Finding the fantasy in the natural world

I bloody love the natural world. I have a degree in zoology, was obsessed with Gerald Durrell as a child and have kept animals all my life. If you’ve ever read any of my novels, you’ll find that an array of creatures crop up, even in simple descriptions. I can’t help it. Whilst people are walking down the street noticing the shiny new car or the delicious cupcakes in the bakery window, I’m spotting the squirrel flattened to the tree trunk, the tiny insect running along the path and the bird chirruping in the tree above me. If you love fantasy, then there’s no better place to look than the natural world and its curious oddities.

When the beeb announced that a new David Attenborough show, Africa, was to start, I was excited but also, if I have to admit it, a little un-enthralled. Surely, Africa has been covered SO many times in terms of natural history documents. What new could be brought? How could the footage improve? Well – OH MY GOD – the cinematography is breathtaking, the stories are refreshing, and the new revelations are intriguing. Rhino’s that are tender, nurturing and love to socialise at night? Giraffes in bloody battles that look akin to scenes from war movies? Yes – I kid you not.

If you loved a bit of fantasy, weird creatures, explosive behaviours, then I really urge you to take an hour out and watch Africa. The flock of tiny ostrich chicks running along is cute, hilarious, and totally inspiring for a bizarre alien race, whilst the close shots on the giraffes faces show an odd and strange creature like never before. Watch it. It’s incredible.

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