GMBG – Wilding by Isabella Tree and Ant and Mary

June’s “Great Monthly Book Giveaway” (I’m pretty sure that is what it stands for) has been delivered to you just in time, on the last day of the month. I can’t blame lack of inspiration for my dillydallying. This GMBG introduced itself to me a while ago. But I can blame the postie as, although sent several weeks ago, this book is yet to arrive at its new home. This small matter will not deter me. We will pretend that it has been delivered and continue as though nothing is amiss. Silence that nagging voice telling you this is all a farce, another example of the rot embedded in our society, the relentless onslaught of deception and manipulation. Hang on a minute! There is no need to over-react. It’s just a missing book, I’ve confessed to the shortcoming and if it doesn’t appear I’ll get another one to replace it. Really, sometimes I wonder why I bother at all.

First the recipients this month. The ones who haven’t got the book. I have known Ant and Mary for a long time. Their son, Mike, was one of my first boyfriends. He was a very nice lad; I am sure he is now a very nice man. I don’t really know; I lost touch with him many years ago. But I have stayed in contact with his mum and dad. That is because they are also very nice, lovely in fact. They first knew me as a wet behind the ears, fresh out of Cornwall, innocent young lass, and they have always been kind and considerate to me. There were never patronising (when to be honest it would have been an easy thing), were interested in what I had to say, enjoyed a chat about this that and everything in between and were forever great fun.

This isn’t the first time my blog has featured this lovely couple. A few years ago Mary kindly wrote a guest blog for me Hat Guardians an indication of her love of the wilderness. A little while later they very kindly sent me two special books, as previously chronicled in Six on Saturday – Necessity. Now I am returning half the favour.

I contacted Ant and Mary a few weeks ago, to find out how they were getting on, how lockdown en France was panning out and suchlike. Mary told me that they were letting some of their land go “wild” and the bee orchids and Rosa mundi were magnificent. When I read this comment, a cartoon lightbulb pinged out of the top of my head. They would make the perfect match. After checking they didn’t have the book already, which they didn’t although they were aware of it, it was decided. So you see, they have been my blogging inspiration three times now. They will start charging commission.

The book that I am pairing them with, Wilding by Isabella Tree, it is one of the most enlightening and thought provoking books I have read in a long time. Or perhaps ever read. It is a story of the decision to return 3,500 acres of a West Sussex farm, Knepp, to the wild. It is no fluffy fairytale; along the way there are countless battles and heart-sinking failures, paired with many glorious successes. There are moral mazes and new roads to forge, and the discovery of other like-minded people from across the globe who provided much support. It doesn’t purport to give all the answers, and it leaves a lot of questions to ponder. Ones that we should be pondering.

There has been much talk, during these troubled times, of nature reclaiming the land, deer wandering into cities, pollution falling, flora and fauna thriving. Although I am sure this will be reversed in the blink of the self-centred human’s eye, it does give us a glimpse of what could be. Peer into Ms Tree’s book, and you will be given a panorama of what is possible, of how we can begin to right a few of the many wrongs.

Definitely a match made in heaven. I hope it arrives soon, or I might have to deliver the replacement myself!

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