Robert Macfarlane on “Holloway”

This is an interesting story about the development of a rather lovely book:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/may/23/making-book-lump-lead-holloway

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Hedgerow Decline Threatens Wildlife

interesting BBC story on the sad decline of our hedgerows.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22305666

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The World Turned Upsidedown

The lyrics to Leon Rosselson’s song about the Diggers and enclosures. I think the Dick Gaughan version is my favourite. It might be more accurate if the words were changed to “Now everywhere the hedges, Spring up at their command…”

In 1649

To St. George’s Hill,
A ragged band they called the Diggers
Came to show the people’s will
They defied the landlords
They defied the laws
They were the dispossessed reclaiming what was theirs

We come in peace they said
To dig and sow
We come to work the lands in common
And to make the waste ground grow
This earth divided
We will make whole
So it will be
A common treasury for all

The sin of property
We do disdain
No man has any right to buy and sell
The earth for private gain
By theft and murder
They took the land
Now everywhere the walls
Spring up at their command

They make the laws
To chain us well
The clergy dazzle us with heaven
Or they damn us into hell
We will not worship
The God they serve
The God of greed who feed the rich
While poor folk starve

We work we eat together
We need no swords
We will not bow to the masters
Or pay rent to the lords
Still we are free
Though we are poor
You Diggers all stand up for glory
Stand up now

From the men of property
The orders came
They sent the hired men and troopers
To wipe out the Diggers’ claim
Tear down their cottages
Destroy their corn
They were dispersed
But still the vision lingers on

You poor take courage
You rich take care
This earth was made a common treasury
For everyone to share
All things in common
All people one
We come in peace
The orders came to cut them down

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The Secret Life of Rockpools

Lovely BBC4 documentary on the iPlayer about rock pools:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01rtdr4/The_Secret_Life_of_Rock_Pools/

Includes some excellent mad scientist moments including a limpet expert and someone who seems to spend his time setting up grudge matches between hermit crabs. Lovely.

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Hedge Britannia paperback, out today…

That’s it really, the paperback edition is out and available as of today from all good bookstores (as well as various internet-based shysters…)

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New editions: audio and paperback

Just to note that the audio edition of Hedge Britannia is now out, made by Audible books, and available from Amazon and other outlets.

The paperback edition is also due out in 10 days time, on 28th March.

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Hedgebreaking, John Evelyn & Peter the Great

There was a comical case of hedgebreaking in the seventeenth century when Peter the Great stayed in the diarist John Evelyn’s house in Deptford. He was there to study shipbuilding on the adjacent Thames dockyards, but was prone to throwing parties back at the house. Evelyn, a devoted gardener, was especially proud of his holly hedges and was appalled to discover that the Tsar had been playing drunken games in which a servant pushed him in a wheelbarrow through not only the flowerbeds, but also the hedges.

Happily the hedges recovered from any damage inflicted – soon afterwards Evelyn wrote:

Is there under heaven a more glorious and refreshing object of the kind, than an impregnable Hedge a hundred and sixty feet in length, and seven feet high, and five in diameter, which I can shew in my poor Gardens at any time of the year, glittering with its armed and vernish’d leaves? The taller Standards at orderly distances blushing with their natural Corall. It mocks at the rudest assaults of the Weather, Beasts, and Hedgebreakers.

(Quoted from Hedge Britannia).

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