On Birds’ Nests

Today's poetry and painting piece features Edward Thomas, Paul Nash, W.H. Davies and birds' nests... In addition to their intrinsic beauty, the bare trees of late winter and early spring offer an opportunity for the discovery of birds' nests.  This thought brings to mind Edward Thomas, who was a great searcher ... Read More...

Slow Botany

You will be familiar with the slow food movement, particularly if you are a Guardian reader living in an ecotown. Less high profile, but more amenable to the Dabbler demographic, is slow botany. So I am going to tell you all about it... Slow botany developed as a reaction against all ... Read More...

The Foggy Lane

Spring is coming - time to keep your eyes on the ground, suggests Stephen in this week's Dabbler Verse feature... There is something to be said for winnowing, for paring down.  The culture around us encourages short attention spans and hyperactive grasping after chimeras. Don't get me wrong:  I am in ... Read More...

Marianne North – Globetrotting Flower-painter

Nige pays tribute to the extraordinary Victorian spinster, globetrotter, botanist, artist and 'very wild bird', Marianne North... Tomorrow marks the birthday of the brilliant flower painter and tireless traveller Marianne North (born 1830), who, even by the standards of intrepid, globetrotting Victorian spinsters, was pretty extraordinary. In an age before jet ... Read More...

Prostitution Among Animals

The world's oldest profession might be even older than we previously thought, according to this strange Wikipedia article unearthed by the Wikiworm... A few studies have been used to promote the idea that prostitution exists within certain animal groups. Prostitution in animals was first reported in 1998 by Fiona Hunter, a researcher at the University of ... Read More...

A Walk in the Woods in Midsummer

Today is midsummer, and Professor Nick Groom turns his attention to the woods. Trees are a special part of our national identity, and they need us as much as we need them... Woods occupy a special place in the imaginative topography of England. The greenwood is the haunt and habitat of ... Read More...