Caught by the River


14th June 2014

We’re back with a perfectly preened selection of some of the things making our world go round here at Caught by the River…


Julian Hoffman’s blog – What The Light Knows – has grabbed our attention again with another evocative post about the beauty of the Prespa Lakes in northwestern Greece:

“These are days of dancing light. Caught somewhere between spring and summer, it’s a season of startling, hypnotic clarity, a time when even wind seems refulgent, rippling silver through meadow-grass, racing in waves across the lakes like glimmering shoals of fish.”

Then there’s Flowers of London, a filmic slice of 1920s London in Bloom, which adds a new dimension to the Chelsea Flower Show and is definitely worth a watch. You can do so on the BFI site here.

“Made as part of the film series Wonderful London, capturing the life of the capital in the 1920s, this 10-minute gem looks at the Londoner’s love of flowers, from domestic gardens to florists’ shops to the great market at Covent Garden and the Piccadilly Circus flower girls. The film includes close-ups of a great variety of favourite blooms, finishing with a shot of the Cenotaph surrounded with floral tributes.”

And if you’re in need of a little transcendental dalliance, cast your gaze on this film by Julian House, the visual accompaniment to ‘Boiling Point’ by The Soundcarriers, taken from their album Entropicalia on Ghost Box Records.

We’ve also been enjoying BBC Radio 3’s programme The Meaning of Trees, and this thoughtful, industrious piece written by Gerry Gordon in response is a great addendum.

“This is the second series on The Meaning of Trees presented by Fiona Stafford, Professor of Literature at Somerville College Oxford. Like the first, this one explored the symbolism, economic importance, and cultural significance of five trees common in the UK. While the first series considered the yew, ash, oak, willow and sycamore, in the second Stafford discussed the rowan, pine, poplar, hawthorn and apple.”

In a very good year for non-fiction writing (The Valley, The Moor, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes) Jeff just finished reading what he says could be the best yet. We’ll be saying a lot about H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald as it gets closer to the publication date of 6 August but in the meantime here are some reading dates for your diary:
Tuesday 5th August – Rossiters Bookshop in Monmouth, 7pm
Friday 8th August – LRB bookshop, 7pm (in conversation with Tim Dee)
Sunday 17th August, Edinburgh International Book Festival, 10:30am

Lots of great exhibitions planned for the next few months too, including…

The Wonder of Birds at Norwich Castle and Tove Jansson’s Tales from the Nordic Archipelago which opens at the ICA on July 15th; the 100 year anniversary of the inimitable illustrator, known first and foremost for creating The Moomins but best loved by us for her magical novel, The Summer Book.

Good pal and Caught by the River scribe Melissa Harrison has penned this piece about searching for the magical barn owl.

Photo 06-06-2014 21 06 07_Fotor

And last, but most certainly not least, the wonderful Ben Myers has shared the opening page of his new novel Beastings, which is published July 3rd by Bluemoose Books. We’ll leave you with an extract but you can read the whole thing here

“WHEN THE MOON was a pearl at the bottom of the tarn they walked over drifts of shifting shale and wild waxy grass polished to a sheen by the wind and when the great banks of cloud rolled in and they could see neither their hands in front of their faces nor their feet on the ground they sat where they were and waited it out.

Once when they were walking the Priest stopped and raised a hand as if to swear an oath and said listen and the Poacher said what do you hear and the Priest said just listen and they stood in silence then the Priest said I can hear a baby crying and from the far distance along the broad fell and across the tight valley they could hear the shrill unfettered screams of a creature in distress.”