Notes from a Swedish island

Yes, we really are on an island. An island so small it doesn't have a name; but for this week at least, it's ours.

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Itchy feet in Paris

It’s strange to think that I’ve been in Paris for just over five months now, yet haven’t written anything about my life here—at least nothing more than lists and scraps of thoughts. I wake up to the bells of Notre Dame filling the loft where I sleep. I make breakfast and collect my free coffee … Continue reading Itchy feet in Paris

In search of the sublime, contemplating Brexit in Brittany

In one of my favourite literary vignettes, Edmund Burke, in the mid-18th century, contemplated the meaning of "the sublime" in A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. He described it thus: Whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain, and danger, that is to say, whatever is … Continue reading In search of the sublime, contemplating Brexit in Brittany

Cabins, sails, and fjords in southern Norway

This summer, I had the pleasure of spending time in the land of saunas and pine forests, of rain and water, water, everywhere, of fjords and sailing boats and tall blonde humans. It seems that every family has a cabin on an island, and a boat to get there; every public amenity functions like clockwork; … Continue reading Cabins, sails, and fjords in southern Norway

A long weekend in Scotland: castles, trains, and fishing villages

It's been a very, very strange six months to be a Brit. Especially after the EU referendum in June 2016, my thoughts were scattered, anxious, furious; but one positive which emerged was a sense of fervent solidarity with fellow remainers - including dear Londoners, city-dwellers, the young, passionate older folk, the Northern Irish, the Scots. … Continue reading A long weekend in Scotland: castles, trains, and fishing villages