Stop - Unplug - Escape - Enjoy Stop - Unplug - Escape - Enjoy

Fennel’s Journal Nature Escape

Nature Escape provides the most detailed account of a day that follows the motto of ‘Stop – Unplug – Escape – Enjoy’. In it, countryside author Fennel Hudson returns to the woodland of his youth, to rediscover its wildlife, camp overnight, and appreciate the natural rhythms of life. Written in real-time, with 24 chapters each representing an hour, the Journal is an account of how time spent outdoors in wild places enables us to not only observe the nature around us, but within us as well. With subtle links to earlier Journals, it provides a fitting conclusion to two decades of adventures.

To be published in 2017.

  • Contents

    Chapters

    1. Preface – What it means to be free.
    2. 6am: Beyond the Dawn – New promise, on the horizon.
    3. 7am: Walking Forward – Escapism and adventure, afoot.
    4. 8am: The Seeker – One who searches for a great many things.
    5. 9am: Wild World – Disappearing, into the wilderness?
    6. 10am: Looking for Yesterday – The timelessness of the natural world.
    7. 11am: Out Here – 'Being' outdoors.
    8. 12pm: Noon – Mad Dogs and Englishmen?
    9. 1pm: A Creel of Willow – Time to open the lunch hamper.
    10. 2pm: Ripples – The beauty of water.
    11. 3pm: Resting – Fennel enjoys a well-earned cup of tea.
    12. 4pm: Daydreams – An afternoon nap.
    13. 5pm: The Nature of a Wood – Life above, below, and within.
    14. 6pm: Making Camp – A new sense of home, beneath canvas.
    15. 7pm: Campfire – Warmth, food, and focus.
    16. 8pm: One for the Pot – Cooking, bushcraft style.
    17. 9pm: Nightcap – A post-dinner drink at the eve of day.
    18. 10pm: The Witching Hour – Day turns to night.
    19. 11pm: The Last Me of Today – Time to savour the transition, of place and self.
    20. 12am: The Quiet of Night – When one's soul can most be heard.
    21. 1am: Solitude – Loneliness and peace.
    22. 2am: Echoes and Reflections – A ten-year journey, completed.
    23. 3am: Waiting – Sitting still, awaiting the first birdsong.
    24. 4am: A New Day Rises – New day, new me, new adventure.
    25. 5am: The Promise, Fulfilled – Faithfulness to the cause, a life recreated.
    26. Time away, or place away? – We're always right here.

    Publication details

    Published by Fennel’s Priory Limited. Global book distribution by Ingram.

    • Limited edition collectors' magazine published in 2017
    • eBook published in 2017
    • Extended version in hardback and paperback published in 2018
    • Audiobook published in 2018

    Copyright © Fennel Hudson 2017

    • Hardback ISBN 978-1-909947-52-8
    • Paperback ISBN 978-1-909947-53-5
    • eBook ISBN 978-1-909947-51-1
    • Kindle ISBN 978-1-909947-50-4
    • Audiobook download ISBN 978-1-909947-54-2
    • Audiobook CD ISBN 978-1-909947-55-9

    A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.


     

  • Commentary

    Fennel's commentary

    How wonderful it would be to escape from our normal life to spent 24 hours in quiet and safe isolation in a tranquil wood. How it would heal our soul and deepen our understanding of nature. How it would help us to appreciate things and focus our attention on the important things in life. How it would help to set things straight, and put us securely on the path to contentment.

    Sometimes we need to escape.

    Back in 2004, when I was recovering from a very dark time, I sat down with Mrs H-to-be and planned all fourteen editions of Fennel’s Journal. I had six years’ worth of private writing to use, a huge amount of new things to say, and a great many adventures to share. I knew exactly what each Journal would say – even down to the title of each chapter. Such was the vividness of the message and the clarity with which I could see my future.

    The plan stated that it would take ten years to rebuild my life, paying off nearly £100,000 of debt, becoming healthy once again, and saving up enough to live once more in a country cottage. It would all be done on my terms without the influence, distraction, or manipulation of those who would seek to corral or crush my dream.

    The storyboard for Fennel’s Journal became my route map to a better life, that would see me be happy.

    With a focus on atmosphere and emotion, I’d live a meaningful life that genuinely meant something to me and others. I’d begin the Journey – and the writing – once I’d reached a place of positive mind, and complete it ten years later. It would begin in 2006 by exploring the values and scope of this life, defining the ‘reboot’ point in my past when I was most happy, and conclude in 2016 by sharing a detailed view of the life reimagined and reborn.

    The plan was not without its faults.

    I underestimated how exhausting it would be to rebuild a life in ten years that had previously taken thirty to create. The result (not explicitly shared in the Journal) was a bizarre, conflict-ridden and contradictory ‘double existence’ where I pursued money at the cost of happiness and health in my day job (to pay off my debts), and desperately sought to live as peacefully and intensely as possible during all other times. Writing, nature, fine things and friendship were my saviours, with Fennel’s Journal enabling me to remain true to myself during the steep and abrasive climb to safety. 

    I overlooked the fact that the best plans are designed – and allowed – to flex. So obsessed was I at getting the perfect rural cottage, that I failed to accommodate the needs of Mrs H and Little Lady. When we purchased our cottage in 2014 (perfectly on schedule) we very quickly came to hate it because, frankly, it didn’t live up to my hopes and was was too isolated for my family – being 30 miles away from school and the nearest shops. I was also intensely miserable at work, which suffocated the real me at home.

    This was captured in The Lighter Side, when the true side of my character (Fennel) killed off the day job career junkie with an almighty blow to the conscience. (I thought, at first, that I was ill. But really I’ve never been more alive.) I adjusted course, quit my job, moved to Wales (to be back near Mrs H’s family), and re-evaluated everything. All within my ten-year timescale.

    2016 arrived and, as per the schedule, I began writing what was originally entitled 'The Priory', aiming to give a complete view of my dreamed-of life. I drafted three chapters, giving a monthly view as per the early books in the series, and then scrapped everything – realising that what I was writing was contrived and untruthful. It was 'on brand' but not representative of the deep and rewarding quality of life I was experiencing. Life was better than ever, better than I could describe.

    It was my friend Sarah Green who helped me to see beyond the original plan. A keen reader of the Journal, she pointed out that the overriding theme in all of them is escapism, and that – whether I realised it or not – I sought freedom above everything else. She was absolutely right. So I changed the title of the book to Nature Escape and began an altogether deeper and more rewarding adventure. The messaging grew in intensity, to become an hourly view of a perfect day of freedom. 

    What did it teach me? That to live completely, we have to grow – but in the right direction and at the right pace. And above all, we have to be free.


     

  • Quotes

    Favourite Quote

    "I am once again seeking an escape, to where I hope to find freedom and connect with the young man who handed me his trust ten years ago. This will be a faithful interpretation of the Priory, and a fitting finale to ten years of writing. As I said at the end of last year’s Journal, “One’s journey through life is not linear; it’s circular.” So let’s go back to the beginning, and rediscover the quiet world."

    Fennel Hudson, Nature Escape, Fennel's Journal No. 12


     

Chapters

  1. Preface – What it means to be free.
  2. 6am: Beyond the Dawn – New promise, on the horizon.
  3. 7am: Walking Forward – Escapism and adventure, afoot.
  4. 8am: The Seeker – One who searches for a great many things.
  5. 9am: Wild World – Disappearing, into the wilderness?
  6. 10am: Looking for Yesterday – The timelessness of the natural world.
  7. 11am: Out Here – 'Being' outdoors.
  8. 12pm: Noon – Mad Dogs and Englishmen?
  9. 1pm: A Creel of Willow – Time to open the lunch hamper.
  10. 2pm: Ripples – The beauty of water.
  11. 3pm: Resting – Fennel enjoys a well-earned cup of tea.
  12. 4pm: Daydreams – An afternoon nap.
  13. 5pm: The Nature of a Wood – Life above, below, and within.
  14. 6pm: Making Camp – A new sense of home, beneath canvas.
  15. 7pm: Campfire – Warmth, food, and focus.
  16. 8pm: One for the Pot – Cooking, bushcraft style.
  17. 9pm: Nightcap – A post-dinner drink at the eve of day.
  18. 10pm: The Witching Hour – Day turns to night.
  19. 11pm: The Last Me of Today – Time to savour the transition, of place and self.
  20. 12am: The Quiet of Night – When one's soul can most be heard.
  21. 1am: Solitude – Loneliness and peace.
  22. 2am: Echoes and Reflections – A ten-year journey, completed.
  23. 3am: Waiting – Sitting still, awaiting the first birdsong.
  24. 4am: A New Day Rises – New day, new me, new adventure.
  25. 5am: The Promise, Fulfilled – Faithfulness to the cause, a life recreated.
  26. Time away, or place away? – We're always right here.

Publication details

Published by Fennel’s Priory Limited. Global book distribution by Ingram.

  • Limited edition collectors' magazine published in 2017
  • eBook published in 2017
  • Extended version in hardback and paperback published in 2018
  • Audiobook published in 2018

Copyright © Fennel Hudson 2017

  • Hardback ISBN 978-1-909947-52-8
  • Paperback ISBN 978-1-909947-53-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-909947-51-1
  • Kindle ISBN 978-1-909947-50-4
  • Audiobook download ISBN 978-1-909947-54-2
  • Audiobook CD ISBN 978-1-909947-55-9

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.


 

Fennel's commentary

How wonderful it would be to escape from our normal life to spent 24 hours in quiet and safe isolation in a tranquil wood. How it would heal our soul and deepen our understanding of nature. How it would help us to appreciate things and focus our attention on the important things in life. How it would help to set things straight, and put us securely on the path to contentment.

Sometimes we need to escape.

Back in 2004, when I was recovering from a very dark time, I sat down with Mrs H-to-be and planned all fourteen editions of Fennel’s Journal. I had six years’ worth of private writing to use, a huge amount of new things to say, and a great many adventures to share. I knew exactly what each Journal would say – even down to the title of each chapter. Such was the vividness of the message and the clarity with which I could see my future.

The plan stated that it would take ten years to rebuild my life, paying off nearly £100,000 of debt, becoming healthy once again, and saving up enough to live once more in a country cottage. It would all be done on my terms without the influence, distraction, or manipulation of those who would seek to corral or crush my dream.

The storyboard for Fennel’s Journal became my route map to a better life, that would see me be happy.

With a focus on atmosphere and emotion, I’d live a meaningful life that genuinely meant something to me and others. I’d begin the Journey – and the writing – once I’d reached a place of positive mind, and complete it ten years later. It would begin in 2006 by exploring the values and scope of this life, defining the ‘reboot’ point in my past when I was most happy, and conclude in 2016 by sharing a detailed view of the life reimagined and reborn.

The plan was not without its faults.

I underestimated how exhausting it would be to rebuild a life in ten years that had previously taken thirty to create. The result (not explicitly shared in the Journal) was a bizarre, conflict-ridden and contradictory ‘double existence’ where I pursued money at the cost of happiness and health in my day job (to pay off my debts), and desperately sought to live as peacefully and intensely as possible during all other times. Writing, nature, fine things and friendship were my saviours, with Fennel’s Journal enabling me to remain true to myself during the steep and abrasive climb to safety. 

I overlooked the fact that the best plans are designed – and allowed – to flex. So obsessed was I at getting the perfect rural cottage, that I failed to accommodate the needs of Mrs H and Little Lady. When we purchased our cottage in 2014 (perfectly on schedule) we very quickly came to hate it because, frankly, it didn’t live up to my hopes and was was too isolated for my family – being 30 miles away from school and the nearest shops. I was also intensely miserable at work, which suffocated the real me at home.

This was captured in The Lighter Side, when the true side of my character (Fennel) killed off the day job career junkie with an almighty blow to the conscience. (I thought, at first, that I was ill. But really I’ve never been more alive.) I adjusted course, quit my job, moved to Wales (to be back near Mrs H’s family), and re-evaluated everything. All within my ten-year timescale.

2016 arrived and, as per the schedule, I began writing what was originally entitled 'The Priory', aiming to give a complete view of my dreamed-of life. I drafted three chapters, giving a monthly view as per the early books in the series, and then scrapped everything – realising that what I was writing was contrived and untruthful. It was 'on brand' but not representative of the deep and rewarding quality of life I was experiencing. Life was better than ever, better than I could describe.

It was my friend Sarah Green who helped me to see beyond the original plan. A keen reader of the Journal, she pointed out that the overriding theme in all of them is escapism, and that – whether I realised it or not – I sought freedom above everything else. She was absolutely right. So I changed the title of the book to Nature Escape and began an altogether deeper and more rewarding adventure. The messaging grew in intensity, to become an hourly view of a perfect day of freedom. 

What did it teach me? That to live completely, we have to grow – but in the right direction and at the right pace. And above all, we have to be free.


 

Favourite Quote

"I am once again seeking an escape, to where I hope to find freedom and connect with the young man who handed me his trust ten years ago. This will be a faithful interpretation of the Priory, and a fitting finale to ten years of writing. As I said at the end of last year’s Journal, “One’s journey through life is not linear; it’s circular.” So let’s go back to the beginning, and rediscover the quiet world."

Fennel Hudson, Nature Escape, Fennel's Journal No. 12


 

Explore the Journals

Fennel’s Journal is the heartfelt and entertaining account of one man’s search for an old-fashioned and peaceful rural life. Written by lifestyle author Fennel Hudson, the Journal traces his attempts to balance the pressures of modern living by following the mantra of ‘Stop – Unplug – Escape – Enjoy’.

The Priory, what's in a name?

The Priory is a philosophy and a belief system that says it is possible to balance the ever-growing complexities and pace of modern life. It is also a celebration of wildlife and country living, those things that serve as an antidote to the concrete claustrophobia of towns and cities.

The Priory Philosophy

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