Saturday, 20 June 2009

Full of Flu

And using this as an excuse to stay in bed and read. Finished 'The Aye-Aye and I' by Gerald Durrell, which I adored. I want my writing to be as witty and easy to connect to. Also, by today's standards the man's vocabulary was fantastic and varied, which I feel all writers should aim to achieve.

Now on to 'Notes from Walnut Tree Farm', by the marvellous Roger Deakin. What a pleasure it must have been to have known this man. His writing is a fruitcake-rich appreciation of the British landscape, including mammals, birds, weather, country living, hills and trees. I am envious of his knowledge of trees, and the ease with which he describes them:

I love the creasing and wrinkling of the tree's skin at the points where branches have been bent over and then healed, like the bending of an elephants trunk. Woodmen call these 'elbows', and I have often found, in Welsh or Cumbrian hedges especially, that the laid branches of hazel or ash will pleach themselves together, two or three different trees fusing into one in a series of swollen, gnarled elbows.

This passage is a good example of Deakin's ability to combine knowledge, experience and language into a sort of "found poem". Beautiful stuff. Must read up on my trees.

Frog and FOF have been joined by a third, a spectacularly green accomplice who I found in the shade of my neighbour's brambles. These brambles seem to be an eco-system in themselves, so thriving with bees and frogs. I am only vaguely disappointed to find no hedgehogs there, but will continue to look.

The weather is muggy, although perhaps that is only my raised temperature. The river, as usual for a saturday, is busy with rowers and over-looked by collared doves.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Man, the Legend

Last Wednesday I was lucky enough to meet David Attenborough at a book signing in Cambridge. What a legend. He was ever so sweet- an hour early and gave everyone the warmest smile. My friend Nikki (who had come to stay from Wales to see him) and I walked around the city in a daze afterwards, clutching our books. It's now almost top on my list of things to save in a house fire...just below the cat and hamster.

 On the 21st I'm going to see Jane Goodall give a talk at London Zoo, so that'll be two of my heroes ticked off the list!

Monday, 1 June 2009


My June column should be up shortly on gb wildlife,
Look under the "This Month" section, for columns on the pipistrelle bat, willow warbler and the green-veined white butterfly....

If you build it....they will come...

The garden had its shiny new pond for approx 3 weeks before the first frog sighting. "Frog" (you can tell I have a creative writing degree, no?) has settled into the tiny space, and in the last two days has been joined by a friend (Hereafter referred to as Friend of Frog). 

The sight of these two, throats bulging beneath the lillies, got me to wondering how they are able to find a fresh pond so quickly. Not only this, but how do the species which only live in water find their way? We seem to have quite a collection of diving beetles. Now we just need a snail or two to clean up the murky gungy stuff left in the wake of frog parties.

Anyway, all this action reminded me of the film "Field of Dreams", and the slogan "If you build it, they will come" which seems to apply not only to ghost base-ball players, but the British Common Frog as well.