Clever Little Tit or Bird Brain

I had fallen into the trap of calling various birds ‘Tits’ but I now remember they were really Titmice or a titmouse

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The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology

Tim R. Birkhead is professor of behavioural ecology at Sheffield University.
He has three main research areas:

1. Post-copulatory sexual selection, mainly in birds.
2. Population biology of birds.
3. The history of science, and of reproduction and ornithology in particular.

With this book he has produced a complete history of ornithology. The illustrations, prints and pictures are illuminating and there seems to be a reference to every bird you could imagine. Good value for money in terms of size, scope and content.

Reviews of The Wisdom of Birds

‘I speculated as to the origins of another science, ornithology, hazarding that it similarly was based upon a wealth of local knowledge brought together and systemised by the protoscientists of the day, or savants, as Rudwick calls them. Tim Birkhead, in The Wisdom Of Birds, appears to confirm this premise.
Using as his starting point the 16th Century ornithologist John Ray, Birkhead describes how ornithology developed from folklore and superstition into a coherent science. Ray’s own book, The Wisdom Of God, provides Birkhead’s title, although it is knowledge rather than wisdom which is shown accumulating. As with the sciences dealt with by Rudwick, some knowledge originates from the museum, some from commerce (poultry farmers and hunters), some from what we may call hobbyists (bird keepers) and, eventually, from savants in the field, and like the early geologists, such ornithologists were considered strange birds indeed at first. …….

Throughout the work Birkhead has found some beautiful pictures to illustrate his point, although this is also one of a number of sources of frustration, as often there is very little advantage taken of them, or explanatory comment, as for example where a picture appears of a bird looking remarkably like a Northern Cardinal but labelled in its 17th Century setting as a Virginian Nightingale, with no covering narrative, including why this North American bird should appear on a page accompanied by five European birds (four finches and a sparrow)……. the result is still an excellent book.’
Steven Keen Review

‘….Tim Birkhead is an academic who can communicate brilliantly with the ordinary reader. From bird intelligence, migration, physiology to reproduction, the author covers a wide range of material……
Ashton 455

‘….The range of issues covers subjects such as egg development, instinct and intelligence, migration, the influence of daylight on the breeding cycle, territoriality, vocalisations, sexual differentiation, infidelity, reproduction and longevity…focused on the individuals behind the development of ornithology while Tim Birkhead is more interested in what they discovered. ‘
K F Betton

A Fellow of the Royal Society and Professor at Department of Animal and Plant Sciences Sheffield University Tim Birkhead has produced a brainy book on birds and those who have studied them as you would expect from an academic. However he has also been very clever in making it accessible to all ornithologists. (ed.)

Sheffield University Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
Review by Steven Keen
K F Betton and Ashton 455 on amazon
Daily Telegraph Book Review

Yorkshires top Twelve Birdwatching Sites
Midhope Moor and Langsett reservoir

Fred Trueman Still Speaks Out

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Frederick Sewards Trueman OBE Fred Trueman to All Yorkshire Folk

All Yorkshiremen have a favourite Fred Trueman story and mine goes something like this: Opening the bowling as usual from the Kirkstall Lane End Fred’s first ball rapped the openers pads and Fred bellowed Owzat only to get a firm shake of the head from the umpire, the next ball created an audible snick and firmly Fred appealed to get an even firmer ‘Not Out’, on the third ball Trueman flattened the middle stump and remarked to the umpire ‘Well umpire we nearly had him that time!’

Fred was a great raconteur and afterdinner speaker amongst his sporting tallents and this CD brings back many memories and the dulcet tones of a great Yorkshire personality and character. I for one wish he were still around to give vent on Twitter, that is about twitter not using it like some current footballers.

Bluebells in Woods

Take a walk on the wild side in April or May and the chances are you will smell the wonderful scent of our Yorkshire bluebells.
Bluebells grow best under the edge of woodland in dappled shade of deciduous trees. The sun and light in spring, before the tree leaves fully develop, encourages the nodding, bell shaped, violet-blue flowers of our native bulbs.

Unlike the foreign imports from Spain and Italy our Yorkshire Bluebells have a wonderful scent. They can also be recognised by the curved back petals and creamy-white anthers.

The scent attract insects to Bluebells delicately scented flowers which aids pollination. The resultant seed helps spread the bluebells into large drifts.

God’s Own County is part serious / part humorous look at the great county of Yorkshire. Everything from the wonderful scenery of the Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Moors to the best place to park your bike in Leeds city centre. We celebrate the great icons of Yorkshire from Hannah Hauxwell to Bernard Ingham and Geoffrey Boycott.

We cover everything from photos of ‘Idle – Working Man’s Club’ to the growing movement of Yorkshire Independence!

We love to hear from anyone with a passion for Yorkshire or you can just enjoy the typical Yorkshire wit.

‘Now Willie you mustn’t be selfish you should let your brother have the sledge half the time’.
‘I do Mum, I have it coming down and he has it going up’.

Classic Yorkshire Bluebell Locations

  • Our native bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, is widespread in low level woodland such as Freeholders Wood Nature Reserve Wensleydale
  • Other good smelling spots include Bratt Wood near Hull Nunburnholme
  • Stittenham Wood Sheriff Hutton
  • Sutton Wood Sutton-on-Derwent
  • Burton Bushes Bluebell walk Beverley
  • Hackfall Wood near Ripon
  • Middleton Woods Ilkley and Grass Wood in Wharfedale.
  • Newton Woods at Roseberry Topping
  • Millington Wood near Pocklington & Hagg Wood Dunnington
  • Renishaw House and Woolley Woods Sheffield
  • Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire A hidden beauty spot near Hebden Bridge. The three-mile Mill Walk is the ideal place to see a mass of bluebells in spring..

Art Deco Book Collecting

Art Deco is back in vogue with new twists or as collectables and memorabilia. Art deco was a design and art style from 1910’s until the 1930s taking over from Art Nouveau. As well as all the visual arts, it encompassed buildings and architecture plus interior design. Some iconic buildings still stand out like Odeon Cinemas the Chrysler Building in New York and the Midland Hotel Morecambe.

Art Deco is eminently collectible in may forms, including books and magazines from the period and a bit of know-how from the following books may help you to make sound investments whilst owning a piece of Art Deco. Normally I would recommend you shop at Redbrick Mill in Batley or the Antique galleries in Harrogate but I am sure you will find your own favourite supplier.

Book CoverArt Deco Architecture: Design, Decoration and Detail from the Twenties and Thirties by Patricia Bayer

Book CoverArt Deco Interiors: Decoration and Design Classics of the 1920s and 1930s by Patricia Bayer
By the time of the Paris exhibition of 1925 from which Art Deco took its name, the idea that an interior and its furnishings should form a complete design – a “total look” – dominated the thinking of both designers and their clients

Book CoverArt Deco Ceramics: in Britain by Andrew Casey Distinctive designers Charlotte Rhead, Clarise Cliff and Susie Cooper three great British potters.
Continue reading Art Deco Book Collecting

Practical Self-help in Book Format

Self-help and practical improvement books come and go like planes at Heathrow. That might be why they are so popular at airports for the executive class to read or look like they are reading something worthy.
The desire to achieve your ambitions and goals can be helped in a practical manner if you ‘have a mind to’ take the lessons on board. This is so even if you already know most of the tricks of the trade intuitively or as a matter of commonsense.

One such book with 365 mini lessons (one a day to be taken before, after or during meals) is shown below.

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‘Achieve Anything In Just One Year: Be Inspired Daily to Live Your Dreams and Accomplish Your Goals’
need not cost you any money as the Kindle edition is available for £0.00 although amazon and Jason Harvey charge £12.95 for a paperback.
Jason Harvey, the author, is a Certified Life Coach and founder of the Limitless Institute, a non-profit organization (I have had one of those; none-profit that is!)

This practical ‘improvement text’ picks the brains of some of the world’s most respected minds, such as Mark Twain, Goethe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Albert Einstein and many more.
Give the daily lessons a chance to work on your own modus operandi and you will have the opportunity to change for the better. All in all, if it is sometime since you went the self-help route this book is definitely worth a whirl.

Yorkshire Book Festival – Leeds 2012

The Big Bookend Festival is almost upon us (13-17 June). Advertised as ‘A Rock Festival for Words’ and using the same catch phrase as last year ‘if you can read this – thank a teacher’ you will discover an interesting programme of activities.

My Choice of Events

I have got a couple of tickets to listen to Peter James or Roy Grace the ‘Not Dead Yet’ talk at the Carriageworks (Yorkshire value at £3 each)
I will miss ‘The Story of the Pogues’ on Thursday 14th June 2012 tickets from Waterstones but I will not miss Simon Jenkins, author of the ‘Great Leeds Pub Crawl’ who is hosting a tutored beer tasting.
Women, Sex and History with Jane Borodale, Gabrielle Kimm, Hallie Rubenhold and Anne O’Brien and An Audience with Joanne Harris are on Saturday and Sunday 16-17 June.
If your children are recently inspired by a teacher or yet to meet a great one get down to one of the many events designed for them (kids that is not teachers but then again).

Book Festival Sponsors Include

Virtuoso Legal – The intellectual property Lawyers. Website
Land Securities – The UK’s largest commercial property company. Website: 
Leeds Libraries Link
Waterstones Leeds, who have started selling tickets for Yorkshire Book Festival Leeds 2012 The Big Bookend, have displays of all the authors featured in the festival.

Other Yorkshire Book Festivals

The Richmond Walking & Book Festival 2012 will run from 21st – 30th September 2012 sponsored by Castle Hill bookshop.
I expect a Beverley-literature-festival in October but no details are available
Ilkley Literature Festival September 28- 14 October 2012
Yorkshire Book Day takes place in Scarborough on Thursday 2 August as part of the five-day “A Festival of Yorkshire – Scarborough”. The authors taking part include Craig Bradley, Andy Seed, Penny Dolan, Malcolm Rose and Mike Pannett.
Ryedale Book Festival 20 October in Maltonis an event featuring workshops, talks, competitions and inter-active performances by authors, poets, artists, musicians and story-tellers.
Bridlington Poetry Festival 8-10 June 2012

If you know of another Yorkshire Book Festival let us know and we will add it to our God’s Own County website

Yorkshire – God’s Own County Book Club

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We are launching a simple new book club but we are not reprising books covered earlier even though due to popular demand we may show the odd link. The God’s Own County Book Club is an internet phenomenon based on the well known and respected Yorkshire blog (says the ed).
If you have missed some of the literary master pieces in Gods Own County over the last couple of years worry not, (don’t fret thisen the Lord will provide translations in ‘Ee by Gum, Lord!: The Gospels in Broad Yorkshire’ by Arnold Kellett.

The Book Club Rules

There are no rules at ‘Yorkshire – God’s Own County Book Club’.
There is no formal or informal membership.
There are no regular meetings or irregular meetings either.
There is no obligation to read, own or even glance at any of the books covered.

Observations about – God’s Own County’s Book Club

Many but not all the books reviewed or considered will have been read by the staff (of one).
Many but not all the books reviewed or considered will be rubbish or scarcely worth the effort but there may be an occasional gem worth dusting off the bookmark for.
Many but not all the books will have a link to or with Yorkshire!
Feel free to comment in the footnotes ‘Leave a reply’ comments section.
Feel free to recommend other title for consideration and inclusion in our reading list.
Slow readers will be welcome and remember their lips will not wear out as quickly.

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God’s Own County Bookmark Keep Calm Carry on Reading.

A Couple of Recommendations to get you Started

16 million selling author of detective thrillers, Charlotte Link offers us all ‘The Other Child’.
Memories of Hull
Mike Pannett and Martyn Johnson books by former policemen