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Showing posts from June, 2018

The Magician's Nephew

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by C.S. Lewis.  Here's a children's book, dating back to 1955, the sixth to be published in C.S.Lewis's Narnia fantasy saga. I've been doing a lot of nostalgic reading lately, and glancing back through my booklist I noticed I'd given this particular volume a 'star'; and I wondered why. A friend lent me a copy, in this edition (right). It's certainly not the first book I've read more than once, but this goes back to childhood, and I'm now looking at it through very different and much more aged eyes.

The Magician's Nephew is a prequel to the other Narnia stories, and therefore first in a chronological sense. Modern publishers tend to list it as 'Number One' in the series, but this is unfortunate. You don't have to be a serious critic to agree with almost all of them, that it's best to read the series in order of publication. There's a clear assumption in the text that you're already familiar with details of the characte…

An Actual Otter

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I can't resist reporting my sighting of an actual real otter on Wednesday, my first ever sighting of an otter in the wild. Even though I can't show you a picture of it. I did have a camera on me, but I didn't want any fumbling with the camera to distract me from the fleeting glimpses of the animal.

This picture is a poor substitute, but at least I did take it myself. It was a couple of years ago, at a country wildlife park in South Devon, near Exeter, called Escot if I remember correctly. I don't think these were British otters, but they were probably the first I'd seen close up. This was during their feeding time display, which I'd recommend - they are very entertaining animals, lively and clearly intelligent. Escot is great, by the way; amongst other things they have a maze which I'd have loved to try, except that just as we got there it was taken over by a paintball game.

Anyway, back to Wednesday. I was visiting friends in North Yorkshire, and we went fo…