Winter meadows

Reeds by Hannah Foley. All rights reserved (

I stopped on the bridge by the river one evening on my cycle home. It had stopped raining and the clouds had cleared. Above my head was a whole star-spangled universe. Water ran in rivulets all over the water meadows, glowing pale blue with moonlight. A luminescent vasculature of the earth. I stood on the concrete span, feeling the crisp cold sneaking in among my layers of clothing, setting my skin atingle. My breath billowed in great steaming clouds.

Immense work has been done over many years, but especially recently, to make the Exe behave and protect houses like mine from flooding. But shadows of memories still linger around the place. A now dead-ended lane is called Shooting Marsh Stile. What must it have been like here when the Exe ebbed and flowed, flooded and trickled, just as it liked? When reed beds and marshes ran for miles and the flood water nourished the land. Did great flocks of birds wade here under the same stars? Did hunters sit silent on the marsh stile waiting to bag one for the pot? 

We walked the clifftops near Otterton recently, where the Environment Agency are restoring 55 hectares of intertidal marshes and mudflats. Schemes like these seem the way forward to me, a great undoing of the Victorian hubristic infrastructure projects. 

The wonderful PR team working on The Tiger Who Sleeps Under My Chair have been gathering kind words for the book, pre-publication. Two authors I admire enormously, Hilary McKay and Sophie Kirtley, have given generous reviews and I’m so grateful for them taking the time to read it. And a real pinch-me moment was learning The Bookseller had named the book as one to watch in 2023!

The Tiger Who Sleeps Under My Chair, One To Watch in The Bookseller.
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