So, I’m back from the all-stops tour of Oz for a week, and just as I’m sorting through my photos and thoughts to write a few words about it here, the place hits the news in an extremely ugly way. (How’s my timing? When I was getting my thoughts on Spain together in 2004, the Madrid bombs went off; now this.)

Read More · 15 December 2005 ·

Goin’ Mobile

Less than a year after my belated conversion to mobile-phone-dom, I’m reminded why mobile phone companies are teh suck. I figured it would be useful to take my phone to Australia to swap onto a pay-as-you-go SIM there, but of course it’s network locked, and it’s one of those Siemens models you can’t unlock with a handy code from one of the free sites; you have to spend fifteen quid on software and a cable instead.

Read More · 7 November 2005 ·

How forlorn a front page full of links looks. This blogging lark will never catch on.

I’ve been meaning to write, of course, but have been caught in that vicious cycle where if I write to explain why I’m not here I’ll actually have to write here, and then you’ll start expecting me to write here, and then I’ll have to write to explain why I’m not writing here.

Read More · 4 November 2005 ·


When I was in my teens, some new neighbours moved into the small weatherboard house next to the bottom of our property and proceeded to cut down every fruit tree that had been planted around it by the retired couple who had lived there before them. When they’d finished desertifying their own land they turned their attention to ours, and to the huge Golden Plum in the corner of the chookyard that overshadowed their back lawn.

By any sensible benchmark, this tree was the best thing their house had going for it (apart from the ones they’d already cut down). It wasn’t on their side of the fence, but it graced their garden and all around it. It had probably been planted at the same time as their house was built—back when it had been part of the same larger property as ours.

But never mind all that: it had leaves, and they wanted it gone.

Read More · 4 August 2005 ·

Spring, Summer

It’s not all Continental architecture. Some day-trips from the past few months.

17 July 2005

Golden Hour

Union Canal

Read More · 28 May 2005 ·

Long Dark Overcoats

During my first three winters in Edinburgh I wore a dark green raincoat I’ve had since the mid-’90s: a Mountain Co-Op design made of Gore-Tex, as seen on Canadians and backpackers everywhere. It’s waterproof, windproof, and light enough to go over anything; basically all you need in the British countryside. I seem to be wearing it in every travel photo of the past eight years.

The problem is it makes me look like a tourist. Only tourists wear colourful clothes in Edinburgh outside spring and summer; everyone else (of the male variety) wears one of the following:

  1. Long black overcoats;
  2. Denim jackets of a kind not seen outside Scotland since 1982;
  3. No coat. And the flimsier the shirt and colder the temperature, the better.

If B or C, you’re a true local, born and raised in a flat full of screaming bairns hopped up on Tunnock’s Tea-Cakes. If A, you’re probably English.

Read More · 5 May 2005 ·

May Day

Some pictures in lieu of writing anything in celebration of Spring in Edinburgh:

May Day

(I will actually start posting more stuff here over the next few weeks; various pressing tasks have now de-pressed.)

3 May 2005

Winter Snaps

A few pictures to save having to write thousands of words.

Winter Snaps

16 March 2005 ·

Journal in 2004