Caught by the River


19th April 2020

Our latest roundup of the best boredom-busting reads, watches and listens from around the internet.

The catalogue for the Garden Museum’s postponed exhibition SANCTUARY: ARTIST-GARDENERS 1919-1939 is has been made available to view online for free.

‘Counting ducks aged seven at a Surrey pond, I learned that the man who took what he called his fieldglasses from their leather case was not a proper birdwatcher. He put his gear away as he readied to leave. He was what I would later have called, with my hardcore twitching friends, a dude. Watching birds was a risky enough calling – so many times the tits and the bird-lover jokes come and go – but I certainly didn’t want to be a dude. Bins were the mainstay of my kit.  And were always worn.’ For Notes For the Curious’s Grave Goods interview series, Tim Dee shares thoughts on the books, food, mementoes and tools of his trade. We recommend you have a rummage in the rest of the Grave Goods archive too; there’s many a contribution from CBTR persons of interest.

As you are probably already well aware, our mates at The Social have turned their website into an impromptu lockdown publication called The Social Gathering, allowing you to read widely and gorgeously whilst confined to the house. We suggest Richard King’s gardening column might be a good place to start.

“Overnight, the cost of an ounce basically tripled.” For Filter Mag, Tony O’Neill writes on the New Jersey Drug Market silenced by the pandemic (which we came to via @adellestripe on Twitter).

In her continuing diary for Little Toller’s The Clearing, Suzanne Joinson falls in love with copies of Hortus: A Gardening Magazine recently acquired at a car boot sale.

‘There are so many miles between us right now but I still see your moth, you still see mine. There are still moths, my friend is saying: there are still moths, and we still love them. She is saying: remember the resilience of small things. No matter how delicate you feel today, you have the wings to span vast oceans.’ Also for The Clearing, Kerri ní Dochartaigh writes on the backing-and-forthing of winter and spring, and on hope.

‘Like so many across the world, we are severely restricted in our movements in Greece right now. Which means that most of the Prespa lakes basin where I live is off limits for the foreseeable future, but re-reading Barry Lopez’ essay reminded me that journeys can unfold in ways other than the physical. Over the coming days and weeks I’ll reacquaint myself with our home region through memory, sharing photos of these landscapes and their wild citizens from earlier walks and wanders, as well as some of their stories, too.’ On his website, Julian Hoffman begins his Prespa: A Journey from Home project.

In the latest post in his ‘Yr Heart Out’ series, Kevin Pearce celebrates Letta Mbulu and the Jazzman label.

Morning/Evening Raga: Toby Hay has been improvising music for the sunrise or sunset, recording one a day, and uploading one a day to his YouTube channel. You can watch all eight here.

Aretha Franklin Birthday Mix – over on Mixcloud, Worldwide FM presents a mix of Aretha Franklin favourites to celebrate the birthday of a legendary soul singer and civil rights activist. This one’s subscribers-only, but we’ve also been really enjoying Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy’s Worldwide FM show Cosmodelica, which is free for everyone to listen back to here.

‘For those of us Of A Certain Age and with a predilection for A Certain Kind Of Music, ‘Broken Greek’ is a delicious treat where Pete comes over as a marvellous kind of Adrian Mole narrator of Bob Stanley’s ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’. Funny in a gentle way. Soft yet strong. The usual lines you know by now.’ On Unpopular, Alistair Fitchett sums up Pete Paphides memoir Broken Greek.

For Radio 3’s The Essay, Jon Gower, writer and keen walker of the Welsh mountains, explores the unique characteristics of each of Wales’s five ranges (Snowdonia, The Black Mountains, The Brecon Beacons, Epynt & The Preseli Mountains) and reflects on what they mean to the people who live among them. Thanks to Rob @MalpasChaps on Twitter for sending this one our way. You can revisit Jon Gower’s Bardsey CBTR column here.

Also for Radio 3, Akenfield author Ronald Blythe talks to Mark Cocker about his career and times (via @LandscapeStory on Twitter).

And lastly but not leastly, we are really digging Cornershop’s latest album England is a Garden. Here’s a track from it.