A weighty hard-back book has just thumped down on my desk – a new collection about London written and edited by Lucy Scott and Tina Smith called Lost In London – Adventures In The City’s Wild Outdoors, which brings together articles from the Lost In London magazine.
In its 180-odd pages you’ll find a rather different view of the city than you would expect from a traditional guide book. You won’t find information on St Paul’s and the Tower of London but you will discover our fantastic marshlands, allotments, orchards and waterways as well as the wildlife that surrounds us.
Assembled into a series of mini-guides and very personal pen pictures of London you’ll find pieces on the River Wandle which ‘wanders’ from Wandsworth and away to the south, and a map of the Epping Forest cycle path set alongside a piece called ‘Jazz and blues’ where Lucy Scott recounts a day where she and a friend got lost trying to follow it. Penny Greenborough sets out a forager’s guide for cooks which includes ideas for elderberries and crab apples, while Jane McMorland Hunter gives advice on the ideal vegetables to grow if you only have access to the tiniest of plots or even just a hanging basket on the balcony outside your flat!
Lost In London is chock full of fascinating pieces, but to pick out two particular favourites I was rather taken with the four pages dedicated to the sterling folk of the Tower RNLI station (I’ve been there) and an account of a night-time visit to Ruislip Woods in search of pipistrelle bats led by an enthusiastic mammalogist…
Dotted amongst the pages there are beautifully illustrated spotters’ guides to birds, wild flowers, moths and more and the final chapter is given over to recipes written by foodies Chloe Coker and Jane Montgomery organised around the seasons, so there’s a recipe for Damson Gin in the Autumn and a lovely goat’s cheese, honey and walnut tart to make in the Spring.
Highly recommended, you can pick up Lost In London – Adventures In The City’s Wild Outdoors from Anova Books in all the good bookshops, and Amazon have it on sale for a very reasonable £11.39 right now.