This is the story of Derek's 70 years of working in a bank, playing in a band, playing cricket, birding and being a nature conservationist working for the Wildlife Trusts. I found all the different bits interesting - and that photo of him playing cricket makes him look like quite a stylish batsman.
I've known Derek for many years - I'm not sure quite how many. He has always been outspoken and he has usually been right. Derek was one of the senior members of the Wildlife Trusts whom I used to seek out for his views on tricky issues - I'd always get a perfectly clear view from Derek delivered in the most delightful Suffolk accent.
Because he has been around a bit, Derek has seen a bit of life and he's met a few of life's (other) characters. I was interested to read of his views on Herbert Axell and the tales of fighting Felixstowe Dock expansion. I have a different version of how the RSPB and the Suffolk Wildlife Trust ended up jointly managing Dingle Marshes but I agree with Derek that it has worked out well.
Derek admits that he isn't always an easy person to work with (I have no knowledge of that - he's a delightful person to gossip with!) and he clearly feels a bit unloved by some in the Wildlife Trusts for despite his long association with them over 40 years, boy and bearded man, they aren't, it seems, tapping into his knowledge as much as they could. But others are, and Derek is never going to run out of groups to energise, committees to influence and friends with whom to go birding.
I was fascinated by the insights he gives into the Wildlife Trusts - written with great affection but a lot of honesty too. And I was pleased to see that Derek and I agree quite considerably about the state of wildlife NGOs today - I told you he is usually right!
This is an enjoyable read, particularly if you would call yourself a birder, but there is much wisdom in here too.
Derek Moore has seen lots of rare birds, has played on the same bill as The Kinks and the Who, has scored a few runs and has made a difference in nature conservation.
Are there many Derek Moores coming up through the ranks these days - I wonder? I'm glad to have worked in nature conservation while he was around. As Derek writes, 'once a nature conservationist. always a nature conservationist' and you don't stop when you stop getting paid for it!
Derek Moore is a character.
Derek Moore's book, Birds: coping with an obsession, is published by New Holland and is available on Amazon as is Mark Avery's book Fighting for Birds.
A book that's crammed with character about a life lived to the full. Long forewords by both Bill Oddie and Chris Packham are indicative of Derek Moore's strong personality and passion for birds and conservation. Personally, I love the honesty which comes out in the book - it makes for a great read. In today's politically correct world of saying a lot and doing nothing, it's great to read about the positive impact that one truly committed person can have. Although I'm from a different generation than Mr Moore's I can relate to all of the stories and they gave me a lot of chuckles. I also enjoyed the pictures of some past great people. A few may consider the language a bit egotistical in parts but the reality is some people have earned the right to tell it like it is, in simple and straightforward language. Whether you're a birder or not, you'll enjoy this book.