Tagged with natural history

A Rat and Frogs in the Garden

A Rat and Frogs in the Garden

This is another excerpt from Paul Jennings’ The Living Village, a collection from diaries written for the half century of the Womens’ Institute in 1965. It is a window into a lost world, as this suggests, from Little Houghton, Northamptonshire: “One morning I tied the rind of a leg of pork on to our rowan … Continue reading

The Wisdom of Pigeons?

This is a contradiction in terms as I believe that pigeons are about the stupidest creatures on the planet. There is a nest of peregrine falcons on the tower of Cardiff Town Hall, where pigeons are generally the food of choice. A man from the RSPB who set up binoculars so the public can watch … Continue reading

Natural History Museum, Oxford

Natural History Museum, Oxford

This is always full of noisy school kids trying to climb over the dinosaur skeletons and taking pics of each other, but it’s also got columns made from granite from all round these islands and some fab dinosaur footprints out front: My notes tell me this is the walking albatross, but I can’t find any … Continue reading

Revolutions and Natural History

This is another piee from Graam Swift’s Waterland: There’s something which reolutionaries and prophets of new worlds and even humble champions of Progress …can’t abide. Natural history, human nature. Those weird and wonderful commodities, those unsolved mysteries of mysteries. Because just supposing… this natural stuff is always gettng the better of the artificlal stuff. Just … Continue reading

The Biggest Bird in The World

When I was a child we went on a family holiday to a famous volcanic lake. I recall spending all afternoon walking round it, frustratingly slowly as my younger sister always complained of being tired, but as soon as we turned for home, she was suddenly full of energy. when I visited it as an … Continue reading

On Badgers

I used to cycle along the bike path between Bristol and Bath, and one evening I almost ran over a badger. It was a magical moment once I had recovered from suddenly slamming on the brakes, to be so close to such a secretive animal. A few weeks back, I met a woman whose family … Continue reading

Shouting at Bees

This piece shows the level of dedication Gilbert White had towards his investigations of natural history. Anyone trying this today would probably have their sanity questioned. One should have imagined that echoes, if not entertaining, must at least have been harmless and inoffensive; yet Virgil advances a strange notion, that they are injurious to bees. … Continue reading

The Genius of Gilbert White

W. H. Hudsone is one of my all time favourite authors. He was born in South America where he wrote beautifully about natural history, and shot birds for European collectors. He came to Britain and continued writing here, especially on the area round Salisbury and its plain. But he was so horrified by seeing men … Continue reading

Snow Thinking

Snow Thinking

In any debates about religion and its benefits/evils, I am happy to play devil’s advocate for either side. The scientist in me sees no point in all the mumbo jumbo and funny clothes but the historian in me sees how important faith of whatever kind has been in human history, and I really love old … Continue reading

An Early Account of a Tsunami

The following is a transcription of an account of an incident in the West Country of England, and Wales of 1607. I found it in the18th century ¬†Gentleman’s Magazine who claimed it was a document found in the Bodleian library. It shows that the name may be new but the event is not. It also … Continue reading