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Time and Tide

On sale

15th February 2024

Price: £20

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Selected: ebook / ISBN-13: 9781473686335

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‘Poetic and profound, Time and Tide is wise, considered and full of surprises’ Observer

‘Poignant and touching’
Mail on Sunday


A village waits at the bottom of a reservoir. A monkey puzzle tree bristles in a suburban garden. A skein of wild geese fly over a rusty rail viaduct. The vast inland sea that awed John Clare has become fields.

Chapter by fascinating chapter, alive with literary, local, and her own family history, Fiona Stafford reveals the forces, both natural and human, which transform places. Swooping along coastlines, through forests and across fens, following in the footsteps of Burns and Keats, Celia Fiennes and Charles Dickens, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Noel Coward and Compton Mackenzie, join her, time-travelling deep into the stories of our Isles.

From red squirrels to brick vistas, from botanical gardens to hot springs, the landscapes of Britain are full of delights and surprises. Chance discoveries of rare species, shipwrecks and unlikely ruins, curious trees and startling towers, weird caves and disused airfields, or even just baffling placenames offer ways into unexpected histories and hidden lives. The clues to the past are all round us – Time and Tide will help you find them.

‘Shot through with tender delights and unexpected revelations’ RICHARD HOLMES

‘Wonderful . . .
A fascinating compendium of people and places’ PHILIP MARSDEN


Consistently and continuously compelling . . . an invigoration to read and a pleasure to read, and reread, and return to
Richard Holmes
Buzzing with surprising connections and brilliant cross-references. Shot through with tender delights and unexpected revelations . . . The equivalent of taking a series of refreshing walks
Wonderful . . . Fiona Stafford unpeels layers and layers of Britain's landscape to reveal the stories within. A fascinating compendium of people and places and how they endlessly interact to change each other
Bookseller, Editor’s Choice
Stafford's acclaimed The Long, Long Life of Trees was a Sunday Times Nature Book of the Year. Her literary gifts are once again on display in this enchanting exploration of the ways in which the land and skyscape of the UK are constantly shifting. Following in the footsteps of John Keats, Celia Fiennes and Wilkie Collins, we journey with her from the Fens to the Humber, and from Cornwall to the north coast of Ireland, marvelling at red kites and red squirrels, monkey puzzle trees and the resilience of nature
An engrossing tour of our North Atlantic archipelago, Stafford has a historical X-ray vision which allows her to look through the surface of a given landscape and describe what lies beneath . . . Miraculous . . . If landscape writing is evolving, this book is a good indication of where it's going next
Mail on Sunday
A fascinating book to be enjoyed in front of a cosy fire whiling away a rainy Sunday afternoon . . . taking in as it does Fingal's Cave, the drowned village of Capel Celyn in Wales, the Hebridean island of Barra, which inspired Whisky Galore, to the place where the first monkey puzzle tree was so named (Pencarrow in Cornwall) and even the wreck of the Spanish Armada off Streedagh in Sligo. You feel that you are there with Stafford, tramping across fens, buf­feted by waves along rugged coastlines or peering down iron mines to see the red ochre. Both literary and erudite . . . poignant and touching . . . Time and Tide is often very funny
Literary Review
A highly rewarding book studded with curiosities, surprises and exhilarating insights
In this evocative exploration of the landscapes of Britain, Stafford reveals a principle to discovering its delights. 'It is always worth pausing to see what might be there,' she writes. 'Before it hops away soundlessly into the shadows of the forest, or washes out to sea.' Poetic and profound, Time and Tide is wise, considered and full of surprises
The Field
The landscape of Britain and Ireland is steeped in literature, and Fiona Stafford is the best possible companion to unearth its secrets. Born in Lincolnshire and the daughter of an RAF father, she writes as if from the air, swooping down on the Fens, brick-making Bedfordshire and maritime Hull. Then there are the Lakes of Wordsworth, the solitary Hebridean islands, and a paean to red kites. A keen eye for trees and plants further informs this wonderful and personal journey. Compton Mackenzie, Dickens, Burns and Keats all make an appearance, always for the better. A moving elegy to writers and landscape