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…

To A on her 37th birthday.

Many years ago in the late 90’s there was a pretty average movie called To Gillian on her 37th Birthday. It starred Michelle Pfeiffer as the mother Gillian and Clare Danes as her teenage daughter. Anyway, it turns out in the movie that Gillian dies before she turns 37 and puts her whole family in…

Melbourne's vibrant laneway graffiti

Travel: Melbourne’s vibrant laneway graffiti

Melbourne has a great variety of every changing laneway graffiti, which is sort of like the creative engine bellowing and churning away below the city. Street Art in Mebourne has become an attraction in its own right and meant that tourists mark out their stay in the city by visiting these modern monoliths of culture.…

Travel: Walks along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh

Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur – Within Me a Lunatic Sings by Sigur Ros

The epic Icelandic band Sigur Ros is one of my all-time favourites. They have the ability to capture all of the melodic, emotional landscapes of my inner life all of the light and dark. Although a lot of their music can be considered emo or depressing to some, it still offers a welcome emotional respite,…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Conil De La Frontera, Andalucia

Travel: The ancient moorish town of Conil De La Frontera, Andalucia

At least 7 years ago now, I WWOOFED in Andalucia, helping out with cleaning and cooking at an Andalucian B&B villa just outside of Vejer De La Frontera.The work was far from easy although I did happen to live in a mountainside cabin (cheap fibro, but yet still my own for a wee while). I…

Exploring early mediaeval churches in Eirann

Travel:Exploring early mediaeval churches in Eirann

I visited this crumbling relic, the largest and oldest remaining church in the Irish village of Glendalough in 2009. It was one of the largest known early Christian churches in Ireland. The church was originally dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul but ceased to be a cathedral in 1214. The large rectangular stones at…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Lake Menteith in the fading light of a winters night

Travel Poetry: The Crackling Thunder of Frozen Lake Menteith

I wrote this poem in 2011 during a particularly bewitching snow-storm on Lake Menteith in Stirlingshire, Scotland. I had borrowed a pair of old, worn out and blunt ice-skates that were a size too small. And together with my friend, we set out to skate on the lake and also record the audio of the…

The Berlin Wall Redux: A punk of leisure on the shores of the Spree river

Travel:The Berlin Wall Redux: A punk lady of leisure 

In 2008 I lived in Berlin. It's a vast adult playground of earthly delights, diversions and shiny, distracting baubles. Its maddeningly vibrant during the summer. It's as though life is amplified to full volume and there is no dimmer switch. The sky sits very high up and the sun is beaming down with a warm,…

Ride or die: Scooter riding in Taiwan

Travel: A scooter swarm and the dance of life and death in Taiwan

Among the chaos and the streaming lights there are tiny rockets moving between buildings and jostling people out of the way as they walk into the street. In South Korea, Japan, Thailand and China these pocket rockets roam through the night, comandeered by a mixture of salarymen, young punks and mums with kids strapped to…

Mysterious cat in Chefchauoen

Travel: The lost and hungry felines of Chefchaouen, Morocco

Seeing you sprawled on the ground in a doorway in Chefchaoen, Morocco, something broke inside of my heart. I found myself so immensely concerned for your safety. From your gaunt and shabby physique and milky, clouded eyes I worked out that you were severely malnourished. I attempted to pick you up gently but my Morocccan…

Where to eat in Taupo? 

Travel: The best places to eat in Lake Taupo, New Zealand

On a recent trip to the beautiful Lake Taupo  with all of its athletic pursuits such as MTB there is nothing better than chowing down on some superb and hearty food. Taupo has some great options which we tried and loved. For a quick and reasonably priced brunch, try Cafe Baku which has a relaxed…

Words and Music: Miss Hollywood & Shanghai

Words and Music: Dave Clarke’s World Service & Shanghai

I wrote this poem because I came across an album I hadn't heard in years, it reminded me so much of Shanghai where I lived briefly as a teenager that I had this all rush into my head and I needed to get it out. So here is a memory purge of my time in…

Luminous Edinburgh during Christmas time lit the way for work-weary me

Travel: Luminous Edinburgh during Christmas time lights the way through winter 

Edinburgh is bewitching at all times of year but arguably the most captivating time is before and during Christmas. From early December the area in Princes Gardens is turned into an enchanted frozen amphitheatre. The faerie wonderland buzzing with a German Christmas market and overflowing with handmade, wooden and delicate trinkets, along with carnival rides…

Adventures on the Forth and Clyde Canal

History: The history of the Forth and Clyde Canal

Above is a map of the first part of the canal which stretches from Lochrin Basin to Falkirk Wheel over a distance of 32 miles. The remainder of the canal after that goes to Glasgow and turns into the Clyde River. See more detail.    Originally opened in 1789, the Forth and Clyde Canal crossed…

Neist Point on the Isle of Skye

Words and Music: Stases & Neist Point on the Isle of Skye

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b6h4hYBSgM [I will write a poem about a place that I've been each week with music to match] Neist Point on the Isle of Skye Swirling batons of time Erasing thoughts and hushing life and death On a clear day you can see all the way to Iceland it's said In any case there to…

Adventures on the Forth and Clyde Canal

Cycling along Edinburgh’s canal: Lochrin Basin to Almond Acqueduct

See more detail here This is one of my favourite scenic routes through the leafy, pastoral and mountainous outer suburbs of Edinburgh and East Lothian heading out into the countryside. This epic shared pedestrian and cycling path goes all the way from Edinburgh to Glasgow (56km one way) alongside the Forth and Clyde Canal. With…