Showing posts from July, 2018

To stand and stare

I agree with Robert Mcfarlane who said 'the natural world becomes far more easily disposable if it is not imaginatively known, and a failure to include it in a literary regard, can slide easily into a failure to include it in a moral regard'. Paying regard is a central theme of nature writers who want to share with us nature's beauty. Generally brooding literary descriptions require a certain amount of looking, gazing, admiring.... Knausgaard's father 'placed one foot on the rock and stared in the direction of the forest on the other side of the road'.... or perhaps Knausgaard tells us 'he is staring at the sky above the trees'. For W.H.Davies 1871-1940- a Welsh poet who spent time in a Southwark doss-house and was befriended by Edward Thomas (the war poet and biographer of our friend Richard Jefferies); it was the standing and the staring that was the central theme in his poem 'Leisure', 'What if this life if, full of care,  We hav

London's Lost Rivers: The Neckinger

  The last time I encountered Tom Bolton was at his talk to the Friends of Belair Park in 2014 see: londons-lost-rivers-talk-by-tom-bolton.html Last night Tom, in collaboration with  'The Museum of Walking' and during the mayor supported 'National Park City week',  prelambulated us along the hidden course of the Neckinger. The starting point was a very parched Bernie Spain gardens, from where we headed towards the grounds of the Imperial War Museum.   The watercourse drained the seasonally wet (and occasionally flooded) ground at St George's Fields, now Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park. Here, while Tom topped up on his fluids Andrew efishently demonstrated the technique of employing dowsing rods and that - whenever the rods crossed - we could be certain that we were walking above the water course (now flowing through the complex of Thames Water's sewage pipes). Brook Drive near the rear of the IWM is thought to be the source of the Neckinger.   From

Guest Blog: Red Letter Day at Langstone and Farlington, Simon Rocksborough-Smith

At the indoor meeting of Surbiton and District Birdwatching Society, members shared their best birding moments in written form or screen presentation. Thinking it was about time I did a bird post - having recently  covered everything from glow worms to fish, I asked Simon if he would mind being my guest-blogger, as his writing was so evocative, I was transported straight to the coast, almost watching the same birds.  I used to go to Langstone with my late uncle - we were both members of the Hampshire Ornithological Society- who were lucky to have Chris Packham as their President. Chris is doing a 'Walk for Wildlife' 22.9.18 look out for the publicity, I hope you will all go. I like Simon's writing because he delights in everything from geese to gulls, not just the rarer species; he has the same conversations with himself as we had, when trying to identify waders. If you like his account then read J.A Bakers account of the Peregrine; see what you think. 'Hig

Fishing the Hogsmill

Fly-fishing the Hogsmill   It is interesting to see the river from a different perspective: the Hogsmill is popular with anglers at this time of year; although it is unusual to see someone fly- fishing. A chub has just been caught on bread and it looks a good size. Trout are sometimes seen in the Hogsmill and can sit in the weir notch by the school. Our own Richard Jefferies in his book 'Nature Near London'  remarked on the Hogsmill trout as far up as Tolworth Hall Bridge (now the A240). chub    This fish was carefully unhooked and orientated in the swim where it soon finds it way - probably to the next father and son - sitting further upstream. These anglers have caught the 'ghost' koi within the last two weeks and appear to be the second successful pair to catch the pond-escapee in the last few days. Ghost koi are a British invention. They were produced by accident in the early 80’s when a farmer allowed a mirror carp and a koi to spawn together. The offspring