Michael Viney has been writing a weekly column on nature and natural history for the Irish Times since 1977. Alongside his words the newspaper includes an illustration, a sketch in ink, also by him, matching whatever has beckoned to be written about; maybe the distinctive ecosystem of a dry stone wall or comparing the song … Continue reading Light Lingers Long
Auden, Barrett-Browning, Cope, Dickinson, Eliot, Frost, Gallagher, Heaney, Ibsen, Jamie, Kinnell, Larkin, Mahon, Neruda, Owen, Plath, Qabbani, Rossetti, St Vincent Millay, Thomas, Updike, Vaughan, Wordsworth, Xenokleides, Yeats, Zephaniah. Who is your favourite? Feel free to reach beyond the 26 I’ve offered you; I was just playing the alphabet game, and, in doing so, left out … Continue reading Advent
We’ve peaked. We’re sliding towards bare branches, denuded winter trees, skeletal frames that you’ll soon believe will never have leaves again. Yes, the intensity of autumn’s colour blast looks like it’s been run through too hot a wash; its vibrancy has been siphoned off, insipid now, like an 18thCentury patient drooping from bloodletting. I walked … Continue reading Trees Please
Oh boy, are the roses ever good this year. They loved the prolonged blast of sun we had at the end of May and onto into June. Friends from Kent, York and Ireland all sent me photographs from their gardens: pink, yellow and white blooms, as full and buxom as Gina Lollobrigida. It made me … Continue reading It’s Been A Good Year For The Roses
Because I can, I am starting a sentence with because. Some might grimace at my syntaxical audacity, but there you go, I’ve done it. Because it’s June. It’s the longest day of the year, and I’m giving you - and myself - licence to do what we want. Go light a big bonfire on a hill … Continue reading Because It’s June
Cramond, a small hamlet about five miles from Edinburgh’s centre, is on the north-western shore of the city. It sits at the mouth of the River Almond where it enters the Firth of Forth and, if you have a good strong arm, it almost seems as if you could hurl a stone and have it … Continue reading Hope Springs At Cramond
Streaked, salted, grimed: it’s time to clean the windows of my flat. I keep delaying, wondering, what is the point? Especially when the weather has been so bad. I congratulated myself on my foresight when the snowstorm came at the start of the month, adding to the thickening film of sooty dust. Looking down onto … Continue reading Bathe In The Light
Is it just me, or did you wake up this morning wondering what day it was? All this snow disruption: days off work, shops shut, no public transport, schools closed, snow day bleeding into snow day. It is confusing and disorientating. After the initial excitement over loads of white stuff falling from the sky in … Continue reading What Day Is It?