The Meaning of Geese: A Thousand Miles in Search of Home

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The Meaning of Geese: A Thousand Miles in Search of Home

The Meaning of Geese: A Thousand Miles in Search of Home

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Many of us took up hobbies during the lockdowns - reading, gardening, DIY, baking sourdough and banana bread - but for Naturalist Nick Acheson, the pandemic inspired an epic adventure. The Meaning of Geese is a book of thrilling encounters with wildlife, of tired legs, punctured tyres and inhospitable weather. This book is so much more though than just about Norfolk and about geese; it is a beautiful personal journey for the reader.

In their flocks, Nick encountered rarer geese, including Russian white-fronts, barnacle geese and an extremely unusual grey-bellied brant, a bird he had dreamt of seeing since thumbing his mother’s copy of Peter Scott’s field guide as a child. You sense that going back to the murky Glasgow of Louise Welsh’s debut novel, The Cutting Room, was as much fun for the author as her increasingly broad church of readers. in environmental management, both from the University of Oxford, Nick straddles the boundary between the arts and sciences and brings a love of the written word to communication about nature and the environment. What emerges is a sense of shared passion, and a shared responsibility for the future of these birds. To honour the geese’s great athletic migrations, Nick kept a diary of his sightings as well as the stories he discovered through the community of people, past and present, who loved them, too.Participants in Nick's events have included Patrick Barkham, Simon Barnes, Kate Bradbury, Tim Dee, Roy Dennis, Mike Dilger, Jake Fiennes, Nick Gates, Matt Gaw, Dave Goulson, Melissa Harrison, Nick Hayes, Sam Lee, David Lindo, Benedict Macdonald, Erica McAlister, Dara McAnulty, Megan McCubbin, Professor Ian Newton, Chris Packham, Lev Parikian, Stephen Rutt, Anita Sethi and Brigit Strawbridge. From his home in Norfolk, he has since had the privilege of working with wildlife and people on every continent. Passionately committed to wildlife since childhood, Nick has worked his entire life in biodiversity and landscape conservation. Some fellow enthusiasts mentioned in dispatches, good sorts who like him rarely talk of anything else, also photograph or paint geese.

Over the last 20 years or so, we have visited North Norfolk in winter to satisfy our birding needs, alas during the last 3/4 years due to Covid and other factors we have only visited in the spring. Ten years later he came home from this three-month stint, having worked in nature conservation and sustainable development the length and breadth of Bolivia, across South America, and in Australia and India. At the risk of reviewing the book I wanted to read rather than the book it is; The Meaning of Geese is billed on the cover as a personal account, but I felt no closer to the author by the final chapter than I had at the start. I learned a lot of information (Egyptian geese it turns out aren’t really geese and the Slimbridge bird sanctuary in England is responsible for Hawaiian geese not becoming extinct) as well as being horrified at the dangers of lead pellets, shooting practices and difficulties geese face. For a number of years he has written columns for the Norfolk Magazine and for Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Tern magazine, of which he is editor.His journal also has much to say about what mother nature, whose every changing detail he records, can do for a person’s mental wellbeing. Their fluctuations, their vexed taxonomies, the “fractal complexity” of their flocks, their skill at whiffling, in which they perform aeronautical body rolls when coming in to land. By November he has started to think like geese, to feel their overhead chatter vibrate in his chest.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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