Its been a long time since I have written here and there is good reason for this – after a little time spent pondering and prevaricating, Simon and Schuster have agreed to publish my next book – which meant I had to start writing it …. oh, and researching it … which is where I am now. And then there is the issue of the title too … I have had a few ideas that have failed the ‘google test’ … that is, when googled, other subjects come up that my distract potential readers from my good words …. So ‘Animal Passions’ failed … I should have thought that one out …. and so did my new word … turns out that other people had got there before me … ‘Faunacation’… the idea of being an animal – oh well, at least now I am happy with my latest (just got to see if the editor is) … ‘Beauty in the Beast’ … I am writing about my meetings with lots of people like me – people in the UK with passions for different animals – and everyone is trying to persuade me that, while they understand the attraction of hedgehogs – the solitary bee, sparrow, badger, water vole, bat, owl, robin, porpoise etc etc is far more interesting and far better at ‘selling’ a love of the natural world.

But this is not the purpose of the post … that is to announce the arrival of my first hedgehog – that will enable me to entertain all the more effectively. And also to indicate that (nearly) everyone’s favourite polymath has similar leanings to me … this might be the closest I get to Stephen Fry!

early morning, I have a spurt of energy and decide to use it up on a new post … but then Pip (age 3) decided I would be a suitable alternative for his climbing frame – and is now sitting on my shoulders … and wobbling, deliberately, every now and then, just to send my heart racing. But I really wanted to share a little bit of excitement – the treatment for my next book is taking shape. There have been a number of very delightful connections – tonight I am going to see a botanist, who has written a wonderful book about Robins, play the Lark Ascending – and tomorrow I spend in the company of a bumblebee man – all this after I managed to identify the rather well-hidden Vole Woman …
And as if that was not enough, I have my first visit to the Hay book festival on Friday … I am more on edge about this presentation than any other. But it was nice to get noted:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/mar/09/hay-festival

you have to scroll all the way to the end … and then you will see why I was excited.

And I am using all these dots again … dot dot dot – for those who have seen Mama Mia, this made laugh. My 6 year old daughter, Mati, was looking over my shoulder as I read a story to her, one that included … I treated it as the pause it was, but she said, no, you missed that bit – dot dot dot – I was obviously confused so she repeated herself – ‘dot dot dot – it is what they did in the olden days’!!!