Author Archives: East of Elveden

About East of Elveden

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

Shirley Collins and the fall of Eden

In 1969 an album was released entitled Anthems in Eden. Its creators were sisters Shirley and Dolly Collins, folk musicians who hailed from Sussex in southern England. Released on the newly created Harvest label, and much lauded by the likes … Continue reading

Posted in Folklore, music | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Bridge to Nowhere and the Bays Road

Just three main roads radiate out of Stornoway, the capital of the Isle of Lewis. One heads across mountains towards Tarbet and Harris to the south; another goes east past the island’s airport and along the Eye Peninsula to come … Continue reading

Posted in Human Geography, Islands, Scotland, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Callanish

“a place appointed for worship in the time of heathenism” Martin Martin A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland circa 1695 Someone once said that the wonder evoked by historical sites is inversely proportional to the number of eyes … Continue reading

Posted in History, Islands, Scotland, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Shape on the Map — South Lochs, Isle of Lewis

Eleven miles east of the main road, six from the nearest shop (closed on the Sabbath), two miles from the open sea as the raven flies. Glen Gravir – a slender thread of houses stretching up a glen, just four … Continue reading

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Under the Greenwood Tree – Forest Bathing in the Deep, Deep Woods of Coed Felinrhyd

The Japanese have an expression – shirin-yoku (‘forest bathing’) — which refers to time spent in a wood or forest for purposes of health and relaxation. Scientific field studies have demonstrated that spending even a short time among trees promotes … Continue reading

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Blyth Spirit

Back in April I took part in a writing workshop in Suffolk led by Ivor Murrell of Suffolk Poetry Society and Melinda Appleby of Waveney & Blyth Arts. The workshop encouraged the participants to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds … Continue reading

Posted in History, Suffolk, Uncategorized, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Sacred Fig

A recent re-reading of Richard Mabey on the ancient and revered Fortingall Yew in Scotland put me in mind of other trees with a well-documented spiritual connection. Such a tree is the sacred fig (Ficus religiosa) or bodhi tree in … Continue reading

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The Minster in The Saints

The Saints is a small, loosely defined area of northeast Suffolk just south of the River Waveney and the Norfolk border. Effectively it is a fairly unremarkable patch of arable countryside that contains within it a baker’s dozen of small … Continue reading

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

Skellig Michael – The Edge of the World

Today is St Patrick’s Day and March 17 is the supposed date of the 5th-century missionary’s death. Patrick was the forerunner of many early missionaries who came to Irish shores to preach Christianity, the island more receptive to new ideas … Continue reading

Posted in History, Islands, Travel, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Ladywood: Two Towers and a Reservoir

It had been many years since I had been to Ladywood. This inner city borough of Birmingham had long been a mythic landscape for me even before I became aware of any sort of Tolkein connection. It was here that … Continue reading

Posted in Cities, History, Midlands, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments