Danger in nature – all snakes and no ladders

Spot the snake (answer at the end) "There's danger everywhere!" exclaimed the twelve-year-old, after her little sister told her that scorpions like to nest in dry railway sleepers of the kind they were both standing on in the backyard. The twelve-year-old retreated to the security of the house and her phone, the three-year-old found a … Continue reading Danger in nature – all snakes and no ladders

On danger in nature

I've had a note on my phone for months now called 'Dangerous nature post'. It was a reminder to me to attempt to get some coherent thoughts down about nature, danger and the unknown. In February I read a fascinating article in Inkcap Journal. 'A dark miracle in the Forest of Dean' shows how the … Continue reading On danger in nature

Birds, bins and Brazil

My obsession with Brazilian birds has definitely been growing over the last year and a half. My husband actually introduced me to the iconic Sabiá-laranjeira (Rufous-bellied Thrush) in the few weeks after we first met, but since I was in the UK for most of our relationship, and then living in favelas after we got … Continue reading Birds, bins and Brazil

Carrapateiros and capybaras

The gavião carrapateiro is an astounding bird. It goes by the name 'Yellow-headed caracara' in English but I much prefer the literal translation 'tick hawk'. Gavião carrapateiro - @juliano.fabricante Brazil being extremely large, and the gavião carrapateiro appearing everywhere, it has a long list of aliases: caracará-branco, caracaraí, caracaratinga, carapinhé, gavião-pinhé, pinhé, pinhém, papa-bicheira, chimango, … Continue reading Carrapateiros and capybaras

Bilingual children and language development – Trying out new language or ‘Just us chickens!’

One of the delights of being able to observe our daughter go through a language growth spurt is being present both at the moment of her hearing new language and then hearing that new language being road-tested by her for the first time. A fortnight ago I asked our daughter (three years and three months … Continue reading Bilingual children and language development – Trying out new language or ‘Just us chickens!’

Bilingual children and language development – Confusion between first and third person in Portuguese

On the subject of the confusion that must arise between the first person singular and the third person singular for a child acquiring Portuguese  - mentioned in my last post here and back by overwhelming demand - I have some further observations. Not only do the majority of Brazilians talk about themselves in the third … Continue reading Bilingual children and language development – Confusion between first and third person in Portuguese

Daily rhythms of life and death

On her third birthday our little one gained and lost her first pet. We both gave and (unwittingly) took it from her. She used to ask to see the fish every time my husband took her to town with him so we decided to give her a fish for her birthday. But it was a … Continue reading Daily rhythms of life and death

Squirrels, toucans and confessions

Having once openly ridiculed a Brazilian friend who went nuts when she saw a squirrel in the Rio de Janeiro botanical gardens when I was still fresh off the boat and clinging jealously to a brief glimpse of a toucan as my only brush with tropical wildlife, I have a confession to make. I've harboured … Continue reading Squirrels, toucans and confessions

Unmoving mountains and the glory of God

I grew up in a farmhouse in the bottom of a valley with windows facing the hill on the other side of the river, accompanied by a constant watery melody with frequent train interludes. Towering beech trees were visible from every window and with their changing colours and seasonal skies the result was always dramatic, … Continue reading Unmoving mountains and the glory of God

Brazilian bird poem mini-series 7-8

I'm very excited to bring my mini-series of Brazilian bird poems to the wider world. I have written a little more about them in this post... Brazilian bird poem no. 7 Below is the audio version of the poem which plays straight from my YouTube channel. https://youtu.be/qGeN58V2e98 Brazilian bird poem no. 7 - English translation … Continue reading Brazilian bird poem mini-series 7-8