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These are a few photos from our half term trip. The main reason for going was to see the exhibition of Wildlife photography (which has since finished) and we were impressed by the range and quality of them. I would love to show some of them to you but there is a little matter of copyright, of course.

In the meantime we have learnt that it is counter-productive trying to see absolutely everything in a museum or gallery. That is a hard temptation to resist especially if it is unlikely that you are going to visit that place again. However, in this case we have been before and so apart from the exhibition we chose two favourite places to see. The first was the mammal section and our all-time favourite, the replica of a blue whale. It is big – just compare it to the elephant in the last picture.

We also paid a visit to the insect section. Not many of our photos came out – they had live ants here but the layers of protective glass made focussing difficult. Nonetheless it was fascinating watching them.

The building is worth a mention. It is the same era as the Houses of Parliament and worth a look in its own right.

We do understand that in general it is best to leave a wild creature alone and that trying to help can sometimes make matters worse. On this occasion the hedgehog was spotted on the grass verge in broad daylight early one evening. It had obviously hurt its leg so it was carefully picked up (the wearing of gardening gloves was deemed necessary) and brought up the lane to our back garden.

We found an old cardboard box and while one of us found worms and slugs with which to feed it, another went indoors to phone the RSPCA or anyone else who might help or advise. The evening wore on and we wondered whether we were going to have to make a better shelter for the poorly animal or else let it go and let it take its chances.

Later than we would have liked, we got a call to say to take it to a local vets’. Apparently for wild animals there was to be no charge; which is just as well as I overheard one caller being told the evening charge was £119 and that was before any treatment costs. So off we went with the gerbil carrier, some straw and broken hedgehog.

I guessed the outcome of our visit when the person staffing the reception said, “I’ll just take this through to the nurse and we will return the container to you.” How were we going to break the news to the youngest member our family? Well, a few minutes later a vetinary nurse came out with the empty container and bad news. Not only was the leg broken but there were other internal injuries and the hedgehog was destined for “hedgehog heaven”.

To our relief the news was greeted better than we might have expected. We reasoned that dying at the vets’ was better than dying a slow death through starvation or being eaten by a fox. The nurse thanked us for our trouble and we went on our way.

I mention resurrection but I do not mean reincarnation as some creature in another life in this world; nor do I mean resuscitation – a last minute reprieve or recovery for the animal. Some people talk about having a soul: some essential part of our identity which is invisible and separate from the physical body which we can see and touch. Some people would say that only human beings possess a soul, others would say that all creatures have them. Either way, resurrection would be understood as the soul escaping the body and thus escaping death.

If you do not believe we have a soul then such a resurrection is meaningless. But the Christian belief in resurrection does not depend upon whether we have such a thing as a soul or at least on a particular understanding of what a soul might be. Nor does it mean that “saved” people cannot die. Rather it means that after we have died (that is to say, death is real) there is the hope and possibility of a new life – the result of God’s miraculous power which Christians believe was revealed by Jesus Christ’s resurrection. And if God is God, then he will do what is exactly right for everyone and for everything – that is one of the ways of understanding the idea of “a new heaven and a new earth”.

What does that mean for our hedgehog? I don’t know, but I inclined to believe that resurrection is a real possibility and that what ever God does it will be what is right for that hedgehog. Where is that hedgehog now? Probably buried somewhere – but its future lies elsewhere.

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