Month: July 2016

White Horse 1

The pub with no name

  “I could wring the old thing’s neck that put it there! A public-house! It may be public for birds, Squirrels and suchlike, ghosts of charcoal-burners And highwaymen.” The wild girl laughed. (‘Up in the Wind’ – Edward Thomas)

Echan O’Fechan 2

Echan O’Fechan, a Scotsman abroad

  A Scotsman may tramp the better part of Europe and the United States, and never again receive so vivid an impression of foreign travel and strange lands and manners as on his first excursion into England. (‘The Foreigner at Home’ – Robert Louis Stevenson) Harry, aka Echan O’Fechan, has come down from Edinburgh and booked into the Imperial Hotel on Russell Square. Across the road from the hotel, by one the of the gates of the square’s gardens, he has set up a one-man protest camp. He’s there from early morning to late in the evening and then goes back to the Imperial to have a hot bath and rest up in preparation for the next day’s protesting. He gives me one of the leaflets he had printed and distributed for the EU referendum campaign. It reads: Thoughts to ponder There are certainties in life. 20th June 2016 We will all die. An absolute certainty. You will pay tax. Unless you are very rich or very poor, VAT will get you, unless you are …

Moorgate oak 1

The Moorgate tree ceremony

When the missionary Jerome of Prague was persuading the heathen Lithuanians to fell their sacred groves, a multitude of women besought the Prince of Lithuania to stop him, saying that with the woods he was destroying the house of god from which they had been wont to get rain and sunshine. (The Golden Bough – James Frazer)

Peter Jackson’s strange London

One day at primary school when I was searching the classroom cupboard for something – glue or tracing paper or perhaps even an escape route – I found a book of comic strips on one of the shelves. I opened it on a page which showed a pane titled THE UNSOLVED MYSTERY OF SCOTLAND YARD.

Bournville Carillon

Cadbury’s carillon

In 1906, George Cadbury, visionary industrialist, chocolate magnate and founder of the remarkable model village Bournville, visited Bruges in Belgium. While there he heard the famous carillon of the Belfry of Bruges and decided, there and then, that Bournville should have a carillon too.