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Episode 13: Nature & Story

In the parochial lies the universal, or does it? Join us on a trip to the British countryside as we plough into the matter of nature, landscape and the rural world in literature to find out more. Together with Juliet Blaxland, author of Wainwright Prize shortlisted The Easternmost House, and Jay Armstrong of Elementum Journal, the Slightly Foxed Editors and host Philippa share tales of living on the edge of eroding cliffs, pioneering bird photographers, ancient arboreal giants, guerrilla rewilding and favourite loam and lovechild comfort reads. In this month’s forage through the magazine’s archives, we go down to the Folly Brook to explore a vanishing world with ‘BB’ and his little grey men and, to finish, there are the usual wide-ranging recommendations for books to take your reading off the beaten track.

Comments & Reviews

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Show Notes

Please find links to books, articles, and further reading listed below. The digits in brackets following each listing refer to the minute and second they are mentioned. (Episode duration: 38 minutes; 52 seconds)

Books Mentioned

We may be able to get hold of second-hand copies of the out-of-print titles listed below. Please get in touch with Anna in the Slightly Foxed office for more information.

 Slightly Foxed Issue 64 (2:01)

The Easternmost House, Juliet Blaxland (4:58)

Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons (11.13)

Curlew Moon, Mary Colwell (15:45)

Food for Free, Richard Mabey (16:14)

Wilding, Isabella Tree (19:18)

Addlands, Tom Bullough (21:49)

–  All Among the Barley, Melissa Harrison (22:29)

The Little Grey Men, BB (31:44)

– Pollard, Laura Beatty is out of print (33:34)

When the Tree Falls, Jane Clarke (34:40)

Plot 29, Allan Jenkins (35:09)

The Outermost House, Henry Beston (36:06)

The House of Elrig & Ring of Bright Water, Gavin Maxwell (36:39)

Reynolds Stone: A Memoir, Humphry Stone (37:25)

Related Slightly Foxed Articles

Troublesome Ghosts, Paul Evans on Mary Webb, Precious Bane in Issue 10 (10.52)

Poste-Freudian Therapy, Michele Hanson on Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm in Issue 10 (11.13)

Beside the Folly Brook, Helena Drysdale on BB, The Little Grey Men & Down the Bright Stream in Issue 55 (25:40)

Other Links

Elementum Journal: A journal of nature & story (7:16)

Sotheran’s Rare Books and Prints, London (2:58)

The Fox’s Prophecy, a poem by D. W. Nash (36:58)

– The Wainwright Book Prize: Celebrating the best in nature writing

The image for this episode features ‘Vasalisa’s Garden’ by Olivia Lomenech Gill. This artwork appeared on the cover of Slightly Foxed Issue 51

Opening music: Preludio from Violin Partita No.3 in E Major by Bach

The Slightly Foxed Podcast is hosted by Philippa Lamb and produced by Podcastable

Comments & Reviews

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  1. Patricia Oley says:

    I just love your newsletters and podcasts which I regard as a treat to be savoured, usually while I am enjoying my afternoon tea about 3.30 in the afternoon with Bonnie my toy poodle snuggled up beside me. I feel so at home with you all at Foxton Square as you sit talking to your guests about books and things I love. I particularly enjoyed this podcast. Have you read Jane’s Country Year by Malcolm Saville? I read it as a child and was fortunate to get a copy as I had lost my original copy which was a present to me when I was about 7 or 8. It brought back to me many things which I remember as a child during and just after the war when I was brought up in a small village in Nottinghamshire. We spent much of our time with local friends who were farmers and I remember helping at harvest time with the farm hands and land girls and riding back to the farm on a farm cart pulled by 2 gorgeous Shire horses. Also I remember the beautiful meadows full of wild flowers. We seem to have lost so much. I am so grateful to have these wonderful memories and will reread some of the books you have mentioned. Thank you for bringing so much pleasure into my life. Patricia.

  2. Sarah Sutton says:

    This was such a treat to listen to. I grew up in Suffolk, and now live in the USA – so your podcast was such a sweet discovery for me. BB has long been a favourite of mine since childhood, and I have shared his books with my son. But there is one book that I cannot find … The Lord of the Forest. Any chance you can reissue it? I remember the moment I found it in the school library. I haven’t found a copy I can afford, and I would love to read it again.
    With best wishes,
    Sarah Sutton

  3. Celia Harvey says:

    The Outermost House has been my favourite book since I bought it in Provincetown in holiday in 1980 while living in Massachusetts. A lovely surprise to have it mentioned in the podcast – always a treat but this one especially so.

  4. Amélie Simier says:

    Dearest friends from Slightly Foxed, it is such a treat to listen to you all on a Saturday afternoon, comfortably sitting at home with a cup of coffee in hand! Thank you for the wonderful podcasts, and thank you/the quarterly for introducing me to so many excellent reads concerned with nature in the past years. Some of my favourites like Oliver Rackham’s History of the Countryside, Roger Deakin’s obsessive Waterlog, Watership Down, The Peregrine and Ring of Bright Water, all of which I have read again and again, and your beautiful edition of BB’s Brendon Chase and my old copy of Wind in the Willow not far. On my Nature shelves they’re sitting next to Walden and to Thomas Rain Crowe’s Zorro’s field. My life in the Appalachian Woods, and Henri Vincenot’s childhood memoirs in Burgundy La Billebaude, and some of Colette’s works . . . Strangely enough there are not as many French authors in nature writing, at least not many I care for. And now I want to read almost all of your suggestions and will have to expand those shelves once again . . .
    Thanks for bringing us so much pleasure, and thanks for sharing your coups de cœur! Keep on the brilliant job, we’re so grateful to you!

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