Notes from Walnut Tree Farm by Roger Deakin

Notes from Walnut Tree Farm by Roger Deakin was published in 2008. It’s a selection of his diary entries/research notes and thoughts which had been written over several years, compiled into one year. This book is a sort of homage to Deakin I suppose, he died quite suddenly and his friends were obviously bereft, this was a way of hearing more from him.

You get a real flavour of what Deakin was like and the way he lived his life, which seems to have been idyllic. He had lived in an ancient Suffolk farm for the last 30 years of his life, wild swimming in the moat, in fact he apparently popularised the modern interest in wild swimming. I got the impression though that the moat was more of a ditch, a common feature of East Anglian fields.

As you would expect, some entries are more interesting than others. Some are strange such as his observation that mallard ducks ‘seem incapable of ordinary fonder bird-love. With them it has to be a violent chase, wild pursuit, followed by an unceremonius ducking of the object of desire and a gang-bang.’

Well there’s a very simple reason for that as for some reason there are always far more male mallards than females, which he doesn’t seem to have noticed. In fact things are often made even worse as female mallards are sometimes drowned in the melee.

Unusually for an environmentalist Deakin was a big fan of cats, I suppose they were good company for him but they must have devastated the local bird population. He was quite againts dogs, reasoning that anyone taking a dog for a walk in the country was unlikely to see much in the way of wildlife, as dogs scared everything away,  they certainly scare rabbits away.

The blurb on the front says: ‘Marvellous, wonderful, lovely, remarkable ….. to be read and reread and treasured.’ Elizabeth Jane Howard

I borrowed this one from my local library.

2 thoughts on “Notes from Walnut Tree Farm by Roger Deakin

    • Stefanie,
      It’s strange the way some books stay with us for years and others just disappear in memory. Often it’s the books that I never thought that much of at the time which stick in my brain somehow.

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