What a thrill to discover my annual Christmas Gift Book from C, in my postbox! No matter that the book finally staggered in during the last week of February, despite being mailed from the UK in mid-December 2021. It arrived, so lets not moan about our dreadful postal system. I refuse to call it ‘our Postal service’ because service it ain’t.

Anyhoo. My dear friend C, now one of my oldest friends in terms of friendship-years, generously sends me a book every Christmas. Such a treat! Because this means that I can read books which are published in the UK, but not sold in this country, and unavailable on line. As you may imagine, I trawl through my Books Wish List, in search of that one, perfect book. And I always come up with at least one title. That’s half the fun.

The remaining fun-half is finally receiving the parcel, ripping off the wrapping, and admiring the book in all its shiny, new, glory. A brand new, hard-covered book is a rare treat in these days of trade paperbacks and Print-on-Demand cheapies.

I’m a fan of Lev Parikian. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense I know, given that he’s a British nature writer, writing about bird watching and the British countryside but I enjoy his book precisely because they’re about nature in the Northern Hemisphere and such a contrast to my arid, hot, wind-swept environment. .

The book arrived towards the end of February, and happily, that’s where the dated chapters begin 4-8th February …. which makes it a wonderful book to read, in dated segments during the year, as the days, weeks and months slide by .

What makes this particular book so attractive to me is that its based on the Japanese calendar system of 72 seasons, split (mostly) into 5 day sections. paying particular attention to seasonal natural events.

.The micro-seasons referred to were established in 1874, and are based on the solstices, the seasons, and cyclical events in nature. Each section has a heading, some jocular like “Starling Hullabaloo: 15-20 May”; some are poetic “Bracken turns to Bronze 7-11 November” ; while some some are vaguely menacing “Bats Sometimes Swarm 13-17 September”; and some sound like the evening weather report: ” Grey Skies are Unremitting 12-16 December.”

Directly below the tantalizing headings are the original haiku, in translation. For example, the Haiku for 12-16 December reads … Greater snow/Bears start hibernating in their dens . The Haiku are poetic miniatures – and perfect.

What a wonderful start to the day, sipping my morning coffee, and enjoying page or two of Lev Parikian’s gentle nature stories.

Thank you once again, dear friend.



    1. Postal news correct. We had mail stoppages to many countries over the past 2 years of Covid restrictions. As a (very frustrated) member of an international postcard exchange,, I take a keen interest in all matters postal.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This book sounds wonderful. I am going to see if it’s available around here at all. I guess it doesn’t matter that our seasons are reversed to the UKs. If you ever want a book from Australia you can’t find there let me know and I’d be more than happy to send it to you. All the best, 😁☕️🫖


    1. Thank you for a very kind offer! I will certainly take you up on that – there’s a poetry book on old age, by Rachel of Write into Life, but I’ll be in touch once I’ve got the details straight. Meanwhile, enjoy your copy of Lev P’s lovely book.


  2. PS- Lo and behold. Our local bookshop has this in stock and I’ll pick it up today after the gym workout. My treat for working hard on my old body. Thank you for sharing this. I’ll let you know how I find it. Happy Monday.

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  3. Nothing like receiving something in the post, eventually, that you’ve written off… Like they say, better late than never! I often choose books from the beauty of it’s cover, and this one certainly would have been a winner! I had no idea about the Japanese seasons, but it makes sense. Enjoy it!

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  4. So pleased you received a book from overseas! It’s almost unheard of that our postal system (yes, postal *service* it sure ain’t) actually delivers, so well done to your postie! Hope you enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Postie? postie? what’s that? I think I’ve seen only one in my vicinity this year. That’s why I gritted my teeth and hired a p.o. box. And its not cheap, and currently: no international mail for months. Grrrhhh!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh dear… We used to have a postie on a bicycle, but come to think of it, I haven’t seen him in a while…. Yeah, even a postbox is no guarantee. We have one with Postnet. BUT our post office in Pinelands shut down a couple of years ago, and now all mail is routed to Maitland. Postnet is supposed to collect it for us, but they don’t, so it just sits there… The whole system is so messed up.


    1. The understatement of the year. If only the Minister of Posts would abandon their ego trip and sell the PO to Mark Barnes: they’re never going to get another offer like that. But … too much to hope for.

      Liked by 1 person

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