MASC Meeting

5 February, 2013 § Leave a comment

We had a MASC meeting on Saturday and we got a lot of things sorted out. We are hoping to have some fundraisers for our trip to Wild Futures in Cornwall in March and we all have jobs and things for getting ready for Morocco and beyond. We said goodbye to three trustees: Marie Harmard, Kingsley Glover and Jenny Lange who all have so many other commitments they can’t give MASC as much time as we need from them at the moment but all three will remain members and there have been promises of hands when we need them. We also welcomed aboard Alice Bartlett officially. She is our new trustee and she is already busy beavering away with getting us some spots at fairs, festivals and fetes.

So we were pretty productive and most importantly I felt full of purpose and ready to attack this year that looks like it is going to be a real challenge head-on.

Upbeat monkey hugs

Teshta script draft completed!

22 January, 2013 § Leave a comment

I have completed the first full draft of the script for Teshta the Monkey which we will be taking to Morocco in May this year with BMC-Rif. We are planning on teaching local actors how to do the show and I will help with the direction and then we will leave it in their hands to continue performing the show as much as they like. We will ask them to film it from time to time so we can see how it evolves as it goes on. I am feeling excited again now that draft is done! Hooray, just money and logistics to do now!

Bonobo Conservation Initiative and Teshta the Monkey

22 January, 2013 § Leave a comment

On Saturday I went into London to meet with Tallulah from BCI-UK. We had a great meeting where we talked about everything from conservation, the education system, sexual education, inhibited religious upbringings, homosexuality and marriage. It was productive and we will definitely will be working together soon. We are both crazily busy though since we both have jobs and academic pursuits beyond the charity we are running. We decided to look at it after May when I am going to Morocco with Teshta (the Moroccan version of Muna the Monkey) so I am really excited about that in a couple of months.

I am also feeling inspired to find a new way to do Teshta. I am hoping to find a more portable in a country that doesn’t have such easy transport way of doing it. I think I have an idea but I am not sure how it will work yet. We also need to find a cast for it in Morocco which is not going to be an easy but I am ready for the challenge. Oh well, I better get on with the script if I am going to ever get there!

Monkey Hugs

Beale Park 2013

18 January, 2013 § Leave a comment

Yesterday I went to a meeting at Beale Park about what we will be doing there this year and I have some dates for the diaries. Firstly the 27th and 28th of July and the 31st August and 1st of September in which we will be doing two of three possible options the double bill of plays or Monkey Athletics or Monkey Biscuits. Then in October half term – 31st of October and 1st of November – we will be launching Spooky Monkeys a new set of activities teaching about nocturnal primates. More details of all to come. Hope to see some people there

Monkey hugs

New year – new projects

15 January, 2013 § Leave a comment

I am meeting with Tallulah Bygraves of Bonobo Conservation Initiative – UK at the weekend so I spent some of last night and this morning updating my bonobo-knowledge and coming up with a few creative ideas for how we could develop a play for them. I forgot how much I love designing things, particularly for a species I already love.

For those who don’t know already bonobos are part of the Pan group which is chimpanzees. They used to be called pygmy or gentile chimpanzees the former is a misnomer since they have a large overlap in size with chimpanzees. They live in a very small area in only one country – DRC. They are female-dominant and the females form friendship bonds since they are often not related. A male’s rank is dependent on that of his mother and he will stay in the same group as her with a life-long bond. Possibly the most interesting thing about them is the frequency that they have sex. It is not limited to procreation and is conducted face to face as well as ‘doggy style’. They tongue kiss and have oral sex, they have sex with partners of the same sex and the only individual off limits is adult males and their mothers. They are renowned as the ‘Make Love, Not War’ primate and I have always found them interesting.

We are hoping to develop a piece with BCI-UK for secondary school students – a new challenge. I have brain-stormed some new ideas and hopefully soon will be able to get some idea of how plausible it would be to do such a show. I am getting really excited.

I am also going to meet with Beale Park this week, I am going to take our new volunteer Kyle to show him the spaces we use and the monkeys they keep.So things are ramping up again for MASC, we have a few new projects in the pipeline that I will not reveal until I have them confirmed. I am feeling excited about MASC again which is nice. Not much work at the moment so it is good to have something I can really get my teeth in.

2013 off to a flying start

12 January, 2013 § Leave a comment

Aoife and I are having a lovely palm oil-free year so far (with an accidental slip up on some pitta – see the other blog for details) and are feeling great. I have so much MASC stuff to get organised next week (not much work around so should be able to manage it). I am hoping to have the Teshta the Monkey (Moroccan version of Muna) script finished by the end of this month. I had a meeting with Kyle (our new web volunteer) and we are making progress on the new developments. I am hoping these will include a Facebook page (in addition to our group), a new palm oil wiki, a new face for the website and more blogs, tweets and Facebook updates all round. A big meeting is planned for the beginning of February to get us really going for the year and then there will be no stopping us.

I hope that everyone else is having a similarly positive 2013 so far.

Monkey hugs

Edinburgh Zoo

5 November, 2012 § 2 Comments

Aoife and I had a holiday at the end of September when we went to Scotland. We stayed in a beautiful spot near Linlithgow. This is the stunning view from the balcony:Image

We spent a lot of time hanging out at the house and recovering from the trip to Cornwall with Muna (more 


on that later) but we did a few day trips. One was to Deep Sea World where we saw sharks and lovely RAYS!! One was to the Scottish Deer Centre which had a lovely selection of deer species and native Scottish animals. We went to several talks and displays and learnt about deer population management techniques avoiding culling. We saw a fox, lynx, Scottish wild cats and wolves but didn’t see the red squirrels.

This stag was rolling around in the soil, the felt was coming off his antlers. If I remember correctly this is a white-lipped deer. We bought three bags of food and then saw no deer for ages, we had nearly a Imagewhole bag left when we got to the end and fed it all to the group of deer who were going mad for it. Here is Aoife modelling her MASC hoodie. This stag was really gentle, one of the stags who didn’t seem to be old enough to have antlers (or possibly is a beta-male and is not able to grow antlers) was bullying everyone out of the way of the food. 

Despite severe weather warnings, the weather was mild enough for the whole trip except a deluge before going into Deep Sea World (which seemed appropriate).

ImageOn the last day as a spur of the moment thing we decided to stay for an extra night in a B and B in Edinburgh and go to the zoo. What a brilliant day! We didn’t see the pandas but we were walking down one side of the monkey house when suddenly we saw….This is a Diana monkey a close relation of the Roloway monkey. I had never seen either in the flesh before and it was very exciting to see them using all the aspects of their enclosure. After standing and watching them for quite a while we decided to head on. Then just round the corner was….Not just was it the species we had just finished looking at with ImageMuna but they support BMCRif, our collaborators. What an exciting day for MASC! We also went on to see geladas (Aoife’s favourite) and tapirs (my favourite) and many other lovely enclosures and animals.


A lovely, much-needed break was had by all

Monkey hugs

Talk Tonight at Oxford Brookes

5 November, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hello monkeys,

A long silence due to us taking a little break for personal reasons but we are back up and running now! Firstly an event. If anyone is around the Oxford area and wants to hear me talking a little about what MASC is and how it was set up then come to Oxford Brookes, Gypsy Lane Campus, Room something! I seem unable to find out which it is. If you are interested turn up at quarter to six and ask for the Monkey Monday or the Monday night seminar series. There should be people around to point the way!


Monkey hugs

Cornwall and a holiday!

24 September, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hello everyone,

What a busy few weeks. Now safely on holiday I am able to debrief about Cornwall. We had a great time, visited Linda Byrne who generously gave up her house for us one night. We saw everyone at the Monkey Sanctuary and did 4 great shows. We have even made a few contacts for a mini-tour next year! I will add some pictures to speak more eloquently than my addled brain!

Monkey Hugs


15 August, 2012 § Leave a comment

So I have bought most or all of the costume I need to buy. I have arranged to borrow some more and Jen is very kindly making some. That means costume check.

I started papier-macheing (?) the props yesterday and have so far done a ball and a cactus. A few more things to go then decorating.

I have 14 or so useable poles out of 35 so today I am going to try and finish them. Then I can cut, sew and draw out the backcloth which will hopefully be ready for painting on Monday next week. I am going into Oxford and picking up the wood for the set tomorrow so that will be something I can do on Sunday.

I am also visiting Christine Brewster of Stripey Basket today to talk to her about potentially making Ahmed the tortoise’s shell.

So all in all things are going quite well. I keep meaning to post pictures but I haven’t been able to get the device that gets them off my camera.

Monkey Hugs

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