You can't beat country life

| Jan 4, 2009

You can't beat country life

I was down in Kyushu with some Japanese friends last year, just sipping a few drinks and chatting. The conversation turned to kabu and became very serious and somewhat gloomy. Quite honestly, I wasn’t really following it all, but I felt I had to ...

Oh, no: It's not a Christmas pud

| Dec 3, 2008

Oh, no: It's not a Christmas pud

The Christmas season may be grinding ever closer, and the creation in the photograph below is almost the right color and shape, but it’s most certainly not a Christmas pudding. Just now, the woods are carpeted with fallen leaves, and as there is a ...

'The proudest day of my life'

| Nov 5, 2008

'The proudest day of my life'

Apart from a few experimental trees, it is not our policy to grow non-native plants in our woodland trust here in the hills of Nagano Prefecture. However, when I first came to live in Kurohime (which is the name of the nearest station and ...

Helping a healthy river flow

| Oct 1, 2008

Helping a healthy river flow

My eldest daughter, Miwako, gave birth to twin girls in March of this year, raising the number of my grandchildren to five. So, when my busy schedule finally permitted, I recently nipped over to Vancouver to see them all and to help out Miwako ...

Thinking out of the box

| Sep 3, 2008

Thinking out of the box

Twenty something years ago, when we started to buy badly abused and neglected woodland here in the Nagano Prefecture hills, one of the problems that became very obvious was the lack of housing. Not for me, but for the woodland creatures. All the old ...

City gone wild

| Aug 6, 2008

City gone wild

In June this year I took a group of Japanese friends and members of our Afan Woodland Trust up here in the Nagano hills on a trip to Britain. We went on an All Nippon Airways tour designed for people with an interest in ...

To cage or not to cage?

| Jun 4, 2008

To cage or not to cage?

I was born in 1940, in Neath, South Wales. My father went off to war and my mother took me to live in the relative safety of rural Suffolk in eastern England, where the Luftwaffe’s bombers seldom attacked. There, she worked as a nanny ...

Water in a 'howling wilderness'

| Apr 2, 2008

Water in a 'howling wilderness'

John Oxley (c. 1785-1828) was among the first Europeans to ever explore this flat, brown and red land, after he was appointed surveyor-general of the British colony of New South Wales in 1817. Back then, the Royal Navy officer called it “a howling wilderness ...

In praise of the 'mountain whale'

| Mar 5, 2008

In praise of the 'mountain whale'

Not long after I arrived in Tokyo for the first time in October 1962, Klaus Naumann — a childhood friend from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, in the rural southwest of England, who had come to Japan ahead of me (and is still here) — took me ...