I have a confession to make...I can't read more than about 5 pages of a novel, or other book without pictures, without falling asleep. I think the last time I finished a novel was about 4 years ago, just before I realised I needed all my spare energy to finish my masters degree thesis before little M arrived or risk throwing away 4 years of work! These day's I'm a big fan of books you can dip in and out of for inspiration and momentary escapism. The Rurbanite by Alex Mitchell, my current favourite, is great for both of these things.
If grabbing a little sage from a flower bed near the local bus stop for a stew and wondering if there's room to pop a nice rosemary plant in to see if it grows better than in your small, shady and slightly damp 'garden', then I'm definitely a Rurbanite!
Acording to Alex, "city people don't have to move to the country to meet nature head on". OK, so you sometimes have to look a bit harder and think a bit creatively to get your countryside fix - The Rurbanite has great ideas to help. I completely agree that "it is a relief, [that we don't have to leave the city] because the coffee's better here" and I'm a sucker for a nice cafe...and so is little M for that matter!
The book has loads of handy advice on things like how to be a considerate guerilla gardener, what to plant in communal growing plots to foster good relationships with your fellow wannabe rurbanites (no scrapping over the three lonely ripe strawberries); and top tips on looking after our resident bee populations. A great idea if the taste of the local Stoke Newington honey is anything to go by. Soil testing, seed saving, mini-green roof making and all sort of other handy stuff including making the most of worms in the city (another sign that we're wannabe rurbanites?).
I also love the introductions to real life 'rubranites' doing interesting, inspiring and quirky things in cities around the world. I'm seeing evidence there are plenty of Rurbanites at work here in Brooklyn where we're currently on holiday before heading to a family wedding near Washington (more on that soon!)
And of course, the recipes...
In reality my attempts to grow veg and create an urban oasis in the yard behind our flat suggest I'm a novice rurbanite at best...but perhaps with inspiration from this book there's hope yet!