See the World!

When I was young I wanted to see the world. I wanted to explore the unexplored, find hidden cities and lost tribes (never once thinking that these tribes were unlikely to have counted themselves lost), uncover ancient treasures and discover species new to science.

I pored over the literature I had access to at the time (in those distant pre-internet days), whether my parents’ ample collection of books, my own burgeoning supply, or the library (school or otherwise). I would read fictional tales of these adventures: Willard Price, Arthur Conan Doyle, Johann Wyss, Daniel Defoe, R.M. Ballantyne or Gerald Durrell being just some of the authors I admired and devoured. I would also work my way through the non-fiction selection, again including tales of real life explorers and, especially, works about the natural world — particular favourites being David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell (again – The Amateur Naturalist is a book I returned to, and still do, over and over).

Paris, France. The Luxembourg Gardens.

Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris. For this piece I will decorate with a handful of Parisian snapshots, seems to make sense.

(more…)

The Foot of the Bed: A True Ghost Story

It was a dark and stormy night.

Actually, this is a lie. It was a clear, windy, and typically Northern-Scottish-Autumn night, with the moon and stars shining through the sloped window in my attic bedroom. I had no blind or curtain, not a problem in winter, but at this latitude summers are light, all night.

Moonlit night over the waters, ghost story weather.

Same moon, different Scottish waters. This was from my first long wilderness adventure out west.

We had moved to our third (and final, it would turn out) house in Orkney in order to spread. I now had five younger sisters and space had become a premium. I loved this house, built in the eighteenth century, allegedly by wreckers, those men and women who lured passing ships onto knives of rock and stole the cargo. The house was squat, stone and smelled of the earth, of old places. (more…)

Trees, A Pictorial Personal History

I recently published a piece here, entitled: Trees, A Brief Personal History.

Woodpecker on Tree In the Snow

Welcome Flash of Scarlet

While I was working on choosing photos to complement the words I narrowed down a (very) long list of tree photos I have taken over the years and, instead of just using those which seemed to fit best, I decided to keep the short list of thirty-two together in a gallery on Flickr. You can go see (and download for personal use, should you desire) the original images here, but I thought I would share lower resolution copies below for today’s post.

(more…)