Monthly Archives: September 2014


Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands some 22km from the Normandy coast in France and 161 km from the south coast of Britain.  The Channel Islands are considered to be a remnant of the Duchy of Normandy and are not part of the United Kingdom but rather a British Crown Dependence.

The first time we visited Jersey, in 1984, we caught the hydrofoil from St. Malo in France. It was an extremely rough crossing with the majority of the passengers, not including us (thank goodness) becoming sea-sick. The weather was diabolical with gusting, horizontal rain trying to force us off our feet. Foolishly we went to the zoo, well it was the reason for being in Jersey, but we did not last long before we retreated to the warmth and comfort of a bookshop. After two months travelling from Turkey to France, via  Spain, an English language bookshop was a real treat!

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South-west England

Salisbury. I just had to visit Salisbury Cathedral as I have always loved John Constable’s paintings of it. When I was at uni I had several posters of Constable’s cathedral stuck to my walls.

constable salisbury cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Grounds, John Constable. Housed in New York Metropolitan Art Museum.

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A couple of exceptional zoos.

Zoos are a passion of ours, and despite some people’s aversion to them, the majority do excellent and vital conservation work. My husband studied zoology at university and my daughter volunteered for six years with the Taronga Zoo ‘Youth at the Zoo’ programme. As you can see, it’s in the blood.

Twycross Zoo, in Warwickshire, is a superb little zoo, one of my favourites (and I’ve been to a lot of zoos). We discovered it in January 2011 because we found a brochure advertising Twycross as having snow leopards, my daughter’s favourite animal. This must be one of the most spectacular snow leopard display anywhere. Taronga Zoo has snow leopards, and the best views of any zoo in the world. The Billabong Zoo in Port Macquarie also has snow leopards but neither come close to the display at Twycross. You can even see the snow leopards for free if you have neither the time nor inclination to do a full tour of the zoo. The zoo has built its reception area, gift shop and cafe with a huge picture window overlooking the snow leopard enclosure. You can sit and have lunch or coffee for as long as you like whilst watching these magnificent cats. The Twycross website (2013) currently advertises their snow leopard cubs, so they must be doing something right.

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