Book Review: How Not to Die by Dr Michael Greger MD

Book Review: How Not to Die by Dr Michael Greger MD

With its rather dramatic title 'How Not To Die' is a timeless guide to a lifetime of good health. Although there's a lot of these dietary and nutrition books around, none are as stuffed full of scientific references and scientific evidence as this one. In fact a whole third of the book is dedicated to…

Medieval Icelandic Sagas: Tales of Blood Feuds, Dangerous Women and Warriors http://wp.me/p41CQf-Iu9

Beltane of the Southern Hemisphere

Today, in the Pagan calendar, the north celebrate the coming of winter at Samhainn. And all the while the sun is peaking up from behind the lush vernal trees and dancing for us once more in the southern hemisphere, as we welcome Beltane on October 31st. Or as I like to refer to it Beltane…

Polski jedzenie/ Polish food: My om nom nom nominations

The nutritious order of things

Here's a short media consumption list, from the worst and least nutritious to the most nurturing. Rule of thumb don't eat anything that will give you cancer.  Vice - The exhaust fan of a Chinese restaurant. Buzzfeed - A soggy bagel brandished by a drunk guy who wants to fight you. Instagram - A litre…

The terrace houses of Sevilla, Spain

Travel: The Beautiful Terrace Windows of Triana, Sevilla

Back in 2010 during a particularly sweltering summer, I visited Andalucia and soaked in the beautiful architecture in Sevilla. The best way to see all of the charming neighbourhoods and historic monuments was going the tourist routes with an open-top bus. This also afforded me excellent views onto all of the terrace houses with their…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Lucky's 18th Birthday

Lucky’s 18th Birthday

Lucky sadly left this planet in recent months. Here he is a year ago on his 18th birthday. I just love this look of absolute and unfettered delight at eating the ice-cream cake. He was a good boy. My parents got him when he was only a puppy from the animal shelter. He was sentenced…

Among the Irish Faeries and Norse Gods

Travel: Among the Irish Faeries and Norse Gods

When I was hiking in Ireland in Glendalough I saw some magical landscapes. Ireland has a beautiful soft light in the summer. The diffused sunlight is speckled with clouds that pass over the vast valleys and mountain-sides. It's possible to sit there all day and just watch the way the light travels over the trees,…

Book Review: Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh

Book Review: Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh

The narrator of this novel is an elderly Eileen who looks back on her mis-spent youth in 1964. This book is the blackest kind of noir, but does away with the usual noir narrative tropes. It tells the story of Eileen's entanglement with the enigmatic and beautiful Rebecca who is more a mythological figure than…

The Sensual World of Polish Poet Anna Świrszczyńska

The Sensual World of Polish Poet Anna Świrszczyńska

Anna Świrszczyńska, also known as Anna Swir wrote poems in direct, evocative language that spoke passionately and directly to the heart. She wrote affectionately about the female body, love, pain, loneliness, terror, war, childbirth, child-rearing and the passing of time. She focused a lot on the flesh - its elasticity and potential while young, along…

The Viking Imagination: Medieval Cartography of Scandinavia http://wp.me/p41CQf-Iuf

The Viking Imagination: Medieval Cartography of Scandinavia

Just because I love cartography, here's a couple of remarkable Scandanavian medieval maps. Note the dominance of several kraken and sea monsters off the Norwegian coast and how each country is barely hanging on by a thread because of these menacing beasts. Here be magic, Vikings and mysterious beasts. Velleius Islandia by Abraham Ortellius (1603)…

Travel: A winter afternoon of contemplation in Queenstown

Ancient Word of the Day: Chrysalism

Chrysalism The strange and cosy combination of tranquillity and protectedness experienced when safely indoors as a thunderstorm breaks overhead. The sensation of warmth and well-being induced by listening to waves of rain pattering onto the roof. Originally coined by the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.   

Travel: Eileann Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland. Copyright Content Catnip 2010

Ancient Word of the Day: Kawaakari

Kawaakari (Japanese) The glow of a river or stream in darkness or dusk, the gleaming surface of a shadowed river (Japanese 川明かり). Kawaakari can refer to the reflection of the moonlight off flowing water, or the gleam of late sun at dusk. Obumbro (Latin) To shadow over and over: to make dark with shadow; to…

What do the longest living people in the world have in common?

Ancient Word of the Day: Rema

Rema (Shetland Scots) The mirror-calm surface of the sea on a calm day. A body of water with a surface as smooth as cream. Comes from the Scots word "reyme", meaning "cream"). Rjómalogn (Icelandic) Cream-calm, used to denote  profoundly tranquil weather or sea. Arafin (Welsh) Calm or slow weather in Welsh. blikkstille./ blekkstille (Norwegian) A…

Travel: Magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand Copyright Content Catnip 2016

Travel: Magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand

A few years ago we went to Central Otago on a trip. It really was a magical time away, At that stage we both had highly stressful jobs and we were really needing to get away from everything. Probably one of the best places in the world to blow the cobwebs out of your world…

On a dark night, Kindled in love with yearnings–oh, happy chance!– I went forth without being observed, My house being now at rest. In darkness and secure, By the secret ladder, disguised–oh, happy chance!– In darkness and in concealment, My house being now at rest. In the happy night, In secret, when none saw me,…

"How long does it take to make the woods? As long as it takes to make the world. It is always finished, it is always being made, the act of its making forever greater than the act of its destruction." (Wendell Berry, from A Timbered Choir, 1999)

Beautiful maps & beautiful Welsh tales: The Mabinogion

Beautiful maps & beautiful Welsh tales: The Mabinogion

The Mabinogion is a magical and mythical Celtic classic from the  thirteenth century or earlier. It's thoroughly Welsh and is considered a masterpiece of medieval literature. Although written down during the middle ages, experts think these stories may date from the dawn of Celtic civilisation in Britain. The Mabinogion has given rise to all of…

Seven Tips for Writing Top Notch Travel Articles http://wp.me/p41CQf-5h

Ancient Word of the Day: Grimmelings

Although similar to the gloaming, grimmelings is a slightly different natural phenomenon at both ends of the rotating sun's traverse across the sky. Grimmelings - The first or last gleams of the day (Scots, esp. Orkney). From the Norwegian "grimla", to glimmer before the eyes, to twinkle or blink. Also "grimlins". Or “the harlot’s hour”:…

11 Archaic Words That Deserve Full Revival

Here are eleven words that I have collected in much the same way as other people collect smooth stones from a riverbed or iridescent shells from a beach. With so many words and shells floating around, how can you be sure that you have the prettiest ones? Here are eleven of my favourite ancient words,…

When chapman billies leave the street, And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet; As market days are wearing late, And folk begin to tak the gate, While we sit bousing at the nappy, An' getting fou and unco happy, We think na on the lang Scots miles, The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles, That lie between us and our hame, Where sits our sulky, sullen dame, Gathering her…

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…