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ed. Scott, L. & Smith, T. Lost in London Adventures in the city’s wild outdoors Portico ISBN 978-1-907554-60-5

Is it a book, a high end magazine or simply a stylish celebration of lifestyle choices by the green and anxious middle classes???

Questions, questions, questions…

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What’s certain is that the editors of Lost on London the magazine “a publication for country loving city dwellers and anyone yearning for a simpler life” have created an attractive and seductive collection of short essays drawn from their back catalogue of the seasonally published magazine.

From the introduction: we started out with a map of London that didn’t include the M25, a web of A roads or suburbs. One that instead revealed its heathlands and meadows, ancient woodlands and pastures, chalk streams, creeks and marshes. […] This book is a collection of journeys along those natural contours. Journeys that might have begun on a tube train but ended at some other place entirely: under a canopy of trees, exploring a riverbed at low tide, or navigating a heath in the depths of night.

The premise of the book is simple, they take a map of London and from Richmond Park in the West to Tomato World in the East; from Epping Forest in the North to Bethlam Orchard in the South, draw together articles under four categories: ‘Natural City’, ‘Life on the water’, ‘Journeys through Trees’ and ‘Urban Farmer’s Handbook’ to create an optimistic and aspirational ‘rural-urban’ rurban(?) portrait of 21st C London.

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Given the eclectic mix there are inevitable highs and lows in terms of the quality of writing, but that’s a minor niggle, it’s visual delight, and is scattered with sufficient ‘I didn’t know that’ moments to keep you entertained.

It’s a dip-in gazette, a toilet reader, and honestly none the worse for that. During a delay at the airport this Summer, or on those Winter evenings in sleepy period before lights out, this was just the sort of undemanding read I love – anyone for damson gin?

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