Goshawk Summer: A New Forest Season Unlike Any Other by James Aldred

Goshawk Summer: A New Forest Season Unlike Any Other by James Aldred

Summary:

In early 2020, wildlife cameraman James Aldred was commissioned to film the lives of a family of Goshawks in the New Forest, his childhood home. He began to plan a treetop hide in a remote site that would allow him to film the Gos nest, the newly hatched chicks and the lives of these elusive and enchanting birds.

Then lockdown. And as the world retreated, something remarkable happened. The noise of our everyday stilled. No more cars, no more off-roaders, no more airplanes roaring in the skies, no one in the Goshawk woods – except James.

At this unique moment, James was granted a once in a lifetime opportunity to keep filming. And so, over Spring and into Summer, he began to record his experiences in a place empty of people but filled with birdsong and new life.

Amidst the fragility and the fear, there was silver moonlight, tumbling fox cubs, calling curlew and, of course, the soaring Goshawks – shining like fire through one of our darkest times. A Goshawk summer unlike any other.

My Review:

James Aldred is an Emmy award-winning wildlife cameraman and has worked alongside Sir David Attenborough on many projects. Recently released is his latest book Goshawk Summer: A New Forest Season Unlike Any Other (Elliott & Thompson) Which tells the story of how James was commissioned to film a family of Goshawks in the New Forest during the countries first Covid lockdown. Goshawks are incredible birds of prey. I have only ever seen one in my life and was left in awe at its power.

When James Aldred was given permission to film a pair of Goshawks deep in the New Forest the country was in lockdown, the forest was quiet, even the sky was free from the noise of aircraft. It felt like James had the entire forest to himself. This was a rare opportunity to film without disturbance.  A treetop hide gave incredible views of the nest during the spring months as the pair began to raise their family.

Rarely seen as they are silent hunters of the forest James will have just seconds as he will hear the call as one of the Goshawks approaches the nest from deep within the forest. Through the spring the forest is awakening from its winter sleep and life is returning the forest is full of birdsong, but this is a springtime unlike any other we have known. As James filmed, he also kept a written diary, and this is how Goshawk Summer is set out. James writes so beautifully you are almost there with him. We all may have been locked down at home, but nature came into its own and as spring turned into early summer the forest came alive.

As much as this is a book about a family of Goshawks what James also brings us is the story of how the New Forest burst into life with birds and animals. This indeed was a very special moment and a rare moment even for the experienced James Aldred. The year 2020 was a dreadful year and one we will never forget but at the same time what James brings us here is something rather special as you join him doing what he loves in a special place that is close to his heart. Goshawk Summer is a very special book and one I treasured reading.

304 Pages.

My thanks to Alison Menzies and Elliott & Thompson Books for the review copy of Goshawk Summer by James Aldred.

Goshawk Summer by James Aldred is published by Elliott & Thompson Books on 29 July 2021 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

Fifty Words for Snow by Nancy Campbell

Fifty Words for Snow by Nancy Campbell

Summary:

Snow. Every language has its own words for the feather-like flakes that come from the sky. In Japanese we find Yuki-onna – a ‘snow woman’ who drifts through the frosted land. In Icelandic falls Hundslappadrifa – ‘big as a dog’s paw’. And in Maori we meet Huka-rere – ‘one of the children of rain and wind’.

From mountain tops and frozen seas to city parks and desert hills, writer and Arctic traveller Nancy Campbell digs deep into the meanings of fifty words for snow. Under her gaze, each of these linguistic snow crystals offers a whole world of myth and story.

My Review:

What do you associate with snow? Childhood memories of snowball fights perhaps? The cold air as it catches your breath after a snowfall? But look closely and there is so much more to just the word ‘snow’. Fifty Words for Snow (Elliott & Thompson) by Nancy Campbell has just been released and it is a beautifully presented book from start to finish.

We are off on an international trek looking at what snow means as far as myth and culture but also this is a timely look at the current ecological crisis. Nancy Campbell was a Writer in Residence at the most northern museum in the world which was on the northwest coast of Greenland when she was looking at ice and the changing language and landscape of the Arctic. Now Nancy turns her attention to snow.

If you love the winter and snow, then this is a book that you will want to find under the Christmas tree this year. Nancy’s writing is just sparkling like freshly fallen snow. We travel around the globe looking at new words and meanings, some of the words you may struggle to pronounce but these are real and many will be new to many readers. Short essays follow that take the reader to new worlds even to places where you would not think of it ever seeing snow. From the ice roads on frozen lakes in Estonia to the Scottish borders across to read about Mongolian and the Kurdish word for Snowdrops.

Fifty Words for Snow is just a magical read and as Nancy explains that she started to write this in September 2019 and finished six months later. The world suddenly in the grip of a pandemic at the same time a climate crisis which means we would lose a lot of what Nancy talks about in this beautiful book that deserves so much praise and deserves to read.

224 Pages.

Thank you Alison Menzies and Elliott & Thompson for the review copy of Fifty Words for Snow by Nancy Campbell

Fifty Words for Snow by Nancy Campbell was published by Elliott & Thompson and was published on 5th November 2020 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

Follow the Blog Tour

My September/October 2020 Book Reviews for Word Gets Around Magazine. Issue 41.

My September/October 2020 Book Reviews for Word Gets Around Magazine Issue number 41

The latest edition of Somerset’s Word Gets Around magazine has arrived for September/October. Issue number 41 for the Taunton and surrounding areas and issue number 5 for West Somerset.

Inside it is packed with great articles for Taunton and its surrounding areas as well as pieces for West Somerset. If you are in Somerset, they magazines are widely available and you can find out more by visiting the website for more information: Word Gets Around Magazine

The Fiction Book for September/October Edition: Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin

Published by Europa Editions, Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin tells the story of Violette Toussaint who is a caretaker of a cemetery in Bourgogne, France. The visitors come to make final arrangments and Valérie shares coffee and tears with the occaisonal laughter. It is a story of those that share the duties of the cemetery, the gravediggers and groundsmen and a priest. But one day a visitor arrives in the form of the local police chief, Julien Seul. A beautifuly written novel with tears and laughter and a secret past.

The Non-Fiction Book for September/October Edition: Into the Tangled Bank: In which our author ventures outdoors to consider the British in nature.

Writer and conductor Lev Parikian sets off on a journey across the country in his latest book Into the Tangled Bank (Elliott & Thompson) to discover how we look at the natural world. It all begins with a Butterfly on the pavement outside his home. From here Lev visits the homes of the great nature lovers, Charles Darwin, John Clare, Etta Lemon and Gavin Maxwell. A wonderful book packed with humour and tells of how we all have a connection with the natural world around us.

For more information on Word Gets Around Magazine please visit: Word Gets Around

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