The Good the Bad & the Hooligan: Tales from the Glen

Jan 9, 2020

Josine Atsma has written her first book ‘The Good, the Bad & the Hooligan’ which is a compilation of Josine’s blogs about her ecological and self-sufficient lifestyle in Glendevon, Scotland.
The book offers an insight into organic gardening, preserving food (including a few recipes) as well as rearing chickens, one of whom is an unruly hen dubbed ‘The Hooligan’.

Josine and her husband JP moved to Scotland in 2006 from the Netherlands to live a more quiet lifestyle and closer to nature. They started off as WWOOFers, travelling across Scotland to stay with various WWOOF hosts. When they settled down in Glendevon, they quickly started growing their own fruit and vegetables and knowing how much fun WWOOFing is, decided to become WWOOF hosts themselves. They have hosted many different nationalities and with the help of the WWOOFers transformed a bare piece of land into a productive and wildlife friendly garden, including vegetable beds, flower beds and a wildlife pond.

Josine owns a health food shop in Stirling and many of her customers grow their own vegetables as well, so sharing tips is a daily occurrence in the shop. Adding that Josine likes to inspire other people to grow some (or all) of their vegetables, she decided to end the shop’s monthly newsletter with an informal blog about gardening. When the chickens arrived, one of them soon became a very special chicken; she turned out to be a loud and headstrong chicken, who got into trouble all the time. So, she was named ‘The Hooligan’ and quickly became the star of the blog during her lifetime.

The book spans 7 years of living in Glendevon, which due to its elevation, can have challenging weather conditions, which are also in the book. 

So, this book really has everything: good, bad and a Hooligan!

Extracts from the book:

June 2014 – The American wwoofer was really impressed by how many weeds are actually edible: ground elder, comfrey, nettle, sorrel and dock were all on the menu while she stayed with us. She now wants to grow thing herself. It won’t be easy though, she grew up in the outskirts of Las Vegas, which is basically a dessert – just and ever-so-slightly different climate from Scotland…

July 2014 – The other day, one hen in particular looked very poorly and lethargic…… Anyway, I left her in the cat carrier overnight and looked in on her the following morning….. Well, when I came back that night, there was a right racket coming from inside that cat carrier. I could tell she was back to her old (annoying) self again. One can only imagine what she was trying to say, I got the impression it wasn’t very nice… good job, I can’t speak ‘chicken’!

January 2019 – We also had our first winter weather of the season Mid December – freezing rain. This is fairly rare in Britain ……. So, it’s not just the road that become icy, but everything else too! I had to close the shop an hour early as our main road became more like an ice rink ……..the trees were so heavy with ice, they hang over and touched the roof of the car as I drove underneath them! ….. Plus I had to give the latch of the gate a hard knock to break the ice off before I could enter the front garden.

If you are interested in buying a copy of the book, it is only available to buy from Josine & JP’s (online) shop https://www.stirlinghealthfoodstore.co.uk/products/14956/the-good-the-bad–the-hooligan.htm [and not from Amazon or Waterstones, despite the book being listed on their website.]

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