My beaver man, Paul Ramsay, was a delightfully generous host and guide. Not only did we go looking for this massive rodent but I also got to stay in his castle, drink wine and listen to his daughter, Sophie, singing songs so sad and beautiful.
It would be foolish for me to present the chapter in advance of the book coming out, but I thought I would use this as a chance to give a sneak preview; provide some links for further information and also to post a photograph or two that shows something quite delightful. In real life beavers do what they do in cartoons … I knew that they did, but to see the results was rather special.
Paul also keeps a busy blog about his beavers and I am fighting the urge to head back up to Perthshire under the pretext of needing peace and quiet to finish the book … there is a holiday cottage up there if any of you have similar urges – they are well-worth meeting (the Ramsays and the urges).
Beauty in the Beast, published by Simon and Schuster, will be out in the Spring of 2012
All along I had planned to keep my hedgehog blog for hedgehog stories … and have done reasonably well, though sometimes it was a little tangential. But now, well, I have nearly finished my new book – Beauty in the Beast – when I say nearly finished, what I really mean is that I have nearly finished my first draft … it could change a great deal before it lands on your bedside tables in March 2012 … I have around 15-20,000 words left to write (which is about the size of a large dissertation for those of you still studenting) – and I have ages to write it in … about 20 days in fact … so no pressure there then!
What I will putting up on this blog will be tangentially related to Beauty in the Beast. The book has me travelling all over Britain tracking down people a little like myself, people with passions for animals that possibly just tip over the edge of what ‘normal’ folk consider, well, normal. I have just finished writing about my amazing beaver-man up in Perthshire, before that it was owl-man from Somerset and water vole-woman from Shropshire. They are all amazing characters who manage to carry a deep knowledge of their chosen species within a distinctly quirky shell. I have been in tears of laughter and had moments of blissful tranquillity. I have bounced around the North Sea in a small boat and I have sat quietly meditating on the possibility of a water vole. I have stayed in a castle and filled my shoes with water.
I have had so much fun that I am already rather sad that my travels have to end. But hopefully you will all enjoy sharing them when the book erupts into the public gaze next year …. and until then, I will be posting snippets (probably the bits that I loved that get edited out!) along with photographs from my team of amazing ambassadors … 14 of them so far.
And as for the bigger picture … well … you will remember that I ended up with a hedgehog tattoo after the last book. The question is … what animal should appear on my right leg? I will publish a list soon and hope to start getting some feedback as to which would be the most suitable beast to have permanently on my skin.
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