1. A brilliant skeleton brooch or badge
2. Join the RSPB or a local Wildlife Trust
The RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts both do brilliant work in protecting and recording wildlife in the UK. You can have family membership of the RSPB from about £5 a month and Wildlife Trusts are about the same (you join your local one). They both do separate but brilliant work, so it makes sense to join both, and their magazines are brilliant.
Join your local Wildlife Trust: wildlifetrusts.org
Join the RSPB: rspb.org.uk
3. A penknife
I have a Victorinox Swiss army knife and it's great to have in your pocket while out walking. They are about as safe as knifes get, and there's a Duke of Edinburgh Award edition one with a main blade with a rounded edge to make it even safer, although I don't see the point in those. For about £25-£30 you will get a well made knife that will last you a long time. I have had mine for the last four years and my dad has had his for the last thirty !
4. "The Nature Tracker's Handbook"
Nick Baker's book "The Nature Tracker's Handbook" is one of the best books about UK wildlife I have read. It tells you what to bring, animals trails and things like poo and owl pellets, and gives enough detail for both children and adults. My copy is signed by Nick Baker from when I was Winterwatch Unsprung in January.
You can buy it from Amazon, but local bookshops are best. They will be able to order it almost as cheaply, and they LOVE your business.
5. A personalised OS Map
Since I began collecting, I have had one of these maps. They used to be a bit more flimsy than regular maps, but the newer ones are as good as the proper OS maps, and at £17 are really good value. They are customised (you can choose when the centre of the map is, the title and the cover photo) and the scale (1:50,000 shows more ground, but 1:25,000 is better because it shows far more detail.) My map is centred on my village and it shows all of the woods near me, and is fantastic for finding new places to explore. You can even order one which comes flat so you can have it as a wall poster.
You can order yours here: ordnancesurvey.co.uk
The single most useful thing I carry in the countryside is my pair of binoculars, and they make a great gift. A good pair will last a long time, and I have used mine for about three years and they look as good as new. I use Bushnell 8x42 waterproof binoculars, which cost around £70. If you're buying for someone my age, make sure they can reach the focussing ring in the middle when holding (it can be difficult with some of the old-style "porro" binoculars". The straps that come with them can be a bit rubbish, but the elasticated harness ones which go over the arms are very handy, and cost about £10-£15.
7. Adopt a zoo animal
Most zoos have a scheme where you can sponsor one of their animals. They usual describe it as "adopting" which is sounds like you take them home with you, but depending on how much you spend, you'll either get information about it and a certificate, free tickets, and your name listed by its enclosure. My local zoo is Edinburgh Zoo, and about £40 will get you a certificate, and £80 will get you some free tickets.
Edinburgh Zoo Adopt an Animal: edinburghzoo.org.uk/support-us/adopt-an-animal/
8. Skeleton apron and glove
Even though I don't have this, I think its really cool because it looks mad. I think I should buy one for my mum !
Oven glove: sciencemuseumshop.co.uk/home/kitchen/xray_oven_glove.htm
9. "The Unfeathered Bird"
10. Bones stack game
The bone stack is based on Jenga. It's a bit more expensive than the regular game, but it does look cool.
On Amazon UK: amazon.co.uk
11. Lumbar vertebrae mug
I don't really use mugs myself but this is quite cool !
At Anatomy Stuff: anatomystuff.co.uk
12. Alan Dudley's "Skulls"
"Skulls" by Simon Winchester is by far my favourite bone book. It's based on a collector in England called Alan Dudley who put together a fantastic collection of skulls from around the world. It has really good pics of skulls and has loads of facts about them. I got this book two years ago and it is still interesting. I reviewed it at the time.
As always, you can buy it from Amazon, but local bookshops are best. They will be able to order it almost as cheaply, and they LOVE your business.
13. Bone pens
These remind me of some fantastic bone-shaped erasers that my editor found in a museum. These pens look fragile but for a couple pounds they would make a good stocking filler.
Here they are at: enchantedemporium.co.uk
14. A week long course on human osteology
Okay, so this is the opposite of a "stocking filler". It's a five day course run by Lauren McIntyre and Isabelle Heyerdahl-King at Oxford Brookes University, and it takes place next January. It's not cheap but it looks fantastic !
Human Osteology: An Introduction: brookes.ac.uk
15. "Secrets of Bones" with Ben Garrod and Prof. Alice Roberts
16. Lee Post's rearticulation guides
Lee Post is a professional skeleton articulator based in Alaska, who does a lot of brilliant work, including with massive whale skeletons. His guides are the most detailed and interesting guides I have found, and are really, really useful for identifying small bones such as carpals and tarsals.I would definitely recommend these to anyone who wants to rearticulate a skeleton. I'm hopefully going to write a longer review to his guides at some point on here !
Order his guides: theboneman.com/
17. And of course...my book !
Did you think I'd forgotten it ? If you like my blog you'll love my book. It'ss £8 in the UK. It's aimed at five to eight year olds but the oldest reader I know is 84, and she loved it. Final time I'll say it: you can buy from Amazon, but local bookshops are almost as cheap and much better service.
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