England is many things — it is green, it is pleasant, it is disarmingly pretty in places and breathtakingly grand in others. One thing it is not, though, is exotic. This is a fact best supported by the obvious lack of venomous, virulent and predatory fauna we have to fear. But even if British wildlife is on the mellow side, there are still plenty of reasons to appreciate the creatures that make their homes in England’s hedgerows, waterways and woodlands. There is the feeling of victory when you spot a harvest mouse the size of your thumb in the undergrowth.…

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  Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. — Aristotle I can still remember the feeling of being a child and opening the first door on my advent calendar, popping the chocolate in my mouth and sighing at the deeply frustrating test of my patience that lay ahead. With 23 doors to go it felt like Christmas would never come. But of course come it did, nice and predictably right on schedule, just as it did every year. The wait I endured leading up to this last Christmas however has been far longer, more flecked with uncertainty and with…

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