Dancing with Bees – A Journey Back to Nature

by Brigit Strawbridge Howard

Book Review – and prize draw copy to win.

Chelsea Green Publishing

Hardback £20

Publication date: September 5th 2019

Photo: bees in my garden on a seashells cosmos flower.

In early spring, the first sound we hear when we wake up is the hum of bumble bees. They nest in the eaves above our bedroom window, and their comings and goings are a constant source of joy and interest. We worry when it’s cold and wet and they don’t emerge till late. We know when it’s going to be warm and sunny -they are up and about at dawn. Our bees are our own little barometers, and we would miss them if they didn’t arrive each year. Yet we realise we know little about them. We are ashamed to say we don’t know what type of bees they are. My grandfather, who loved nature and worked the land, would have known all about them. How I dearly wish I could ring him up and ask him 50 questions, as I did when I was a child.

Like so many others, we have been preoccupied with work, mortgages, family, children’s schoolwork, then university – then watching our children leave and make their way in the world. Suddenly we realise we have become somehow disconnected with the natural world. We haven’t had time to stop and study. It’s all going on around us, we just haven’t been taking enough notice.

Brigit Strawbridge Howard’s latest book, Dancing with Bees, is a heartwarming story about reconnecting with nature. Bridget regularly used to walk to work, up and over the Malvern Hills from West Malvern to Great Malvern along well-trodden paths edged with wild flowers. But she describes being “So preoccupied with the chattering in my own mind, and getting to work on time, that I was oblivious to the abundant and diverse wildlife afforded by this wonderful mosaic habitat that surrounded me.

“How had I fallen so out of touch with the natural world that I now noticed the changing seasons more by how many layers of clothing I needed to wear to keep me warm ( or cool) than by how many leaves the trees were wearing?”

Brigit is shocked to find she cannot confidently name more than half a dozen of the trees she has just walked past on her way to work. She has “stopped noticing them.”

Her well-written book documents Brigit’s personal journey to make up for lost time and re-embrace nature. Facts about nature- and bees in particular – are woven into a diary of her daily life, making a garden and planting an allotment. Brigit describes some of the bees she identifies and watches them as they forage for food and make nests.

“Having a relationship with the rest of nature is about opening our hearts, our minds, and ourselves, knowing that we can, if we wish, rekindle our lost connections, because somewhere deep inside us all, there lives a little spark of ‘wild’ just waiting to be ignited.”

Dancing with Bees is an engaging book, written from the heart. We can’t fail to be swept along by Brigit’s enthusiastic endeavour. We want to learn more, and she gives us the information we need in an easy to read format. At the same time, it’s a very personal story, and one we might all recognise. We could, and should, take more notice of our surroundings and take time out from our frantic busy lives to reconnect with the natural world around us. It’s a message I’m certainly going to take note of.


About the author: Brigit Strawbridge Howard is a wildlife gardener and naturalist. Brigit writes, speaks and campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of native wild bees and other pollinating insects. She lives in North Dorset with her husband Rob.

Links: Dancing with Bees https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dancing-Bees-Brigit-Strawbridge-Howard/dp/1603588485

ISBN: 978 1 60358 848 5

Leave a comment below to be included in a prize draw for one copy of Dancing with Bees. A name will be randomly selected, “pulled out of a hat” by the publishers and sent out by them. Please also leave a message if you do not want to be included. All comments are welcome. Please feel free to share this blog post. Thank you.

68 thoughts on “Dancing with Bees – A Journey Back to Nature

  1. Pingback: Winners…. | Bramble Garden

  2. Pingback: Dancing with Bees- prize draw winner. And The Good Bee Review. New books | Bramble Garden

  3. Very much looking forward to reading this book. Brigit has such a gentle soul which comes out in all her writing, from articles to Tweets. I can’t imagine that this book could fail to draw anyone in and make them look at the world in a different way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: I’m Growing New Potatoes for Christmas. | Bramble Garden

  5. Thank you so much Karen for taking the time to read my book, and for writing this lovely positive review! I am also over the moon that so many people want to know more about bees (and other wild creatures) and how to help them. It is truly heart warming to read the above comments.
    I already have a copy of Dancing with Bees, so don’t need to be entered in the prize draw (!) but I look forward very much to hearing who wins. I would be very happy to sign the book – if whoever wins it would like that of course.
    Love your blog by the way!
    B x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Brigit. Your book is a delight! It’s written from the heart and it shows. It’s an inspiring read and I’m sure others will love it as much as I do. That’s very kind of you to offer to sign the book. I’ll liaise with Katie in publicity re names and addresses of the winners. And thank you for taking the time to read and reply on my blog. Your kindness is much appreciated. Wishing you all the best and every success with your lovely new book. Karen x


  6. Thank you. Brigit’s book sounds wonderful and a ‘must’ to read and to remind us of our relationship with the natural world, now much needed. I recently rescued a Sparrow chick, fallen from the nest I guess. After three weeks she is now flying free but waiting to feed her each day has meant standing in the garden until she flies to me. It has been a wonderful eye-opener to stand and watch and listen to The Dawn Chorus and notice nature happening day by day, I will continue to watch and listen more from now on.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Excited to read Brigit’s book, lovely review. So easy to drift away from nature & get caught up in the routines of modern life. But once rediscovered a whole new lease of life follows and you realise how important it is to connect with the change of seasons, each new bud, each old seed head and circle of life continuing… look forward to reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Debi. Your name has come out of the hat for the book- when it is published 5th Sept. please could you e mail your address and who it is to be dedicated to (if I can manage to get the book signed. Not promising that as it might not be possible. ) thanks for reading the blog. Best wishes. Karen


  8. Im looking forward to reading this book.
    I have bought guides to trees, local wildflowers and birds in the apparantly vain hope that it will all sink in, but a combination of poor eyesight and even worse memory renders that goal nigh impossible!
    Perhaps following the path of another’s journey as I plot and plan for my forest garden, wildflower meadow, the wild zone bank and veggie plots will help it all come together!
    We all need the green, the wild and the wet and all the wee timorous beasties in our lives. It’s not enough to just grow-our-own. It sounds like this book will open a window on the world that is all around us if only we would look out.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brigit Strawbridge is a thoughtful and passionate person and I really look forward to reading her story very soon! Her enthusiasm always distracts me from my everyday chores, reminding us all to find our place in nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve been a fan Brigit Strawbridge ever since the ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ series back in the noughties when I fell in love with her earthy family and their positive ‘can-do’ approach to life. I’m delighted this book has been published and am intrigued to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Absolutely agree. So many of us have lost touch with the natural world, which is why, I guess, we haven’t noticed it’s destruction until almost too late.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This has been quite a year for bees of various sorts in our old Welsh farmhouse. First a swarm of honey bees in the bedroom, which were collected by the beekeeper across the valley, but they came back – thinking our garden had better flowers perhaps! Then I noticed Buff-Tailed Bumblebees in our barn wall, bumblebees in an old birdbox, and wood-eating wasps in another and some unusual bumblebee visitors to the Teasels. Brigit’s book would fill some of the gaps in my knowledge, I am sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This book is just what we all need to read to help us stop and see the wild world around us whether it is our window box or on our walk to work. Brigit is gentle and full of enthusiasm that we should also love nature and to help protect it. I will be recommending this book for Book Club and for Christmas pressies 🐝🌻

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I can’t wait to read this book ❤️ I’ve been following Brigit for some years now and her posts have always been such a beautiful source of inspiration.
    We live on a canal boat in Oxfordshire and our mooring is located on a lovely farm. We currently have a woodcutter bee making a nest inside an old fishing rod which our son loves to observe! I wouldn’t of known what type of bee it was if it wasn’t for Brigit making a post about them recently ❤️
    I will be home educating our son (age 3) through early years curriculums from September (Wild Math & Exploring Nature With Children) and think this book will be a wonderful addition to our lesson plans. X

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I have always felt at peace in nature, from childhood blackberry picking to walks with my dad who had a love for birds and seemed to know them all! I’ve recently become very fond of learning more about Bees and wildflowers . This I am now sharing with my two adopted children who luckily love nature as much as me. Thanks Brigit x

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I so enjoy Brigit updates on twitter and have been awaiting this book with anticipation. Knowledgeable and reflective with a eco awareness we should all be embracing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is a very important book to remind us to use our eyes when we are out in nature. I walk to my field twice a day and can tell by the light, trees and plant how the seasons are progressing. It made being at work throught out the winter with little daylight bearable.

    I also have white tailed bumble bees nesting in the pallets under the hay. We co-existvery happily, as long as I don’t accidentally move a bale of hay and undcover their nest. Then they are very fierce in defending their nest. They will then sting. It is fascinating to see the life cycle of these bees, as the big old ones die outside the nest and smaller, presu,ably younger ones come out to forage for pollen.

    I’d love to win this and share it with my other nature loving friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Suella. We have ground nesting bees too. They are living in old mouse nests in the shrubbery. As long as I remember they are there and don’t disturb them they are fine. A good excuse for not weeding! Best wishes. Karen


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