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The First Flower of Spring – The Snowdrop



Probably if you live in the British Isles, you will have had your first sight of snowdrops this year, either growing in a garden by design, or even more magically, growing wild in woodlands or in hedgerows.  The Snowdrop is the first flower to bloom at the end of winter and at the beginning of Spring. 

The season is between January to March and the flower is built to withstand freezing temperatures. It has three inner petals protected by three outer petals. The head will drop in freezing weather and reopen when the weather warms up. 


There are many varieties of Snowdrop, which are spread by bulb division and so do not depend upon pollination for reproduction.  Surprisingly it is a member of the Amaryllis family. The Amaryllis will grow by leaps and bounds, up to a height of between twelve and twenty inches, producing a brilliantly coloured flower at the top of its stem.
By contrast, the Snowdrop is a small plant, delicate in appearance, growing to between three and six inches in height. The colour is white, symbolising purity and hope at the start of a New Year. This wild flower is not native to Britain, and was brought over from Europe by the Romans. It was not recognised by botanists as a wild flower until the eighteen century. 
 The bulb itself is poisonous and so has never been a source of nutrition. You might think it unlikely that any bulb would be eaten and of course bulbs are not found on the menu, other than in extreme circumstances. Such an occasion arose in the Netherlands in 1944/45 during the Second World War. The people enduring famine, were reduced to eating tulip bulbs, which while unappetising were very nutritious. 
The Snowdrop bulb however, by producing its flower, provides only nourishment for the spirit. Snowdrops provide food for thought at the start of a New Year.

In the nineteen sixties I worked in London stores. Worked as an Insurance Clerk in the City of London during the nineteen seventies. Divorced in the nineteen nineties. Now I am a retired Civil Servant, managing home and garden and escaping onto social media whenever possible.

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Animals found in London; from squirrels to parakeets



Animals found in London;  from squirrels to parakeets thumbnail
We all know that there are many animals in London, some they have lived here for a long time, others have adapted well and increased their numbers making life difficult for other species that have been here for a long time.
London is a city with diverse and abundant wild animals. Consequently, there are many animals that can be seen in the city. During the coronavirus lockdown, many of these animals became even more adventurous, probably wondering where we had all gone.

Squirrels in London


The so-called fur-tailed rats are seen everywhere. They rummage through the garbage, climb the walls of the situations and sometimes even enter through the window. But they are cute and very photogenic. The squirrel you see in London is the grey or Eastern Gray, imported from the United States in the nineteenth century. It is much more robust than the red squirrel, which was the native squirrel of Great Britain, and for this has stolen its habitat. Now there are few reds in a few parts of Great Britain and none are seen in London.
Gray squirrels eat about twice their weight every day and they are not picky about what they eat. They will also eat the products of your garden without scruples. They are found in practically all parks in London

Foxes in London


A real case of overpopulation, in fact not infrequently they are seen on the sidewalks and do not escape the view of man. To survive and find food, they must be more and more intrusive and courageous. There are standing cases of foxes entering the instances through the back door and a few small young children being attacked.
London has the most high population of foxes in the UK, with a population estimated to be over 10. 000 The animals they are most commonly seen in north London, where they are often found gathering food from bins and gardens and hunting rats. Foxes are thought to have arrived in London during the Victorian era when they were brought from the continent to be hunted.
Foxes live around people and have learned to live together disadvantage them. They are not afraid of humans and are not hostile. Foxes, like other animals that live in urban areas, face many challenges. They must find food in a human-dominated environment where food is often scarce.

Animals in London: Herons


The heron is a large, wading bird common throughout the world. It is characterized by long legs and neck and slow, deliberate movements. The habitat of the heron is usually close to water, such as a river, lake or swamp. The heron can be found in London The one found in London is the gray heron. Being a hunter he is quite smart, even the herons of Regent’s Park know what time penguins and other animals in the zoo that eat fish and go to feed are fed in the cage in question about ten minutes before meals. Herons have a long history of being associated with the royal family, such as when Henry VIII of England had a heronry.

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Egyptian geese


They are called Egyptian geese , but in reality they are big ducks. They were introduced as decoration in ponds in parks and have reproduced too much. Now regular ducks compete with advantage. A goose, dubbed “Betsy” by locals, was found in a club parking lot near Hounslow , West London. . Betsy is now looking for other Egyptian geese in the area to price friendship and find a mate.

Parakeets in London


The famous parrots have a mysterious origin, they probably escaped from some home even if there are various theories. One says they come from the collection of the movie ‘The Queen of Africa’ with Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, the other says they all come from a pair of budgies released by Jimi Hendrix. In any case, there are now many and they are damaging the habitat, devouring the leaves and flowers of trees.

Swans in London

animali a londra


All swans belong to the queen. In addition to white swans (there are about 100 adult couples) living here black swans are also seen and in winter different types of swans that come to winter from Siberia. Some of these Siberian swans that in Italian are called lesser swans have settled here, perhaps they did not want to return to Siberia The swans of London are not originally from London. They are conditions brought from France in the Middle Ages to provide food for the royal family. London swans now enjoy crown protection and are a protected species. Swans can be found on the River Thames, in Hyde Park, Minister’s Park and in suburban ponds and rivers.

Deer and fallow deer


They are found at the same free in several parks especially in Richmond Park, Holland Park and Bushy Park. But now they are found in many suburban parks and wandering around at night in residential neighborhoods.
The deer population in London, UK is increasing. It is reported that there are about 400 – 600 deer living in the city, they generally don’t cause problems, but they can be aggressive during their mating season and can be dangerous if they end up on the street.
Animals in London: Canada Goose


This is a real goose and not a duck, introduced from North America approx. 300 years ago and has since settled in many areas of the British Isles, including London. So much so that in many places it is considered harmful. You will see it around the ponds of practically all the parks in London. Geese mate for life and live in long-term monogamous relationships. For this reason it is rare to see a goose with more than one mate. Geese form strong family bonds, especially between parents and their young.

Magpies in London

animali a londra

The number of magpies in London is increased by 120% in the lasts 30 years. They are large, noisy and rather intelligent birds. They have a bad reputation for using their arrogance and passion for shiny objects, but watch them for a while, they have a very interesting demeanor. Magpies are intelligent birds that will often use tools to get food. They also have a wide variety of vocalizations which are used to communicate with other members of their species and warn others of danger. Also note how they warn the group if a cat approaches!

Animals in London: Pigeons

I am less than once seen in places like Trafalgar Square you can’t risk feeding these birds from the 2003, it is now effectively a crime. They also placed anti-pigeon spikes on the buildings around the square. Also there are hawks who have been trained to hunt them. But there are always pigeons in London, in addition to the usual citizens there are also many pigeons and collar doves which are always relatives of pigeons.

Pigeons can be a real nuisance , especially in large cities where they can often be seen on roofs, ledges and window sills. Pigeons are attracted to food and water and if they see these things they will often stay in the same place for a lot of peace. Pigeons also produce droppings which can lead to stains on buildings and can also carry diseases such as histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis and psittacosis.

Ducks in London


Besides the mallard you will see a great variety of ducks, some are imported because they are attractive such as the mandarin duck or the bride duck, others pass by them during migrations and sometimes, as in the case of swans, they decide to stop.
There are also animals that are seen less often as birds of prey, cormorants, owls, bats, badgers and hedgehogs but which still probably exist in a good number. Less common, but not very rare, are seals along the Thames.


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London Natural History Museum; what you can see



London Natural History Museum;  what you can see thumbnail

The Natural History Museum  reopens on 17 May, after three months of closure. To avoid crowds, you must book online here for free before going.

The London Natural History Museum, the perfect museum for taxidermists and major collectors. Like the British Museum, the initial collection comes from Sir Hans Sloane , a botanist also famous for importing cocoa from the Caribbean. Sloane donated his collection of stones, animals and plants collected around the world to the nation in 1753.

Initially the collection of Natural History Museum in London was housed in the same building as the British Museum. Back then, the mummies and new Greek and Assyrian archaeological finds attracted large crowds. The collection of 80 millions of objects and artefacts is the largest in the world.

A brief history of the Natural History Museum in London

The natural history collection became bigger and bigger and a  building had to be built to house it. Land was purchased in South Kensington It was originally called the British Museum (Nature). The London London Natural History Museum building itself is spectacular, opened in 1881, is in the Victorian Neo-Gothic style.

The architect Alfred Waterhouse was commissioned to build a cathedral for the natural world. His creation is so unique, adorned with curious animal gargoyles and decorated with botanical motifs that, perhaps more than any other museum, it is worth visiting for the architecture alone.

In the museum, there are galleries devoted to zoology, thousands and thousands of fossils, bones and stuffed animals. Immediately upon entering you can see the skeleton of a huge dinosaur. Did you know that the natural history museum in London needs more than 151 thousand litres of alcohol to preserve the 22 millions animal and plant samples?

There are interactive exhibits, ideal for children of school age, but there are also areas committed to children. More suitable for enthusiasts are the galleries of minerals and plants. In this museum, you can feel and touch the Victorian spirit of collecting, labelling and attempting meaning to the world.

Darwin al London Natural History Museum

A recent gallery is entirely dedicated to Charles Darwin and explorations.

You can also see among the treasures of the museum the first edition of Darwin’s work that revolutionized the sciences. That is ‘On the Beginning of the Species’

When Darwin visited Australia and described a platypus many did not believe it. He also sent a sample of the animal’s skin which was deemed a fake. You can see these samples in the Darwin section.

Darwin thought birds came from dinosaurs but never found proof. The archeopteryx fossil shows that birds are descended from reptiles. In fact, if you look carefully you see the outline of the feathers and feathers.

What is in the Natural History Museum in London?

The museum garden contains vegetation and animals tricks as well as a beehive but is only open from 1 April to 31 October ( 10: 00 – 05: 00), you can see a range of British Isles environments such as Fen, reeds, hedges, woods and meadows – and attracts dragonflies, hen ‘water, moths, and different types of birds.

In the summer, outside you also have the opportunity to enter and visit a butterfly house ‘with many butterflies flitting around, while in winter you can skate. And every now and then you can also sleep with the dinosaurs

Other temporary exhibitions are also organized. if you have the time to see them. Every year there is also the well-known exhibition of animal photographs or The Wild Animals Professional Photographer of the Year

The museum is located on five floors and divided into four coloured areas. The blue zone which is called from Dinosaurs to Man is the most popular one with its dinosaurs and the skeleton of the blue whale hanging from the ceiling.

Don’t miss the mammoth skull too, but you’ll have a nice choice of animals to observe, from elephants to the Indian python. You will then end up in the dedicated gallery The central hall and dominated by the skeleton of 32 m which is a reproduction of a Diplodocus– ‘ Dippy ‘, now the skeleton of Hope the whale is seen instead.

Here also begins the green area dedicated to birds, insects, fossils and minerals. The bird collection includes the dodo, the now legendary extinct bird. Do not miss the part of the insects where you can enter a reconstruction of a tower built by termites.

The part dedicated to minerals is much less interactive and lets you see how the museum in the 1800 Don’t miss the meteorites and pieces of moon rock.

The red zone instead focuses on the earth and the universe. The part dedicated to geology is fascinating starting with a strange journey on an escalator and passing through many volcanoes and a simulation of an earthquake, better if you enter directly from Exhibit Roadway and destiny the escalator.

These galleries present the history of our planet, past, present and future – from the Large Bang to current environmental problems. Don’t miss the dinosaur footprints! The orange zone or the Darwin Centre is a recent part of the museum and consists of artefacts collected by Charles Darwin himself. Here you explore the idea of ​​evolution

How to visit the Natural History Museum in London?

The museum is free from 2001, after a few years when you had to pay, and it’s a great way to spend the day with or without young children. Request peace to see it all.

There are paid temporary exhibitions, but you will have a lot to see even without having to shell out a penny.

The museum is located a short distance from South Kensington station on the Piccadilly Line, for a real overdose two other great museums are located nearby: The Science Museum  and Victoria & Albert Museum.



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The mystery of the cheetah in London



In July 1963, a truck driver clearly saw a big cat at the top of Shooters Hill. He called the police and they arrived in large numbers, apparently there were 26 cars and over 100 policemen. They did not see any animals but only traces that could have been those of a cheetah.

A few weeks later someone heard a roar and once again dozens of policemen came and found nothing.

In the following years until 1966 there were other sightings and the press promptly took interest in the case, once again no cheetah or tiger or lion were found.

For years then no one saw anything, so even if the cheetah existed it must have died or moved elsewhere. In 2002 a huge cat was again seen in Shooters Hill. Since then no more sightings.

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