Projection; the missile of evolution.

Human beings don’t just adapt to their environment, they create and control it.  Ever since the early hominids developed an opposable thumb that enabled them to grasp and manipulate objects, they could make things happen.   The ability to throw missiles is a metaphor for how we could influence events at... Read more »

Making sense of coastal erosion

The east coast of England is being washed away.  Tidal currents sweeping down from the north are gradually eroding the coast from Flamborough Head south to Suffolk, moving shingle and silt down into long narrow spits as at Spurn Head and Orford Ness,  collapsing the shingle banks in front of... Read more »

Despatches from Derbyshire Ice Field (3)

0645 GMT  07/12/10 Successful expedition.  Grytviken basking in balmy zero.   Back on shelf at minus 14, well stocked with lamp oil, whalemeat, blubber, pickled cabbage and two bottles of aquavit!!  Freezing fog.  When we speak outside, the words stay in the air and hang around the tent.  Voice message from Oates... Read more »

Midas in Winter

  A hesitant dawn, you silence the bells  And change the scene with that touch of myth    that turns every  living thing to ice.   Flakes bristle from every twig, spicules sparkle like Christmas, then detach and sink, swinging through a sunlit sea.    The trees, decked like brides, Mock hungry deer with confetti No... Read more »

Despatches from Derbyshire Ice Field (2)

  0610 GMT  04/12/10   Minus 15 with precipitation!  Visibility 200 yards.  Ice!  Transport held fast.  Frost forming on rigging.  Troops down in mouth.  Fog freezing on beards!   Try to encourage.  ‘Chin up!’  But supplies low.  Half rations. Last banana.  No brandy.  Fear mutiny.  If no improvement, will try dash to base camp tomorrow   Scott, i/c expedition. Read more »

Despatches from Derbyshire Ice Field (1)

0755 GMT 2.12.10. Snow flurries overnight but pressure rising.  Blizzard yesterday made transport impossible; even sledges didn’t run.  By 6pm, snow tractor got through.  Now stuck in drift. Troops digging out.  Mount Sheffield completely cut off.  No radio contact.  Supplies will last another week.  Plenty of logs for oven.  Bags of flour,... Read more »

Life expressed in water.

Our world and everything in it including ourselves has been shaped by water.  Yet how much do we understand it.  Left to itself, water approximates to a sphere, circular currents bounded by surface tension,  but when subjected to gravity, then the circular forces in the water turn the flow into... Read more »

He brings me frogs

When trees turn dim and lose their scent, And birds have ceased to call   When nighthawks glide through misty glades    And fiery Mars comes up from shades When fireflies blink and crickets wheeze. and deer cough deep and owls sneeze   The sky spreads its carpet of myth Up ending Orion, while I, sitting on a stone, move... Read more »

Winter 2010; A Celebration.

It’s so clear in the freezer; the sky deeper.   Steam rises from the falls, turns grass stems to prayer flags, trees into wedding gowns.  The windows of the big house, shine gold and Thomas Payne’s excellent bridge burns like a biscuit      against moors of palest pink   Crystal deep, sparkling deer join cosy sheep In a warm circuit of silage, fermenting an uneasy friendship  in cloven harmony... Read more »

Back to Basics

The cottage peers anxiously over the terrace wall to where the road leaves the rushing Esk and winds up the hill to the rocky platform upon which the Romans built their marching fort and complained about the rain.  Then the focus is taken up again, up the repeating green slope... Read more »

After the rain.

A curtain falls across the secrets of the ghyll, the pond whispers, trees tap, rocks - the very earth turns darker still and sense is flooded with despair.    And after the rain,    a drowsy peace,     the melancholy air warms, thickens, grows darker, greener. Buds burst, leaves stretch, reach out to fill the gaps.     Close your eyes, rest, listen, feel   how soft lamentations of blackbirds heal the wound, and when... Read more »