How I came to write “Survivor”
This little book “Survivor” is the result of my long love story with nature. For many years, I wanted to travel and see “it” all “out there”. In these past years, circumstances, both good and bad, have meant that I am staying a lot more “chez nous”. And what do I find ? Treasures just outside my own front door.
I think this little book is a plea for people to stay hopeful. The world is entering a difficult phase and after the big boom, we will need to rely more on the simple wonders of the natural world. “Survivor” is therefore an encouragement for people to get “out there” and look for nature’s little miracles. Think big but stay simple. What you’re looking for can often be ju
I am lucky enough to live in the Cévennes with beautiful rolling hills and wide vistas. But the inspiration for my photo books came from our own front garden. Paul and I built a house on the base of the old greenhouse of Château de Malérargues, 25 years ago. The main drive up to the Château used to pass the greenhouse and so we dug it over, put in some soil and made it into a garden. Hard work but “…if you don’t have a dream, how you goin’ to make a dream come true…”
I have always had a great love of the natural world. As a child I lived in London and was an avid follower of the early television nature series with David Attenborough. I saw myself following him into the jungles of Borneo after the reputed “dragons”. I joined the science stream at school with O levels, A levels and finally a degree in Zoology at Nottingham University. But where had my dream of the natural world gone? Nearly everything that I studied was well dead : sliced onto a microscope slide, pickled in formaldehyde or stuffed and displayed in a dusty glass case. Result: I changed streaming and moved towards information science: editing, abstracting, writing.
My other delight as a young person was theatre : magical shows as a child, queuing for the gods in the West End as a teenager and then onto more serious implications at University and later with London pub theatre. When I first met Roy Hart and his theatre, I realised that here was somewhere where all the threads of my life could be brought together: a mindful relationship to a dynamic and imaginative world, on and off stage. And so, I became a member of the Roy Hart Theatre. As I said to Roy at an early point “Now I am a biologist”.
In 1974, the Theatre moved to Château de Malérargues, a big property in the Cévennes, southern France. From London and town living for 29 years, suddenly I was thrown into the depths of the countryside with extremes of temperature that were nothing like the soft climate of England. Thirty-five years later, I am still in the Cévennes and coming even closer to its tough climate and wild nature.
Apple blossoms in our garden
identify totally with the lines from Desiderata:
.......“…You are a child of nature, no less than the trees and the stars
............You have a right to be here”
As the years go by, I have felt more and more a right to be here in nature and so when I have to stay in towns these days, I can get quite low unless I take a walk in a park or sit in a garden.
Nature feeds me: it nourishes my hopes and allays my fears.
.....“My heart leaps when I behold
.....A rainbow in the sky:
.....So it was when my life began;
.....So it is now I am a Man;
.....So be it when I shall grow old …”
I hope that “Survivor” will inspire you to look for surprises in those familiar places: maybe it’s a beautiful flower growing through a cement pavement or the light through the red leaves or …. or … Enjoy it !