A Labour of Love is a unique and intimate anniversary book marking ten years of the international smash hit BBC TV series Call the Midwife. Written by actor and author Stephen McGann, a founding member of its starring cast, A Labour of Love is the up-close and personal story of Call the Midwife as told by the cast and crew who’ve made it into the iconic drama it is today. A Labour of Love is warm, moving and funny – a journey through the Call the Midwife years with personal reflections, anecdotes and insights from co-stars, producers, technical crew and guests – all related with love and affection by someone who was there at the birth, and who watched it grow to become a cherished worldwide success.
The book has ten chapters for each of the ten years of Call the Midwife from 1957 – 1966, filmed from 2011 to 2021. Within each chapter, Stephen chats to the key cast and crew about their personal feelings, thoughts and memories of filming key moments of the drama that year – and we explore some of the themes, locations, fun times and technical challenges that stood out in the season for them.
Filled with heart-warming stories, hilarious anecdotes, fascinating facts and figures as well as beautiful photos from the show and behind-the-scenes, this is the perfect Christmas gift for fans of Call the Midwife.
Jane is trying.
She’s been trying for a baby, with increasing desperation as her thirties sail by.
Now, she’s trying to make a new start back home with her overprotective, charades-obsessed parents – having left her career and cheating fiancé behind in London.
And, she’s trying to convince herself she didn’t leave the front door unlocked, or the gas on. (Jane’s not anxious. She just wants to make one hundred percent sure that nothing bad’s going to happen to her. EVER.)
With an increasing load on her plate, friends and family who think if she only listens to them she’ll have a perfect life, and a brain which questions every decision she’s ever made, can Jane conquer her demons and step forward on her own?
‘Extraordinary… A fascinating and intelligent book.’ Sunday Times
New islands are being built at an unprecedented rate whether for tourism or territorial ambition, while many islands are disappearing or fragmenting because of rising sea levels. It is a strange planetary spectacle, creating an ever-changing map which even Google Earth struggles to keep pace with.
In The Age of Islands, explorer and geographer Alastair Bonnett takes the reader on a compelling and thought-provoking tour of the world’s newest, most fragile and beautiful islands and reveals what, he argues, is one of the great dramas of our time.
From a ‘crannog’, an ancient artificial island in a Scottish loch, to the militarized artificial islands China is building in the South China Sea; from the disappearing islands that remain the home of native Central Americans to the ritzy new islands of Dubai; from Hong Kong and the Isles of Scilly to islands far away and near: all have urgent stories to tell.
‘Will Burns is a soulful English poet of the kind we don’t make enough of’ MAX PORTER
‘Hugely affecting and timely’ LUKE TURNER
‘A boldly struck chord, one that contains many of the dissonances, but also the harmonies, found in England today’ CHRIS POWER
In THE PAPER LANTERN, a single speaker charts and interrogates the shifts in mood and understanding that have defined a surreal, transformative period in both his own history and that of the surrounding area. Set in a shuttered pub – The Paper Lantern – in a village in the very middle of the country adjacent to the Chequers estate, the narrator embarks on a series of walks in the Chiltern Hills, which become the landscape for evocations of a past scarred with trauma and a present lacking compass. From local raves in secret valleys and the history of landmarks such as Halton House, to the fallout of the lockdown period, climate change and capitalism, THE PAPER LANTERN creates a tangible, lived-in, complicated rendering of a place.
‘The best informed, liveliest and most innovative gardening writer of our times’ GUARDIAN
‘Christopher Lloyd ranks with Gertrude Jekyll and Vita Sackville-West as one of the major figures in twentieth-century British gardening’ THE TIMES
In this gardening classic the forever adventurous Christopher Lloyd takes us on a tour through the garden, to encourage, to reveal and to overturn the old and accepted when experience prompts him. He advises on cuttings, pruning, the art of compromise and takes another look at Miss Jekyll. Gardening was a passion, and throughout his life he developed Great Dixter to be one of Britain’s greatest gardens.
For Christo gardening is nothing if not fun and – pointing out that ‘to be roused into an argumentative frame of mind is in itself no bad thing’ – he makes it equally stimulating and enjoyable for his readers.
Simone de Beauvoir borrowed her lover’s bike to cycle around Paris in the 1940s, instantly falling in love with the freedom it gave her (even when an accident caused her to lose a tooth). Alice Hawkins, a factory worker from Leicester, pedal-powered her fight for universal suffrage as the bicycle became a cornerstone of her work to recruit women to the cause. Zahra Naarin Hussano challenged religious and cultural taboos in Afghanistan to ride a bike and teach others to do the same. As a twenty-four-year-old Latvian immigrant living in Boston, in 1894 Annie ‘Londonderry’ Kopchovsky became the first woman to cycle around the world. She took up the challenge, despite never having ridden a bike before, after two men bet a woman couldn’t do it.
Many of these women were told they couldn’t or shouldn’t cycle, but they did so anyway. Whether winning medals or spreading the word about votes for women, their stories are an inspiration. In this gloriously celebratory book, Hannah Ross introduces us to the women who are part of the rich and varied history of cycling, many of whom have been pushed to the margins or forgotten.
The perfect book on how to make your garden the best it can be.
‘Essential reading’ Country Life
‘Funny, encouraging, informative’ Sunday Times
Would your garden, small or large, in town or country, win a prize? Is there room for improvement?
Everybody has favourite plants, but the ability to put them all together to ensure a splendid show throughout the year is a skill that must be acquired. THE WELL-CHOSEN GARDEN will guide you to making the most of your available space, help you avoid untimely gaps, colour clashes and many other pitfalls of garden planning.
The perfect book for new and experienced gardeners alike.
‘He was the best informed, liveliest and most innovative gardening writer of our times’ GUARDIAN
‘Infuriating, irascible … a brilliant gardener and a brilliant writer’ Monty Don, Observer
Christo Lloyd was recognised as one of the foremost gardeners and garden writers of the 20th century. Here, for the first time, is the definitive collection of his best, most informative, and so often amusing, garden writing.
Christo on gardening: Ours, in its humble way, is an art as well as a craft. At the same time it keeps us in touch with the earth, the seasons, and with that complex of interrelated forces both animate and inanimate which we call nature. It is a humanizing occupation.
On weeding: Many gardeners will agree that hand-weeding is not the terrible drudgery that it is often made out to be. Some people find in it a kind of soothing monotony. It leaves their minds free to develop the plot for their next novel or to perfect the brilliant repartee with which they should have encountered a relative’s latest example of unreasonableness.
Which traditionally comes first in the Ambridge year, the Village Fete or the Flower and Produce Show?
Which tool appears on the Pargetter coat of arms?
Which member of the Archers clan has a first name where all the letters read in alphabetical order?
Ambridge is a place many of us know almost as well as our own home towns. But while millions of people are invested in the goings-on in this picturesque village, few have had the privilege of walking its winding lanes. Now you can. Join Lynda Snell, a true pillar of this rural community, as she takes you on a guided tour of radio’s most well-loved village.
Starting at the summit of Lakey Hill, with its sweeping views of rural Borsetshire, Lynda will lead you around the village’s landmarks and institutions imparting wisdom and gossip as she goes. Sun yourself in the beer garden of the Bull, watch the world go by from a bench on the village green and don your wellies for a wander around Brookfield. There are weddings to attend at St Stephen’s, productions to enjoy at the Village Hall and deals to be done at the Dower House.
Each chapter centres on key locations to challenge your knowledge in all manner of Ambridge affairs. Whether you’re a lifelong listener of The Archers, have an ear for gossip, or are a relative newbie, you will be able to put your area of expertise to the test. With 70 years of rich rural history to explore, you might even learn something new.
‘Who could resist a handbook about potential pets that has a little symbol for “likes children” and a separate one for “likes children to eat”… wonderful’ GUARDIAN
Hollywood and the popular press would have us believe that all dinosaurs are gigantic, hostile and untameable. In fact, there are many species that make charming and even useful companions:
Velociraptor – a splendid, loyal, fierce, friend
Deinonychus – will not eat dog food (dogs are another matter)
Tyrannosaurus – least suitable to keep; will need special licence
Ornithomimus – an appealing first dinosaur for the child anxious for her first ride
This book advises you which dinosaur is right for you and your home, from the city apartment dweller looking for a lap pet, to the country estate owner looking to tighten up on security.
HOW TO KEEP DINOSAURS is a bestselling guide, packed with the sort of information keen dinosaur keepers crave – from feeding and housing to curing common ailments, breeding and showing your animal. The author, a zoologist with extensive experience of dinosaurs, has provided a timely and much-needed source book for all those who keep dinosaurs and for the huge numbers who are contemplating getting one. It is as essential to every dinosaur keeper as a stout shovel and a tranquilliser rifle.
A beautiful collection of the most heartwarming, inspirational and hilarious quotes from Call the Midwife, accompanied by beautiful photographs throughout.
‘Love is never the only answer. But it is always the best, the simplest, the one most likely to withstand the test of time.
Love is the beginning. It should be the final word.’ Narration by Jennifer, Series 8, Episode 4
Call the Midwife is loved across the world for its moving and intimate insights into the colourful world of midwifery and family life in the East End of London in the 1950s and 60s. The residents of Poplar and of Nonnatus House have brought comfort and joy to millions of people through their words and shared experiences. In this book you will find a collection of the best, most heart-warming and inspiring narrations and life-affirming quotes, taken from the original scripts by Heidi Thomas, alongside beautiful photographs from the show. There are lessons on love, friendship, motherhood, faith, family, home and much more – and we will hear from, among others, the voices of glamorous but vulnerable Trixie, forthright Nurse Crane, the delightfully witty Sisters Evangelina and Monica Joan and of course the wise and iconic narrations of Jennifer. The perfect book to see you through both hard and better times, this lovely collection will inspire and entertain in equal measure.
Horses is an A-Z companion to perhaps the most loved of all domesticated animals. The book’s entries include a wealth of unexpected, fascinating and serendipitous information, from horse-slang phrases to horses in British pub signs, and from the horse in advertising to the horse as a food item. Themes such as the horse in warfare and the horse in folklore abound.
These features add up to a richly satisfying accumulation of information about the horse’s role in human culture and society over two millennia. Horses will not only be a helpful reference source and congenial bedside book for those who work with or enjoy horses, but also a satisfying and browsable companion for the inquisitive general reader.