Finding herself in a new home in Brighton, Kate Bradbury sets about transforming her decked, barren backyard into a beautiful wildlife garden. She documents the unbuttoning of the earth and the rebirth of the garden, the rewilding of a tiny urban space. On her own she unscrews, saws, and hammers the decking away, she clears the builders’ rubble and rubbish beneath it, and she digs and enriches the soil, gradually planting it up with plants she knows will attract wildlife. She erects bird boxes and bee hotels, hangs feeders and grows nectar- and pollen-rich plants, and slowly brings life back to the garden.
But while she’s doing this her neighbors continue to pave and deck their gardens. The wildlife she tries to save is further threatened, and she feels she’s fighting an uphill battle. Is there any point in gardening for wildlife when everyone else is drowning the land in poison and cement?
Throughout her story, Kate draws on an eclectic and eccentric cast of friends and colleagues, who donate plants and a greenhouse, tolerate her gawping at butterflies at Gay Pride, and accompany her on trips to visit rare bumblebees and nightingales.
What a wonderful little book! As a keen gardener and wildlife lover, I’m probably the target audience I’m sure for a book written by someone who looks on their garden as more than an ‘outdoor living room’ or as a space to be ignored or paved over as is the trend nowadays, but this gem of a book perfectly explains just how important a little green space is to the owner and to the wildlife of the local area. From a tiny bee moving into a bee hotel, to the flock of sparrows enjoying the safety of a buddleia bush, this book left me itching to get even more involved with my garden and to do more to attract more wildlife.
Her memories of gardens she has spent time in over the years, especially with her family, are wonderfully told and had me remembering special times I have spent with grandparents and my parents who thankfully have always been fans of green spaces.
As a passionate amateur garden I totally ‘got’ this book – it understands just how you feel about your little patch of the world and the despair you feel when you see trees and shrubs being destroyed in the neighbourhood and surrounding areas. Through gardening it allows you to look back fondly at times spent out there, but also has you looking forward in ways you can help to attract more bees, birds and bugs to your garden. I recently saw this author present a piece on Gardeners World and her enthusiasm for bees especially had me wanting to rush out and buy a bee hotel or two, and that enthusiasm is clear for all to see in this book.
She looks back on tough times too, especially with her mother becoming unwell, and shows the importance of a garden on helping them both cope during that time. It’s a great distraction to sit out there with a cup of tea and toast and just to watch and see what is going on and let your mind wander!
It’s also fascinating to read the impact of humans are having on the ways of wildlife – habitats being destroyed and species disappearing and has just made me more determined to do my little bit, and hopefully it will encourage new gardeners to do the same and make people realise that whether they have a windowbox or a garden, there are things that can be done to help native wildlife.
I adored this book and highly recommend it as a memoir and as a book full of ideas and inspiration to help us all do our bit!
Have you ever looked a bird dead in the eye and wondered what it was thinking?
With Effin Birds, the most eagerly anticipated new volume in the noble avocation of bird identification, you can venture into nature with confidence. This farcical field guide will help you identify over 200 birds, but more importantly, for the first time in history, it will also help you understand what these birds are thinking:
The vainglorious grebe is acutely aware of its own magnificence.
The hipster pelican thinks the world is a sh*tbarge.
The overbearing heron wishes you better luck next time, f*cknuts.
The counsellor swallow wants you to maybe try not being a d*ckhead.
Alongside beautiful, scientifically accurate illustrations and a whole lot of swearing is incisive commentary on modern life and the world we, as humans, must navigate. Or maybe it s just some pictures of effin birds, okay?
I may be a little biased as I was one of the 1,800 who pledged to get this book made via Unbound, but I loved this book! It’s flipping funny, very sweary, beautifully illustrated and not for those who are easily offended!
But if you’re looking for a book to escape the misery of the world we live in nowadays , it’s a total blast! And I won’t ever listen to birds chattering away in the garden in the same way again, knowing they are probably saying many of the phrases in this book! Rude birds!!
From the wise and insightful to the downright rude, it’s perfect escapism, hilarious and I loved every single effin’ page of it! More please!!!
In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.
In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.
But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .
Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?
I’ve loved discovering translated Japanese fiction this year so had high hopes for this to be another quirky reading experience, but for some reason it just didn’t feel as magical to me as I hoped it would! It has all the elements of a mysterious cafe and time travelling experiences but it just fell a little flat for me and I didn’t feel connected with it as I’d hoped.
Set in a basement cafe set off the beaten track, it’s a story that follows a few characters as they find themselves there for whatever reason as they’ve heard of this ‘legend’ that if you sit in a certain seat in the cafe, you can be transported back in time to meet someone from your past. There are a number of very important rules that need to be followed for it to work but that doesn’t put off these characters as they are desperate to go back to have one more moment in a certain point in their life – but the present cannot change. Call it the butterfly effect if you will.
There are some very emotional and poignant reasons for wanting to go back – from a woman who let a love walk out of her life, to a woman losing her husband to alzheimers – and reading their stories makes you understand why they wanted to go back. And what it shows is that going back alters their mindset – maybe things happened for a reason and you are left thinking that sometimes things are just meant to be and to happen in the way they did.
I did enjoy this story and it was quite enlightening but I did find at times it felt more like I was reading a play script as the flow just wasn’t there throughout. A sweet read.
My thanks to Picador and Netgalley for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.