Ways of Looking at Winter: Oxfordshire

Boys lost in the mist

Inspired by Open The Curtains‘s ArboreAlbum I decided to have a look through my archives and see if I could pull together some interesting photographs of trees. I didn’t have much luck, but I did find these old photographs from 2007. They were taken in Oxfordshire, where I was staying with family for Christmas. They’ve been hidden away and I haven’t looked at them since I took them so I was surprised by how lovely they are (if I don’t say so myself). Continue readingWays of Looking at Winter: Oxfordshire

Swifts

Swift
Image by Dave Curtis

I recently had my first article published in a proper, shiny magazine (i.e. not a solely online magazine). It was exciting seeing my name in print and I’m especially pleased that my first foray into print might help one of our most valuable birds. Continue readingSwifts

Thirlmere Reservoir

Thirlmere Reservoir
Thirlmere Reservoir

The following is an extract from my MA dissertation, read my full dissertation here: Rain, Myth and Northerness.

Starting with the maxim ‘start where you are’ and where I was being Manchester, I decided to write about rain, but as I explored my landscapes of rain – Manchester, Haworth, and Thirlmere – I realised that actually what I was exploring was the mythical aspects of these landscapes as typified by rain. By myth I mean a story that is told about a landscape that becomes a part of how that place is perceived. So, for instance, Manchester is referred to as the rainy city, which is in fact inaccurate because it’s only the 9th rainiest city in the UK. Continue readingThirlmere Reservoir

The day the clouds came to say hello…

Foggy park
Foggy park

Yesterday I was woken by my boyfriend declaiming the fact that it was foggy outside. Despite not having had a cup of tea yet I was persuaded to go for a morning walk in the fog. I was glad I did. By the time we got home again the fog had almost all been burnt up by the sun. Sometimes you just have to get outside and make the most of what the day has to offer. Continue readingThe day the clouds came to say hello…

Explorations: University Park Campus

View if the Trent Building and the lake
View if the Trent Building and the lake

I recently moved to Nottingham with my boyfriend and although I love our little second floor flat I’ve definitely been missing my garden back home and my weekly jogs round Alexandra Park. It just goes to show what a difference even a little patch of green can make. Also having shops right on our doorstep means I’ve been getting considerably less exercise, so yesterday I was determined to find a nice green space and go for a long walk. We settled on the University of Nottingham’s University Park Campus, which has a large boating lake and grounds that are open to the public. Continue readingExplorations: University Park Campus

Nature writing clichés

Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau

I mainly read nature writing these days, with the odd foray into fiction, though usually fiction with a strong sense of place (at the moment I’m reading The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy). As a result I’ve noticed a few themes that seem to recur, so here’s a list of the top 5. You can remind me of this post if any of these ever crop up in my writing. Continue readingNature writing clichés

Budock Creek

View of the creek and Penryn Bridge
View of the creek and Penryn Bridge

Here’s one from the archives. I submitted this piece as part of my MA course and its probably the piece I was happiest with and still enjoy reading. It also makes me feel incredibly homesick for Penryn. I’ve added some pictures for visual interest.

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8:20  It’s my first morning in Penryn and I’m awoken by the seagulls squawking and squabbling with one another on some important seagull matter. Eventually I will grow accustomed to the sound and my sleeping brain will learn to filter them out, but for now I roll up the blinds and look out at the creek. Continue readingBudock Creek

Review: At the Water’s Edge by John Lister-Kaye

In At the Water’s Edge John Lister-Kaye charts the four seasons as he takes the same circular walk everyday from his home in a Scottish glen. Lister-Kaye describes the changes in his surroundings and the various plants and animals that he encounters. It is when he is describing these encounters, particularly ones with animals, that Lister-Kaye’s strength as a brilliant storyteller shines through. He had me genuinely gripped at times, for instance when he describes his attempt to stalk a stag, he really brings to life the tension of trying to find the stag without the stag sensing him first. Continue readingReview: At the Water’s Edge by John Lister-Kaye

Review: The Unofficial Countryside by Richard Mabey

The Unofficial Countryside spans the four seasons and is Richard Mabey’s account of wildlife within and around London. Published in 1973 it was ahead of its time with its focus on urban nature, something that is still relatively under-represented by the nature writing canon. In each chapter Mabey visits various liminal or marginalised spaces – such as sewage works, rubbish dumps, and gravel works – as well as the more acceptable faces of urban nature – such as parks, gardens, and golf courses – and writes about the plant, bird, and animal life that he encounters there. Continue readingReview: The Unofficial Countryside by Richard Mabey