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…

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.…

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 

Copyright Content Catnip 2010 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…

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…