Posts tagged Countryside
The Year in Books: April

Last month's choice - The Old Ways - has been truly enlightening. Although I've read a number of creative non-fiction books over the past year or so, Robert Macfarlane's prose seems so effortless whilst at the same time carefully crafted that he's shot up to be one of my favourite authors. You can pick up the book at any chapter and be ensconced in an exploratory world filled with lyrical descriptions of nature, and while I haven't quite finished the final section, I know that whatever journey it details will be one of passion and adventure. My favourite of his journeys details the 'deadliest path in Britain' on the east coast; when you read you are there with him, venturing out in the misty morning, not knowing what you will find.

I picked up Meadowland for April's reading when I visited the Peak District earlier in the month. It was actually in the Chatsworth gift shop (these places always have the best books for sale!). Promising a unique account of an English meadow throughout the months, it seems a fitting choice to follow on from The Old Ways. Any book that follows a journey through the months of the year (just like A Year in the Woods) appeals to my way of life, and I am looking forward to reading about the nuances of seasonal change over the next few weeks.

Whilst I love fiction, it is these stories of life, the natural world and the countryside that have hooked my interest recently, and keeping this month's choice company in my reading pile are a number of magazines and countryside-themed reference books. I'm interested - do you read non-fiction as much as or more than fiction? Which do you prefer? As always, head over to Circle of Pine Trees for more inspiration and to share your choice for the year in books.

Late Summer

Late summer is one of my favourite times of year. The crisp hint of autumnal air is appearing on the horizon alongside the long lingering sunsets that seem to stretch endlessly across the sky. In the countryside, harvesting is high on the agenda and we are lulled to sleep by the soft whirring of the drier in the farmyard next door before receiving an early morning wake-up call from the tractors at daybreak. The owls are out too; their melodic calls float across from the tree-lined track and permeate the sounds of industry to signify that twilight is upon us.

Best of all, berries start to blush on the hedges and bushes, their tantalising fruits waiting to be turned into jellies and jams - when we have a free moment of course; this time of year is often so busy, as we prepare for the months ahead both in the garden and at work. My eyes are forever hunting out ripe blackberries to make my favourite pie, and when I catch a glimpse it is as though nature's treasure trove has been revealed just for me and frantic picking takes place until there's just enough left for the birds to peck and nibble on.

Long evening walks clear my head after a tough day - and there have been a few of those this week - but the cathartic sense of being outdoors and following the footsteps of nature as the seasons drift and change is what keeps me going. The fresh breeze on the back of my neck, the crunch as I walk through the strands of leftover wheat stems, the feeling of stealing those last few moments of warmth as the sun slowly sets; these are what I'm noticing right now. I always wait impatiently for the start of the mellow, fruitful season of autumn, but when I stop and think about it, late summer is so beautiful that perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself.