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The Tree House Diaries: How to live wild in the woods Hardcover – 24 May 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Collins & Brown; 1st edition (24 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843405644
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843405641
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 274,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Self-styled survival expert Nick appeared in Channel4's Shipwrecked - a loosely survival-based programme based in the Cook Islands. Come November he will be banished to a remote cottage (with electricity) to complete the writing up of his treehouse diaries before embarking on his next project - Visit Nick's blog on huntergathercook.typepad.com


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There's a lot of brown in this book. In fact I don't think I remember the last time I read a book that shunned black text for another colour so completely. But brown as a colour is perhaps quite appropriate, given the browns and greens of the wood he chose to adopt as his temporary home. If you ever wanted to build your own adult sized tree house, this book is definitely for you, as it goes into a sometimes quite exhausting level of detail. More interesting for those of us who only want to read about such things though are his diary entries.

Though food is a big part of Mr Weston's life, I can't say I exactly enjoyed some of the culinary adventures he got up to. Though elderflower champagne and nettle beer sound like something I might happily try if someone I trusted to make it right offered it to me, the thought of badger burgers made from tick infested roadkill turned my stomach.

But full praise to Mr Weston for realising that this sort of thing does not require the complete removal of all his home comforts. There's no holier than thou attitude in his writing, and that makes him a lot more approachable than most writers of this type. He's a man surrounded by friends enjoying an adventure more typically reserved for a hermit, and for that you have to admire him. I can't see that this book would hold everyone's interest, but it's a good read if this is the type of pursuit you daydream about when taking the crowded commute into work.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book a brilliant read. Written in diary form it was easy to grab snippets of it while I got on with my stupidly hectic lifestyle. You can't help but admire Nick in his woodland adventure, and while one reviewer criticises Nick for having a loo and comparing him to Bear Grills, I can't see any reason why you can't live comfortably while enjoying a sustainable life. This was a challenge for Nick, something he felt passionate about, he didn't start this journey being a survival expert at the time and he didn't have camera's following him around while he did what he was doing. Good on him I say and hopefully more people will be enthused to try something out of their comfort zone. However, like the grumpy 1 star reviewed did mention, do be careful what you eat. There are some good handbooks on amazon about foraging. Don't eat anything that you are not 100% sure about.
Try one of these Hedgerow (River Cottage Handbook) Edible Seashore: River Cottage Handbook No.5 Mushrooms: River Cottage Handbook No.1
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Format: Hardcover
I really fail to see what the point of this book is. It sets itself up as 'How to live wild in the woods' but is far from a guide on doing this. The potential to be a really good book is all there and the concept is great but has been let down by some rather lazy writing and poor judge of content. Although it's written as a diary it lacks the personal insight you might expect from this format and appears more like it was always intended to be read by someone else which is a shame.

If you're buying this for advice on, well anything, there are much better books out there. If you want an account of someone's summer holiday lazing in the woods pretending to be an expert on the wild living then it is worth a read, just don't expect a lot more.

The 'how to' guides range from basic to laughable. Nick is clearly not the craftsman he thinks he is but can build you anything with enough self tapping screws. The research is questionable (pheasants were apparently introduced by the Romans several hundred years after the empire collapsed. Interesting...) and the diary format barely covers the poor writing style.

Most books recounting personal challenges of this nature are set around some strict, self imposed rules and I found it odd that this one didn't seem to have many and the book suffers for it. If Nick had decided to live solely off the land (and not take pretty much all his supplies with him) then maybe you could excuse a bit of poaching and a bit of law bending to get food. I have less sympathy though when he sits on his balcony drinking G&T with his mum one minute then shoots a pheasant out of season `for survival' the next. It must have been a hard life though as he manages several holidays away during the book.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Author Nick Weston was a chef who blogged about his hobby of foraging wild food from Battersea Park & cooking the results (e.g. wild mushrooms & nettles for nettle beer - he wasn't going through the bins for leftover chips!). Hit badly by the recession, he decided to go the whole hog (well not quite but more on this later) & live off the land for the 6 months of the year where wild food would be most readily available. In a nod to his childhood, he did this in a tree-house he built for himself in the Sussex woods. The result is this attractively-presented diary, crammed full of photographs, recipes, hunting tips & detailed guides on how he built his own home, stove, outside toilet & clay oven.

It's a charming package, attractively presented with lots of handy tips. Nick is a thoroughly likeable guy, who's writing style is engagingly direct & self-aware, the advice practical. However, some readers may be disappointed that he didn't quite take his project all the way, buying in staples such as cooking oil & flour, as well as commuting back to London when required. This isn't a modern-day Walden (thankfully - Nick is nowhere near as grumpy & intense!) but then it doesn't claim to be. Nick explains in the introduction that "this was not supposed to be an exercise in all-out survival, nor was it a trial period as a hermit. Life would go on as normal, except for my diet & living arrangements... I didn't want to struggle through some ridiculous challenge I had set myself, feel miserable most of the time & have to keep telling myself that in hindsight I would truly appreciate my time in the woods. That would be a waste of time. I had spent the last 6 months doing that in London".
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