Richard's work this summer included assessing the effects of digging large holes in the south coast of the Isle of Wight, for the BBC series Live from Dinosaur Island. Fortunately, each winter the sea erodes much more than even the BBC can, and so for once enormous diggers in an internationally important wildlife site were not a problem. Prizes for anyone who spotted Richard's one appearance in edge of shot... The rest of the year was very busy, with reptile, newt and bat work, vegetation surveys and management plans.
In September, just when Rue's work at English Nature should have been returning to what passes for normal, the already overcrowded Lyndhurst office (a Victorian ex-police station, complete with cells and reputed ghost) started falling down around their ears. Three months' work to replace the upstairs ceilings coincided with upgrading of the entire computer network and software--chaos (and rubble, paint fumes and freezing cold) reigned. At least this year the rain has held off and Rue hasn't been blamed for flooding the Avon Valley!
Dinosaur Island was not Richard's only brush with the BBC. You may have heard him on the Radio 4 natural history quiz Wildbrain (and his mum, Rue and the girls in the audience). Success in the first round was followed by second in the semi-final--but he got through, just, as the highest-scoring loser. Then (much to his own surprise) he actually won the final! He is now officially "Birdbrain 2001".
Richard has been bitten by the genealogy bug, and has spent rather more spare time than he ought researching his family history. One interesting find was that in 1798 his five-greats grandfather, Robert Collingridge, was the owner of four horses, a cart and a wagon. Curiously, we have four horses, a cart--and another cart. Only two wheels short of a wagon (and that's just Richard! -Ed)
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