Turned Out Nice Again: On Living With the Weather by Richard Mabey
|Turned Out Nice Again: On Living With the Weather by Richard Mabey|
|Category: Popular Science|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A slim book, but not a quick read as Mabey escorts us through living with the weather. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 96||Date: March 2013|
|Publisher: Profile Books|
|External links: Author's website|
After many years of discussion of climate change it's easy to assume that this is a book about climate but it's not - or only indirectly. It's about how we live with weather and our reactions to it and climate comes into the discussion only as an examination of our reaction to the changes. You might have heard the essays which were broadcast in a five part BBC Radio 3 series Changing Climates which ran in February 2013, but as always with Richard Mabey, his words warrant thought and examination which can't be accommodated by the spoken word.
The five essays weave together science, observation, literature and memories to produce a rich tapestry which illustrates how we - as individuals and as a nation - feel about the weather. The titular Turned Out Nice Again felt a little like a cruel joke as I pondered on quite how long it is since those particular words have sprung to mind. Mabey argues that when the trend to 'global warming' was first mooted we should have listened more carefully. Rather than imagining olive groves on the South Downs we should have realised that the UK's position to the north west of a large land mass would mean that we would be subject to extremes of weather, which is what we've been seeing over the last few years.
In Air Songs and Moonbows there's an enchanting look at some unusual weather-related natural phenomena, such as cave rainbows, ice storms, a storm where all eleven members of a football team were struck by lightening and a cat in full flight in a tornado. I was relieved to find that I'm not the only person who takes a guilty pleasure in extremes of weather - so long as it doesn't go too far, that is! Black Dog looks at the effect the weather has on our mental state - and I was surprised to find just how far back the phrase went. But it was Halcyon Days and their relationship with the kingfisher which gave me the greatest pleasure and for a rather strange reason.
We live on the side of a moorland hill and on a bend in the valley which is regularly pummelled by the prevailing westerlies. I've long maintained - based on the time at which plants flower in our garden - that we're a 'fortnight colder' than the village which sits in the bottom of the valley but people have regarded this somewhat skeptically. I was relieved to read Mabey's explanation of isophenes. The final piece - The Storm Clouds of the Twenty-first Century brings all the thinking together and looks at where we might be going.
It's a slim book - just ninety pages of text - but I didn't find it a quick read. Mabey's writing is rich in imagery and I found that a slow, thoughtful read drew the most from the words. I meandered back and forth over the centuries, through poets and diarists and those who have observed nature at its best and worst. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy Turned Out Nice Again: On Living With the Weather by Richard Mabey at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Turned Out Nice Again: On Living With the Weather by Richard Mabey at Amazon.com.
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