Author Archives: East of Elveden

About East of Elveden

Hidden places, secret histories and unsung geography from the east of England and beyond

Kyrgyz Graveyards

You see them everywhere in Kyrgyzstan. From afar they resemble hillside villages of mud-brick dwellings but a closer look reveals them to be cemeteries. Usually located a little way outside a village, sometimes on top of a low bluff, they … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

At Covehithe

The day before the autumn equinox: the setting, the beach at Covehithe. We have gathered here at the north Suffolk coast to walk and talk. A literary walk to celebrate W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn, no less, organised … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Suffolk, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Burston 1914 – 2014

Earlier this year I wrote of Norfolk’s radical tradition and how this would be the centenary year of the Burston School Strike, the longest running strike in British history that lasted from 1914 to 1939.  Last Sunday the annual rally took place in … Continue reading

Posted in History, Norfolk | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Crossing Morecambe Bay

Of all the footpaths and byways that criss-cross our ancient landscape probably the most enigmatic are those that cannot be mapped because of their very impermanence. Such routes can only be defined by their start and end points rather than … Continue reading

Posted in Northern England, Travel, Walking | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Arslanbob – In Walnut Tree Shade

It had been almost eight years since I was last in Arslanbob, a tantalisingly spread-out settlement in Kyrgyzstan’s Jalal-Abad province. As before, I had arrived at the start of Ramadan – the moon was new, the mosque was full; a holiday … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Human Geography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Yuri Gagarin’s Holiday

When Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin returned from the first successful manned space flight in 1961 he took a well-deserved holiday. We can only assume that this took place after a considerable debriefing by the Soviet military – it was, after … Continue reading

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San-Tash: The Riddleof the Stones

A large pile of stones in the Karkara valley: in the far northeast of Kyrgyzstan, close to the Kazakhstan border, San-Tash is an enigma. What can this pile alongside one of the ancient Silk Road routes possibly represent? Who placed … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh!

I don’t quite know what it is that has made me think of Vietnam recently. Maybe it was a casual mention in a conversation that made me realise that I don’t have a very vivid memory of the short time I … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Travel, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Edgeland

Edgelands are everywhere, orbiting our towns and cities like unbeautiful rings of Saturn: non-places, junkspace, transitory transition zones that lie between that which is unequivocally urban or rural. Transitory because they are spaces in flux, with fluid geography that today … Continue reading

Posted in History, Human Geography, Norfolk | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mildred Holland’s Seven-year Task

Mildred Holland was an unusual and determined woman. Not content with  being merely the new rector’s wife at St Mary’s, the parish church at Huntingfield in northeast Suffolk, Mildred took it on herself to singlehandedly repaint the ceiling of the church’s hammerbeam roof. … Continue reading

Posted in History, Suffolk, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments