On this day eight years ago, I set sail from Rosslare in Wexford (Ireland) on a huge adventure – to travel through Europe in a small camper van, seeking out delicious food and wonderful scenery. That trip took me through England, France, Spain, Portugal, Switerland and Germany before arriving here in Lithuania. What was meant to be a short break to fix the air conditioning in the camper turned into a whole new adventure as I bought a small house and set about renovating it to create a cosy homestead.Continue reading “My Summer Plans – Sailing the Nemunas!”
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life, to put to rout all that was not life, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
From “Walden”, by Henry David Thoreau (condensed)
Spring came late in Lithuania this year. Winter didn’t start in earnest until January, but it found its feet quickly and dug in hard. Snow fell on top of snow and temperatures held at about -19 C (-2 F) until the end of February. It was beautiful to behold, even if it cost a small fortune in heating bills! Continue reading “Wildflowers”
I envy animals sometimes. They live life in the moment. If they feel like eating, they eat. If they feel like sleeping, they sleep. And while they’re alert for danger and will bolt if they feel the need, they return to their relaxed state very quickly. No need to dwell on that last danger. No need to worry about the next danger until it presents itself. They are blissfully unaware that their world is full of danger, and that tomorrow might never come. Continue reading “Living in the Moment”
“You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen…🎼”
“Not again, Robert – WE’RE NOT REINDEER!” Continue reading “Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen…”
I find snow very soothing. It dulls sounds, softens light, quietens the mind. Having a dog is great for getting you out of the house and into the fresh air, even when the temperatures have fallen well below zero. I walk about 4 km each morning, and even though I regularly take the same route, I always experience something new – ice crystals sparkling on fine branches, the way the light plays with the shadows, the crunch of the snow underfoot. The pale morning sings. Continue reading “Pale Morning Sun”
One of the greatest joys of writing books for kids (or for any audience, to be honest) is getting positive feedback from readers. It takes a long time to write a book, and even longer to get it published, so hearing that people have read and enjoyed your work is extremely gratifying. Continue reading “Ask the Author – Millie’s Questions”
I know lots of people are feeling “stuck” right now, with all the travel restrictions that are in place. I managed to make it to the seaside a few days ago. It was the first time I’d ever seen snow on sand and slushy ice at the water’s edge. Between the sky, the sea and the clear air, it was magical. If I have to be stuck somewhere, I’m glad I’m stuck here. Continue reading “Stuck in Colder Weather”
It was a swift ending to a long and fruitful life. One minute, she stood strong, leaves shivering in the gentle breeze, the next minute she was gone. Broken. Lifeless. All in about 15 seconds. Continue reading “So long, and thanks for all the fruit”
I’ve been watching the ducks down at our local pond since the start of April, following their journey. I think there are four drakes and three ducks. I certainly saw plenty of mating action in April and was really looking forward to seeing the ducklings emerge. I had spotted a few broken eggs on the path near the pond and was worried that eggs were being eaten by predators, so I was absolutely delighted to see this female with a brood of nine healthy-looking ducklings. Aren’t they just beautiful?! Continue reading “Mallard with Ducklings”
I’ve waited so long to take these pictures. I know they’re not perfect, but when one of your favourite animals strolls out from the trees a few metres away, you take whatever photos you can get, regardless of the strong shadows. Red deer feature prominently in my middle-grade novel, Guardian of Giria, and I have been seeking them out for about two years, mostly to no avail. This hind posed nicely for a moment, then trotted off across the road and disappeared back into the trees. I had just put my camera down when I realised she was being trailed by her newborn calf – the tiny creature on spindly legs looked like it was only hours old. I had no time to focus, so please excuse the blurry shot. I still think it’s cute as can be! Continue reading “Red Deer Hind with Calf”
A gorgeous male chaffinch. It’s a pity there is a branch partially blocking him, but there is still some lovely colour and feather detail. Beautiful birds. Continue reading “Male Chaffinch”
There are days when I go out to take photos and seeing nothing of interest. Perhaps a few roe deer that run off as I approach or a fox skulking by a distant hedgerow. I regularly see birds, but most are small and skittish and have moved on before I can lift my camera. Once in a while, though, I get to see a true spectacle. Continue reading “Bean Goose Migration”
Driving through the countryside at the moment, the air is filled with the song of these tiny little birds. I scan the skies, I scan the fields, but they are so hard to spot. Finally, I see one. I sit and watch. I listen. It is magical. Continue reading “Skylark”
Now that spring is here and the snow has finally melted, I am reopening my school & library visits. If you would like me to visit your school or library (here in Lithuania), please contact me and we can arrange a date. The presentation typically lasts for about one hour, but we can adjust this to your specific needs. I give a short introduction to my novel, Guardian of Giria, followed by a presentation on the wildlife featured in the book. The presentation appeals to kids of all ages but is particularly suited to those aged between 10 and 16. Continue reading “School & Library Visits: Now Reopening”
Between the mists and the snow, the roads look endless. Oh, to drive forever on such roads, the crunch of snow beneath my wheels, the cold air pouring through the open windows as I dare not miss a single sight. The countryside is already beautiful, but under a thick blanket of snow, it is magical. Continue reading “Snowy Lanes”
Oh, the joy! Oh, the sweet, sweet joy! Finally, after years of searching and waiting, I got to see a wild boar in the flesh. But not just one boar – a whole sounder (group) of sows and piglets! And the experience was everything I hoped it would be! Continue reading “Wild Boar Feeding Project, Tauragė (Lithuania)”
I’m delighted to announce that “Guardian of Giria” is now available from Vaga bookshop in Tauragė!
Su dideliu džiaugsmu pranešu kad nuo šiandien, “Guardian of Giria” galite įsigyti knygyne “Vaga” Bažnyčių gatvė 6. Tauragėje. Continue reading “Vaga Bookshop, Tauragė”
A common buzzard (paprastasis suopis) soaring above my garden. Look at that sky for the last day of October! Continue reading “Common Buzzard Soaring”
It appears our area is a congregation site for common cranes (grus grus) – thousands of them gather each autumn in the fields around our village, getting ready for the long flight south. They are a little skittish, so getting close can be tricky, but they are a magnificent sight to behold.
Continue reading “Cranes in the Mist”
Strictly speaking, this is a common frog, but that seems like too plain a name for a creature so beautiful, and one who looks so at home on the forest floor, surrounded by moss, twigs and other detritus. So I’m calling him a forest frog!
Continue reading “Forest Frog”
It was very misty this morning and I didn’t have a great sleep last night, so when I saw this guy on the garden fence I was certain I was seeing things. Unfortunately, he flew off before I could grab my binoculars. But later, when I went out to the bin, I spotted him again and managed to grab my camera before he flew off. I think this is the most beautiful bird I have ever seen “in the flesh”! Continue reading “Hoopoe (Kukutis)”
“I think you should drive,” Arūnas said.
“No, no – I’ll walk. It’s just around the corner,” I replied. The weather was sweltering and I had just stepped out of my non-air-conditioned, sauna of a car – I had no desire to get back in. Besides, the market really was just around the corner. I was still on the phone to Arūnas when I got there. It was a four-minute march, tops. Continue reading “Tauragė Vegetable Market”