Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Really Independent Bookshop Week Jun 15 - 22

Really Independent Bookshop Week Jun 15 – 22

Bookchat – ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ (and events June 11 onwards)

Here is the events and news section that was previously underneath the main feature in Angela J. Phillip’s Hastings Bookchat. It’s now separate because people said they couldn’t find it. Please post comments if you would like further changes. Thanks for your feedback.

Bookbuster 39 Queens Rd, Hastings
Thurs 20 June, 6 – 9 pm £2 entry Sheer Poetry – an open mic poetry night; guest spots Susan Evans, John D. Robinson and Lucy Brennan

Printed Matter Bookshop 185 Queens Rd, Hastings TN34 1RG
Mon 17 June, 6 pm Book talk with Justyn Barnes on Ikigai
Tues 25 June, 6 pm PM Book Club discussing Naomi Klein’s No Is Not Enough
Thurs 4 July, 6 pm Book launch and Q&A with Richard King and Ben Thompson
Mon 8 July 6 pm Planning meeting for Spirit of Robert Tressell Festival

The Bookkeeper Bookshop 1a Kings Rd, St Leonards
Sat 15 – 22 June during normal opening hours “What was left behind “- a display of a collection of clippings found in books
Sat 22 June, 7.30 pm Book Launch Drowning Lessons, mystery novel by Rachel Neuburger Reynolds
Sun 14 July, 7 pm Bronwen Griffiths & Steve Amos will be talking about their new short story/flash fiction collections based on their childhoods/parenting.

Really Independent Bookshop Week, Hastings and St Leonards June 15 – 22, 2019
Please support your local independent bookshops. For more information, please see Really Independent Bookshop Week.

Literary Shed Writing Sessions run by A. Vasudevan
Two-hour weekly writing sessions in safe, creative spaces in Hastings and St Leonards
Thursday 13 June 10 – 12 am (£6) Writer Exchange Session at The Blue Bee, Hastings Old Town
Thursday 20 June, 10–12 am (free) at Stooge Coffee Bar, Hi Store, Trinity, Hastings
Thursday 27 June, 10–12 am (free) at Hastings Central Library, 13 Claremont, 3rd floor, Hastings
On the first Thursday of each month, there is also a writing critique group in which members share work.
For further information, please email:, subject: WRITE-INS

In the News

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

Trees, Plants and One White Dog
I have to start with a confession. It’s true that trees and plants are in the news but the one white dog is only here because he helped me out and I liked him.

Mainly, trees and plants are in the news because of Extinction Rebellion and the fact that we are losing (no, not losing – wiping out and chopping down without replanting) the trees and plants that we need. For so long, we didn’t seem to realise how much we needed them – for our health and our sanity.

At the same time, there is a growing awareness of how complex the lives of trees and plants are. Peter Wohlleben’s book The Hidden Life of Trees: what they feel, how they communicate is a fascinating read. Yes, that’s right, he says that they feel and that they communicate and he shows how this happens.

Bad Sachsa forest

Sachsa forest

As Andrea Wulf says in her review in The Washington Post: after reading this book, “a walk through a forest might never be the same again.” Trees communicate via their root systems and give nutrients, pass on warnings, help sickly neighbours. And more.

I was once in Leeds a long time ago waiting for the last bus home. Right next to the stop was a tree that had been butchered. Its poor branches had been hacked and I could hardly bear to be near it because it looked so painful. (Please note, I have no objection to pruning. I get my own hair cut, after all, but someone had done a hatchet job on this poor thing.)

Back-to-backs in Leeds - AJ Phillip

Back-to-backs in Leeds – AJ Phillip

I moved up the road a bit so I wasn’t too close and the next thing I saw was the bus sailing past. (I swear it was early.) I jumped up and down and half threw myself into the road but it didn’t stop. Grrrr. It was only just over a mile to walk home but I felt nervous (it was in the days of the Yorkshire Ripper). I looked around and picked up a stone although I’m not quite sure what I would have done with it if anyone had attacked me.

White bull terrier

White bull terrier

I set off to walk but was still feeling nervous and out of the corner of my eye just over the road, I saw a white dog. The kind with small eyes and a long snout. A bull terrier. He crossed over and trotted along beside me. For a while, I tried to get him to go back to wherever his home was but he wouldn’t leave me and I have to admit, I was grateful. When we got back to my house, he came in and had a drink. I was going to keep him overnight and take him back the next day but he kept on whining so I let him out and watched him trot off down the road back the way we had come.

I never saw the dog again and I’ve never talked about him or the tree and missing the last bus home because of the hacked branches. But now it is acknowledged that plants can see, hear, smell and respond even if it is not in the same way that we do (see the BBC report below). And it’s acknowledged that trees communicate with each other.

Extinction Rebellion in Hastings

Extinction Rebellion in Hastings

Do read The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. He is a forester in Germany so trees are his life. (By the way, did you know that his name means ‘live well’?) There are fascinating details in this book and reference to many scientific studies. Trees have a wood-wide web (see the OU video below).

And isn’t it great that we’ve got Extinction Rebellion in Hastings?

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
Peter Wohlleben, the man who believes trees talk to each other – Guardian Review
Review of The Hidden Life of Trees by Andrea Wulf in The Washington Post
Unearthing the Wood-Wide Web – The Open University – video
Plants can see, hear, smell – and respond – BBC report by Josh Gabbaties 2017

Writing and Blogging
Another 5 Fabulous First Lines
“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

“If this typewriter can’t do it, then f*** it, it can’t be done.” Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.” The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” The Catcher in the Rye by J.D.Salinger

“Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.” Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

That’s it for now. Don’t forget to have a look and post about what you’re reading/ writing/ thinking in the Facebook Group Hastings Bookchat. Or just introduce yourself – that would be lovely.

Angela J. Phillip
Here’s a link to this week’s main Hastings Bookchat feature – The Science of Fate and how to grow your brain.


Posted 15:40 Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 In: Hastings Bookchat


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Angie Phillip

    Hi Alison – Thanks so much for your nice comment. Like you, I wish that we did not rely so much on Amazon and whenever there is a book launch, I always give the link to the local bookshop. But the writers want the readers to be able to buy the books. If the readers can get the books from somewhere else, then that’s great but at least they’ll have the details to be able to do so.
    Thanks for your comment.
    With all best wishes
    (Angela J. Phillip)

    Comment by Angie Phillip — Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 @ 22:50

  2. Alison Cooper

    Fascinating reading…thank you…but could we not encourage buying books from Amazon via the links!!!?


    Comment by Alison Cooper — Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 @ 22:13

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