Emperor tamarin drinking

A day out at the zoo

I’d only been to London Zoo once before. It was for Zoo Lates. I turned up very, very late. So late in fact that most of the animals had gone to bed. All I managed see were the penguins. When a friend of mine suggested we should go to zoo, I jumped at the chance at trying to shoot the animals. I made the rookie mistake of not charging my battery which promptly ran the butterfly enclosure and alas, I did not have a spare. I did, however, have my Samsung phone and with a bit of Instagram magic; ta-da:

As an animal lover, I have mixed feelings about zoos. On one hand, I much prefer them in the wild, however, zoos can be the only place where we can conserve them and rescue those back from the brink of extinction. It is believed that between 0.01 and 0.1% of all species will become extinct each year. Although this may not seem a lot, we all depend on the world around us to survive. For example, if krill (tiny crustaceans that whales and penguins eat) were to become extinct then the animals which the krill support will die, and so it goes up the food chain. Add climate change and the destruction of habitats, we are now on the verge of the sixth extinction crisis.

London Zoo, like may zoos across the world, run conservation programmes to protect and preserve many of our endangered species. This is why I didn’t have a problem going to this zoo. Not only do they show the animal kingdom to us in a way so we don’t become tiger food, they teach us about the destruction we are creating and the steps we can take to limit this.





Harbour Bridge

Going to The Land Down Under

I didn’t mean to go to Australia for the third time. As a general rule, I don’t go back to countries that I’ve already visited. The exception is Salzburg, Austria – not to be confused with Australia – of course. I lived there for a semester (Austria that is) while I was at university. I haven’t been back since 2002 but I have been meaning too. Australia, however, seems to have an invisible pull that I didn’t realise was there.

The first time I went to Oz was when I was 19, my first backpacking experience. Let lose and fancy free, I drunk my around the country. I first started in Perth, Greyhound bussed it to Adelaide before hopping on the green Oz Experience bus that took me up through the middle and then down the well trodden route of the East Coast.

The second time was when I was 24, which was my stop off point to make some money before continuing through New Zealand then South America before heading home. I was on a round-the-world trip that started in Moscow, Russia and ending in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. I ended up living in Melbourne because of U2. The tickets to their gig were sold out in Sydney, but weren’t sold out in Melbourne. So off I went on the Greyhound bus, saw the gig, got a job at a bar and stayed there until I had to leave the country. Melbourne quickly became, and continues to be, my favourite city in the world.

Which brings me onto my most recent trip to the Land Down Under. It was the first proper grown-up holiday I’ve had i.e no hostels, was with my Significant Other Half and less alcohol. Due to my job working at a travel agent, I was lucky enough to stay at a five-star ecolodge that was nestled in the Daintree Rainforest and overlooked the Coral Sea. After chilling out for a few days, we travelled down the East Coast to Fraser Island on the, you’ve guessed it, the Greyhound bus. We joined a tour and was one of the oldest one’s there. Frightening thought considering we’re only in our early 30’s. Still, I enjoyed being with the other backpackers, but soon we were on our way down to Sydney and back to five-star luxury.

We stumbled on the I’m Free Tours, run by the very knowledgeable Justine. I’m not one to over-enthuse about products or services, but I throughly recommend doing one of their walking tours if you’re in the city. You pay what you think the tour is worth. We only had four days in the Sydney and was a great introduction to the sights and history of the city.

Despite visiting Australia for the third time, I’ve yet to travel the West Coast and the Northern Territory. Maybe next time.

Photos taken on my Lumix GX 7.

Cat and acrylic pendant

Syd the cat

It’s been a busy couple of weeks and I haven’t taken any photos of note. I’ve dug back into my archives and found these pictures of my mother’s cat – the adorable but ferocious little madam that is Syd.

My mother took Syd in when her owner went back to Australia. A very loved pet, the owner wanted to make sure that Syd was going to be well-looked after. She couldn’t have picked a more giving person. That cat is spoilt! But we all love her even if she can’t use the cat flap to get back into the house (much preferring to sit outside in all weathers until someone i.e my mother opens the back door), screeches at other cats, yet placidly looks at seagulls and only goes out when it’s dark.

Photos taken on my Lumix GX 7.