Next Tuesday 18th April at 19:00 I’m giving an in-person talk at Bell House in Dulwich, SE London. The subject of the talk will be London’s wildlife, with (unsurprisingly) a focus on the woodlands that the city emerged from, and the role they still play today.
This talk should be of interest to anyone with an interest in landscape history, how wildlife is impacted by human development, both positively or otherwise. I’ll also be talking about some of the more iconic species found in the city’s reaches.
My chapter, as you have probably guessed is about fungi, with a focus on south-east London’s woodlands.
I attended the launch of the book along with my family at Camley Street Natural Park in mid-October. It was great to hear Kabir Kaul read his chapter about a young person’s perspective on the future of nature in London and to be in a room with so many people who care so much about London’s wild spaces.
I’m grateful to London Wildlife Trust for reaching out to me and asking if I would like to contribute back in January 2021. Particular thanks to Laura Mason, Mathew Frith and David Mooney.
The journey to appearing in print has been a long one for me. I wrote a piece for a book a decade ago, my first paid gig as a writer. Being paid for writing is something that I have never managed to maintain, so it was a big deal. I pre-ordered the book from my local bookshop and marched in there on publication day. I picked up my copy, opened it and leafed through every page in the book.
I couldn’t find my piece.
In its place I found a generic (sorry) article about the landscape I had been asked to write about, and an illustration that looked like it had been chucked in last minute (again, sorry). That was a devastating experience for my writing career, and probably killed my confidence for years and in many ways stopped me from ever wanting to pursue writing as a career. The editors never contacted me to say it wouldn’t be included or to give any explanation. Publishers, that’s not a good way to do things.
There is something poetic about being published in the first book of an organisation that I have such fond memories of, and that gave me opportunities and a sense of trust that can be hard to come by in your working life.
You can buy London in the Wild from the big players and the indie bookshops too. I’m not sure Waterstones are doing so well with their online ordering systems at the moment so I would check that out beforehand.
Another week of some sun, some showers, and some temperatures that got close to freezing. That sentence may turn out to be a spring epistrophe, but more of that later. In Scotland it reached as low as -5C. April 2023 has been a mishmash of seasons. Here’s what I encountered in my garden on 22nd…
On a recent visit to the National Trust’s Nymans Gardens I spotted some big, cream-coloured things in the lawns near the car park. No, these were not scones or cream cakes, or even pasties discarded by visitors.