Monday, April 28, 2008


It is almost inevitable I think that when you end
up living on a different continent, from time to time your mind turns fondly to home. It never ceases to amaze me the number of people living in Chicago who see fit to make derisory comments about the English weather! It is the 28th of April and our forecast for Chicago today is freezing temperatures, driving rain, turning to snow later and 30 mile an hour winds! Nice! This from a city that spends eight months of the year buried in winter and then the remaining four months hot and incredibly humid. I must admit I give people pretty short shrift these days when they start sneering about English weather. I make a point of telling them about the palm trees growing in my Mums garden and the fact that she never has to worry about frosts spoiling her plants (never mind the weeks of sub-zero temperatures we endure here!) OK so my parents live right at the very southern tip of the country and, yes, Scotland is a little different from Cornwall as far as climate goes but it just amazes me how many people have this idea of England, and usually it is the people who have never set foot there! Just for good measure, both of these photos were taken near my parents home in England in December - no ice or snow to be seen! Now I am going to put another sweater on and make myself a hot chocolate!

Photo Credits - Dominick V

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I never thought I would see the day but, here I am, starting a blog - the moral of that story - never say never! In a life that has so far seen me stumble my way onto three continents it is always hard to keep in touch with all the amazing people you meet and who make an impression on your life. Being a naturally lazy person, this seemed like an ideal solution! At least with a blog it gives people an option to find out what is going on, rather than having the dreaded 'annual update' enclosed with a Christmas card.
Currently my life finds me residing in Chicago, married to a truly wonderful man, living in an apartment overlooking Lake Michigan and working at the nearby Chicago Academy of Sciences Nature Museum as the Manager of Living Vertebrate Collections. (Much more about that in later postings)

We recently returned from a trip t
o the Galapagos Islands, which was what finally motivated me to get a blog organised, as so many people wanted to see photos and hear about the trip. Here is a little taster of some of the fantastic animals we encountered. Starting at the top - yours truly with a Galapagos Giant Tortoise (Geochelone spp. this particular individual was taken from a private collection to the Darwin Centre so its exact species was unknown.) next, a Sally Lightfoot Crab (Grapsus grapsus), a Land Iguana (Conolophus subcristatus) and
finally the Santa Cruz species of Giant Land
Tortoise (Geochelone nigrita) - this must surely be one of the perks of being married to an avid and very talented amateur photographer. (Not that I am biased you understand!) Actually when visiting the Galapagos I defy anyone not to come back with some amazing photos as all the animals are such willing models! And unlike most other places in the world, most of these models are relatively slow moving.

Photo credits:
Lion - Paul Joynson-Hicks
Tortoise, Crab, Iguana, Tortoise - Dominick V