Background To The Book

 

An Australian upbringing changed my life and indirectly spawned the first book in my ‘Wild Encounters’ series – ‘Try Not To Smile’.

I was caught by the last world polio epidemic and was paralysed in plaster for over a year, fortunately lying outdoors in a large suburban garden mown by two sheep.

With the family dog and half the lawn mower. 

Australia is a country where wildlife, friendly and venomous, abounds everywhere. Lying there, how could I not develop a passion for the living world?

With a daily kookaburra taking raw meat pegged to the clothes line, koalas, Waratahs, and sights like rainbow lorikeets lapping honey from enamel plates, a Fairy (Blue) Penguin swimming beside the wall at Sydney Harbour’s ferry terminal and turtle hatchlings swimming in a Queensland bathroom?

It was not long before my mother was making my bed with some apprehension when faced with sheets being tightly clutched from the other side by the claws of some mystery wildlife introduced by me. Inevitably, I became a scientist; the passion is still with me. Like my husband, my childhood dream was to become a vet, but both of us (unknown and on opposite sides of the planet) realised in our teens that we were too squeamish to cope with injuries and animals in pain. Polio also introduced me to the joy of being weightless in water and swimming. The long surf beaches of Australia’s east coast did the rest: spawned a love of wide open spaces, and I am more mobile in water than on land. I still bodysurf on the far northern coast of Scotland when opportunity allows and in Cornwall. 

 

       

Photos of my husband with his beachcombing find of a surfboard in Scotland & about to cycle through sand dunes to surf. 

 

By judicious choices of places and accessibility, flat beaches and boats, this book proves that one does not have to be young or fit to have amazing Wild Encounters with animals in wild places. It has been described as a life affirming book.

 

In underwater paradise. 

The second book in ‘Wild Encounters’ series is nearing completion.  It centres on remote coasts and islands of Australia and New Zealand.