February 22, 2021 4:39 pm
Img 5974I think I can pinpoint my love of nature back to my childhood. I stayed with my Nanny and Grandad in Hampshire a lot in the summer holidays and my Nan loved feeding the birds, and my Grandad was always on his allotment at the weekend. I have very strong early memories of visiting my Aunt Dolly and Uncle Percy’s small terraced house where they grew vegetables in their garden at the front. I think I must have been quite small when my Uncle Percy gave me peas in their pods straight off the plant and I remember how sweet they were. I was not so keen on the runner beans however – too stringy! I took great pleasure in feeding my own two children peas in their pods when they were toddlers from my own allotment – it was one of the things we loved the most when peas were in season and sometimes we would eat all the peas in the row and there would be none left to cook (and we still do it now!)

I remember that my Aunt Dolly & Uncle Percy had an outside toilet and no running water and so my Aunt used to wash her long hair in rain water outside – she always used to say how good it was for your hair.  It was fascinating to watch her unpin her bun to wash it. I think of that a lot nowadays, especially since we installed our own rainwater harvesting system at our house. It means I do not ever use a hose,  we always have plenty of water for the plants even in summer, and we also use the rainwater in the toilet and save a fortune on water bills. 

I was a great reader from an early age – my pile of nature books is testament to that! I have very strong memories of my Mum having a copy of the book ‘Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady’ which was a publishing sensation in 1977 – when I was 5! The book was a re-publication of ‘Nature Notes for 1906’ which was beautifully written and illustrated by Edith Holden an illustrator, art teacher and nature lover.

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Gosh, the hours I would spend pouring over that book! I have my own copy now and each page is bursting with beauty – if you have never read it, I highly recommend it. The diary follows nature through the seasons including beautiful daily observations, poetry, and pictures of birds, plants, and insects. It can be bought second hand on Ebay for a few pounds. Unfortunately it is also a popular book for cutting up for junk journaling but I urge you to read it instead! 

If you are not able to get out and about in nature, for whatever reason during this third lockdown it is the perfect book to feel connected to nature. There is something about being in lockdown that make us nostalgic I think for simpler times. Edith Holden and her writings perfectly encapsulate that feeling of being in the past, undistracted by technology and modern life and able to have the time and interest to absorb and appreciate nature on our own doorstep. Take the chance to get hold of a copy and immerse yourself in it if you can.

Pictured here is my mug of coffee, my copy of The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady (a reprint of ‘Nature Notes for 1906’ published in 1989) and my pencil for taking notes! Oh and some lemons that looked pretty (though they are from Italy)

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