Combining the life of a (very) full-time partner in a law firm with a writing career presents various challenges and can feel rather exhausting at times. But there are compensations, and these include the chance to do a wide range of fun things. The past week, for instance, has been utterly hectic, but full of pleasures. These included a visit to the House of Lords (about which, more soon) and lunch at the state of the art training facilities at Liverpool Football Club's site at Melwood.
And on Wednesday, I had an enjoyable time combining business with pleasure at Chester Zoo. I’ve been professionally associated with the Zoo for over fifteen years, something which is all the more gratifying as I remember visits there when I was a small boy. Today the Zoo is one of the world’s best. In terms of audited statistics, it’s the UK’s second most visited tourist attraction, after the Tower of London (not all attractions have audited statistics, but even so, this is a striking achievement) and the Zoo’s staff play an increasingly important role in the worldwide struggle for better conservation and biodiversity. The work done in various parts of the globe in preventing the disappearance of rare species, and the promotion of animal care in societies that are financially poor yet rich in potential is largely unsung, but admirable. It is a truly magical place.
Lunch with the Director, and a video presentation of the Zoo’s ambitions plans for the future was followed by a guided tour. It’s a number of years since my last visit, and I was impressed by the changes, as well as the projects intended to establish the Zoo as a tourist portal for the north west of England – an area I love.
And needless to say, my visit prompted a few ideas about a short crime story set in a zoo. It might be a project to undertake while I await editorial feedback on The Serpent Pool. There must be examples of other zoo-based mysteries, but I can’t call them to mind. Any suggestions?