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The East Country

The author might be a Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Essex but this book is no dry academic text. In rich evocative prose Jules Pretty explores the landscape of Essex and Suffolk through the seasons. Mixing history, autobiographical sketches and personal reflections into his description of the natural history of our ever-changing landscape.

He describes the thrill of nightingales at dawn at Fingringhoe Wick and the glory of bluebells in springtime at Hillhead Wood but writes also of lay-bys along the A12 and what they show both of nature and mans impact upon the land. He ponders on why we tend to value the rarity over the commonplace – the single orchid for example, over cow parsley, without which spring would be so much poorer

Through 74 short sections the message emerges that spending time with nature is an important antidote to the stressful disconnect of twenty first century life and we are encouraged to ‘slow down, take time, live local, keep your mind deep.’

Imbued with a timelessness and a recognition that human civilisations come and go whilst the countryside remains, this is a personal study of our local landscape that resonates with deep attachment and understanding.

Cornell University Press, paperback £13.99

Egypt Explored: an exhibition af art and textiles by Lesley Sams and Julie Chellingsworth

Meet the artists, Saturday 14th July, 10.30 – 11.30am – all welcome


A Woman’s Role in Ancient Egypt  –  (Julie Chellingsworth)

Goddesses of Ancient Egypt were held in very high esteem, depicting them widely in human and animal art form on the sarcophagi and mummies of Ancient Egyptian Kings – to assist their departure into the Afterlife.



Image and Meaning in Ancient Egypt – (Lesley Sams)

I am intrigued by the rich world view embedded in the seemingly simple visual record left by the Ancient Egyptians of their world and environment, and the layers of meaning encompassed in the elegance of their line and design.


This exhibition will run from July 1st through to August 28th


Radical Essex

Home to Essex girls and Basildon Man, our county has suffered from unfair stereotyping as a place of fake tans, boy racers, chavs and bling. Part of a long-term project, ‘Radical Essex’ is a book which overturns that warped view of our county. For Essex has always been a place of new ideas, pioneering communities, innovative social experiments and bold new architecture.

The Othona Community, established in 1946 in the Dengie Peninsula, is a religious retreat dedicated to enlightened spiritual dialogue and ecological self-sufficiency.

Earlier, in 1924, Wickford was the location for Britain’s first nudist colony. It was called Moonella and amongst its residents was novelist Ursula Bloom who earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for writing over 500 novels.

And in architecture Essex has led the way. From the 1920’s worker’s village at Silver End with flat roofs, white rendered walls and art deco detailing to the new brutalism of Essex University’s iconic towers.

Also covering art and culture this book really gets beneath the skin of our fascinating county.

Published by Focal Point Gallery, paperback, £20.00.

Really Useful Knowledge – Colchester’s lifelong learning legacy.

From the exclusive organisations of the eighteenth century to the open-access adult education opportunities that have developed through the last hundred years the people of Colchester have enthusiastically used and supported lifelong learning in the many forms it has taken. This book traces the way in which education in adult life developed in the town through people coming together to share learning.

This is a fascinating social history of a place that can truly be termed a ‘learning town’

Access Books, paperback £6.50