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Showing posts from April, 2023

Yellowing of the Landscape

Around this time of year, a growing percentage of arable land in the UK starts to turn yellow as the rapeseed comes into flower.  Living where I do, in central Norfolk, there is a lot of it about, in the fields around Dereham, Swaffham, Fakenham and towards Downham Market.  On the way to work each day I pass through Fincham near Downham Market, and the farm and processing plant for Mr Hugh's: a rapeseed oil brand which is sold in local supermarkets. This has now gone national in its availability. It's the one I choose for cooking out of preference. Read the story here. Some years ago now, I added an activity to my KS3 Toolkit book: 'Look at it this Way: what are your views on landscapes?'  This is still available from the GA Shop. The activity was inspired by a newspaper clipping / story on Japanese tourists who were visiting the rape fields on coach trips.

J B Jackson - vernacular geographer

From an appreciation of Barry Lopez's work by Robert MacFarlane came a mention of J. B. (Brinck) Jackson .  He was someone I could not remember hearing about before, although some of his books looked familiar when I looked further: "American vernacular landscape, J.B. Jackson, whose essays and lectures were so influential in dignifying and directing scholarly attention onto gas stations, lawns, woodlots, road-layouts, ballparks, and other everyday human structures as part of “the full imprint of human societies on the landscape,” in Jackson’s phrase. Jackson was a vocal critic of the exclusionary wilderness aesthetic as it existed in much mainstream North American conservation and (dread phrase) “nature writing.” He apparently focussed on writing and research about elements in the landscape that were defiantly prosaic in nature, and were those seen and perhaps overlooked through their ubiquity and ordinariness. He died in 1996, and his obituary was published in the New York