Apologies for having disappeared off the radar in the last few weeks, but things have been ridiculously busy.
The reissue programme of the CFZ Yearbooks is continuing apace. So far the 1996, 1999, 2004, 2007 and 2008 yearbooks are all available perfect bound, and the 2003 volume will be available in the next couple of days. I have to admit that I take a childish delight in typing ` Centre for Fortean Zoology` into amazon.co.uk and seeing all of them displayed there on the same page. I am very proud of the yearbooks, and am already soliciting articles for 2009 volume.
The Guyana expedition report has also been published, and I would like to apologise to everybody who has been waiting so long for it. However, I hope that you'll think it was worth the wait.
Last weekend we attended the second annual conference from BCIB (Big Cats in Britain) which was held at Tropiquaria - the small zoo in north Somerset which is co-owned by Chris Moiser, Jane Bassett, and my darling wife Corinna. I had the honour of been the compere for the weekend, and I believe that a great time was had by all. Sadly, Mark Fraser, the head honcho of BCIB was unable to attend due to a back injury. Poor chap must have been gutted.
Last weekend also saw the launch of the 2008 Big Cat Yearbook - the third in the series. For those of you not aware of these books, they contain a comprehensive list of every reported big cat sighting in the UK over a 12 month period, together with a series of articles written by various luminaries of the big cat research community.
My biggest news is that last night, after having worked on it, on and off for nearly four years, my new book - The Island of Paradise - is finally completed. It is, I believe, the most comprehensive book ever written on the subject of the mystery animals of Puerto Rico, and it tells the story of my two expeditions there in 1998 and 2004. Weighing in at over, 120,000 words, it is going to be a fairly massive tome. Because Nick Redfern accompanied me on the second expedition, and also because I have libelled him unmercifully throughout the volume, I am allowing him a right of reply, and, the manuscript is presently with him, so he can add his comments to the end of each chapter.
On a personal level, I am going through quite a strange time at the moment. At the end of last year, my consultant changed my medication, putting me on to a drug called tegretol. Backalong, as they say in North Devon, I was a nurse for the mentally handicapped, and as such familiar with psychoactive drugs. Stop that giggling in the cheap seats! You know perfectly well what I mean! Tegretol, or carbemazepine is a well-known medication for epilepsy, but in recent years it has been found to have two other uses; a palliative for trigeminal neuralgia, and as a mood stabiliser. It is this last property which has caused it to be prescribed for yours truly.
Well it seems to work. However, some of the side-effects are quite unpleasant. Whereas I have to admit that my rapid mood swings, and days of bleak depression, have been considerably curtailed, every day now when I wake-up, I feel sick, dizzy and disorientated. Sometimes these symptoms go off after an hour or two, and sometimes they last all day. This is a filthy bloody disease, and what makes it worse, is that I know that I may not end up dying of it, but I will certainly die with it. I just have to make a continual series of decisions; choosing between the living hell of the down times of Bipolar II, which are not with me all the time, and this new, debilitating ickiness which - more often than not - is with me 24/7.
I am sorry to be such a pain in the neck. Nobody wants to listen to (or read) a load of whingeing from some stupid bloody invalid. The way I see it, in life, you play the cards that you are dealt, and if you are me, you do your best to have a spare, and marked deck up your sleeve. However, it does help sometimes to have a good old moan when the cards are stacked against you.