Book Review: Weatherland by Andrea Harris

Weatherland by Alexandra Harris is a sweeping panorama and magic carpet ride through the history of England using a quirky weathervane to measure the changing culture – the weather. Author Alexandra Harris’ debut book won The Guardian’s Book of the Year. It’s no surprise either because this is a far-reaching, expansive book written in anContinue reading “Book Review: Weatherland by Andrea Harris”

Film Review: Blinded by the Light

Director Gurinder Chadha who is known for the film Bend It Like Beckham, has created another feel-good film.  Blinded by Light is about a Pakistani British teenager Javed who learns how to cope with the ecstacy and heartbreak of life   through the music of Bruce Springsteen. Set in a working class suburb of London inContinue reading “Film Review: Blinded by the Light”

Strange Victorian Journeys Into the Fourth Dimension

The last gasp of Victorian spirituality infused cutting-edge science with old-school mysticism. Theosophy was all the rage; Many weird and and wonderful ideas being developed at the turn of the century around death, ghosts, the fourth dimension filled the Victorians with a palpable sense of possibility.

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,Continue reading “The Most Beautiful Relics From The Industrial Dawn”

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. The book Landmarks separates out words into types ofContinue reading “Ambient Album Review: Place Language by Various Artists @RobGMacfarlane”

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 andContinue reading “Travel: Exploring Ancient Kidwelly Castle in Wales”

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 holdsContinue reading “Travel: Poking around the Mynydd Carningli neolithic hillfort”

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 isContinue reading “Life on an Edwardian Farm”

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, andContinue reading “Travel: A weekend trip to the medieval town of Linlithgow: History through the mists of time to today”