Monday, 30 November 2009

Gardeners' reading

Released from the snug embrace of the Bothy, food half digested, tea warming us from the inside out, a quick scan of the heavens confirms that there is a rare opportunity for a spot of apres reading and an 'x' of contrails in the sky marks the spot under which we should sit. Finally, we grab some upturned crates to sit on before disappearing beneath the lightness of print, losing ourselves between the weightless pages of other worlds revealed.

Jess has become entranced by Jenny Uglow's ' A little History of British Gardening', a potted time line of gardening practice, tracing the activities of keen gardeners from the Roman times to the present day. Delving into the lives of the common garden labourer , the Plant hunters, garden designers, Celts and their Vines, the Monks and their herbs, garden tools, flowers and much, much more.

David is engrossed in a fever pitched thriller set in the ancient city of Pompeii. Robert Harris, author of 'Fatherland' and 'Enigma', takes us to the rich, teaming settlements built at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. The story is set just days before the volcano is due to erupt, decimating everything in it's path.

As for myself I am following Mark Cocker's lines of ragged crows across the East Anglian landscape.

A fascinating picture slowly unravels, as Cocker uses both his gift for prose and his immense passion for this little understood family of birds to bring us closer to the Rook, Jackdaw and the Carrion Crow.

As gardeners we are blessed with 'crow time', when the last shreds of burnished daylight slip behind the silhouetted tree line and the loose convoys of noisy crows head back to their night time roosts. It reminds us of how detached we have become from natures rhythms in our increasingly urbanized existence.

1 comment:

Chris Priestley said...

Cambridge is full of crows isn't it? I don't think I've ever seen so many carrion crows in a city (even a small one like this). I often have a couple on the roof opposite cawing away morning and evening. They are fantastic. And I love that weird noise jackdaws make.