(DVD) All Creatures Great & Small
Set in the windswept dales of Yorkshire, England, All Creatures Great & Small perfectly captures the warm drawing room fires and freezing wintry barns of the English countryside of the thirties. While this remote area cannot remain untouched by the threat of impending war, there are still plenty of battles to be fought on the home front: on the farms, in the fields and hand-to-hand in the surgery.

(Book) All Creatures Great & Small
This is the start to one of the most famous series of all time - James Herriot's books about his life as a veterinarian in Northern England. All Creatures Great and Small begins with Herriot getting a job as assistant to a rather unusual vet, Siegfried Farnon, and goes through his early years as a working vet with a varied practice - both large and small animals. Though the stories are far from momentous, they are wise, witty, and wonderful; there's a good reason millions of people love these books.
1 2
We lived near there and went to his practice. He looked after our dog Lady. He was a wonderful man and very humble They were called Sinclair and White and the place wasThirsk.
Never seen so many tourists outside a door.
Oh, I love the countryside from the TV series – it’s just magic. And the intimate village life… just makes me want to get lost in it all.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I've read some of James Herriot's books in my native language(Japanese), but I've never read them in English. I'd like to try this one. Emotion: wink
My Family and Other Animals
By Gerald Durrell

Here’s a little somethin’ from the back cover of the paperback (actually, my copy is back home, I got this from Amazon)

English writer Gerald Durrell (1925-1995) devoted his life to writing and the preservation of wildlife, from the Mauritius pink pigeon to the Rodriques fruit bat. My Family and Other Animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the Greek island of Corfu, but ended up as a delightful account of his family's experiences that were, according to him, "rather like living in one of the more flamboyant and slapstick comic operas." As a 10-year-old boy, Gerry left England for Corfu with "all those items that I thought necessary to relieve the tedium of a long journey: four books on natural history, a butterfly net, a dog, and a jam-jar full of caterpillars all in imminent danger of turning into chrysalids." Durrell's descriptions of his family and its many eccentric hangers-on (he stresses that "all the anecdotes about the island and the islanders are absolutely true") are highly entertaining, as is the procession of toads, scorpions, geckos, ladybugs, glowworms, octopuses, the puppies Widdle and Puke, and the Magenpies. This is a lovely book.
When I was a child, my dream for the future was to be an animal doctor. I read a lot of books about animals and farms. Emotion: smile
I made a wish every time I saw a shooting star.....!!
Aileen, do you know how to turn back my clock?
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Hey Candy,
Can’t turn back the clock can we? Sometimes I wonder if they’re not better without us (sigh). I read this today. I wanna go!!!

June 20, 2004
Uganda's Animal Kingdom By MICHAEL GAVIN
MY wife, Jen, and I both work in environmental conservation, and we have been living in western Uganda for over a year now. On short forays we have explored many of the region's national parks. The country continually amazes us with its extraordinary diversity of rare flora and fauna and of landscapes: rain forest, classic African savannas and snow-capped mountains. Six of Uganda's 10 national parks are found in the western region. These protected areas vary in size and in the wildlife-viewing possibilities they offer, but nearly all of Uganda's most charismatic species, from lions to mountain gorillas, can be found here.

In the minds of many, Uganda is still inextricably linked to Idi Amin and the horrors of his regime. However, under the current president, Yoweri Museveni, who gained power in 1986, the country is recovering and is now considered one of sub-Saharan Africa's more stable countries. Uganda today is not without its problems, including a longstanding conflict with rebel insurgents in the north and sporadic fighting across the border in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Still, much of the country is considered safe, and the national parks are all protected by armed rangers.

Any trip to Uganda starts and ends in Kampala, the capital city, where the brain struggles to comprehend the ferocity of certain juxtapositions. A leper begs for change next to a businessman on a cellphone. Giant marabou storks with ungodly wattles perch atop shimmering blue high-rise buildings. Kampala, with a population of just over one million, is also a microcosm of the country's deep cultural diversity and is the jumping-off point for any trip "up-country."

Jen and I live in a small cabin at a biological research station on the edge of Kibale National Park. On weekends we jump in our old 4x4 Suzuki Samurai and head out to explore the region's other national parks. We have come to enjoy the great diversity of options. In the forest parks we can hire a ranger or join a group on a guided hike. Out on the savanna we drive by ourselves, following the well-established game tracks with rarely another vehicle in sight. We have come to know several of the parks quite well after so many visits, but still, when we are searching out rare and elusive species like leopards and lions, we take a ranger on board to show us the way. Rangers generally have an intimate knowledge of the parks and can serve as informative guides.

Our first visit to a Ugandan national park was to the home of the country's wildlife superstars. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, in the southwestern corner of the country, protects roughly half of the world's remaining mountain gorillas. The 700 or so gorillas left in the wild are restricted to the volcanic hills in the Rwanda-Uganda-Democratic Republic of the Congo border region and have suffered greatly with the expansion of agriculture into their habitat and the civil unrest that has periodically swept the area. The violence affected Bwindi directly when in 1999 Rwandan-based Hutu extremists murdered eight tourists there. With Uganda's increased political stability and improved security measures, Bwindi has once again become a premier location in East Africa to view these highly endangered animals.

Just getting to Bwindi can be half the adventure. In the small, bustling town of Kabale the pavement ends. The rutted road winds up into the highlands where water cascades across the track and precipitous drops flank narrow passes. The thick curtain of vegetation that has given Bwindi its reputation as the impenetrable forest rises abruptly from the patchwork of farms that dominate nearby hillsides. Three groups of six visitors depart from park headquarters each day to visit three different groups of gorillas that are used to visitors. According to the park's guides, the trip can be a quick 10-minute stroll or an all-day trek up and down jungle-choked slopes. Regardless of the hike's length, though, the result is usually awe inspiring. A face-to-face encounter with a baby gorilla somersaulting down a hillock or the earthshaking force of a 350-pound silverback's mock charge is never forgotten.

Just a short distance from Bwindi, the world is a whole other place. The ominous whoo-up of hyenas and the deep thunderous roar of lions replace the nocturnal chorus of forest insects. At the southern tip of Queen Elizabeth National Park, a 965-square-mile protected area, lies an area known as Ishasha, a little-visited place where the magic of the African savanna can be soaked up in peace. The roads are rough in this part of Uganda, and after an unexpected, but not so uncommon, flat tire, we arrived in Ishasha late in the afternoon. With a park guard to guide the way, it did not take long to find lions. Ishasha's big cats have made a name for themselves by discovering a unique way to escape the pesky flies and heat of the plains. They climb trees! We spent a good hour ogling two adult females and three young cubs lounging about in a stately old fig tree. Not a single other safari vehicle was in sight.

We celebrated our luck with a sundown drive along the river, marveling at the deft fishing abilities of the many pied kingfishers and pausing to allow an elephant family amble across the road. Ishasha does not have much to offer in the way of lodging, but roughing it a bit has its distinct rewards. We stayed in a small thatched-roof brick hut and kicked back around the campfire stoked up for us by the park staff. Returning from our enormous meal of rice, beans and avocado salad at the park's canteen, we gazed at the stars and listened to the calls of carnivores rousing themselves for a night of hunting.

Through acacia-studded grasslands, another jolting ride brought us to the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Jacana Lodge's eight rustic cabins sit along the shores of an ancient crater lake and provide a tranquil base from which to explore. Jacana is an attractive open-air multitiered wooden lodge built on a steep bank. The pool, fireside couches, and hammocks provide ample comfort. We spent a day hiking in the forest near the lodge and visiting the bat cave. Fruit bats line every square inch of the rocky walls, and pythons as thick as my thighs sleep on the cave floor feasting on bats every now and again.

Back at the lodge we splurged for a dinner on the launch, a small flat-bottom boat, equipped with a single table, that cruises out onto the middle of Jacana Lake. Our three-course meal, a delicious pumpkin soup followed by a fish fillet and a local banana fritter dessert, was accompanied by the grunt of leopards and the raucous hoots of chimpanzees from the forested hills across the lake.

Our final stop in the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park was the Mweya peninsula where a long tongue of land juts out between the Kazinga Channel and Lake Edward. The wildlife here is still in recovery from the years of war, but Mweya is worth the trip just for the views. On the veranda of the Mweya Safari Lodge with waragi (a banana-based drink that is Uganda's answer to gin) and tonics in hand, we stared out across the shimmering surface of the lake to the high peaks on the Congolese border. One of the larger modern lodges in Uganda, Mweya has all the comforts. The restaurant's menu is extensive (pizza and Peruvian ceviche), the bar is well-stocked and there is a pool.

On our most recent visit, a band of mongooses paraded through the bar, warthogs mowed the lawn, and a flock of weaver birds tried to steal popcorn from the tables of unwary guests. The highlights of our game drives included two-week-old lion cubs stumbling after their mother, two leopards and more than 40 elephants. We spent the afternoon floating down the channel toward Lake Edward on a 40-passenger open-sided ferryboat. A baby hippo rested its plump chin on its mother's substantial back. A herd of Cape buffalo grazed high on the banks, and water birds dominated the shores - the lanky goliath heron, the saddle-billed stork with its fiery orange beak, tiny neon blue malachite kingfishers and a legion of hamerkops stealing from the nets of local fishermen.

The headquarters of Ruwenzori Mountains National Park are only a two-hour drive north of Lake Edward. The Ruwenzoris form the Congolese border, and the government recently reopened the park following the departure of rebel factions that had frequented the area. If mountains could be called elusive, the Ruwenzoris would certainly qualify. For most of the year these mountains with peaks above 16,000 feet remain shrouded in mist, invisible from even a short distance, but their place in the history of African geography is quite prominent. As early as 150 A.D. the Roman geographer Ptolemy believed the source of the Nile lay in the yet unseen "mountains of the moon." Later, Henry Morton Stanley, the explorer and journalist sent to find Dr. David Livingston's African expedition, claimed these were in fact the Ruwenzoris, a new mountain chain he had "discovered" on one of his African explorations. The Ruwenzoris were born during the geological uplift that formed the Great Rift Valley, and the range supports a stunning array of different ecosystems.

Our three-day guided hike took us from cultivated fields, through montane forests and into bizarre heather forests where the vegetation seems to be plucked straight from the pages of a Doctor Seuss book. We saw only three other tourists on the trail. Park regulations require visitors to trek with a guide and porters, a system that helps ease the burden of the steep trails and also provides economic support to the local Bakonjo people. In basic mountain huts we laid out camping mats on wooden bunks and cooked on our camping stove. Peering up at glaciated peaks, we found it impossible to imagine we were on the equator and only a short distance from trumpeting elephants and primate-laden rain forests.

After a long mountain trek, we drove our Suzuki out of the mountains and followed a long, curvy road farther north to the quaint country atmosphere of Ndali Lodge. The main building and eight cottages have an English country feel with a touch of African style. The place straddles the ridge of an ancient volcanic crater, now filled with a placid lake. Colobus monkeys cavort in the trees and hornbills sail by, squawking as they go.

We watched the sun set from our cottage, the view stretching out past more crater lakes and on to the blue wall of the Ruwenzoris. After one of the most delicious candle-lit dinners we've had in Uganda - homemade bread, fresh salad and fish in coconut sauce - followed by steaming hot baths, we felt rejuvenated and ready for our visit to nearby Kibale National Park.

The region near Kibale is astonishingly green. The park's mosaic of rain forest flora borders fertile farmlands and rolling hills of tea plantations radiating a green so bright it glows against the sky. The park supports the highest density of primates on the planet, and the trees just ooze with monkeys. Their aerial feats never ceased to amaze us. The endangered red colobus, with their rufous skull caps, made the loudest crashes through the branches, and the red-tail monkeys, complete with white button noses, dropped fearlessly 20 feet at a clip! Still, my favorites were the black and white colobus. Their black faces, circled with white, give them the appearance of old unshaven men, a look only enhanced by their tendency to lounge about for hours on end. But when these monkeys do launch themselves into action, the effect is unforgettable. In the air the white hairs on their backs stream beyond them so they resemble huge skunks in a wind tunnel.

Kibale's major draw, though, is its chimpanzees, which number nearly 1,500. Our time with them did not disappoint. The action began a half hour into our guided group forest walk, when eerie screams and fervent hoots rang out from across the valley. A broad smile broke across our guide's face before she changed direction and doubled the pace, sending all seven of us rushing down a steep jungle trail toward the cacophony. As the incline flattened out, the path became mired in mud. One of the group tumbled into a puddle and lost her rubber boot in the suction of calf-high muck. Around the next corner we came upon a group of chimpanzees high in the trees munching on figs.

As we drove back to our cabin at the research station that evening, we hit a roadblock. Ten baboons sat in the dirt road, some grooming, others just staring us down. They refused to move. Another day in western Uganda, another ecosystem, and yet another close encounter with wildlife.

Visitor Information
Round-trip air fare from New York to Entebbe International Airport usually runs between $1,500 and $2,500. British Airways and KLM are among the airlines that fly from New York.
United States citizens must have a visa (a single-entry three-month visa costs $50), available from the Consular Secretary, Embassy of the Republic of Uganda, 5911 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20011, or online at www.ugandaembassy.com/visa.htm, and a yellow fever vaccination (the embassy recommends but does not require a cholera vaccination).
For the State Department advisory on Uganda, go to www.travel.state.gov/Uganda.html.
High seasons (June to September and January to March) are the dry seasons, when roads and trails are most passable.
Kampala and Queen Elizabeth National Park have typical hot, tropical climates with highs in the mid-80's and lows in the upper 60's. The highlands of Kibale and Bwindi National Parks are cooler and wetter, dipping into the upper 50's. It has been said that the Ruwenzori Mountains have summer each day and winter each night; expect freezing temperatures at higher altitudes, and very wet conditions.
Tour Operators
Tours covering all transport, lodging, guides and meals can range from $175 to $400 a person per day. Choices include Wild Frontiers ( wildfrontiers.com), Volcanoes Safaris ( www.volcanoessafaris.com) and Pearl of Africa Tours ( www.pearlofafricatours.com).
The Parks
All national parks are administered by the Uganda Wildlife Authority with headquarters in Kampala: www.uwa.or.ug ; (256-41) 346 287, fax (256-41) 346 291.
Bwindi, Queen Elizabeth and Kibale National Parks fees are $20 a person for the first day or night; $30 for two nights; $50, three nights or more. In addition, Queen Elizabeth has a vehicle fee of between $5 and $50, depending on car size and country of registration.
In Kibale, a primate forest walk costs $20 a person. In Queen Elizabeth, a guided walk is $5 a person and a ranger-guided game drive costs $5 per vehicle for a half day. In Ruwenzori trekking requires a guide and porters. For the standard six-day trek, $480 covers all costs (entry, guide, porters, hut fees). Camping fees in Queen Elizabeth, Kibale and Bwindi National Parks are $5 a person per night. Queen Elizabeth also has a hostel in the Mweya sector. Rooms with shared baths are $5 a person per night. Huts are available in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth and in Kibale for $5 to $10 a person per night. (Fees may go up later this year.) In Bwindi, Kibale and at both the Ishasha and Mweya sectors of Queen Elizabeth, canteens provide meals for $2 to $4.
Parks are open year round, with gates closing daily at sunset and opening at dawn.
The Lodges
Jacana Safari Lodge, (256-41) 258 273, fax (256-41) 233 992, www.innsofuganda.com, in Queen Elizabeth National Park, has seven rustic cabins on a crater lake; full board is $110 a person, sharing (double or triple), $125 for a single; half board is $100 a person, sharing, $115 for a single; bed-and-breakfast, $90 and $105.
Mweya Safari Lodge, (256-31) 260 260, fax (256-31) 260 262, www.mweyalodge.com, is a modern 49-room lodge in a spectacular setting on Lake Edward in Queen Elizabeth National Park; full board is $246 for a triple, $176 double, $99 single; bed-and-breakfast is $186 for a triple, $136 double, $79 single.
Ndali Lodge, (256-77) 487 673 or (256-77) 221 309, is a quaint country lodge with stunning views from eight cottages, in Crater Lakes west of Kibale; full board is $110 a person sharing, $165 single.
These lodges are open year round; off-season specials sometimes available. Average lodge meal runs $10 to $20, with drinks.
MICHAEL GAVIN, who holds a Ph.D. in ethnobiology, is a conservation consultant and writer based in western Uganda.
Hi Aileen,

Thanks for the article by Michael Gavin. I read it with interest. Emotion: smile
It gave me a great feeling, and it gave me a big smile on my face too. Thanks again.

"Another day in western Uganda, another ecosystem, and yet another close encounter with wildlife."

........another close encounter with wildlife!
Hmm.... well, we often have very unique, and strange encounters everywhere, don't we?
Another close encounter with...... what(or who)???????
That sounds so thrilling, an encounter with wildlife...
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Show more