30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Eighteen.

104115253_3891626224242814_8857612714780911463_oDay 18: The Wildlife Trusts’ Big Wild Weekend kicks off today with a talk hosted by CEO, Craig Bennett. He chats to an exciting panel of authors who were inspired by the natural world! You can register for the free talk here.

Nature is one of life’s great inspirations and no wonder there are so many authors who were/are inspired by its cruelty, terror and sheer beauty. Below is a non exhaustive list of authors who have been thus inspired.

The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Graham

This classic children’s story published in 1908 focuses on the adventures of Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger and is an example of anthropomorphism. With it’s evocative descriptions of the Edwardian countryside it had to make this list.

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Another example of anthropomorphism, with farm yard animals overthrowing their human masters but in time themselves becoming corrupted. Orwell’s anti-utopian satire is based on the Russian Revolution.

The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkein 

Tolkein heavily uses the natural world as a backdrop for his The Lord of the Rings saga. There are mountain ranges, rivers and old gnarly woods. He also uses anthropomorphism with his Ents (trees), giving them voices and personalities. The Lord of the Rings highlights that industrialisation creates an alienation with the natural world.

H is for Hawk – Helen McDonald 

This 2014 memoir recalls the author coming to terms with her grief as she trains her unruly goshawk. This book speaks loud and clear of how wildlife and nature can heal a broken heart and mind.

The Lost Words – Robert McFarlane 

It’s not just adults who are becoming disconnected with nature, children too are not learning of the magic from the natural world. Words like, conker, ivy, raven are becoming lost and this book of spells beautifully illustrated by Jackie Morris hopes to rectify that.

A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson

Bryson’s 1998 autobiographical account of his attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail, shows him struggling to cope in the American wilderness.

Crow – Ted Hughes – Crow

The rural landscape of Hughes’ birthplace, Yorkshire had a lasting impression on his poetry, especially the animals that populated the rolling moors. Crow, The Thought Fox and the Hawk in the Rain are just a few of his collections.

Bird Therapy – Joe Harkness

The author, struggling with his mental health, writes this memoir highlighting the importance of nature on our well being. Using bird watching as a way out of depression.

Many Victorian novelists were heavily inspired by nature, such as the Brontë’s, Thomas Hardy and Charles’ Dickens. Not to mention the romantic poets, William Wordsworth and his Daffodils, John Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s To a Skylark.

What is your favourite nature inspired book?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine x

30 Days Wild 2021 – Preparation

Hi Everyone!

Today, I am fishing for some inspiration from you guys!

In just over two weeks time it is once again the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild and it will be my sixth year participating since it’s inception in 2015. This year however, I have little in the way of ideas for blogging each of the 30 days. I think I have become mentally de-stimulated due to Covid-19 restrictions, so I am turning to you in the hope that you can help my creative juices to start flowing again.

I am looking for any ideas you may have around the topic of enjoying nature and wildlife and how I can best blog about it daily for each day in June.

Here’s a few subjects I’ve already blogged about over the years: I took in a bee experience at the Bee Centre Chorley, beach walked and forest bathed, breathed in the scent of a glorious wildflower meadow, swam wild in the Lake District, went on a badger watch at RSPB Haweswater and moth trapped at RSPB Leighton Moss.

So, if you have any suggestions, whether it is a trip to a local nature reserve (I’m sure I can fit in one or two), or a close up focus on a type of bird, mammal or insect, then do let me know in the comments below.

I very much look forward to all your ideas, and thank you in advance.

Stay Wild!

Christine x

A Year in Books 2020 – October to December

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A Year in Books

I’ve finally managed to finalise my last post in my Year in Books challenge. I never set a target to read this year and I’m glad I didn’t as the last two quarters of 2020 were abysmal for reading. I’ve just not been inclined to read and when I have I’ve been easily distracted. I’ve a kindle chock full of books that I’ve bought but not attempted to read. Maybe 2021 I’ll be able to rekindle my reading passion? My total books read in 2020 has been 19. I hang my head in shame. 

The Sight of You – Holly Miller ✩✩

This was a very strange book. It had a good premise, if you knew the ending of a relationship would you still go ahead with it? But halfway through the novel, when the realisation had occurred, it just became a depression fest. For the reader, knowing the end of a novel half way through just doesn’t keep the attention. Only read this book if you want to be depressed. 

The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant – Kayte Nunn ✩✩✩

I quite like the prose of Kayte Nunn and she is a new author I have discovered this year. I found the narrative easy to follow and the ending was satisfying. I’d read more books by this author. 

So there you have it, my tally of just two books read in the last quarter of 2020. I am currently still getting through The Giver of Stars – Jojo Moyes but my reading is sporadic. I’ll finish it eventually sometime in 2021. 

Have you read any good books lately, any recommendations?

Thanks for dropping by and stay safe!

Christine x

First Line Fridays

I really need to get back into my blog, it’s been too long since I wrote a post! Here’s a First Line Fridays, a weekly feature hosted by Wandering Words, on judging a book by its opening lines rather than its cover or author.

Listen. Three miles deep in the forest just below Arnott’s Ridge, and you’re in silence so dense it’s like you’re wading through it.

Would you read on?

The lines are from JoJo Moyes’ latest novel, The Giver of Stars.

Alice Wright doesn’t love her new American husband. Nor her domineering father-in-law or the judgmental townsfolk of Baileyville, Kentucky. Stifled and misunderstood, she yearns for escape and finds it in defiant Margery O’Hare and the sisterhood bringing books to the isolated and vulnerable. But when her father-in-law and the town turn against them, Alice fears the freedom, friendship and the new love she’s found will be lost . . .

Have you read this book? What were your impressions?

What books are you reading at the moment?

Thanks for stopping by, Christine x

A Year in Books 2020 – July to September

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A Year in Books

Oh well!

This quarter of 2020’s A Year in Books has been very sparse indeed. With only one book read and currently still struggling through two books. This review will be very short and a quick blog to write.

The books I am currently reading are; The Sight of You – Holly Miller and Under the Stars – Matt Gaw. I wonder if I shall finish them by the end of the year?

Beyond the Moon – Catherine Taylor ✩✩

A strange twist of fate connects a British soldier fighting in the First World War in 1916 and a young woman living in modern-day England a century later, in this haunting literary time travel novel.

Two people, two battles: one against the invading Germans on the battlefields of 1916 France, the other against a substandard, uncaring mental health facility in modern-day England. Part war story, part timeslip, part love story – and at the same time a meditation on the themes of war, mental illness, identity and art.

The premise to this novel was good, a sort of time travel but I wasn’t totally won on the romance side, it seemed a little contrived to me. The author depicts the horrors of war and the barbarism of the medical treatment in the field quite well. However the narrative looses its way half way through and it all got a little tedious and repetitive. I did lose the will at one stage but found a fresh wind and managed to finish it.

I feel like I’ve given up on reading this year. Who knows perhaps the cold, darker nights of winter my plunge me back into the pages of a book.

Have you read any good books lately, any recommendations?

Thanks for dropping by,

Christine x

First Line Fridays

It’s been such a long time since I wrote a First Line Fridays, a weekly feature hosted by Wandering Words, on judging a book by its opening lines rather than its cover or author.

Joel, I’m so sorry. To see you again like that… Why did I get on the train? I should have waited for the next one. It wouldn’t have mattered. I missed my stop anyway, and we were late for the wedding.

The Sight of You – Holly Miller

Would you read on?

The lines are from the debut novel The Sight of You by Holly Miller. Joel is haunted by premonitions about the ones he loves.When Joel meets Callie it feels like a new start for them both, until Joel has a dream about Callie. The novel isn’t a laugh a minute, but I’m enjoying the narrative and wondering how it will end. It makes you question that if you knew when your life would end, would you live it differently?

Have you read this book? What were your impressions?

What books are you reading at the moment?

Thanks for stopping by, Christine x

30 Days Wild 2020 – Day Twenty-six.

twt-30-days-wild_countdown_26Day 26: For today’s 30 Days Wild, I’ll partake in a new activity for me, I’ll listen to a nature podcast. After a quick search on Google, I discovered that there were many podcasts relating to nature. Below are links to some of the podcasts I found related to me, literature, metal health and wild swimming, but there will be podcasts more suitable for your interests too. Happy listening!

Ramblings: Literary Walks: In 2011 Clare Balding took a walk around Heptonstall and Hebden Bridge, a landscape which inspired the writing of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.

The Outdoor Fix: Wild Swimming with Suzanna Cruickshank.

Wild Swimming podcast: Lake District swimmer Sara Barnes shares why swimming means so much to her.

Ramblings: Health and Happiness: Clare Balding shares her favourite walks over the past 20 years.

What is your favourite podcast to listen to?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine x

30 Days Wild 2020 – Day Thirteen.

twt-30-days-wild_countdown_13 Day 13: I’ve been feeling down these past few days so a bit of a lazy post for today’s 30 Days Wild I’m afraid. Today’s blog is a poem from Philip Larkin, taken from the illustrated anthology, Birds, from The British Museum, edited by Mavis Pilbeam.

We have another patient in the form of a pigeon called Pete who has a sore wing. Fingers crossed he makes a full recovery.

Pigeons

On shallow slates the pigeons shift together,
Backing against a thin rain from the west
Blown across each sunk head and settled feather,
Huddling round the warm stack suits them best,
Till winter daylight weakens and they grow
Hardly defined against the brickwork. Soon,
Light from a small intense lopsided moon
Shows them, black as their shadows, sleeping so.

What are your thoughts on pigeons?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine x

30 Days Wild 2020 – Day Eleven.

twt-30-days-wild_countdown_11Day 11: Today is Throw Back Thursday! In 2015 I watched goldfinch fledglings beg for food from their ragged parents, and similarly in 2016 I set up a camcorder to record the visiting birds to our yarden feeders. I took a trip to Formby beach in 2017 and displayed my findings on a nature table. In 2018 I got close up with a tadpole and read from Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’ The Lost Words in 2019.

So for today’s Throw Back Thursday, I shall return to Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’ wonderful book, The Lost Words

This adaption of Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending with ‘the little astronaut’, skylark spell was performed as part of The Proms, on the 25th August 2019 at The Royal Albert Hall.

What is you favourite piece of music inspired by a bird or animal?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine x

First Line Fridays

First Line Fridays, a weekly feature hosted by Wandering Words, on judging a book by its opening lines rather than its cover or author.

It was widely accepted by the residents of Duneen that, should a crime be committed and Sergeant Collins managed to apprehend the culprit, it would be very unlikely that the arrest had involved a pursuit on foot.

holding

Graham Norton: Holding

Would you read on?

The lines are from the 2016 debut novel, Holding, from TV and radio presenter Graham Norton. I’ve not read any Norton but I am finding though his prose is easy to read, that the story is rather sedate. It reads more of an exercise in characterisation than a crime novel.

Have you read this book? What were your impressions?

What books are you reading at the moment?

Thanks for stopping by,

Christine x