Andy Murray – a sporting legend.

Professional sport takes no prisoners, and Andy Murray is no exception. Andy Murray has hit the news headlines for all the reasons he probably didn’t want to. No, he’s not won a tournament, or a tennis slam – he’s retiring this year, Wimbledon at the latest due to a chronic hip injury.

He now sits outside the world’s top 200 tennis players – a far cry from the glory of Wimbledon 2013 where he finally banished Britain’s 77 year wait for a male champion. Now, the former world number one’s hip has deteriorated to such an extent that he even struggles with putting his socks on.

That’s the story, but I think this should focus on what he’s done for British sport and beyond – and above all, we can’t go back to what it was ‘pre- Andy Murray’. I’ve watched Andy on the court for as long as I can remember, lived and breathed every single point at times. Almost to the extent the neighbours could tell his score just from my reactions – oops! Last summer at the Eastbourne ATP tournament I was lucky enough to see Andy Murray in a practise with Kyle Edmund. I had no idea I would get that opportunity. Now, with this news, it feels somewhat more special knowing this news.

Andy’s glittering career may be drawing to a close but let’s look at what he’s done, and what we can do next to take it forward.  This has been just the start of a golden era for British sport. He’s won three grand slams and a wealth of titles. He was also the first person EVER to defend a tennis singles Olympic Gold. We can’t also forget Andy’s part in the GB Davis Cup win in 2015.

On top of his incredible successes he’s also come so close so many times – a five time runner-up at the Australian Open for example. Personally, I think we can take more from instances like these – the grit, resilience and above all how Andy has carried himself through the incredible highs and shattering lows.

Whether you’re a professional sports person trying to reach the lofty heights of Andy Murray or learning your craft in a different field, we can all learn take a bit of Andy Murray inspiration.

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Andy Murray at the ATP Eastbourne Tennis (2018)

 

 

 

Rushmoor Country Park and Falconry Centre | Photography

The Peak District was our destination of choice over the summer of 2018. We were lucky enough to visit Rushmoor Country Park and Falconry Centre on the trip. These are some of the shots I took while we were there. They’ve got a great selection of animals, from rabbits to donkeys, sheep and various birds – if you have the chance, its a must visit place!

Science – getting the word out!

Why should I know about science? Why does it matter to me?

Well, science, – love it or hate it, we can’t avoid it. You could probably define it as “how everything works”. From the make-up you use in the morning to your biological clock at night – science is the inner workings of the world and what makes everything work. Science puts order into the chaos – but yet only provides answers to such a small part of the world and beyond.

Science is all about asking questions. Science isn’t always about having the answers to all the questions but asking those questions. Science, I believe, is only developed through telling people about those questions – why does something happen, how does it happen? Above all – discussion.

So I guess, in the world of chaos, locally and globally this serves as a reminder to continue questioning everything. Explore the possibilities beyond whatever you know, whether that be in the world of science or beyond – don’t stick to what you know!

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This is a Macaw at Wingham Wildlife Park

Happy New Year!

It’s finally 2019! At parts of last year I thought it would never come but it has! Most people make new years resolutions, I haven’t this year. Throughout this post I’ll chat about what my plans for 2019 are. The short answer is do more of what I did last year, though while eating less chocolate and worrying a bit less!

As you may already know, 2019 will be the year I run the London Marathon! As I’ve said before, I’m really no athlete, I HATE running but after I’ve done it I forget about the fact I get breathless and suddenly everything is okay! So I don’t know how that logic works, but I’m going on the premise I love a challenge, I like the idea of being strong and healthy, and I love achieving stuff, so I’m sure that works? 😉 I’ve just started the London Marathon beginners training plan – I’m documenting it over on my Instagram (clairesproject26.2), go give me a follow!

On a slightly less active note, there’s a small matter of a degree to finish! I’ve loved being at uni and still do – but I’m beyond excited to get stuck into the world of work! Of course I’ll continue updating this website throughout it all – the job hunting begins soon! I’ve got so many thoughts and ideas on what I want to conquer and work on, hopefully 2019 will be the beginning of all of this!

Over the next year I’ll be putting even more content on this website, from the pictures I take, to popular science and marathon training updates.

It’s going to be fun!

My links:

Instagram: @wildlifeclaire and @clairesproject26.2

Twitter: @WildlifeClaire

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This is one of my favourite photos of 2018, the London skyline

 

It’s Nearly Christmas!| Training Update – VMLM 2019

It’s safe to say that the since September, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster, in almost every sense – from family stuff, to uni and of course the lead up to Christmas.

I guess part of what I’m aiming to do with these training updates is to almost do reverse peer pressure on myself to not only get myself to the start line in April but also just to get started with one training run – one at a time!

Around the time of the London 2012 Olympics Team Sky under Dave Brailsford made a thing of “marginal gains”, making small and minor changes which then come together to create something well rounded and for them, someone who could ultimately win gold medals. Although this “journey” as cliché as it sounds, is in no way a comparison to actual real life athletes who actually go on to do things like becoming Olympic champion – I think that’s such a good principal to apply to everyday life – and in my instance what I’m doing.

Recently, I have hit soooooo many goals which I thought were previously unreachable – they seem small, but they’re things like running an entire mile continuously. I then ran a for a constant 15 minutes (over a mile) on a treadmill. Those are incredibly small gains, but for someone who previously struggled with anything physical – had major spinal surgery at 13 – slow and steady really does win the race!

Follow me on Instagram (@clairesproject26.2 where I’m posting some more in depth updates on my progress and milestones which I begin to hit! My fundraising link for the Youth Sports Trust and Make a Wish is here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ClaireNicholson7

 

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David Attenborough’s Dynasties – Reviewed

Every animal in the world goes through a daily battle simply to live and breathe. The Chimpanzee is no different. Giving us another incredible insight into the planet, David Attenborough is back with his new series – Dynasties. This series focuses on one of the most powerful forces in nature. The family.

They battle for survival against the elements, and their rivals. We’re treated to a previously unseen glimpse into the chimpanzee’s family unit. Beginning in the arid conditions of Senegal in West Africa – this is the story of one chimp family.

It’s so hot and dry. This is the very limit of where they can survive. 32 chimpanzees are in this particular group, ruled by one incredibly strong and determined leader – David. As an alpha male, he gets the best of everything, but can trust no one. He’s surrounded by rivals prepared to kill him for his crown. This is a battle for power, politics and ultimately survival. He’s ruled over the troupe for three years – chimps don’t normally last longer than this in their position.  His torn ears are testament to the battles he’s already undergone to protect both his status and family.

Those battles are likely to get a whole lot harder. The dry season is beginning and his rivals are gathering once more. Normally alpha males have allies – but David is fighting his battles alone. He’s never been more vulnerable. His daily role is to keep order amongst the group – to display strength. Diffusing social issues – displaying to the group to show he’s in control.

Strength isn’t everything. David needs to be political to hold onto power – create allies. His first attempt at this is by grooming an older male named KL. He’s past the age to challenge for his role – but can, vitally, help to fight. In the world of chimps, grooming helps to build bonds and create friendships. Friends don’t solve everything though.

Dry season is beginning and the temperature soars to over 40 degrees. This creates ideal sand-pit conditions for the infants – but with the adults, tensions were rising. A new man – Luther. Displaying his strength – he begins to assert his power through intimidation. Displaying to the other chimps his power and ultimately his desire to reign over the group. David needs to do something and fast. This is a battle he can’t fight on his own.

As the dry season peaks – fires destroyed three quarters of their territory. Much of their food and shelter went up in flames – removing all the water with it.  The group need to stick together to survive. Chimps luckily have a good memory – they could use knowledge passed down from generations. They could use sticks to dig through the parched earth. Their reward? A hidden water source!

It’s one issue after another for their leader, David. Three out of seven females are coming into season  – all at the same time. This creates a social nightmare for David. He’s got to prove he’s got the authority. He’s got to prove he is the right male for one of the females to mate with. Rivals respond with displays of power. Chaos takes over the group.

As night falls, younger males have turned on David. As the sun comes up, it’s the job of the younger chimps and the females to tend to his wounds. They can’t stay there. Water’s running out – the whole group has to move onto the nearest water source. And that’s a 6 mile trek. They’ve got to leave David behind. David’s new ally, KL has to leave him for dead. This leaves a power vacuum at the top – who will take his place?

Friendless and wounded he somehow musters the strength to search for food he must rejoin the group before he’s exiled for good. Remarkably, a week later he makes the journey to find the others – no fit state to fight. Has to make himself look as bold as possible . reunited with comrade KL grooming each other reaffirms the bonds of friendship

The 6 mile trek is only half the battle. He’s made it but exhausted and fragile, holding onto his leadership by a thread. A let up is around the corner however. Rain filled clouds bring an end to a long drought. David’s territory is transformed, water everywhere and a glut of food. His displays are slowly becoming more assertive but he hasn’t had time to heal properly, he takes every given moment to gorge on more food.

Luther, the once fierce competitor, with a submissive gesture seeks forgiveness from David. Although he’s unwilling to accept. David begins to build on friendships with other males – older so they can’t challenge for power but strong enough to fight for him. Over following weeks Luther finds himself sidelined. Other males now gather round David, Luther has no choice but to step inline David has his group around him once more but he doesn’t show them how weakened he really is – injuries haven’t healed. Sure enough, a female comes into season – this is his chance to mate. Thankfully, the others have no choice but to step in line. 9 months later – a baby chimp!

The program may stop but the battle for survival continues. Females will continue to come into season – tension will rise and the whole thing will continue. The fight is never won. He may have gotten through this breeding season but he’s just buying himself some time until another female comes into season when he’ll face competition once again.

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Catch David Attenborough’s ‘Dynasties’ Sunday 8pm on BBC1

 

 

 

Wildlife Conservation and Social Media

I’m coming to the end of my degree in Animal Science and I need your help! Do you know any 18-25 year olds? If so, I would be really grateful if you/they could fill this out for me. This is for my final year research project. If you have any questions then ask them in the comments or email me: cn165@canterbury.ac.uk.

Click on this link here for the survey.

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This photo was taken at Wingham Wildlife Park near Canterbury, Kent