Blinded by Dazzle

By the mid-1970s my natural playground was the slagged cliffs and green-slimed rocks of Workington beach. There was a rent in the cliffs that let you down over the edge, sliding steeply towards a hole in the cliff face and clamber down through a cave that stank of algae and piss, out onto the coal-jeweled…

Walton Wood Cottage by Ben Nicholson

October half-term. A long-planned visit to Edinburgh, staying in the palatial ‘community hall’ of Well Court, part of Edinburgh World Heritage Dean Court. These apartments were built in 1886 as a model housing development for artisans and worker families employed by the many mills that dipped their wheels in the Water of Leith. The Water…

Mistletoe, Evergreen of Contrast

Mistletoe is an evergreen of contrasts. Its lustrous green and golden globes only fully visible once winter has removed the dead leaves around it.  The European mistletoe, Viscum Album is semi-parasitic. It takes water and nutrients from the host’s inner bark yet its own green leaves power photosynthesis. Unhindered by the need for sunlight or gravity, mistletoe…

Carlisle Roman Bathhouse

Good news at last for Carlisle Cricket Club. A £5,000 Lottery grant will kick-start repairs to flood damage created by February’s Storm Ciara. Five years earlier, Storm Desmond flooded the Edenside cricket ground, but that natural catastrophe created a chain of events that led to the discovery of the 1600-year-old Carlisle Roman Bathhouse. But with…

Blood on Burnswark Hill

History, for me, becomes most alive when ancient and modern uses are found for the same device. I first realized this when I read about the historical and contemporary uses of the term wall-chalking. During the Great Depression, an estimated 4,000,000 adults left their homes in search of work. These ‘hobos’ roamed the United States,…

The Last Post Of Dunluce Castle

For Game of Thrones fans, Dunluce Castle is a highlight of any Northern Ireland location tour. Perching precariously on the basalt outcrops of the Antrim coast, its dramatic situation, plus a touch of CGI, turned Dunluce Castle into Castle Pike, Seat of the House Greyjoy, in fictional Westeros. For naval researchers, H.M.S. Dunluce Castle is a frequent posting on personnel…