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Challenge both your English & minds





2012-04-05 13:24:18|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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1: In the Beginning . . .

2: The Adventure Begins

3: The First Days

4: The Lean Months

5: Katherine

6: The New Crew

7: The Animals Are Taking Over the Zoo

8: Spending the Money

9: Opening Day Epilogue  Prologue



Mum and I arrived _____ the new owners of Dartmoor Wildlife Park in Devon for the first time at around six o’clock on the evening of 20 October 2006, and stepped out of the car to the sound of wolves howling _____ the misty darkness. ….The first bite is to grab, then they take your pulse with their teeth, reposition them, and sink them in. As they held us in their _____[ice] glares, we were impressed.  

1 In the Beginning . . .

…It would be fair to say that this was a _____ [stress]  time. …If you go to the surgery with a _____[run]  nose the doctor will prescribe a carrier bag full of pharmaceuticals, usually involving suppositories. … A long time ago I did a degree _____ psychology, so the MRI images were not entirely alien _____ me, and my head reeled as I desperately tried to find some explanation that could account for this anomaly. But there wasn’t one. We spent the night at the hospital bucking up each other’s morale. In the morning a helicopter took Katherine to Montpellier, our local (and probably the best) neuro unit in France. After our cozy night together, the reality of seeing her airlifted as an emergency patient to a distant neurological ward hit home, hard. As I chased the copter down the autoroute, the shock really began kicking in. I found my mind was ranging around, trying to get to grips with the situation, so that I could barely make myself concentrate properly on driving. I slowed right down, and arrived an hour later at the car park of the enormous Gui de Chaulliac hospital complex to find there were no spaces. I ended up parking creatively, French style, along a sliver of curb. A porter wagged a disapproving finger at me but I strode past him, by now in an unstoppable frame of mind, desperate to find Katherine. If he’d tried to stop me at that moment I think I would have broken his arm and directed him to X-ray. I was going to Neuro Urgence, fifth floor, and nothing was going to get _____ my way. It made me appreciate in that instant that you should never underestimate the emotional turmoil of people visiting hospitals. Normal rules did not apply, as my priorities were completely refocused on finding Katherine and understanding what was going to happen next. I found Katherine sitting up on a trolley bed, _____[dress]  in a yellow hospital gown, looking bewildered and confused. She looked so vulnerable but noble, stoically cooperating with whatever was asked of her. Eventually we were told that an operation was scheduled in a few days’ time, during which high doses of steroids would reduce the inflammation around the tumor so that it could be taken out more easily. Watching her being wheeled around the corridors, sitting up in her backless gown, looking around with quiet, confused dignity, was probably the worst time. The logistics were over, we were in the right place, the children were being taken care of, and now we had to wait for three days and adjust to this new reality. I spent most of that time at the hospital with Katherine or on the phone in the lobby dropping the bombshell on friends and family. The phone calls all took a similar shape: breezy disbelief, followed by shock and often tears. After three days I was an old hand, and guided people through their stages as I broke the news. Finally Friday arrived, and Katherine was prepared for the operation. I was allowed to accompany her to a waiting area outside the operating room. Typically French, it was beautiful, with sunlight streaming into a modern atrium planted with trees whose red and brown leaves picked up the light and shone like stained glass. There was not much we could say _____ each other, and I kissed her goodbye not really _____[know]  whether I would see her again, or if I did, how badly she might be affected by the operation. …. In fact the operation was _____ complete success, and when I found Katherine in the intensive care unit a few hours later, she was conscious and smiling. … Walking the sunbaked dusty paths with Leon every day, through the landscape ringing with cicadas, brought back childhood memories of Corfu, _____ our family spent several summers. Twisted olive trees appeared in planted rows, rather than the haphazard groves of Greece, but the lifestyle was the same, although now I was a grown-up with a family of my own. It was surreal, given the back-drop of Katherine’s illness, that everything was so perfect just as it went so horribly wrong. We threw ourselves into enjoying life, and for me this meant exploring the local wildlife with the children. Most obviously different from the UK were the birds, brightly colored and clearly used to spending more time in North Africa than their dowdy UK counterparts, _____ plumage seems more adapted to perpetual autumn than to the vivid colors of Marrakesh. Twenty minutes away was the Camargue, _____rice paddies and salt flats are warm enough to sustain a year round population of flamingos, but I was determined not to get interested in birds. … Other nighttime catches included big fat toads, always released onto a raft in the river in what became a formalized ceremony after school, and a hedgehog carried between two sticks and then housed in a tin bath and fed on worms, until his escape into the compound three days later. It was only then _____ I discovered these amiable but flea-ridden and stinking creatures can carry rabies. But perhaps the most dramatic catch was an unidentified snake, nearly a meter long, also transported using the stick method, and housed overnight in a suspended bowl in the sitting room, lidded, with holes for air. “What do you think of the snake?” I asked Katherine proudly the next morning. “What snake?” she replied. The bowl was empty. The snake had crawled out through a hole and dropped to the floor right next to _____ we were sleeping (on the sofa bed at that time) before sliding out under the door. I hoped. Katherine was not amused, and I resolved to be more careful about what I brought into the house…. So, serpents included, this life was as much like Eden as I felt was possible. With the broadband finally installed, and bats _____[fly] around my makeshift office in the empty barn, the book I had come to write was finally seriously under way, and Katherine’s treatment and environment seemed as good as could reasonably be hoped for. What could possibly tempt us away from this hard-won, almost heavenly niche? My family decided to buy a zoo, of course.

2 The Adventure Begins


….The new plan was to upsize the family assets and Mum’s home to a twelve-bedroom house surrounded by a stagnated business _____ which we knew nothing.  The heavy scent of the oil used to cook french fries gave a fairly accurate indication of the menu and mingled with the smoke of hand-rolled cigarettes rising from the group of staff clad in gray kitchen whites sitting around the bar, _____[eye]  their few customers with suspicion…..This Tesco, for me, meant that the whole thing was doable, and we took our picnic to watch the sunset on a nearby beach _____ high spirits.  ….. Never before or since _____  I seen such a beetle in the wild, and I was convinced he was on the wrong continent. Long—perhaps three inches—with iridescent wing casings, a small head, and enormous antennae, from which, I assume, he got his name….. He wouldn’t make a fuss _____ shooting a lion, like Rob.  …As an advisor on zoo design, Nick also had a few ideas to throw in at this stage. “Get the customers off the drive”—which ran up the center of the lower half of the park for a fifth of a mile—“and into the paddock next to it. You could put a wooden walkway through it—meandering, so that they don’t notice the climb —and get something striking in there, like zebras, and maybe some interesting antelopes, so that as soon as they pass through the kiosk they enter a different world.” Could we get zebras? I asked. “Oh, I can get you zebras,” said Nick casually, as if they were something he might pick up for us at Tesco. This I liked. Spoken almost like a wheeler-dealer: video recorders, leather jackets, zebras, roll up, roll up. But there was more about this glimpse into the workings of the zoo world that appealed. Nick was painting with the animals, as well as designing a serious commercial layout in his head. “You need more flamingos,” he said. “Flamingos look good _____ the trees. The lake up there with the island has trees behind it, so if you put a few more in it they’ll look marvelous when the punters reach the top of the path. Then, _____[climb]  that hill, they’ll be hot. So that’s where you sell them their first ice cream.” Wow. Unfortunately, flamingos are one of the few animals that don’t usually come free from other zoos, costing anything from ?800 to ?1,500 each. Which is a lot of ice cream. And with the prospect of bird flu migrating over the horizon there was the possibility of a mass culling order from DEFRA (Department for Environments, Food, and Rural Affairs) shortly after we took delivery of these beautiful, expensive birds. Our flamingo archipelago might have to wait. I went back to France, Melissa went to her children in Gloucester, and Nick went back to Whipsnade, where he prepared the report that was to dictate the direction of our lives. If it was negative, it would be definitively so, and there would be no point _____[chase]  this dream any further. In many ways, _____ before, I was half hoping that this would be the case and I could finally lay the idea to rest knowing categorically that it would be a mistake to proceed. If it was positive, however, we knew we had to continue, and the report itself would become instrumental in finding the backing to make it happen. Meanwhile, I was learning more about the zoo every day. Ellis had once been seen as a visionary, designing innovative enclosures, putting in disabled access on a difficult sloping site long before legislation required him to do so, and developing an aggressive outreach education program, one of the first _____its kind in the country and now copied by almost every other zoo.  

3 The First Days

… We were also comforted by the fact that although we hadn’t done anything like this before—and we didn’t have a license to trade _____ even a particular curator in mind (Suzy in Australia was having health problems, which put her out of the picture)—at least we owned the entire place outright. …This problem was going to catch up with us fast, so with phones _____[glue]  to our ears, we set about trying to solve immediate crises on the ground without actually spending any money. …..Rob disappeared like a puff of smoke, and I knew he’d gone to get the guns and organize the staff’s response. I sat for an increasingly surreal moment and then decided that, as a director of a zoo, I probably ought to go and see exactly what was going on. I started making my way toward the part of the park where the big cats are kept. This was one of the strangest moments of my life. All I knew was that a big cat—a lion, a tiger?—was out, somewhere, and might be about to come bounding around the corner like an energetic Tigger but not nearly so much fun. I saw a shovel and picked it up, but it felt like an anvil in my hand. What was the point? I thought, and dropped it, and began walking toward the sound of screaming. Was I about to see someone being eaten _____[live] ?   The cashier seemed bemused by her till, and everyone around me was moving as slowly as molasses. …..We began trying to lure him into the _____[finish] fourth cat chamber by placing meat just inside the door. …. Unfortunately, as the evening wore on, sensible Sovereign decided it was safe to sit in the empty chamber, though he kept a watchful eye _____  anyone approaching the cat house.  




























having climbed











Nodding off is the best way to learn?


It turns out that nodding off in class may not be such a bad idea after all, as a new study has shown that going to sleep shortly after learning new material is the best way to remember it.

According to US lead author Jessica Payne, a psychologist at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, nodding off after learning something new is like ‘telling’ the sleeping brain what to retain.

Along with colleagues, she studied 207 students who habitually slept for at least six hours per night.

Participants were randomly assigned to study declarative, semantically related or unrelated word pairs at 9am or 9pm, and returned for testing 30 minutes, 12 hours or 24 hours later.

Declarative memory refers to the ability to consciously remember facts and events, and can be broken down into episodic memory (memory for events) and semantic memory (memory for facts about the world).

People routinely use both types of memory every day – recalling where we parked today or learning how a colleague prefers to be addressed.

At the 12-hour retest, memory overall was superior following a night of sleep compared to a day of wakefulness.

At the 24-hour retest, with all subjects having received both a full night of sleep and a full day of wakefulness, subjects` memories were superior when sleep occurred shortly after learning, rather than following a full day of wakefulness.

‘Our study confirms that sleeping directly after learning something new is beneficial for memory. What`s novel about this study is that we tried to shine light on sleep`s influence on both types of declarative memory by studying semantically unrelated and related word pairs,’ Payne said.

‘Since we found that sleeping soon after learning benefited both types of memory, this means that it would be a good thing to rehearse any information you need to remember just prior to going to bed. In some sense, you may be “telling” the sleeping brain what to consolidate.’

Results of the study were published on March 22 in PLOS One.

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