The Great Books of the World – Part 7

Courtesy of Eredus:


“The world is as delicate and as complicated as a spider’s web…
and we’re tearing great holes in it.”

Gerald Durrell

Courtesy of Inspiration Journey:


“To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.
I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled
it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man. ”
Mahatma Gandhi

“All Things Bright and Beautiful” (courtesy of aj paauwe):


I always thought that an unhappy childhood gives a writer ideal material. I learned better after reading Gerald Durrell’s remark:

“If I had the craft of Merlin, I would give every child the gift of my childhood.”

Durrell’s blissfully happy childhood not only provided him with wonderful material for several bestselling books but started him on his life path to a career as a famous naturalist, zoologist, and conservationist. The saga begins in England, in the early 1930s. After the death of his father, Durrell’s unconventional family with their income reduced to a widow’s pension only, moves to the sunny Greek island of Corfu as life there is much more affordable.

Courtesy of Vangelis Koulouris:


Rural Corfu is heaven for an animal-loving ten-year-old boy like Gerry, teeming with exotic birds and various animals ranging from toads, tortoises, scorpions, geckos to porpoises, and a pigeon named Quasimodo. His family, mother, sister, and two brothers are less than thrilled when Gerry starts filling the fridge with his zoological specimens.

In the ‘Speech for the Defence’ that prefaces this witty and beguiling volume of reminiscences, the author reveals that he had intended to write a straightforward natural history of Corfu. ‘But’, he confesses, ‘I made a grave mistake by introducing my family into the book in the first few pages.’ Readers will be glad for his error. Warmly humorous, replete with intriguing natural history, and delighting in the merry eccentricities of the Durrell household,  My Family and Other Animals is a splendid trip in very good company.

Danilia, a village in Corfu where The Durrells television series was filmed

By The Sea” by Eleni Karaindrou (courtesy of Ozan Çoban):



7 January 1925  – 30 January 1995

Gerald Malcolm Durrell was born in Jamshedpur, India. His father, Lawrence Samuel Durrell was an Anglo-Indian in the sense that his origin was English by descent but he was brought up in India. He studied at the prestigious Thomson Civil Engineering. As an engineer, he was very successful, later becoming the Chief Engineer of the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.  When he set up his own company in Sakci, the industrial boomtown of Jamshedpur, his contracts as a contractor included Tata Iron and Steel Works. Like many Englishmen who lived in India for generations, he socialised with Indians of all conventions and castes. On one occasion he gave up his membership at his club when his proposal to include an Oxford-educated Indian doctor who had saved his son’s life, was turned down.

Images of Jubilee Park in Jamshedpur, formerly Sakchi

Statue of J.N. Tata, founder of Tata Group and Jamshedpur

Beautiful landscape outside Jamshedpur

Lawrence and Louisa Durrell, the parents of Gerald


Adagio – “Father’s Theme” by Eleni Karaindrou (courtesy of davesk2):


When Gerald’s father died from overwork suddenly at 43, the family’s life changed dramatically. His widow, Louisa, returned with her children to England. Looking for a less expensive cost of living, she then resettled in Corfu.

The exotic nature of Corfu was greatly inspirational to young Gerry. He was tutored at home by the friends of his brother, Lawrence. At that time, Theodore Stephanides, a friend of one of his tutors, in his own words: “he strolled into my life, tweed-suited, trilby-hatted, his walking stick with its tiny net on the end, a sort of walking hirsute encyclopedia.” The effect of Theodore’s erudition on a budding naturalist of ten was enormous. He became one of Durrell’s greatest friends and mentors, his ideas having a lasting impression on the young naturalist. Together they examined Corfu’s fauna which he stored in numerous places around the house.

Courtesy of ggast82:


The Durrell family lived in Corfu until 1939, and then came back to England just before the outbreak of war.

Theodore Stephanides


“To xasapiko toy 10” by Eleni Karaindrou (courtesy of Beatriz):


The publication of My Family and Other Animals in 1956, made Durrell a notable author and brought him public recognition as a naturalist. After several unsuccessful attempts, he found a piece of land in Jersey and the island authorities’ permission to build a Zoo. It was going to be devoted to conservation and saving endangered animals. The proceeds from the book allowed Durrell to travel to various places in the world and bring those in danger of extinction to his Zoo. He founded the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust there, and it is still in operation now, under prestigious directorship:


Jersey, one of the islands in the English Channel between Britain and France

Jersey Zoo

A tribute from David Attenborough:


Here is an extract from My Family and Other Animals:


This is a story of a five-year sojourn that I and my family made on the Greek island of Corfu. It was originally intended to be a mildly nostalgic account of the natural history of the island, but I made a grave mistake by introducing my family into the book in the first pages. Having got themselves on paper, they then proceeded to establish themselves and invite various friends to share the chapters. It was only with the greatest difficulty, and by exercising considerable cunning, that I managed to retain a few pages here and there which I could devote exclusively to animals.

The Durrells as depicted in the television series

I have attempted to draw an accurate and unexaggerated picture of my family in the following pages; they appear as I saw them. To explain some of their more curious ways, however, I feel that I should state that at the time we were in Corfu the family were quite young: Larry, the eldest, was twenty-three; Leslie was nineteen; Margo eighteen; while I was the youngest, being of the tender and impressionable age of ten. We have never been very certain of my mother’s age, for the simple reason that she can never remember her date of birth; all I can say is that she is was old enough to have four children. My mother also insists that I explain that she is a widow for, as she penetratingly observed,  you never know what people might think.

In order to compress five years of incident, observation, and pleasant living into something a little less lengthy than the Encyclopedia Britannica, I have been forced to telescope, prune, and graft, so that there is little left of the original continuity of events.

It is doubtful if this would have been written without the help and enthusiasm of the following people. I mention this so that blame can be laid in the right quarter. My grateful thanks, then, to:

Dr Theodore Stephanides. With typical generosity, he allowed me to make use of material from his unpublished work on Corfu, and supplied me with a number of dreadful puns, some of which I have never used.

My family. They, after all, unconsciously provided a lot of the material and helped considerably during the writing of the book by arguing ferociously and rarely agreeing about any incident on which I consulted them.

My wife, who pleased me by laughing uproariously when reading the manuscript, only to inform me that was my spelling that amused her.

Sophie, my secretary, who was responsible for the introduction of commas and the ruthless eradication of the split infinitive.

I should like to pay special tribute to my mother, to whom this book is dedicated. Like a gentle, enthusiastic, and understanding Noah, she has steered her vessel full of strange progeny through the stormy sea of life with great skill, always faced with the possibility of mutiny, always surrounded by the dangerous shoals of overdraft and extravagance, never being sure that her navigation would be approved by the crew, but certain that she would be blamed for anything that went wrong. That she survived the voyage is a miracle, but survive it she did, and, moreover, with her reason more or less intact. As my brother Larry rightly points out, we can be proud of the way we have brought her up; she is a credit to us.”

An excerpt from Season 4 of the television series “The Durrells” (courtesy of Masterpiece PBS):


Durrell dedicated his life to the conservation of wildlife. Over his lifetime he wrote thirty-seven books, went on dozens of animal collecting trips, and presented numerous TV shows. He was awarded the OBE in 1982. Told with immense warmth, charm, and humour My Family and Other Animals is a wonderful account of a rare, magical childhood.

“To Vals Tou Gamou” (The Wedding Waltz) by Eleni Karaindrou:


JAMES HERRIOT (James Alfred Wight)

3 October 1916 – 23 February 1995

James Alfred Wight and his wife Joan

The other author I would like to introduce today is a delight to read because of his humour and unusual adventures. His real name was James Alfred Wight and he was a veterinary surgeon in Thirsk, Yorkshire, England.

Countryside around Thirsk

Courtesy of Open Road Media:

Another reason why I have written about him is that his life personified resilience and perseverance. Seventeen publishers rejected his book as “not suitable for adults or children”, and only a chance meeting with an animal-loving agent resulted in his books being published. Now since James Herriot’s books were first published, they have sold millions of copies and delighted generations of readers. Charming, moving, and funny, ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL is a heart-warming, story of determination, love, and friendship from Britain’s best-loved author.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The  Lord God made them all.

Cecil Frances Alexander
1818  –  1895

Another lovely version of “All Things Bright and Beautiful” by The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square:

.Just out of Glasgow Veterinary College, to the young James Herriot 1930s Yorkshire seemed to offer an idyllic place of rural life in a changing world. Jobs were scarce, and when James was offered the position of a veterinary assistant in the veterinary practice of Siegfried Farnon and his young brother, Tristan, he could hardly believe his luck.

In his first year there, he had to deal with the erratic brothers, the farmers whose language was incomprehensible, the semi-feral cattle, and an overweight Pekingese called Tricki Woo, and Nugent, a piglet, and hundreds of other animals, but now and here, I would like you to read the hilarious story of those two. You will want to read all James’ books after, guaranteed.

James Herriot country (courtesy of Harry Mateman):


Extract from James Herriot’s book All Creatures Great and Small:

“Will there be a lot of people there?” I asked, shuffling my feet.

Siegfried struck himself on the forehead with his open hand. “Of course, there’ll be a lot of people. What d’you think? Did you expect it would be just you and Tricki? The cream of the county will be there in full regalia but my guess is that there will be no more honoured guest than Uncle Herriot. Why? Because Mrs. Pumphrey invited the others, but Tricki invited you.”

“OK, OK,” I groaned. “I don’t fancy it.”

Before leaving, Siegfried turned round and his expression was grave. “And remember for Pete’s sake don’t write (acceptance letter) to Mrs. Pumphrey. Address your letter to Tricki himself, or you’re sunk.”

Mrs Pumphrey’s home as shown in the television series

I presented myself at Mrs. Pumphrey’s home on the night of February 5th. A maid led me into the hall and I could see Mrs. Pumphrey at the entrance to the ballroom receiving her guests and beyond an elegant throng standing around with drinks. There was a well-bred clamour, a general atmosphere of wealth. Mrs. Pumphrey was smiling sweetly as she shook hands with the couple in front of me but when she saw me her face became radiant. “Oh Mr Herriot, how nice of you to come. Tricki was so delighted to have your letter – in fact, we really must go in and see him now.” She led me across the hall. “He’s in the morning-room,” she whispered. “Between ourselves, he finds these affairs rather a bore, but he’ll be simply furious if I don’t take you in for a moment.”

Tricki was curled up in an armchair by the side of a bright fire. When he saw me he jumped on the back of the chair barking in delight, his huge, laughing mouth bisecting his face. I was trying to fend off his attempts to lick my face when I caught sight of two large food bowls on the carpet. One contained about a pound of chopped chicken, the other a mass of crumbled cake.

“Mrs. Pumphrey!” I thundered, pointing at the bowls. The poor woman put her hand to her mouth and shrank away from me.

“Oh do forgive me,” she wailed, her face a picture of guilt.  “It is just a special treat because he is alone tonight. And the weather is cold too.” She clasped her hands and looked at me abjectly.

“I will forgive you,” I said sternly, “if you will remove half the chicken and all the cake.”

Fluttering like a little girl caught in naughtiness, she did as I said.  I parted regretfully from the little peke. It had been a long day I was sleepy from the hours in the biting cold. This room with its fire and soft lighting looked more inviting than the noisy glitter of the ballroom and I would have preferred to curl up here with Tricki on my knee for an hour or two.

Mrs. Pumphrey became brisk. “Now you must come and meet some of my friends.” We went into the ballroom where light blazed down from three cut-glass chandeliers and was reflected dazzlingly from the cream and gold, many-mirrored walls. We moved  from group to group as Mrs. Pumphrey introduced me and I squirmed in embarrassment as I heard myself described as ‘Tricki’s dear kind uncle.’ But either they were people of superb self-control or they were familiar with their hostess’s blind spot because the information was received with complete gravity.

Along one wall a five-piece orchestra was tuning up; white-jacketed waiters hurried among the guests with trays of food and drinks. Mrs. Pumphrey stopped one of the waiters.

“Francois, some champagne for this gentleman.”

“Yes, Madame.” The waiter proffered his tray.

“No, no, no, not those. One of the big glasses.”

Francois hurried away and returned with something like a soup plate with a stem. It was brimming with champagne,


“Yes, Madame?”

“This is Mr Herriot. I want you to take a good look at him.”

The waiter turned a pair of sad, spaniel eyes on me and drank me in for a few moments.

“I want you to look after him. See that his glass is full and that he has plenty to eat.”

“Certainly, Madame.” He bowed and moved away.

I buried my face in the ice-cold champagne and when I looked up, there was Francois holding out a tray of smoked salmon sandwiches.

It was like that all the evening. Francois seemed always to be at my elbow, filling up the enormous glass or pushing dainties at me. I found it delightful; the salty snacks brought on a thirst which I quenched with deep draughts of champagne, then I had more snacks which made me thirsty again and Francois would unfailingly pop up with the magnum.

It was the first time I had had the opportunity of drinking champagne by the pint and it was a rewarding experience. I was quickly aware of the glorious lightness, a heightening of the perception. I stopped being overawed by this new world and began to enjoy it.  I danced with everybody in sight – sleek young beauties, elderly dowagers, and twice with a giggling Mrs. Pumphrey.

Or I just talked. And it was a witty talk; I repeatedly amazed myself by my lightning shafts. Once I caught sight of myself in a mirror – a distinguished figure, glass in hand, the hired suit hanging on me with quiet grace. It took my breath away.

Eating, drinking, talking, dancing, the evening winged past. When it was time to go and I had my coat on and was shaking hands with Mrs. Pumphrey in the hall, Francois appeared again with a bowl of hot soup. He seemed to be worried lest I grow faint on the journey home. After the soup, Mrs. Pumphrey said: “And now you must come and say good night to Tricki. He’ll never forgive you if you don’t.”

It had been a few hours of luxury and light and I carried the memory back with me to Skeldale House. I got into bed, switched off the light and lay back looking back into the darkness. Snatches of music still tinkled about in my head and I was beginning to swim back to the ballroom when the phone rang.

“This is Atkinson of Beck Cottage,” a faraway voice said. “I ‘ave a sow ‘ere what can’t get pigged.* She’s been on all night. Will you come?” I looked at the clock as I put down the receiver. It was 2 am. And at Beck Cottage, one of the most primitive small-holdings in the district. It wasn’t fair.

I groped my way down the long garden to the garage. It was only two miles out to Beck Cottage. It lay in a hollow and in winter the place was a sea of mud. I left my car and squelched through the blackness to the door of the house. My knock was unanswered and I moved across to the cluster of buildings opposite and opened the half door into the byre. The warm, sweet bovine smell met me as I peered towards a light showing dimly at the far end where a figure was standing. I went inside past the shadowy row of cows standing side by side with broken wooden partitions between them and past the mounds of manure piled behind them. Mr Atkinson didn’t believe in mucking out too often.

Stumbling over the broken floor, splashing through pools of urine, I arrived at the end where a pen had been made by closing off a corner with a gate. I could just make out the form of a pig, pale in the gloom, lying on her side.”

I had to edit at this point to get to the poignant end. After a very difficult delivery, Herriot leaves a contented mother pig with her eight piglets suckling with abandon. Great satisfaction.

“Yes, I was back and it was all right. I drove through the mud and up the hill where I had to get out to open a gate and the wind, with the cold, clean smell of the frosty grass in it, caught at my face. I stood for a while looking across the dark fields, thinking of the night which was ending now. My mind went back to my schooldays and an old gentleman talking to the class about careers. He said: ” If you decide to become a veterinary surgeon you will never grow rich but you will have a life of endless interest and variety.”

I laughed aloud in the darkness and as I got into the car I was still chuckling. That old chap certainly wasn’t kidding. Variety. That was it – variety.”

* I have a sow here what can’t deliver piglets by herself.

“If I Had Words” performed Lee and Sarah Atkinson (featuring Sam Frazier):


And this is how I imagine Nugent the piglet would look!

An excerpt from the series episode where James attends to Tricki-Woo (courtesy of Screen Yorkshire):


“Finale” from “The Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saëns (courtesy of Elena Ya):


PS My readers will have noticed that this week’s post has featured several pieces by Eleni Karaindrou, whose sublime compostions evoke a perfect atmosphere. I would strongly encourage you to explore her work further. Karaindrou has reflected about the sadness in her music: “I express my emotions in my music. Certain things have hurt me, the fact that my mother died when I was seven, the move from the countryside to Athens. As a child I ran barefoot through the forest, the running water, the snow. I’ve lost that. Afterwards came the Greek dictatorship, these are all examples of separation and loss. Yet I do not believe that my music expresses black melancholy. It does not break you. You feel a deeper dimension of life. Maybe nostalgia is a better word to describe it.”

“Nostalgic” by Eleni Karaindrou (courtesy of Re Mix):

51 thoughts on “The Great Books of the World – Part 7

  1. Two thoroughly delightful authors. I loved the BBC Durrell’s of Corfu. I’ve been a fan of Herriot for decades. There is an American veterinarian blogger from Oregon whose posts reminds me of Herriot.


  2. Thank you, Pat, for your lovely comments. I hope that you laughed at Herriot’s adventures!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember the stories of Gerald Durrell from oh so long ago. Maybe they were partly where my love of animals came from. I watched the first series of All Creatures Great and Small, also very long ago. It was my favourite program and of course I read most of the books. Such a lovely look back at the lives of these special men. Nice also to hear Jane Goodall and David Attenborough both of whom I admire so much. Needless to say that hymn was always my favourite! Thank you for this Joanna and for all the animals included.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Carolyn, for your wonderful comments! As in the landscape of Yorkshire country, the moors are also an important part of The Secret Garden, the book that influenced my life. Gandhi’s quote is what I followed all my life, my mantra.



  5. A wonderful post about two fabulous authors. Both Gerald Durrell and James Herriot had a love for animals and cared for them in their own special way.

    The first time I read Gerald Durrell’s ‘My Family and Other Animals’ I was on holiday in Greece, and from then on I was hooked. I went to his zoo in Jersey because it was different to other zoos (remember the gorilla and the little boy incident?), and of course I watched every episode of the TV series.

    Just when I was thinking that you’ve produced a post that could have been made just for me, you pop up with another absolute favourite of mine. I’ve literally read every book James Herriot wrote about life in the Yorkshire Dales, watched every TV episode (both original and later versions) as well as the films that were made. Can you imagine how I felt when I was able to visit James Alfred Wight in his vet’s practice in Thirsk? – and as you can imagine, he was as charming as you would expect. Brilliant stuff Joanna – and thanks for the memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you, Malc, for such interesting comments! To think that you met James Alfred Wight is wonderful! I can only envy you! But I have met Sir David Attenborough! Thank you again, Malc, I love your review!


    Liked by 2 people

  7. Gerald Durrell is an absolute favourite. I have read all his books and also Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small.
    Thank you for such a comprehensive post and the videos and excerpts.


  8. Thank you very much for your kind comments! I am elated by the response to this post! Everybody in many parts o the world loves writers I adore myself.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. I was brought up reading those writers and am sure some of my love of nature can be attributed to them. This tickled me: ‘My wife, who pleased me by laughing uproariously when reading the manuscript, only to inform me that was my spelling that amused her.’


  10. Thank you for your kind comments. It makes me happy that so many people were brought up on those books and developed their love of nature through them.



  11. Thank you for this absolutely delightful post Joanna. I love both authors, and the television series have been such lovely depictions of their books. We saw both runs of “All Creatures” and revelled in the Yorkshire countryside, which we love. We have holidayed there many times and never tire of the beauty or of the delightful people of Yorkshire. Thank you again.


  12. Thank you, Peter, for the wonderful comments! As I said before I am elated by the response to this post. Both writers are much loved by me too.


    Liked by 1 person

  13. A great post about two wonderful authors.
    Thank you so much for another well researched, fantastic article. I enjoyed everything in it!


  14. Now I came to know why yesterday you commented that I was going to have a treat. Thank you, Joanna and thanks for introducing the two great writers that brought so many memories to the fore. First of all, Jubilee Park at Jamshedpur. During a course at XLRI, Jamshedpur, I along with my friends used to visit Jubilee Park, a Mughal-style garden, where main pastime was boating. Secondly you talked about Gerald’s mother’s age. My mom was also not aware of her exact birthday. She remembered only month and year.

    Seventeen publishers rejecting James Herriot reminds me of the superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, who before entering Bollywood wanted to become a radio presenter, but he was rejected by All India Radio both at Delhi and Mumbai, but the same voice became his identity and even now his voice is in huge demand. Nobody knows what’s there in store for him or her, irrespective of the background. One Theodore Stephanides can change the course of life.

    And finally awesome pictures and videos, as always, but today I liked most the two beautiful quotes by Gerald and Mahatma Gandhi. Thank you, Joanna, once again for giving me an opportunity to spend this Saturday evening in a style.


  15. Thank you, Kaushal, for your wonderful comments! I treasure your memories and additional anecdotes. The quote by Mahatma Gandhi is my lifelong mantra and I love him for it!
    Thank you again, Kaushal, for making my Saturday a happy one.


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you, Luisa, for your generous comments! As always, greatly appreciated!


    Liked by 1 person

  17. Dear Joanna, when my wife and I married in the 70s we lived and worked in London and daily took the train from Putney then Barnes into the city. Gerald Durrell’s books accompanied most of our train journeys and we used to get rustled newspapers and glares from the other passengers when we laughed out loud at his oh so many funny adventures around the world. His books are all-time favourites. We actually met GD. On a long weekend in Jersey we spent a glorious morning at his zoo and as we were leaving he held the gate open for us as he was entering! “You realise who that was?” I asked my wife. “Who?” she said. Too late we were through the gate and he was gone.
    Years later when we lived in Hertfordshire, James Herriot’s books were favourites. We even took ourselves to Yorkshire for a holiday touring Herriot country. Our daughters still remember the stone cottage we stayed in at Hawes.
    Both brilliant authors and you have told their stories so well. Thank you, 💖💝🌹🙋‍♂️

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you, Dear Ashley, for your delightful comments! I am amazed how this post resonates with so many people! And of course, both writers are my favourite too! I am so happy that you liked this post.


    Liked by 1 person

  19. You’re welcome, Joanna, always!


  20. You’re highly welcome 🌹🌹🌹


  21. It just proves good writers conquer all geographical boundaries. You are so welcome.


  22. Goodness, thank you for this fantastic journey through time and into the lives of these brilliant people!!!!


  23. Thank you for your wonderful comments! Greatly appreciated.


    Liked by 1 person

  24. You’re very welcome!


  25. Great and encouraging post Joanna, thank you for caring and sharing. Delightful to read and to listen to uplifting music accompanied by beautiful video clips of nature. I feel very uplifted after Jane Goodall’s inspirational message, singing along with “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and further encouraged by the amazing people like Durrell and how he dedicated his life to the conservation of wildlife, and the extract from James Herriot’s book, stunning! Wonderful music and I agree nostalgia is a better way to describe it.


  26. Thank you, Henrietta, for your wonderful comments! I love every word of your review and greatly appreciate it!


    Liked by 1 person

  27. Wonderful Joanna. You put tons of work into your posts. We learn so much about life from nature which is tenacious.


  28. Thank you, Gary, for your kind comments. Nature is my inspiration! I greatly appreciate your visit and hope to see you again.



  29. Thank you Joanna for introducing me to Gerald Durrell… so much so, that I looked for, and found his television series, The Durrell’s which I binged with joy…!


  30. Thank you, Ralph, for your kind comment! It is a great pleasure to read that you discovered the writer who brought nature to so many people. Thank you again, greatly appreciated.


    Liked by 1 person

  31. Jonna, it was in parts immersive, funny and uplifting post. Thank you for bringing these two authors which your readers know so well already. How popular they are there, their tales and stories of natural life lived fully and with animals is a treat to me as much it was for both the authors.

    What I love about your writing and presentation apart from music, written words, videos is this very earthly, comfortable ride that one takes while reading your essays. Sometimes it is hard to figure between the writer and you. May be you become the person as you start talking/writing about them.

    It was wholly inspiring Jonna, as I could go back in time on to occasions when I tasted this deep love and family like feeling with animals and birds. One was while living with Rasool and other was in the Andamans for a week. I do not know how you do it but may be you knew about us, humans who might and certainly feel nostalgic, having seen their childhood through your post. She is now playing in the background.

    Thank you so so much.


  32. Thank you, Narayan, for your wonderfully analytical comments. I am delighted if my posts have an uplifting effect as this is needed in our turbulent times. As I am writing only about the authors, there might be some grain of truth in your perceptive assertion. Yes, I remember well your life on the barge and Rasool’s passion for birds of all kinds.
    I like the Greek composer very much; she is playing now in the background too.
    Thank you again, Narayan, greatly appreciated.



  33. PS. Somehow I missed saying fully that as I write only about the authors that are my favorite there might be a grain of truth in your perceptive assertion.



  34. How many books if you can come close to a count, must have read Joanna? It must be in 100s. I can only. imagine you being all those fav writers.


  35. As I have over 10,000 books in my library at home, I read all of them, but I have read many books before and I keep finding new books to read. But this is my profession so it is nothing special. Sir David Attenborough has over 40,000 books in his specially built library, and no doubt, he read them all.

    Thank you, Narayan, for your interest!


    Liked by 1 person

  36. 👌👌



  37. Thank you, Harish, for the unusual comment that made me laugh! As you read my post in English, I presume that is positive, and greatly appreciated.



  38. what a beautiful post Joanna so rich with beautiful music, quotes and inspiration and pictures. I love Jane and her message always sends shivers of knowingness up my spine. Thanks for being a messenger for our planet and our animals!!!
    I miss our pot belly pig when I see these cuties. We had one that slept in the bottom of our bed burrowed under our sheets when she was a baby!


  39. Thank you, Cindy, for your lovely comments! I can just imagine a little piglet sleeping in your bed! I write that we all share our planet and should have equal rights.

    Thank you again.


    Liked by 1 person

  40. Having trouble posting a comment and ‘liking’ the post . Just about ready to give up. I hope this one comes through. Great story. Refreshing and always! 🙂


  41. Thank you, Eva, for your lovely comments! I have similar problems too. Greatly appreciate your efforts to connect.



  42. Another very informative post! Thank you for sharing, Joanna.


  43. Thank you for your kind comment, Adelheid, greatly appreciated.



  44. You’re so welcome and i had to come here too again to respond. Her name was jewels and she had a pierced ear and was a love. I so much agree. !💖


  45. A lot to read here, that caters to all tastes! Fabulous sharing!!


  46. Joanna, I had to laugh when I saw that first image of an old world red squirrel (there is an American Red Squirrel species without the ear tufts) reading a book while taking a cup of tea. My wife and I frequently read while dining out! Always wonder what the wait staff think about us. It’s our way of relaxing with no pressure for conversation.

    As you have no doubt concluded I am savoring your blogs, Joanna. I am enjoying them and there is no rush. This one brought out lots of memories and was thought provoking. More videos from nature and one with a warning from Jane Goodall which we are not heeding. I can’t help but think that a combination of overpopulation, tribalism and conspicuous consumption combine in a way which leads us to extinction of ourselves and all that brings us true happiness. Ms. Goodall had it right when she mourned that our intellect can not save us from ourselves.

    Gerald Durrell is fortunate to be gifted with a curiosity about animals and the understanding family who surrounded. His formation of the trust to save endangered species was a brilliant use of his book proceeds. The Jersey Zoo is remarkable in that the animals seem to be free roaming or at least have plenty of open space. Just what they need and all the better to appreciate them in that habitat rather than confining pens. Somehow I thought David Attenborough’s name would appear – he is such a gifting narrator.

    I read the first Herriot book, “All Things Great and Small”, early in my veterinary career and used that theme to promote the opening of my clinic. I began his …Bright and Beautiful… book and soon realized it was largely a re-hash of the first. I do enjoy the PBS show about his practice in rural Yorkshire though. I, too, did enjoy meeting the farm families and pet owners as part of my farm and house calls in rural New England. Frequently on night calls I was invited for a bite from the farm kitchen. As Herriot’s children noted, it was different (more human, also more humane and less mercenary) then. Did you notice that the actor, Callum Woodhouse, plays Tristan Farnon and Leslie Durrell in the two PBS series? Herriot’s book my not have been a Pulitzer but it was a good seller!

    This blog brought great pleasure and memories from early in my career. Thank you, Joanna, for the journey.


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