Day 2-An early start

Day 2 has been off to an early start with feeding Alice. It’s looking like another grey day outside, so may be looking at cloud watching from inside. Reading though many of the comments on facebook I’ve seen a lot of people looking for indoors activities or quick activities.Today I would like to recommend starting an audiobook. As a new father I knew I wouldn’t have as much time to read as I used to. I enjoy listening to Audible audio books in the car on the way to and back from work. If you sign up for Amazons audible you get one free audiobook. You aren’t tied to the subscription, so if you want to just try one you can and then leave it. Audiobooks are allowing me to carry on taking in books at a time when my personal “me” time is limited. I’ve binged on nature/animal books the last few months. Here are a few of my favourites.

Raptor a journey through birds-James Macdonald Lockhart


Audible link

James Macdonald travels the UK examining 15 species of breeding birds of prey in the UK. Birds of prey hold a special fascination to most bird watchers. The descriptions of the different birds of beautiful. He details background to how the birds have fared historically in the UK and how they are doing currently as well as prob lems they are facing. Throughout the book James uses the life of William MacGillivray to create a narrative through the book. Willaim MacGillivray was a Scottish ornithologist (1796-1852) who wrote what was in essence the first guides to British birds. This was a very engaging listen with good narration.


Meadowland-John Lewis Stempel


Audible link

In this book John Lewis-Stempel spends a year detailing the events of an English meadow on his farm. Through this I discovered much about the life of a meadow field I was unaware of. John’s writing has a poetry to it often describing everyday events as the wonders they should be taken as. He details the fauna and beasts that live in the field as well as species disappearing from the countryside.I’ve re listened to this several times taking in different details each time.


Life on air: Memoirs of a broadcaster-David Attenbourough


Audible link

Britain’s favourite nature presenter tells the story of his life as a broadcaster I listened to this earlier in the year before all of the celebratory programs came on for David’s 90th birthday. This was a superb listen, gripped me throughout. I hadn’t known about David’s time as controller of BBC 2 as it first got going. It was fascinating to see how television programs have developed, how the technology developed to allow better filming of animals, and David’s stories of the animals along the way. Narrated by David himself delivering it as only he could. I was disappointed when it finished.

We bought a zoo-Benjamin Mee


Audible link

The story of Benjamin Mee was turned into a Matt Damon movie a few years back. The movie changed pretty much all the details. It moved the story to America. It changed the relationship with Mee’s wife. It changed the whole family set up Mee created. Mee and his family uprooted their lives to buy a dilapidated zoo on Dartmoor. The family have little experience in looking after exotic animals. They have financial problems. Mee’s wife Katherine was diagnosed  with cancer.  As a journalist for the guardian for many years his writing is very entertaining. There are many heart-warming moments within the book. A nice easy listen.

Being a beast-Charles Foster


Audible link

Charles Foster spends time trying to get to know what it is like to be a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox and a swift. He tries to avoid anthropomorphising the animals and write what life for them might really be like. It looks at the neuroscience and psychology of the animals. He spends time trying to love as each of the animals do. These accounts are often humorous.  His accounts of spending time digging around for worms as a badger are very funny. A good nature book turning views on their heads.

Our Zoo-June Mottershead


Audible link

The BBC made June’s account into a lovely drama. It changed many of the details, but made for nice family entertainment. June’s story of how her father George Mottershead set up Chester zoo. It’s a thoroughly engaging look at how the zoo was set up and developed over time. It will bring tears of joy and sadness as her story goes back and forth.

H is for Hawk-Helen Macdonald


Audible link

Helen Macdonald tells how she trains a goshawk after the death of her father. Throughout the book she also tells the tortured tale of the life of W.H. White, author of the goshawk and the once and future king. It tells her story of loss and how she heals through training her hawk and reconnecting to a world she withdraws from. Written with great warmth and a level of intimacy. Helen narrates the book herself giving the delivery the appropriate delivery of particularly emotional sections.


And a few in my library waiting to be listened to.

Fingers in the sparkle jar-Chris Packham


Audible link

Cuckoo-cheating nature-Nick Davies


Audible link

The shepherd’s life-James Rebanks


Audible link

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