Quentin Shaw

15 September 2023

Butterfly Effect

For most of my life I thought the grayling was a fish, which it is, but it is also an obscure species of British butterfly. It lives on barren hilltops and sea cliffs, out of the public eye, shielded by a rather boring name.

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23 November 2022

Return of the Pine Marten

In September a camera trap monitoring hedgehogs in Kingston upon Thames caught an astonishing snap of a pine marten, the most elusive of English mammals. There had been no confirmed sightings in England for a century until July 2015 when a naturalist in Shropshire took a photo. There, gambolling in broad daylight, was an animal from the wishful world of cryptozoology, a fantastic beast, previously no more substantial than a plesiosaur in Loch Ness or a big cat in Surrey.

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27 August 2019

As if the border wasn’t there

As the United Kingdom drifts towards a hard Brexit, the media are strangely quiet about the significance of the Common Travel Area (CTA) between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Under this longstanding arrangement, which ought to continue even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, all British citizens who were born in the UK have the right to live, work, receive health care, access education and vote in Ireland, and Irish citizens enjoy the reciprocal rights in the UK.

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