Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

This is a book to devour in enormous gulps. When you do come up for air, fill yourself with black tea and then settle back into your armchair, to be borne aloft once more. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is a bittersweet and melancholy tale of a woman named Agnes Magnusdottir. Set in Iceland in…

Objects With A Story. Object 1: The Tiny Book

Objects With A Story. Object 1: The Tiny Book

I found this tiny old leatherbound book in the home of a woman I was looking after in Wales about six years ago. I liked looking after the woman and living in her ancient thatch-roofed house in the middle of nowhere. The serenity was perfect. And yet precisely because it was so serene, I got…

British Roundabout Obsessions and The Battle of Hastings

British Roundabout Porn and The Battle of Hastings

In Britain there is a unique subset of people who are fascinated and obsessed with roundabouts. Not your average concrete roundabouts with some paving or a few weeds in the middle. But rather your fancy, pond or windmill in the centre roundabouts. A few years back, the Time Team revealed that a key point in the…

A Mermaid by John William Waterhouse

The story of a mysterious mermaid in Milford Haven 1795 A.D.

The 18th century was a time of British exploration, rapidly growing technology and restless souls wanting to travel. Many people from the well-to-do class including a woman called Mrs. Morgan wrote of her adventures and then had it all conveniently bundled, printed and distributed as Mrs. Morgan's Tour of Milford Haven, published in 1795 and then…

An operatic journey through our solar system at the speed of light

Join me for an operatic journey at the speed of light

If you're like me and tend to gaze up at the night sky and wonder about life and the meaning of it all then you can't help but be swept up in the events of the past few weeks. NASA estimates that 1 billion earth-like planets in our galaxy alone NASA New Horizons Crew find…

Lapland Over Four Splendid Seasons

Lapland Over Four Splendid Seasons

Lapland straddles the northern-most regions within Sweden and Finland. Yet this place is more than merely the legendary hideout of Santa, it sparkles all year round with serene natural beauty. Whatever the reason and whatever the season, you should go there. Spring The spring in Lapland is brief and boisterous, with many creatures all clamouring to…

Eclipse Hunting For Star-gazing Dreamers

Eclipse Hunting For Star-gazing Dreamers

A solar eclipse is an awe-inspiring phenomenon that visits earth only once every couple of years or even decades. Ever since ancient times, humans have been fascinated, fearful and reverent of eclipses. Myth and the Solar Eclipse Ancient Greeks, Mesopotamians and Egyptians were the first to record solar eclipses. In 585 BC, Herodotus wrote 'Day…

The Bridge in Wynyard Quarter in Auckland CBD. Looks lovely during the night and the day time too

A Full Moon in Scorpio: Culinary Adventures and Moonlit Walks Around Auckland Harbour

The Boy and I went to one of our favourite haunts in Auckland, the endearingly named Miss Clawdys. A southern American style tapas joint nestled within a group of vibrant dockside restaurants and bars in Auckland CBD. After the meal we basked in the wavering neon lights and the large full moon (in Scorpio) that…

Rediscovering the World's Fair in 1939, New York

The World of Tomorrow – Yesterday: The World’s Fair in 1939, New York

This  bright bold fold-out map from the World's Fair in 1939 along with postcards, pictures and a documentary speak volumes about a new optimism following the bleakness of the Depression and a blind faith in technology and all of the hopes and possibilities of the future. Click image to see larger detailed version. Watch an…

Welcome To The End Of The World - And It's Amazing

Welcome To The End Of The World – And It’s Amazing

Welcome to Slope Point. This is no man's land - southernmost tip on New Zealand's South Island. Basically what happens is that air circulating from Antarctica bursts forth towards these shores and create ongoing turbulence that's so violent that trees are warped and gnarled in perpetuity, and envelop the landscape in twisted, morphed shapes. This is…

The Paris Metro After Dusk

The Paris Metro After Dusk

The Paris Metro is a beautiful work of art that has been depicted in many films and photographs over the years. Although many daily commuters would argue that it's a stinking cesspit instead! It looks a lot more attractive than many other subways across the world and I enjoyed travelling on it when I was…

The Post-Apocalyptic Underground Lunchroom

The Post-Apocalyptic Underground Lunchroom

One of the more quirky destinations in New Mexico is Carlsbad Caverns. Located 228 metres below the surface is a diner/lunchroom that is frozen in the middle of the 20th century. The eatery sells cold cuts and food stuffs that don't require cooking (as they don't have cooking facilities), along with souvenirs. Over the ensuing…

Life in a Doughnut-Shaped World: NASA Artwork From the 70’s

In the 1970's NASA and Stanford University held three space colony studies. Attendants of the course produced artistic renderings that showed what could theoretically be possible in a future inter-planetary world. This doughnut-shaped world was a pristine, insular and remarkably beautiful space sanctuary called the Stanford Torus. Click on the images below to magnify and view…

Book Review and Giveaway: In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut

Book Review and Giveaway: In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut

(Contains no spoilers) In a Strange Room is by well known South African writer Damon Galgut. This is the story of global travel and directionless transience. Of a man desperate for meaning and yet terminally lacking in hope. Part memoir, part fiction, it's unlike any other travel book you've ever read, because it evokes a…

The Strangely Hypnotic World of Norwegian Slow TV

The Hypnotic, Droll and Funny World of Norwegian Slow TV

Thomas Hellum of production company NRK in Norway has created new form of documentary that pushes the boundaries of what is and what isn't entertainment. This means filming quirky drawn out events such as real-time, live journeys in ferries and trains; along with knitting and wood-chopping events. Sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry, right?…

The Legacy of Robert Burns in Scotland

The Culinary and Poetic Legacy of Robert Burns in Scotland

Robert Burns is a cult figure amongst Scottish people for his celebrated poetry and folk songs from the 18th Century. He used to write in the Scots language and also English with Scots dialect. Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns has travelled far beyond Scotland, to become a universal song for New Year's Eve. Every…

Inter-Planetary Topography and Splashes of Colour

Map Porn Part 1: Inter-Planetary Topography

Have you ever pondered about the topography of the moon's surface? Well I have. My brain works in weird and wacky ways. So naturally before we expose what the moon's surface actually looks like, you need to see what the moon would look if you were on acid. courtesy of The Mighty Boosh. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4qxQRKAI2o Previously,…

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,…

The Secret Back Door to the Entire World

The Secret Back Door to the Entire World

This is just perfect for armchair travelers and people with incurable wanderlust. Take a step through this virtual door and be transported to some of the most curious, random and exotic locations in the world, all courtesy of Google Maps/ Google Earth. What a clever idea by this British door replacement company. Surely the marketing…