* My father was a keen naturalist but, although we all shared the same upbringing, my siblings were not hooked on plants and insects in the way I was.
* They soon abandoned their pressed flowers and butterfly nets.
* Unlike them, iI had no ear for music and langauges, I was not an early reader and I could not do mental arithmetic.
* But I had a retentive memory and was deeply, passionately fond of animals and keenly interested in everythings connected with them.
* Since we had no television or radio, a gramophone provided our evening entertainment.
* It required a constant change of needle and persistent winding up.
* Living in the country meant the only mode of transport was a pony and trap.
* This was, in fact, a tremendous boon for it forced us to seek amusement in the fields and woods – and I found it.
* No thrill later in life ever equalled the sudden discovery of a ditch lined with white violet or a nest belonging to a long-tailed tit.
* I was happy from morning till night.
* When I was in my teens, my brother returned from boarding school with a new type of holiday task: he was to dissect a frog and draw the internal organs.
* Could I give him a hand? The lovely and luckless frog was chloroformed in a glass jar.
* I had never before seen fresh, internal organs, blood vessels and nerves.
* Their extreme beauty was a revelation.
* That experience shocked me back into natural history, which I had abandoned after my father’s death. [continues]
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