The Hoo Peninsula: The Shapes and Stories of Place

From the first time I journeyed to the Hoo Peninsula in 2013, spending the day in a swirl of spring snow and stinging winds with local residents campaigning to save the peninsula from becoming the site of Europe’s largest airport, I’ve been trying to unravel the allure of its expansive and enthralling landscape, that absorbing … Continue reading The Hoo Peninsula: The Shapes and Stories of Place

A Crack in Everything: Leonard Cohen and the light of Greece

 *     *     * “There is a crack in everything / that’s how the light gets in.” ~ Leonard Cohen, "Anthem" For a number of years in the 1960s Leonard Cohen lived on the Greek island of Hydra. It was there, close to the glittering sea of the Saronic Gulf, that he found the solitude and … Continue reading A Crack in Everything: Leonard Cohen and the light of Greece

The Bugling Sky

The steppe spilled away into the distance, marsh-green and silvered with pooled rain. The morning air was cold and misted, and our breath turned to fog when we spoke. As clouds sealed the plain with grey light, the land seemed eerily still until a hare sprang to its feet. From its concealing flat crouch against … Continue reading The Bugling Sky

The Sum of a Place: Gwent Levels

“They always say the best way to see the Gwent Levels is with a microscope or a helicopter.” I was walking through the stunning June meadows and dense willow copses of Magor Marsh Nature Reserve with Sorrel Jones, a conservation officer for the Gwent Wildlife Trust. The last relic fenland in south-east Wales, Magor Marsh … Continue reading The Sum of a Place: Gwent Levels

Wind, Water

In the absence of sunlight flickered a different kind of brilliance. It was brief and beautiful, an iridescent bead at the edge of a strange and moving place, a lonesome cemetery sloping towards the shore. There were cherry-red candles and sticks of incense left as offerings, sea-mist like a shawl. In the shallows, the sleek … Continue reading Wind, Water