Travel: Walks along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh

Ambient Album Review: Place Language by Various Artists @RobGMacfarlane

Sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy this one. It's a compilation album inspired by the themes and evocative words in celebrated nature writer Robert MacFarlane's book Landmarks. The book focuses on showcasing poetic landscape words, gathered from the dialects of Britain and Ireland. Ambient Album Review: Place Language by Various Artists The…

A kooky modernist cuckoo clock

Would you buy this kooky modernist cuckoo clock?

Guido Zimmermann is a German graffiti artist who recently created Cuckoo Blocks, a remix on the traditional Germanic wooden cookoo clock of olden times.  Forget about cutesy animals and people popping out of a wooden clock on the hour, this remake of a cuckoo clock takes inspiration from Brutalist architecture of tower blocks build in the…

Travel: Exploring Ancient Kidwelly Castle in Wales

Travel: Exploring Ancient Kidwelly Castle in Wales

About ten years ago I visited Carmarthenshire, Wales and discovered the ruins of Kidwelly Castle with a friend and fellow couch-surfer. It was a delightful and fascinating day, full of overcast grey weather, souvenirs, bara brith, Welsh rarebit and early medieval history. Perched close to the wind-swept seaside and encircled by beautiful lapwings, ducks and…

Travel: Meandering around the Mynydd Carningli neolithic hillfort

Travel: Poking around the Mynydd Carningli neolithic hillfort

In 2010 I stayed for a while by the Welsh seaside in Newport, Pembrokeshire, Wales. I loved the wild waves and sea air, dramatic black cliffs and bright green hillside dotted with sleepy sheep. But most of all I loved the hill walks there, particularly Myndd Carningli, a splendid 347 meter tall mountain that holds…

Life on an Edwardian Farm

Life on an Edwardian Farm

In this series by the BBC, a group of historians and archaeologists recreate the running of a farm during the Edwardian era. This is a fascinating series that was originally aired in 2011 and now resides on countless Youtube channels - for better or worse with regards to copyright. Still, these issues aside this is…

An exciting jousting event takes place outside of Linlithgow Palace each year.

Travel: A weekend trip to the medieval town of Linlithgow: History through the mists of time to today

The beautiful burgh of Linlithgow charmed the pants off me when I went there a few years ago. The town sits astride the Forth and Clyde Canal (which I’ve written on extensively) which is around half way between Edinburgh and Glasgow. There’s a train link on Scotrail which goes between cities that takes you there, and…

Mudlarking for treasures on the River Thames

Mudlarking for treasures on the River Thames

A Mudlark while being a species of Australian bird', is also a curious river-side rambler. Over several millennia of habitation, London's River Thames has collected many layers of mud-addled refuse of varying degrees of value. Although one man's trash is another's treasure and the shores of the Thames are still a magnet to curious folk…

Knitting with Dog’s Wool (1966)

Instead of allowing your pesky pooch to malt all over your sofa, put your pet to work in a novel way. The most luxuriant of dog breeds can be put to practical use as producers of dog wool for your next knitting expedition. Some of the best breeds for yarn include the Collie, Old English…

Book Review: Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner

Book Review: Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner

Scottish writer Alan Warner's novel Their Lips Talk of Mischief is a boisterous, vigorous and energetic novel about two literary wannabes (Lou and Douglas) living in a glum 80's Thatcherite slumland in Britain. The pair share an interest in Lou's enigmatic and sexy girlfriend Aoife. Thus develops a complex menage a trois that follows. The year…

The cosmic beauty of Cate Le Bon's music will stick to you like lichen

Music Review: The cosmic beauty of Cate Le Bon’s music will stick to you like lichen

Cate Le Bon is a bit like a remixed, post-post-post modern love child of Bjork and David Byrne. She hails from Carmarthenshire in Wales, a sleepy part of Britain with a lot of fond memories in my heart. There's a gentle tinkling and slow-burn epicness to this LP 'Mug Museum' from 2013, which latches onto you…

Welcome to the English Countryside - that's so English it's Japanese

Welcome to the English Countryside – that’s so English it’s Japanese

In Kyushu, Japan you can step into a quaint, cinematic vision of the English Lake District or Cotswalds region parked right in the centre of mountainous Japan. Although all is not as it seems. This place has a distinctly enchanted Harry Potter and Beatrix Potter vibe that will delight and bewilder you. There's a petting zoo,…

The lost art and history documentaries of YouTube

The lost art and history documentaries of YouTube

Forget Netflix, YouTube has some incredible vintage documentaries about art and history. Made during the days of  analogue, these docos may seem pixellated and blurry by today's standards. Yet if you persevere, you'll be rewarded with terrific storytelling, great production values and enigmatic and fascinating subject matter. Here for you are some great documentaries about material…

Every Picture Tells A Story: Lion Tamer for a touring circus at Ascot, 1936

Every Picture Tells A Story: Lion Tamer for a touring circus at Ascot, 1936

A fearless lion tamer goads and encourages her intimidating charges during the Bertram Mills Touring Circus at Ascot.  Shot by Edward G Malindine in 1936. Courtesy of the National Media Museum on Flickr   

Vale David Bowie: Goodbye to the Best Part of the 20th Century (Bowie’s Music, Art, Fashion)

Today the world received the most devastating news. David Bowie died at age 69. This news is monumental to anyone who is a lover of avante-garde art and rock music. Anybody who respects and reveres a life lived to its fullest would feel sad about the passing of David Bowie. A man elegant, humble and…

Bring Back The Eurasian Lynx To Britain!

Help Bring Back The Eurasian Lynx To Britain!

Kingdom Animalia Phylum Chordata Class Mammalia Order Carnivora Family Felidae Genus Lynx The Eurasian Lynx was once a part of primeval forests in Britain, but has since been hunted out of existence there. Nowadays with the deeper understanding of ecological balance, the importance of primary predators has been reasserted. In Britain, there's an exciting new…

The Most Beautiful Relics From the Industrial Dawn

The Most Beautiful Relics From The Industrial Dawn

It's funny to consider power plants and sewerage plants as beautiful, but these old buildings certainly trump any industrial building built in the last few decades. Relics from the dawn of the industrial age, they were designed with immaculate attention to detail and a timeless aesthetic. Nowadays they either accumulate weeds and cobwebs in obscurity,…