25 Jan

After my most recent ‘dark’ read, I chose to move in the opposite direction, into a rather ‘light’ tome. I came upon this little gem of a book quite by happenstance a few weeks ago, setting it aside for just the right moment. This one, I thought, will fit-in nicely with my collection. Enjoyable.


128 pages – edited by Roy C. Dicks
2009 Timber Press, Inc., 1st Edition hardcover
Line drawings by William McLaren

Dicks has compiled a few quips written from within the pages of Nichols’ gardening books by Nichols himself. Dicks has also included some amusing anecdotes about the companions Nichols chose to share his life, his cats.

Quoted from Merry Hall
(Jonathan Cape 1951) Timber Press 1998:

There is the tang of ice–the ice that laid out its little mirrors of glass all through the orchard in the clear days of January, so that the sky might lean close and see its face.

There is a great deal of truth in the old saying that in a garden the best fertilizer is the shadow of the owner.

Quoted from Garden Open Today
(Jonathan Cape 1963) Timber Press 2002:

I am honored by the visits of neighboring felines. They appear dramatically on the tops of walls, spying out the land (all cats, of course are in the secret service), or they dart from out of the darkness of the tool-shed. Sometimes they stroll, with apparent nonchalance, across the open lawn, which gives rise to scenes of great tension if any of my own cats happen to be engaged in counter-espionage at the widows (sic), as they often are.

And, as an aside to Dicks’ observations about John Beverley Nichols’  cats, I would be amiss if I didn’t include one of my favorite annotations from Nichols‘ book, Cats’ A.B.C. :

Most of us rather like our cats to have a streak of wickedness. I should not feel quite easy in the company of any cat that walked about the house with a saintly expression.




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