Category Archives: History

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 , , , , , | 6 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

Hethel Old Thorn

If trees could only speak. If they had some semblance of sentience and memory, and a means of communication, what would they tell us? Ancient trees – or at least those we suspect to be very old – are usually … Continue reading

Posted in Folklore, History, Norfolk, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Memory fields in the city of sock-wearers

The small city of Kruševac in south-central Serbia is probably best known for its fortress and 14th-century church, a fine example of the highly decorative Morava school. This was Prince Lazar’s capital in the late 14th century and it was … Continue reading

Posted in Balkans, Eastern Europe, History, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

All along the supple river: following the Ystwyth to the sea

  ystwyth (Welsh) adjective:  supple, flexible, pliable The harbour at Aberystwyth on the west coast of Wales holds the confluence of two rivers. One of these, the Rheidol, is probably best known for the narrow-gauge steam railway that plies its … Continue reading

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Ghosts of Empire – Park Street Cemetery, Kolkata

One way of looking at this evocative, if mildly disturbing, place is as a hidden enclave populated with the ghosts of colonialism. Situated right in the middle of Kolkata, tucked away purdah-like from the mayhem of the city streets, the … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, History, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Birmingham Edgelands Part 2

Edgelands are not necessarily always on the urban edge. Not physically anyway – the important thing is they are perceived as different from the zones that lay beyond. Neither strictly urban nor rural but an overlooked amalgam of the two … Continue reading

Posted in History, Human Geography, Midlands | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Crowland

Crowland – the name seems to be well chosen. Walking into the village I cannot help but notice several dozen crows perched on the wires above the village sign: a welcoming committee taking a brief respite from wind-wheeling above the … Continue reading

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Digbeth

Passing through Birmingham recently I had a little time on my hands and so decided to visit the Digbeth area, a shortish walk from New Street Station. Head south from the futuristic silver button bulwark that is the Selfridges building … Continue reading

Posted in Cities, History | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Palmyra 2000

The news is always bad from Syria these days. The newsworthiness of the conflict seems to fluctuate as we in the West become increasingly inured to a lexicon that includes words like barrel bombs, Isis, chlorine gas, jihadi, caliphates and … Continue reading

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