As our personal worlds have been made smaller, many of us are finding animals and nature – whether it’s pets or just the creatures we see and enjoy in our gardens or on our walks – even more important than usual. The Turner Sims Team collectively have a large animal family! We thought we would share the creatures that have been supporting our emotional wellbeing during lockdown…
Whilst you read it, listen to our animal-inspired playlist!
Do you have animals that are part of your family? Are you finding nature an important element of your lockdown life? We would love to know! Send us your beloved animal and nature photos – tweet us or email us at email@example.com – because we cannot ever see enough cats on the internet…
Susan: Arts Administrator
The furred members of our household outnumber the human ones but they are kindly allowing us to share their space during lockdown (in exchange for extra attention and treats obviously!).
Caffery is a large 13 year old British Shorthair and the embodiment of Bagpuss. He is totally chilled and can often be found lying on his back just waiting for someone to walk past and tickle his tummy. He is very affectionate and will start purring loudly as soon as you look at him.
In comparison his sister Beamish is high maintenance. She is neat and precise and very vocal about letting you know if something is not up to her exacting standards. Her favourite pastimes include attacking unsuspecting humans at the top of the stairs and making sure everyone (both human and animal) knows she is queen.
Lara ‘Croft Original’ is white and tabby ball of fluffy adorableness hiding the mind of criminal genius. She leads her larger (but not so bright) brother Harvey ‘Bristol Cream’ into despicable acts against humanity such as opening bedroom doors in the early hours of the morning, rearranging ornaments (from shelf to floor) and clearing inconvenient bookshelves. She loves being brushed. Harvey himself seems constantly confused but is very affectionate and will often come and rest his head on your hand or arms if he wants some strokes. He loves boxes and is at his happiest after we’ve had a delivery and there are new boxes to explore.
Badger is the only dog in the household but don’t tell him as he thinks he’s a cat! He’s large nine year old lurcher and complete coward (this is official – it’s on his veterinary records). It would probably be quicker to list the things he isn’t scared of but at the top of his dislike list are things that make certain noises. This includes motor scooters and small dogs, and we’ve had a few fun moments on walks when he doesn’t realise how big he is and tries to hide behind your legs. He enjoys racing balls in the park and will happily show you where you threw the ball so you can come and collect it – he’s very proud at teaching his humans to ‘fetch’. Badger also enjoys stealing a sneaky mouthful of cat food when he thinks he isn’t being watched.
Daniela: Marketing Officer
I don’t have pets but there is a big park in my neighbourhood. It’s a great place to disconnect from the outside world (or the lack of it). There’s a lake with a few species of birds and as the lockdown goes on, it seems that there are more and more of them, enjoying the absence of big groups of people – or maybe I am just getting better at actually spotting them. Learning the names of the birds also proves interesting and entertaining: did you know that a baby coot is called a cootie? If you have never heard of this kind of bird and you are now scratching your head, here is a photo.
Kevin: Concert Hall Manager
Having said farewell to our chickens a while back (including a number hatched from an incubator) the Appleby household now comprises just two cats. Fudge is too wary to appear in any pet feature, but Lily was prepared to explore the merits of the piano. Sadly the lessons aren’t going quite as hoped as she is focussing more on the scales of the fish as part of her diet than the musical variety. We’ve therefore had to paws teaching for the moment until she feels more engaged…
Daniel: Front of House Manager
I have two goldfish, Lily and Brian, and they have been observing lockdown in their tank for some time now. My cat Scratch passed a few years ago, but I know he would have loved having us all at home with him every day.
My tale is of Pauline, a sparrow that perches on my neighbour’s roof. I am convinced it is a female as it is very loud. Each morning of the lockdown I go into the garden at 4.30 and there she is singing aloud at me so I whistle back, we then have a minute or two ‘conversation’ together. At 8.30 in the evening once the kids are in bed, I go into the garden again, and there is Pauline and we have another conversation together. It is probably a different sparrow each day and it is not tweeting back at me at all, but I still like my daily conversation with Pauline.
Jo: Marketing Officer
Say ‘Hi’ to Gary (The Unstoppable) and Reggie (Sir Reginald). We adopted these brothers from the Blue Cross when (we think) they were about two years old. They are fifteen now, proper elderly gentlemen, and showing zero signs of slowing down!
Gaz is the most inelegant cat I have ever known. Despite all my efforts, he is basically a barrel, who will eat ANYTHING (and frequently does). He appears to be indestructible; he once disappeared for seven weeks and reappeared when we had given him up for dead without a scratch on him, yowling for food! Gary has spent lockdown assisting with home schooling (the kids adore him), snoring loudly during Zoom meetings and chasing his poor brother off his dinner so he gets double helpings.
Reggie is also known as ‘the disapproving owl’ as he has an unnerving stare if things are not to his approval. He has a huge quantity of fluff and grows a fine Victorian ruff during the winter. He is more timid than Gaz (which is why he is slimmer!) but loves to curl up in my lap once the kids are in bed – which is some of my best lockdown therapy.
Since lockdown we have invested in more birdfeeders and I have loved seeing more wildlife in our garden as a result. This guy, however, we were not expecting! Actually sat IN the birdfeeder, enjoying the breakfast of kings. Who knew squirrels liked mealworms?
Jay: Head of Operations
Yes, as you can see, our dog Rhaego is keen to join in with fancy dress whenever my daughter Alicia puts on some strange lockdown arrangement! As enormous as he is (quite probably deserving of his own bedroom at some stage) and understandably daunting for new visitors who are not used to such a large pet, he is the soppiest and most playful furry companion I have known. One of the key items on our shopping list is cheese as I cannot even attempt to make a cheese sandwich without him giving me the puppy eyes to obtain a slice.
Jilly: Box office Supervisor
This is Edna, our 2 year old whippet. Her favourite things in the world, after her pack, are squeaky toys, balls (even better if they squeak too!) and collecting shoes. Her least favourite things are cats, squirrels and pigeons . She’s not a particularly noisy dog until the pigeons appear in the garden and then she turns into a banshee.
Edna isn’t the first one out of bed in the morning, although she does open one eye as I pass her on the way to the shower, but as soon as I’m showered and dressed she knows its time for her to get up and get my husband and me to the park.
Having Edna is great for our family’s health and wellbeing, if we didn’t have a dog there is no way we would be walking in the park at 8am. She’s also the reason my 15 year old isn’t deficient in vitamin D as he takes her out for a stroll every afternoon.