Writing for no reason

Whatever You Write, for God’s Sake, Make It Interesting!

Or stick to horoscopes

Philip Ogley
Thought Thinkers
Published in
4 min readJun 19, 2024


A lady on a hammock in the late nineteenth century
This is fun! (Ernst Bischoff-Culm, 1895/Wiki Comms)

I recently read a book on nettles. Yes, that annoying plant that is the bane of gardeners and groundsmen everywhere. I should know, as I am one. And in this damp summer Northern Europe is experiencing this year, keeping these plants back is proving a challenge beyond anything I’ve witnessed in my ten years of doing this job.

So I decided to read about them. The book I chose was not actually about nettles specifically. It was about trees: Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape by Oliver Rackham. Published in 1976, it’s still regarded by historians and botanists alike as the definitive book on the subject.

The book is not only about trees. It’s about the history of the landscape, and therefore, by default, the history of Britain itself. A fascinating read for anyone interested in nature and history. And nettles.

In Rackham’s book, there’s a section called “What The Nettles Say?” This was the bit I was searching for when I opened the book that had been inexplicably sitting on my shelf for years, mostly unread.

I was looking for information on nettles. Mainly: Why are there so many of them here on the estate where I work? The answer came in one…