Tales of a Ludicrous Bird Gardener

Published on 03 October 2017 in Book reviews

By Bill Oddie

New Holland Publishers, 2017; hbk, 189pp; many colour photographs

ISBN 978-1-9215-1778-5, £16.99

This is a fun book in which Bill takes a look back at the various gardens he has watched birds in, from the time he was a small boy in Rochdale to the present day in Hampstead. His current garden was described by one newspaper as ‘probably the most bizarre back garden in Britain’, with its endless bird feeders and nestboxes, together with attendant garden gnomes. The book tells us a fair bit about Bill’s life too, and his feelings about the relationship between gardens and their birds – and the many benefits and challenges these bring – not least cats. If you have a concrete patio and decking in your garden, then you’ll find yourself truly castigated! The book is full of eccentric stories in typical Oddie style, such as the ‘Feng Shui fox’ that rearranged ornaments to please its sense of calmness and organisation, and tales of Bill’s granny insisting that the lawn was cut with scissors! There are two sections of amusing photos as well.

Keith Betton