Category Archives: Natural History

If I wasn’t vegetarian I’d be tempted to shoot and eat the woodpigeons in our garden

The birds in my garden cause me anxiety and, occasionally, rage. The blackbirds make their nests too near the ground and, inspite of my anguished vigilance are vulnerable to my neighbours’ predatory cats. The magpies sit in the bushes just … Continue reading

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Ex-library books. How bad do they have to be before we decide they are unsaleable?

This one is pretty bad. I’ll show you the worst bits first. Library stamps, felt-tip pricing, folded corners, foxing, staining, ink-written Dewey and accession numbers, manilla library card pockets and a hole where library documentation has been removed. Oh dear! … Continue reading

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Have you ever seen your own halo – or anyone else’s?

According to Walter Kilner BA,MB Cantab., you, like the saints, have a halo; in fact we all have a ‘whole body’ halo, which he calls an “Aura”. Now, before you dismiss Mr Kilner as a charlatan, coming from the world … Continue reading

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Do your ears prick up and does your heart beat faster when you hear the words ‘New Naturalist’?

If the answer is ‘yes’, that’s a sure sign that you are either a book volunteer, should be a book volunteer or else you are one of the many collectors of this lovely series of books on natural history. There … Continue reading

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Should this book go on sale or should it be pulped?

Here is a problem that often confronts me as a  book volunteer. I open a box in the Oxfam sorting room to find an old reference book, with no pictures. It used to belong to a library so has disfiguring … Continue reading

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A Double Osprey, A Sunrise of Owl and A Stud Cockerel Hunted in a Desert by Leonard Baskin

This is the second time I am posting about these pictures and if you suspect I’m getting obsessional about them, you may be right. This is one of four wonderful prints by Leonard Baskin currently on sale at Oxfam Wilmslow … Continue reading

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Corvus: A Life with Birds by Esther Woolfson

‘The story of an accidental pet that came into a human life and turned it upside down … richly observed and finely written’, said the Guardian. This memoir of a life with birds,  Chicken-the-rook and Spike-the-Magpie in particular, tells the reader a lot about the extraordinary author, … Continue reading

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Brooke Bond Tea Cards (and some Players’ cigarette cards) in albums

Remember collecting tea cards? Brooke Bond started putting cards in their tea  to encourage brand loyalty in the 1950s and continued until relatively recently. The first series were written and illustrated by eminent naturalists such as Frances Pitt, Charles Tunnicliffe … Continue reading

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Water in a Small Garden by John Carter, published by RHS

This book promises ‘simple steps to success’ and, from my experience, it’s definitely worth having a go. We sited our little pond  by the vegetable patch so that we could attract frogs and toads to eliminate the slugs and snails … Continue reading

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The IPCC Guide to Irish Peatlands edited by Catherine O’Connell

This wonderful book speaks from one bog to another;  if Wilmslow residents don’t actually live in the bog, they live within easy walking distance of  Lindow Moss (or Lindow raised mire, to be technically correct). Michael Viney’s introduction should help us realise … Continue reading

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