Saturday, 29 June 2013

Mabey, Baby

Richard Mabey, may very well – in my eyes, qualify for the title of ‘Greatest Living Englishman’. A writer, he specializes in the relationship between nature and culture. His book ‘The Unofficial Countryside’ has changed the way I see the England outside my window. Canals and scrublands become places of endless fascination. 

In 1972 Maybe filmed a documentary of the same name for the BBC’s World About Us programme. Then a young and dashing man with beautiful neck-length brown hair and groovy lather jacket, walked among the nettles and pylons expounding the joys of weeds.

'I ended up at an abandoned brickyard at the very edge of my chosen area. I suppose that it had ceased to be used about three years before, and it was now a dumping ground for any household rubbish too big for the bin. But successive excavations of the sand and clay for the bricks had left the yard with a legacy of mature waste ground. The abandoned mounds were thick with wild rose, hawthorn and the young shoots of rosebay. The steep-sided pits had filled with water, and though they had little or no vegetation in them, they were buzzing with water boatmen, diving beetles and newts. And the paths between, once heavily-used tracks over the light soil, carried one of the most brilliant collections of dry-soil flowers I have ever seen: ox-eye daisies, centauries, vetches, late cowslips, lady’s bed straw, musk mallow knee-high.'
From Unofficial Countryside (1972)

He's what my old Mum would call 'Chu-Chi"

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