was being able to pet a baby tiger…I fell in love. I think that large cats and gorillas are not protected enough. But, when it comes down to it, I am not sure we are protecting any of our beautiful animals enough.

    Reply
  68. I live with 2 dogs right now. Have had cats, birds, & skunks as pets. I love zoos and have visited some wonderful ones. One of the loveliest events was being able to pet a baby tiger…I fell in love. I think that large cats and gorillas are not protected enough. But, when it comes down to it, I am not sure we are protecting any of our beautiful animals enough.

    Reply
  69. I live with 2 dogs right now. Have had cats, birds, & skunks as pets. I love zoos and have visited some wonderful ones. One of the loveliest events was being able to pet a baby tiger…I fell in love. I think that large cats and gorillas are not protected enough. But, when it comes down to it, I am not sure we are protecting any of our beautiful animals enough.

    Reply
  70. I live with 2 dogs right now. Have had cats, birds, & skunks as pets. I love zoos and have visited some wonderful ones. One of the loveliest events was being able to pet a baby tiger…I fell in love. I think that large cats and gorillas are not protected enough. But, when it comes down to it, I am not sure we are protecting any of our beautiful animals enough.

    Reply
  71. I love animals! To answer your question, I think Tigers, Peacock, Bald Eagles, and Horses are beautiful, but I am partial to Rhinos I think because most people think they are ugly. They are headed for extinction, but there is a valiant effort going on to save them. I hope it works. I would have let the wolf cub lick my face! Your trip sounded so much fun and the pictures were great! I bet kids love to climb that tree! I can’t wait to read your new story! 🙂
    I have had cats most of my life, a hamster, up to 18 Betas (each in their own one gallon fish bowl with rocks and plants) at one time, and our latest cat has been with us for 18 years. She likes to lay on anything black including my black iPad when I am working on it! When I was in elementary school, we had an Animal Library Man. One of the teachers had a room full of animals that he checked out to students for weekends and school breaks. You took them home with food and instructions for taking care of them. It was so fun! Guinea Pigs, rabbits, rats, birds, snakes, even a chinchilla! He used to give out Animal Bucks that gave kids certain amounts of minutes they could earn to come and hold the animals during school time. A few of us would come in on Saturdays and help, out which enabled us to go with him to pick up new animals or be there if someone brought one in for him. One time I was there when someone brought in a Raven! I had never seen one close up and he was beautifu. Since the teacher taught science as one of the classes, I remember a guest speaker bringing in many female tarantulas and letting them crawl all over his arms. It was a really great experience for me. I worked with him until I graduated in 8th grade since we went to that school from K-5 to 8th. 🙂

    Reply
  72. I love animals! To answer your question, I think Tigers, Peacock, Bald Eagles, and Horses are beautiful, but I am partial to Rhinos I think because most people think they are ugly. They are headed for extinction, but there is a valiant effort going on to save them. I hope it works. I would have let the wolf cub lick my face! Your trip sounded so much fun and the pictures were great! I bet kids love to climb that tree! I can’t wait to read your new story! 🙂
    I have had cats most of my life, a hamster, up to 18 Betas (each in their own one gallon fish bowl with rocks and plants) at one time, and our latest cat has been with us for 18 years. She likes to lay on anything black including my black iPad when I am working on it! When I was in elementary school, we had an Animal Library Man. One of the teachers had a room full of animals that he checked out to students for weekends and school breaks. You took them home with food and instructions for taking care of them. It was so fun! Guinea Pigs, rabbits, rats, birds, snakes, even a chinchilla! He used to give out Animal Bucks that gave kids certain amounts of minutes they could earn to come and hold the animals during school time. A few of us would come in on Saturdays and help, out which enabled us to go with him to pick up new animals or be there if someone brought one in for him. One time I was there when someone brought in a Raven! I had never seen one close up and he was beautifu. Since the teacher taught science as one of the classes, I remember a guest speaker bringing in many female tarantulas and letting them crawl all over his arms. It was a really great experience for me. I worked with him until I graduated in 8th grade since we went to that school from K-5 to 8th. 🙂

    Reply
  73. I love animals! To answer your question, I think Tigers, Peacock, Bald Eagles, and Horses are beautiful, but I am partial to Rhinos I think because most people think they are ugly. They are headed for extinction, but there is a valiant effort going on to save them. I hope it works. I would have let the wolf cub lick my face! Your trip sounded so much fun and the pictures were great! I bet kids love to climb that tree! I can’t wait to read your new story! 🙂
    I have had cats most of my life, a hamster, up to 18 Betas (each in their own one gallon fish bowl with rocks and plants) at one time, and our latest cat has been with us for 18 years. She likes to lay on anything black including my black iPad when I am working on it! When I was in elementary school, we had an Animal Library Man. One of the teachers had a room full of animals that he checked out to students for weekends and school breaks. You took them home with food and instructions for taking care of them. It was so fun! Guinea Pigs, rabbits, rats, birds, snakes, even a chinchilla! He used to give out Animal Bucks that gave kids certain amounts of minutes they could earn to come and hold the animals during school time. A few of us would come in on Saturdays and help, out which enabled us to go with him to pick up new animals or be there if someone brought one in for him. One time I was there when someone brought in a Raven! I had never seen one close up and he was beautifu. Since the teacher taught science as one of the classes, I remember a guest speaker bringing in many female tarantulas and letting them crawl all over his arms. It was a really great experience for me. I worked with him until I graduated in 8th grade since we went to that school from K-5 to 8th. 🙂

    Reply
  74. I love animals! To answer your question, I think Tigers, Peacock, Bald Eagles, and Horses are beautiful, but I am partial to Rhinos I think because most people think they are ugly. They are headed for extinction, but there is a valiant effort going on to save them. I hope it works. I would have let the wolf cub lick my face! Your trip sounded so much fun and the pictures were great! I bet kids love to climb that tree! I can’t wait to read your new story! 🙂
    I have had cats most of my life, a hamster, up to 18 Betas (each in their own one gallon fish bowl with rocks and plants) at one time, and our latest cat has been with us for 18 years. She likes to lay on anything black including my black iPad when I am working on it! When I was in elementary school, we had an Animal Library Man. One of the teachers had a room full of animals that he checked out to students for weekends and school breaks. You took them home with food and instructions for taking care of them. It was so fun! Guinea Pigs, rabbits, rats, birds, snakes, even a chinchilla! He used to give out Animal Bucks that gave kids certain amounts of minutes they could earn to come and hold the animals during school time. A few of us would come in on Saturdays and help, out which enabled us to go with him to pick up new animals or be there if someone brought one in for him. One time I was there when someone brought in a Raven! I had never seen one close up and he was beautifu. Since the teacher taught science as one of the classes, I remember a guest speaker bringing in many female tarantulas and letting them crawl all over his arms. It was a really great experience for me. I worked with him until I graduated in 8th grade since we went to that school from K-5 to 8th. 🙂

    Reply
  75. I love animals! To answer your question, I think Tigers, Peacock, Bald Eagles, and Horses are beautiful, but I am partial to Rhinos I think because most people think they are ugly. They are headed for extinction, but there is a valiant effort going on to save them. I hope it works. I would have let the wolf cub lick my face! Your trip sounded so much fun and the pictures were great! I bet kids love to climb that tree! I can’t wait to read your new story! 🙂
    I have had cats most of my life, a hamster, up to 18 Betas (each in their own one gallon fish bowl with rocks and plants) at one time, and our latest cat has been with us for 18 years. She likes to lay on anything black including my black iPad when I am working on it! When I was in elementary school, we had an Animal Library Man. One of the teachers had a room full of animals that he checked out to students for weekends and school breaks. You took them home with food and instructions for taking care of them. It was so fun! Guinea Pigs, rabbits, rats, birds, snakes, even a chinchilla! He used to give out Animal Bucks that gave kids certain amounts of minutes they could earn to come and hold the animals during school time. A few of us would come in on Saturdays and help, out which enabled us to go with him to pick up new animals or be there if someone brought one in for him. One time I was there when someone brought in a Raven! I had never seen one close up and he was beautifu. Since the teacher taught science as one of the classes, I remember a guest speaker bringing in many female tarantulas and letting them crawl all over his arms. It was a really great experience for me. I worked with him until I graduated in 8th grade since we went to that school from K-5 to 8th. 🙂

    Reply
  76. I love to watch wildlife in their natural environments. Bluebirds have FINALLY found our bluebird box we brought to South Carolina from North Carolina. They immediately started to make a nest. Isn’t it too late to start a brood? I hope not.
    I prefer looking at the Discovery Channel or Travel Channels and look at Africa. The rigors of travel is a little much on our old bodies. 🙂

    Reply
  77. I love to watch wildlife in their natural environments. Bluebirds have FINALLY found our bluebird box we brought to South Carolina from North Carolina. They immediately started to make a nest. Isn’t it too late to start a brood? I hope not.
    I prefer looking at the Discovery Channel or Travel Channels and look at Africa. The rigors of travel is a little much on our old bodies. 🙂

    Reply
  78. I love to watch wildlife in their natural environments. Bluebirds have FINALLY found our bluebird box we brought to South Carolina from North Carolina. They immediately started to make a nest. Isn’t it too late to start a brood? I hope not.
    I prefer looking at the Discovery Channel or Travel Channels and look at Africa. The rigors of travel is a little much on our old bodies. 🙂

    Reply
  79. I love to watch wildlife in their natural environments. Bluebirds have FINALLY found our bluebird box we brought to South Carolina from North Carolina. They immediately started to make a nest. Isn’t it too late to start a brood? I hope not.
    I prefer looking at the Discovery Channel or Travel Channels and look at Africa. The rigors of travel is a little much on our old bodies. 🙂

    Reply
  80. I love to watch wildlife in their natural environments. Bluebirds have FINALLY found our bluebird box we brought to South Carolina from North Carolina. They immediately started to make a nest. Isn’t it too late to start a brood? I hope not.
    I prefer looking at the Discovery Channel or Travel Channels and look at Africa. The rigors of travel is a little much on our old bodies. 🙂

    Reply
  81. Love to hear of your experiences on safari – can’t wait to read your book that they inspired. I’m a real animal lover, have always had cats or dogs. Would love to go on safari someday, I always try to see some of the local wildlife wherever I travel.

    Reply
  82. Love to hear of your experiences on safari – can’t wait to read your book that they inspired. I’m a real animal lover, have always had cats or dogs. Would love to go on safari someday, I always try to see some of the local wildlife wherever I travel.

    Reply
  83. Love to hear of your experiences on safari – can’t wait to read your book that they inspired. I’m a real animal lover, have always had cats or dogs. Would love to go on safari someday, I always try to see some of the local wildlife wherever I travel.

    Reply
  84. Love to hear of your experiences on safari – can’t wait to read your book that they inspired. I’m a real animal lover, have always had cats or dogs. Would love to go on safari someday, I always try to see some of the local wildlife wherever I travel.

    Reply
  85. Love to hear of your experiences on safari – can’t wait to read your book that they inspired. I’m a real animal lover, have always had cats or dogs. Would love to go on safari someday, I always try to see some of the local wildlife wherever I travel.

    Reply
  86. Thank you, Carol. What a lovely compliment! I do enjoy travelling and always enjoy hearing stories of other people’s experiences because I invariably end up with new places on my list too!

    Reply
  87. Thank you, Carol. What a lovely compliment! I do enjoy travelling and always enjoy hearing stories of other people’s experiences because I invariably end up with new places on my list too!

    Reply
  88. Thank you, Carol. What a lovely compliment! I do enjoy travelling and always enjoy hearing stories of other people’s experiences because I invariably end up with new places on my list too!

    Reply
  89. Thank you, Carol. What a lovely compliment! I do enjoy travelling and always enjoy hearing stories of other people’s experiences because I invariably end up with new places on my list too!

    Reply
  90. Thank you, Carol. What a lovely compliment! I do enjoy travelling and always enjoy hearing stories of other people’s experiences because I invariably end up with new places on my list too!

    Reply
  91. Pet skunks, Annette! Wow! Petting a baby tiger sounds wonderful and I can imagine why you fell in love! I do think baby cats of any sort look incredibly sweet. I wanted to pet the small leopards but the vigilant look in their mother’s eye was enough to warn anyone off! I do agree we need to do all we can to protect them all.

    Reply
  92. Pet skunks, Annette! Wow! Petting a baby tiger sounds wonderful and I can imagine why you fell in love! I do think baby cats of any sort look incredibly sweet. I wanted to pet the small leopards but the vigilant look in their mother’s eye was enough to warn anyone off! I do agree we need to do all we can to protect them all.

    Reply
  93. Pet skunks, Annette! Wow! Petting a baby tiger sounds wonderful and I can imagine why you fell in love! I do think baby cats of any sort look incredibly sweet. I wanted to pet the small leopards but the vigilant look in their mother’s eye was enough to warn anyone off! I do agree we need to do all we can to protect them all.

    Reply
  94. Pet skunks, Annette! Wow! Petting a baby tiger sounds wonderful and I can imagine why you fell in love! I do think baby cats of any sort look incredibly sweet. I wanted to pet the small leopards but the vigilant look in their mother’s eye was enough to warn anyone off! I do agree we need to do all we can to protect them all.

    Reply
  95. Pet skunks, Annette! Wow! Petting a baby tiger sounds wonderful and I can imagine why you fell in love! I do think baby cats of any sort look incredibly sweet. I wanted to pet the small leopards but the vigilant look in their mother’s eye was enough to warn anyone off! I do agree we need to do all we can to protect them all.

    Reply
  96. What a wonderful story, Meredith. Thank you! You are clearly a very animal-oriented person and I’m glad the insects and birds don’t miss out too!
    I think the idea of an Animal Library is a great one. They do say children learn so much from caring for animals. It’s wonderful to be able to do that through school.

    Reply
  97. What a wonderful story, Meredith. Thank you! You are clearly a very animal-oriented person and I’m glad the insects and birds don’t miss out too!
    I think the idea of an Animal Library is a great one. They do say children learn so much from caring for animals. It’s wonderful to be able to do that through school.

    Reply
  98. What a wonderful story, Meredith. Thank you! You are clearly a very animal-oriented person and I’m glad the insects and birds don’t miss out too!
    I think the idea of an Animal Library is a great one. They do say children learn so much from caring for animals. It’s wonderful to be able to do that through school.

    Reply
  99. What a wonderful story, Meredith. Thank you! You are clearly a very animal-oriented person and I’m glad the insects and birds don’t miss out too!
    I think the idea of an Animal Library is a great one. They do say children learn so much from caring for animals. It’s wonderful to be able to do that through school.

    Reply
  100. What a wonderful story, Meredith. Thank you! You are clearly a very animal-oriented person and I’m glad the insects and birds don’t miss out too!
    I think the idea of an Animal Library is a great one. They do say children learn so much from caring for animals. It’s wonderful to be able to do that through school.

    Reply
  101. Travel programmes are great for vicarious experiences, aren’t they, Anne! There are some places I probably wouldn’t go but I love seeing them on TV. And I must admit that the camping we did in Africa was hard work and probably not for me in the future!
    Best of luck with the bluebirds. I do hope they start a brood!

    Reply
  102. Travel programmes are great for vicarious experiences, aren’t they, Anne! There are some places I probably wouldn’t go but I love seeing them on TV. And I must admit that the camping we did in Africa was hard work and probably not for me in the future!
    Best of luck with the bluebirds. I do hope they start a brood!

    Reply
  103. Travel programmes are great for vicarious experiences, aren’t they, Anne! There are some places I probably wouldn’t go but I love seeing them on TV. And I must admit that the camping we did in Africa was hard work and probably not for me in the future!
    Best of luck with the bluebirds. I do hope they start a brood!

    Reply
  104. Travel programmes are great for vicarious experiences, aren’t they, Anne! There are some places I probably wouldn’t go but I love seeing them on TV. And I must admit that the camping we did in Africa was hard work and probably not for me in the future!
    Best of luck with the bluebirds. I do hope they start a brood!

    Reply
  105. Travel programmes are great for vicarious experiences, aren’t they, Anne! There are some places I probably wouldn’t go but I love seeing them on TV. And I must admit that the camping we did in Africa was hard work and probably not for me in the future!
    Best of luck with the bluebirds. I do hope they start a brood!

    Reply
  106. Thank you, Carolyn! It’s just lovely to appreciate the wildlife wherever you are, isn’t it. This morning I was walking the dogs and saw two muntjac deer in the woods. I think the dogs thought they were a strange sort of dog they hadn’t met before and wanted to play with them!

    Reply
  107. Thank you, Carolyn! It’s just lovely to appreciate the wildlife wherever you are, isn’t it. This morning I was walking the dogs and saw two muntjac deer in the woods. I think the dogs thought they were a strange sort of dog they hadn’t met before and wanted to play with them!

    Reply
  108. Thank you, Carolyn! It’s just lovely to appreciate the wildlife wherever you are, isn’t it. This morning I was walking the dogs and saw two muntjac deer in the woods. I think the dogs thought they were a strange sort of dog they hadn’t met before and wanted to play with them!

    Reply
  109. Thank you, Carolyn! It’s just lovely to appreciate the wildlife wherever you are, isn’t it. This morning I was walking the dogs and saw two muntjac deer in the woods. I think the dogs thought they were a strange sort of dog they hadn’t met before and wanted to play with them!

    Reply
  110. Thank you, Carolyn! It’s just lovely to appreciate the wildlife wherever you are, isn’t it. This morning I was walking the dogs and saw two muntjac deer in the woods. I think the dogs thought they were a strange sort of dog they hadn’t met before and wanted to play with them!

    Reply

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