Koi fish vying for food in Kyoto by Content Catnip

Four weird unexpected things to love about Japan

Last week I came back from a three week holiday in Japan. And so here are four weird and off-the-wall unexpected surprises about Japan that you most likely don't know about yet. 1. Requiem for a washlet Washlets are one of the unexpected delights of going to Japan. The Japanese washlet is a technological marvel…

The terrace houses of Sevilla, Spain

Travel: The Beautiful Terrace Windows of Triana, Sevilla

Back in 2010 during a particularly sweltering summer, I visited Andalucia and soaked in the beautiful architecture in Sevilla. The best way to see all of the charming neighbourhoods and historic monuments was going the tourist routes with an open-top bus. This also afforded me excellent views onto all of the terrace houses with their…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Lucky's 18th Birthday

Lucky’s 18th Birthday

Lucky sadly left this planet in recent months. Here he is a year ago on his 18th birthday. I just love this look of absolute and unfettered delight at eating the ice-cream cake. He was a good boy. My parents got him when he was only a puppy from the animal shelter. He was sentenced…

Among the Irish Faeries and Norse Gods

Travel: Among the Irish Faeries and Norse Gods

When I was hiking in Ireland in Glendalough I saw some magical landscapes. Ireland has a beautiful soft light in the summer. The diffused sunlight is speckled with clouds that pass over the vast valleys and mountain-sides. It's possible to sit there all day and just watch the way the light travels over the trees,…

Travel: Magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand Copyright Content Catnip 2016

Travel: Magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand

A few years ago we went to Central Otago on a trip. It really was a magical time away, At that stage we both had highly stressful jobs and we were really needing to get away from everything. Probably one of the best places in the world to blow the cobwebs out of your world…

On a dark night, Kindled in love with yearnings–oh, happy chance!– I went forth without being observed, My house being now at rest. In darkness and secure, By the secret ladder, disguised–oh, happy chance!– In darkness and in concealment, My house being now at rest. In the happy night, In secret, when none saw me,…

When chapman billies leave the street, And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet; As market days are wearing late, And folk begin to tak the gate, While we sit bousing at the nappy, An' getting fou and unco happy, We think na on the lang Scots miles, The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles, That lie between us and our hame, Where sits our sulky, sullen dame, Gathering her…

It is the time when crimson stars Weary of heaven’s cold delight, And take, like petals from a rose, Their soft and hesitating flight Upon the cool wings of the air Across the purple night. It is the time when silver sails Go drifting down the violet sea, And every poppy’s crimson mouth Kisses to…

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat held for it by a row of ancient trees; you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight, one journeying to heaven, one that falls; and leave you, not at home in either one, not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses, not calling…

Featured Artist: Jen Muir's Photorealistic Pet Portraits   

Featured Artist: Jen Muir’s Photorealistic Pet Portraits   

Jen Muir is an illustrator currently residing in Scotland where she crafts intricate, sublime and whimsical watercolours and pencil drawings. Although she’s always loved making art, Jen begun working as an artist when she took a year off University to do a visual communications course. “I usually use watercolour and graphite for making things, but…

The beautiful poetry of the Maori/Polynesian Star Compass - Atea a Rangi

What is a pepeha in Maori culture? How can I write one?

In Maori culture, people come to know you through where you are from, not what you have achieved in life. The first question a pakeha asks when they meet you is 'what do you do?', the first question a Maori asks is 'Where are you from?'. A pepeha is a form of introduction that establishes…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Seal of Mahia Beach

Travel: Baby seal on Mahia Beach, New Zealand 

While visiting family on the east coast of New Zealand we came upon a little baby seal or what the Scottish would call a selkie (a water spirit) lurking precariously close to the road. She was laying in a clump of harakeke flax and staring up at us with wide, black shiny eyes. I was…

Tapas of bread with fresh sardines, basil, cheese and tomatoes in Madrid, what I actually remember from the palace tour. Copyright Content Catnip 2009

Travel: The Royal Palace in Madrid

It was broiling and steaming at about 38 degrees in Madrid that day. Looking out over the vista of Madrid during the peak of the siesta period it seemed that all the traffic had stopped and all of the sensible people in the city had retreated inside, except for the tourists like me of course.…

Adventures on the Isle of Skye

Travel: Roaming in the gloaming in the land of melancholy, with the Polish bear by my side

A personal note Around six years ago, I had the most romantic trip of my life when I went to the Isle of Skye, Scotland with the Polish bear. We cozied up in the most comfortable little croft in all of the Scottish isles. Located in Borreraig, the farthest point of the Isle of Skye…

Travel: Walks along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh

Travel: Walks along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh

The Polish Bear and I went on a lot of adventures together while living in Edinburgh. One of our favourite walking trails was the devastatingly beautiful Water of Leith. This natural body of water crosses over the Forth and Clyde Canal, which I've written about extensively before. The Water of Leith snakes its way through…

Travel: Delightful Art Deco Bollards in Napier

Travel: Delightful Art Deco Bollards in Napier

Whereas in Australia bollards are being erected everywhere to protect against trucks driving through people on the street, in little old New Zealand, the bollard means something completely different and is used to great decorative affect in the town of Napier in New Zealand. These Art Deco bollards are dotted around all of the streets…

Travel: Hiking in Ireland Copyright Content Catnip 2010

Travel: Hiking in Ireland

When I was in Glenadough, Ireland the land spoke volumes to me. It felt and it indeed was ancient. The Irish people exist in comfortable relation to it, and appreciate its melodic shifts and seasons, as they have done for thousands of years. There are vast tracts of low-lying suburbs around Dublin. It's almost always…

Another cathedral ceiling, this time in Wroclaw. Copyright Content Catnip 2016 https://wp.me/p41CQf-IE8

Travel: Celestial ceilings and soaring skies in Poland

When I was in Poland, going around to all of the cathedrals and churches, there was a hushed reverence and peaceful vibe that permeated everything and everyone. It was akin to being wrapped inside of the embrace of a friend or loved one. Although I'm not a religious person at all I experienced a sense…

Travel: A winter afternoon of contemplation in Queenstown

Travel: A winter afternoon of contemplation in Queenstown

Overlooking the majestic and pure beauty of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, the peace and serenity of the place lends itself well to comtemplating life plans, love, the meaning of it all. The dramatic cathedral of the big sky and jutting snow-capped mountains is ever-changing and there's a reverent silence here like inside of a medieval…