Chips for the kids and all

| Jun 6, 2010

Chips for the kids and all

I have just returned to my study after two days and a night spent in the woods with a group of young people who are visually disadvantaged. Some of them had no eyesight at all, some could just barely make out shades and vague ...

Hark ye to the Donkey's Ears

| Mar 7, 2010

Hark ye to the Donkey's Ears

There is a book in my library written by a Russian sailor named A. Novikoff Priboy who was captured by the Japanese during the Battle of Tsushima in 1905. His book was translated and published in English in 1933. It’s a fine story, with ...

Winter warmth, home and away

| Feb 7, 2010

Winter warmth, home and away

A friend just sent me a satellite photograph taken last month of the whole of Britain blanketed in white, and wrote about the homeless folk dying in extremely cold weather in Poland. Perhaps some people will doubt that global warming is happening at all ...

Nature's oaken towers of power

| Jan 3, 2010

Nature's oaken towers of power

Have you ever looked closely at the peak of a Western general’s uniform cap — or that of an admiral or chief of police — or at their epaulettes? If so, you’ll have seen that they are commonly decorated with embroidered gold thread depicting ...

Clubhouse rooms with a view

| Dec 6, 2009

Clubhouse rooms with a view

Over the last 22 years we have had many guests visiting our woods up here in the Kurohime hills of Nagano Prefecture. However, their numbers have shot up since we converted our holdings into being The C.W. Nicol Afan Woodland Trust in 2002. Up ...

Wildlife returns to our well-kept woods

| Nov 1, 2009

Wildlife returns to our well-kept woods

Our Afan Woodland Trust here in the Kurohime hills of Nagano Prefecture has entered into a joint project with the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Management at Azabu University to study woodland biodiversity and the results of our methods of woodland management. The research ...

A pig of a weed — I kudzu you not

| Oct 4, 2009

A pig of a weed — I kudzu you not

Looking out through the large picture window at the back of my house, I had a view through a little wood of Japanese oaks, mountain cherries and chestnuts of our small vegetable plot, a lovely wide hay meadow and more woods clothing the foothills ...

My key connection

| Sep 6, 2009

My key connection

It was 1954 and the summer holidays were over. The family had moved a few miles south from Tewkesbury to Cheltenham in the beautiful county of Gloucestershire in the west of England, and I had been transferred from the one town’s boys grammar school ...