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 loved the location and the cabin.

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Poetry and music from the film 'Wings of Desire' (Der Himmel uber Berlin)

Poetry and music from the film ‘Wings of Desire’ (Der Himmel uber Berlin)

One of my favourite films of all time is the Wim Wenders film The Wings of Desire known in German as Der Himmel uber Berlin. It won the Best Film at Cannes in 1987. Some of the magic  of this film comes from the music (Nick Cave, U2), the acting (Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin) and…

Historic Jukebox: Henry David Thoreau & Fleet Foxes http://wp.me/p41CQf-9V

Thirty great medieval epithets for people and beasts

Why do we say a gaggle of geese, a flock of sheep, a pride of lions or a swarm of bees? Well it harks back to medieval times when sportsmen grouped together collectives of beasties to refer to them in movement or attributing a quality to them - presumably while the poor creatures ran away…

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,…

Before Time Began: Latin Quotes on Ancient Sundials

Before Time Began: Latin Quotes on Ancient Sundials

Ancient sundials of Greece, Egypt and Babylon often featured provocative and emotional expressions in Latin. They were succinct and powerful calls to action which were designed to waken up the senses and peel back the blinkers on what really matters. These concise messages highlighted the passing of time, mortality, life, death and enjoying one’s brief…

Film Review – Utopia directed by John Pilger

Film Review – Utopia directed by John Pilger

Utopia is veteran and respected journalist John Pilger’s attempt to tell an extraordinary story, one hidden from the eyes of everyday Australians, of Australia’s first people. Pilger uses words like apartheid and hidden genocide to describe it. And the evidence he presents in this documentary is overwhelmingly convincing. It’s difficult to do justice to this…

Adventures on the Isle of Skye

Franz Kafka on reading books

A book must be the axe to crack open the frozen sea within us. We need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves. We need books like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. Five Creepy Islands in…

Travel: Himeji Castle, Japan

Himeji Castle was the first place in Japan to become a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993, after this there were dozens of others named. It’s actually the largest and arguably most impressive castle in in Japan and has 83 buildings. It takes hours to walk around inside of it, like a medieval Disneyland,  it's…

Ambient album review: The Fifty Eleven Project by Kasper Bjørke Quartet

Just a few weeks shy of his 35th birthday, Kasper Bjørke, a Danish ambient producer, discovered a tumor. The next five years of his life were spent in the clinical surrounds of hospitals and clinics. So he decided to document his feelings into his newest release, The Fifty Eleven Project. It's deeply moving, fragile ambient…

Travel: Tenryu-ji temple and gardens Arashiyama Kyoto

Travel: Tenryu-ji temple and gardens Arashiyama Kyoto

Tenryū-ji is a temple and gardens founded by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339. It's purpose at the time was to venerate Gautama Buddha. It's considered as one of Kyoto's so-called Five Mountains. In 1994, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tenryuji dates from the Muromachi period in Japan's 14th-16th century. Among its many…

Why I write my blog…why do you write yours?

I've been doing this for over five years or longer. Every single week, three times per week, for more than five years. Holy shit it's a long time. It makes me think, why has there been this longevity? What has kept me doing this all of this time? It's got to do with me just…

The ancient and elusive fairisle of Hy Brasil

Hy Brasil is a mysterious phantom island that was thought to exist off the west coast of Ireland in the Atlantic Ocean for hundreds of years. The area being nautically challenging for seafarers, it was an elusive and mysterious place, hailed in pre-Christian times as being the Celtic Elysium or land of promise. During Christian…

Ancient word of the day: hedgehog

Ancient word of the day: Hedgehog

The ancient word for today is hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus. In the Middle Ages, writers didn't make reference to hedgehogs, but to urchins. A term still favoured in some English dialects. It's also associated with the sea urchin, which is literally a sea hedgehog. The word urchin came over to England with the Norman invasion and…

Te Ao Maori and the aesthetics of cosiness

An indepth exploration of the aesthetics of cosiness

There’s a lovely subreddit I recently found called Cosy Places, which calls for people to submit their log cabins, hideaways and cosy loungerooms. This is a veritable treasure trove of different ideas for cosiness. Someone even parsed the photo content in the subreddit and came up with the recipe and criteria that make up a…

So long, Marianne: Leonard Cohen and his muse Marianne Ihlen

So long, Marianne: Leonard Cohen and his muse Marianne Ihlen

In November 2016, the singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, renowned for his melancholic and romantic ballads, died a few months after the woman who inspired many of his famous songs - his Norwegian lover and muse, Marianne Ihlen. On the summery idyll of Hydra, Greece in 1960, there was a bohemian community of artists and musicians living…