Habitat Man

Cover of the book Habitat Man, a climate fiction


Tim is fifty, single and in a job he hates. Inspired by a life-coaching session, he sheds his old life to become Habitat Man, giving advice on how to turn gardens into habitats for wildlife. His first client is the lovely Lori. Tim is smitten, but first he has to win round Ethan her teenage son. Tim loves his new life until he digs up more than he bargained for, and uncovers a skeleton, one that threatens to bring out the skeletons in his cupboard too. Only Jo, Tim’s long-time best friend knows his secret, but can she be trusted?


Where to buy Habitat Man

If you would like to support the author directly and bypass Amazon, you can buy the eBook here.

The paperback of Habitat Man is available to buy here direct from this website at £9.99.

Already finished Habitat Man? Did you know you can download a sequel teaser extract to find out what happens next? Sign up for my newsletter to get your free copy!


You can also leave a review on Amazon.

Promo video and book signing

Find out more about Habitat Man by listening to my interview on BBC Radio Solent

D.A. Baden Interview with BBC Radio Solent 13th October 2021.


This is dedicated to the real Habitat Man (he knows who he is) who works tirelessly and at no charge to offer assistance to the undervalued nematodes, beetles, worms, springtails and micro-organisms that are the building blocks of life.


A delightful number of incidents presented in this book are true (ish), and characters are definitely based on people I know or have known, but attributes have been shuffled and reallocated across the characters, so anyone who guesses who exactly is who in the right combination can send their answers to me and get a prize. The issues covered though are definitely real.


This book was inspired by the real-life Green Garden Consultancy that started in Southampton in November 2019 and is managed by Transition, Southampton. I am particularly indebted to Kevin who advised me and sent me details of some of the gardens he visited (with the owners’ permission).

Particular thanks go to Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, whose numerous books, including The Garden Jungle: or Gardening to Save the Planet provided great source material. Dave generously offered his help with the manuscript, especially the nature bits, reading through, checking for accuracy, and writing the occasional lyrical passage himself.

Gratitude is also extended to Rosie from the Natural Death Centre who freely gave her time to tell me about the environmental benefits of natural burials and the legal issues surrounding home burial.  Also to Chris and Debs, a couple of house boaters with a healthy obsession with death, nature and music who inspired sections of this book.

In the process of writing this story, I’ve found that people who love nature and the environment tend to be lovely people and Dave, Kevin, Rosie, Chris and Debs illustrate this beautifully.

I also thank the Wizards and Witches from Southampton Pagan Moot for helping me with my research. Rest assured the Wizard of Woolston is not based upon any of you, although you may recognise the odd quote!

Thanks to Alex T a fellow greeny who alerted me to the tantalising concept of cryptofeminism and another Alex, the guerrilla gardener who risked a socially distant meeting to tell me of their secret exploits.

I am also indebted to Heather Conway, an expert on death law and Gary Leonard a consultant solicitor who were both kind enough to help with legal research, although I confess that plot needs have triumphed over legal accuracy, especially with regard to timescale.

Last but not least, thanks go to my partner Chris who was brave enough to tell me my first draft was rubbish, and by the final draft delighted me with several LOLs and a surreptitious tear.

Eco-product placement

  • I have been inspired by new eco-friendly innovations and confess to having my very own extremely stylish Strumpet and Trollop composting toilet in my back garden (great for BBQs), and I can vouch for that fact it looks great and doesn’t smell or attract flies, and produces good compost.
  • The Share Shop is modelled on the many Libraries of Things that are popping up.
  • When I asked myself what car Tim would drive, I was inspired by the new alternatives to car ownership springing up all over, such as Hiya Car, Zipcar, Getaround, Liftshare and Bla bla car amongst others, and so decided he’d borrow Jo’s car.
  • I rely a lot on Ethical Consumer magazine and website to alert me to the credentials of products and services – especially those the manufacturers don’t choose to display on their websites!
  • I also subscribe to Positive News – it’s a must to remind myself that there is hope, lots of it and keep me up to date with all the wonderful projects going on around the world.
  • If you try any of these out and they ask you where you heard of them, please do say from the book Habitat Man.


Watch this space!

Invite Denise to speak at your next book club meeting

Direct all enquiries to hello@dabaden.com!

Book club questions

  1. Would you like a friend like Jo? In chapter 1 Tim admits he can’t tell if Jo has his back or is just exploiting him. What do you think? Did your views change across the course of the book?
  2. Did you learn anything about green solutions or environmental issues? Did this book lead to any changes in your own behaviour such as gardening for wildlife, eating seasonal food or make you aware of greener options such as car sharing, home composting, composting toilets, natural burials etc.?
  3. Were you worried for Tim when he stood on top of Itchen Bridge? Do you think the author was implying he might jump, or was just feeling low?
  4. The book ends with an interesting configuration. What do you think happens next for Tim and Lori, bearing in mind the complicated web of relationships at play?
  5. Lori expresses a distrust of men who call themselves feminists. Is this fair?
  6. Do you think the outcome of the inquest was accurate or do you think that it was suspicious that the death of the guerrilla knitter was never registered?
  7. What did you think of the arguments for and against assisted suicide?
  8. What kind of man is Tim? What does this book say about being a man in the 21st century?  
  9. Many books are set in glamorous locations, but Habitat Man makes a point of showing how beauty and ecology can be attained even in an ordinary terraced back garden. Do you think the choice of Southampton as a location worked?
  10. Who would you choose to play Tim, Lori and Jo in a TV adaptation?

Audio book

Prefer to listen? Audio book now available

Check out the audiobook extracts below for FREE.

Short extract from Chapter 5 , The Polyamorist

Chapter 5 complete (draft version)

Chapter 10 The Batbox

Random recipe generator

Fiction leading the way

Jo, the comic sidekick in Habitat Man, invents a random recipe generator to encourage people to eat seasonal, low carbon foods and experiment with new ingredients. If you were intrigued, please check it out yourself. This is just a draft version, and if it were to become an app we’d need to pretty it up and increase its functionality.

Random Recipe Generator (as inspired by Habitat Man)

This has columns of ingredients ordered by meat/fish, vegetables, starch etc. You press shift F9 and the random recipe generator randomly selects ingredients from each column (0-3 ingredients from each column + a joker ingredient that is especially challenging e.g. marmite). The challenge is to create a dish using these ingredients. The rules are that you are allowed to drop 1 item and add 1 item (only water and salt are included free).

You can download the most up to date RRG here.

If you only include seasonal low carbon foods it is also a great way to promote healthy sustainable food. The joker column is also an opportunity to introduce people to alternative high protein low carbon food sources such as insects – many cultures eat them across the world, and they’re gaining popularity here in the UK too. Or to ingredients that can be foraged in your neighbourhood, such as nettles. You can adapt yourself to create vegan and vegetarian versions too.

There is a ‘back of the cupboard’ column that you fill in yourself with foods that need eating and all the condiments that are rarely used such as spices and ingredients you (or your parents) already have in the cupboard and need using up.

Academic research has suggested that using technology such as random recipe generators is a great way to reduce our food waste, so why not give it a try and see what happens!

You can download the most up to date version of the RRG here.

We’d love to know how you get on! Feel free to send in any films/blogs of your efforts via email to greenstories@soton.ac.uk or using a free service such as WeTransfer. Even better, share them on social media and tag the Green Stories competitions or D.A. Baden on Twitter.


The RRG is currently being adapted by Mr Johnny Swierczynski.

Update [16/03/2022] the latest version available to download here now contains a seasonal veg column that will only generate vegetables that are in season, helping you to reduce your impact on the planet! Some of the ingredients aren’t very common, so it’s a great opportunity to try something new!