Recently, Maureen of Josephina Ballerina (where she blogs about life and particularly about her beautiful tortoiseshell cat Josephina) asked me to blog about where my love of nature comes from.
I grew up in suburban Manchester, in a house with a relatively small garden with a wild patch of shrubs and trees at the bottom. This was a great natural den, and I spent a lot of time, particularly in the summer, playing in the shade of the sycamore tree.
I collected nature books, specially books about birds (but I overheard my Dad saying on one occasion "doesn't she think she has enough books about birds?"). I also loved reading a big old book by Enid Blyton, that I remember belonging to my grandparents. I can't remember the name, but it was a fictionalised account of one family's adventures in the outdoors guided by their Uncle Quentin who seemed to know everything there was to know about nature. I don't really like to admit to Enid Blyton being a formative influence but....
A lot of my early interest in nature came from books rather than being outside. We had regular family excursions out, though these were usually to local parks or the local woods. It was relatively rare that our day trips went further than that, though our holidays were always to rural places. All our trips were heavily supervised, I wasn't allowed to run around much or climb trees and I certainly wasn't allowed to go out into the countryside alone or even with friends, though this story (published on Pygmy Giant) is true.
I studied Biology right through high school and took my Biology A level exam then went to University to study Botany. I've maintained my interest in nature ever since, though it's only recently that I've started leading groups on birdwatching walks and nature studies.
There are many reasons I love nature, firstly the sheer beauty, secondly the everchanging seasons and thirdly the fact that there is always something new to learn, whether in identifying a new species of insect or in observing a new behaviour from a favourite bird.
As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.