Ireland has three patron saints: Patrick, Columcille, and one woman, Brigid. Today, February 1st, is Brigid’s feast day and it also traditionally marks (in Ireland at any rate) the first day of spring. There are many legends surrounding Brigid: she had a reputation as an expert dairywoman and brewer, with the enviable reputation of being … Continue reading Saint Brigid
May I Borrow It?
The Bayeux Tapestry is coming to the British Museum in 2020 on loan from the French. It might seem to be too early to be talking about it, but two years is a blink of the eye when you consider that it hasn't left France for 950 years. The museum in Bayeux, Northern France, where … Continue reading May I Borrow It?
Turner in Edinburgh
Walking around Edinburgh at any time of the year, but especially at summertime on the Royal Mile, I’m a sucker for groups of people gathered around street performers. Over I’ll trot, sheep-like, blindly going with the flow and I’ll stand, watch and wait. I linger waiting for the interminable preamble of performer/crowd banter before we … Continue reading Turner in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is filled with beautiful buildings, some unquestionably so: Edinburgh Castle, the Usher Hall, Holyrood Palace. Some are more controversial, bound to divide opinion: the Parliament Building, or the modern glass-fronted flats at the Quartermile on the edge of The Meadows, new housing mixed in through the old Royal Infirmary. However, there are two edifices … Continue reading Imposing
Sydney has just had its hottest day since 1939 – it sizzled in at 49 degrees C. Meanwhile, on the other side of the hemisphere, up some mountain in New Hampshire a group of crazy young meteorologists have measured the temperature plunging to -67 degrees C. Neither is very conducive to humans going about their … Continue reading Extreme
Rosslyn and Roslin
During Crimbo-Limbo (that frivolous term referring to those ‘what shall we do?’ days between Christmas and New Year), we took a short run out of the city to visit Rosslyn Chapel. Formally known as the Chapel of St Matthew, it dates from the 15th-century and is located in the village of Roslin (yes, two different … Continue reading Rosslyn and Roslin
Yesterday, I was in the midst of magic as the children from Edinburgh’s Royal Blind School took me on an odyssey. Actually, they took me on ‘The Odyssey’, which was the basis for their annual Christmas Show. These young people live with visual impairments, many have additional support needs and complex multiple disabilities. Watching them, … Continue reading Odyssey
It is Christmas and we will buy gifts, wrap them, give and receive and be generous. It is altogether a good thing. Sharing what we have, marking our appreciation of others, acknowledging their support throughout the year; this is one of the better Christmas traditions. If you possess the means and the time, then it … Continue reading Beauty
Happed up - as my dad would have said - with bright red mittens on my hands, a white maple leaf stitched onto each palm, the aran-knit hat pulled down as far as my eyebrows, and low over my ears. Around my neck I had double-looped a scarf, the one that V. gave me, patterned … Continue reading Thin Ice
“We read to know we are not alone.” I came across this quote when climbing the stairs to the second floor of Edinburgh’s Central Library, where I often go to write. A piece of artwork is on permanent display there, sitting deep into the window ledge at the side of the stairs. Each time I … Continue reading Not Alone