I am frantically preparing for my trip to China. I leave on Friday. I am having to put to bed the Spring/Summer issue of Galapagos News, pen the finishing touches to a chapter I am contributing to an academic volume on The Afterlives of Animals (I’ve written about Chi-Chi the giant panda), finalise my travel arrangements, get insurance, buy in Chinese currency and somehow fit in all the reading I still need to do before the trip.

I have also written a talk for a Cafe Scientifique event co-organised by the British Council and the Tianjin Natural History Museum on Sunday (see poster). It is an honour to be invited to talk at this event about Galapagos and giant tortoises and I am to be joined by senior panda researcher Wang Dajun from the Center for Nature and Society at Peking University in Beijing. It is a little daunting to be giving a presentation in such prestigious company but I am really looking forward to meeting Dr Wang and to finding out all about his work first-hand.

Needless to say I am very excited. It’s been an immense amount of work to plan this trip. If I achieve half of what I have set out, I will be happy.

China preparations