Edward Thomas-Spring thaw

Today have been the birthday of Edward Thomas. With the state of the UK weather it seems appropriate to remember him through one of his poems.

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Spring-Thaw

Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed

The speculating rooks at their nests cawed

And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flower of grass,

What we below could not see, Winter pass.

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Nature Book Swap

The arts and humanities research council have announced the short list of the UK’s favourite nature book.

Here

The list is an interesting mix of fiction and non-fiction and old and new. The books are all ones that have touched people in different ways. They all have some emotional impact.

I read a lot of nature books both fiction and non-fiction and as part of this blog I have shared many I’ve enjoyed. Following on from the dark is rising book group, the AHRC book list and the seed swap I wondered if anyone was interested in a secret nature book swap? You may have ended up with duplicates for Christmas. So here is a use for them.

The concept was done during the 30 days wild. Emails of interest are collected. People are sent an address to send on a nature book too. In this way people encounter new nature books and share their love of the written word.

If you receive a book you own or have read pass it to a friend or family member you think might like it. If you can’t think of anyone give it to charity. No harm having charity shops filled with quality nature writing. Someone will enjoy it.

So initially just looking for who is interested. If you are email me your name and address. All information will remain confidential except who you are sending a book too. I can’t except any liability for anyone who doesn’t receive a book. This relies on trust and goodwill. UK only so no one has excessive postage.

I’ll set a deadline of interest to next Friday 12th January. So anyone interested email: natureswap@mail.com

Follow on twitter

#naturebookswap

The nature principle-Richard Louv

I have just finished listening to Richard Louv-The nature principle on audible. Since Alice came along my reading time dropped, so I like listening to audio books on my journey to work. I’ve worked through a lot of nature books over the last year, so even with lack of time I’m still learning new things. I’ve reviewed Last child in the wood, Richard’s previous book. Last child is something of a modern classic for educators wanting to get children outside. The nature principle has more of a focus on adults and how connecting to nature can benefit us in many ways.

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It covered a lot of similar ground as last child in the woods, sometimes even falling back on the same research or giving further details of events mentioned in last child. So I wouldn’t recommend this without reading last child first, as you may find some of these references annoying. Unlike many nature writers covering the same topic I like Richard Louv as he concentrates on positive steps that can be taken to find a space in nature. Many nature books currently get stuck on the doom and gloom and stating that much of what has happened to the environment is irreversible. But Louv, while he does talk about places that have gone wrong, spends more time discussing what can be done to move forwards to create a better world. He has ideas for embracing both nature and technology. His work isn’t about just reclaiming a past we can’t go back to.

Louv argues for the benefits of time in nature. He covers research showing how recovery time in hospital is shortened in patients look out onto green space. Time in nature can boost creativity, increase immunity and help de-stress. While I’m already sold on the benefits of nature time it’s still nice to hear.

The narration is good. Rick Adamson, who narrates, has a clear voice. Many of the non-fiction audible books have narrators with no intonation suitable for putting you to sleep. Not suitable for me driving, but this was done well.

Having enjoyed this second book I’m now tempted with Louv’s more recent book Vitamin N. May be a future purchase.

 

Haiku

Today is a day for indulging in the traditional Zen activity of creating haiku’s. With Alice not sleeping well my daily acts of meditation help a little towards my alertness and calm. A quick little poem following the traditional haiku subject of the seasons.

Autumn leaves falling,

Drifting down to the wet ground,

Crunching under foot.

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I have managed to get Alice down in her cot. A rare event during the day. We’ll see how long this lasts.

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And on the subject of seasons the Wildlife Trusts anthology on Summer is on offer on kindle at the moment.

From the blurb:
Capturing the high point of the year’s progress, Summer presents prose and poetry spanning eight hundred years. Featuring new contributions by Simon Barnes, Michael McCarthy and Esther Woolfson, classic extracts from the work of Charles Dickens, Mary Webb and Philip Larkin, and diverse new nature writing from across the UK, this vibrant and evocative collection will inspire you to go out and enjoy the pleasures of summer.

Summer anthology-Mellisa Harrison (Ed.)

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Autumn is here, but Summer flowers hanging on.

Yesterday took Alice for a walk along the seafront past Hornsea Floral Hall. The hall has spectacular flower beds and there were a good number of Summer flowers hanging on in there.

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Although a few have made the shift to Autumn. The dunnocks were still enjoying playing in the bushes.

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Along the hedges were a few more harlequin invaders._dsc0296

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And a spectacular web.

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My wildflower meadow planted earlier in the year is starting to get going ready for flowering next year.

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Strike day

Today I am on strike. As a teacher my career path is being eroded by the conservative government. George Osbourne froze the spending per child in schools meaning in real terms we have taken a cut with inflation. Their push to make all schools academies has been well publicised. The continual push to make the public sector fail to allow for privatisation. They are pushing to allow unqualified teachers replace teachers. I know who I would rather have teach my child. All of there proposals will further lead to further inequality in society. The poor will end up with a poorer quality of education.  Not that the conservatives will care with their children already in private schools, but I believe in education for all. I work in a inner city council estate. The new push to link exam results will put people off working in these areas where you are likely to see lower results. The parents I work for are a lovely bunch, but they don’t have the same money as leafy suburban parents in terms of providing opportunities for their kids. The children get to see more of the world through school opportunities. The cuts will reduce how much can be done. I have known many of the children I teach from birth and want them to have the same opportunities in life as my own daughter. Under Nicky Morgan that won’t happen. As such I am on strike.

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Normally I have marched on strike days, but with a 7 week old colicky baby I am adding what support I can from home. I have added my name to relevant petitions, emailed my MP and I’m adding to blogs. The press does not generally get behind teachers, so we need as much positive press as we can get. Many people are questioning why strike now? The government and press is caught up in Brexit fever. But it is for this reason pressure needs to be put on the government to push education to the fore. With leadership battles going on in both key parties I want to see promises of better education secured. It is time for unions to be strong while the government are weak.

For now I will continue to take solace from our ineffectual government by continuing to enjoy nature. Alice and myself enjoyed watching the secret life of birds with Iolo Williams this morning on netflix. Alice seemed to like the curlews.

Then some reading I can dip in and out of with her naps.

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