Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

No moths were harmed in the making of this purchase

Those worthy of the noble tag of 'naturalist' will most definatly have bibliophilic tendencies. The link between the activities of those who study natural history and the printed word (and artwork)  is well documented. In his 2010 New Naturalist volume Books and Naturalists Dave Elliston Allen opens by saying:

'Of all the many pursuits and studies that have the outdoors as their principal focus, natural history must surely be without rival in the extent to which it depends on books - and have always done so. Unless the different kinds of plants and animals encountered in the wild can be told apart, and, for preference, mentally pigeonholed with a name, the subject could not exist'.

Now I detest paying top whack for anything, preferring to keep my pounds, shillings and pence firmly within my metophorical wallet, along with the moths I'm always accused of releasing when its inadvertently opened. That's why I often check out those bastions of sustainability, the charity shops, for the occastional out of print bird report or pair of part worn dead mans trousers at cost effective prices.

Monmouth charity shops are always good for a naturalist bargain or two. It must be something to do with its social composition and the generally higher quality donations they receive. Compare the piles of well thumbed copies of Chat magazine in the charity shops of Newport with those of Vanity Fair in Monmouth.

Having bagged a 50p copy of the Norfolk Bird Atlas in Oxfam I moved, with wife in tow, to the British Red Cross shop. After admiring a circa 1975 Polaroid camera in near mint condition and pondered over the possible purchase of a Metal Collection vol 4 CD, including tracks from new wave heavy metallers Raven and Venom, the natural history section of the well arranged book shelves caught my eye, and there, next to the ubquitous copy of David Attenboroughs Life on Earth and Percy Thrower's A to Z of Gardening was Lars Jonsson's Birds of Europe field guide on sale for the princely sum of £1.50, RRP £25. Carefully removing said book from the shelf the audible yet hushed tones of ' not another book' was uttered.. Safely bagged without too much further trouble and strife, but avoiding the need to buy one at five pence through the taking my own save the planet reuseble bag, and, only having to resort to chapel chance for the purchase my mind drifted to where the book should reside at home, next to my Collins Field Guide to Spiders or squeezed in at the end of my run of Poyser's?  Decisions, decisions.

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