Fast Cars & Ukuleles

A is for Apple. B is for Bike. C is for Cat. All three of these are in my new ABC book, ‘Fast Cars & Ukuleles’, but not where you’d expect them. The apple is under F. For the bike, look at V. And the cat is on an endpaper. I’ve always loved alphabet books. Read more

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The Great Race

The Great Race is a book by Christopher Corr, first published in 2018 by Frances Lincoln. It tells the story of the Chinese Zodiac – Long ago in very ancient China, there were no years or days or hours… To find a way of measuring time, the Jade Emperor held a Great Race. Which twelve animals were the first to cross the river and have a year named after them? – It seemed like a good idea to celebrate Chinese New Year with an exhibition of the paintings from the book, and to invite Christopher to draw the zodiac animals directly onto our window. Read more

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Neapolis Archaeological Park

Last August, on holiday in Sicily, a short walk out of Ortigia through the hot dusty streets of Syracuse brought us to Neapolis, one of the largest archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. The entrance is beside the little Norman church of San Nicolò dei Cordari, which was built over part of an aisled Roman piscina, a reservoir to provide water for the nearby amphitheatre.  Read more

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Nature’s Vanishing Trick

This from Robert Macfarlane –

My teenage daughter Lily made this short video to try and explain to other young people — and to herself — why biodiversity loss, extinction & vanishing species really, really matter. It’s spoken from the heart. It’s about one of the vital issues of our times. Please share, show, discuss.

The video is free to use by anyone in any setting; no need to seek Lily’s permission or even to credit her. She just wants it to be seen, and for it to prompt discussion, awareness, action and change.

If you do want to acknowledge her, she’s Lily Macfarlane, and the video first went up on my Twitter feed (@RobGMacfarlane).

The video was made with the encouragement and support of Action For Conservation, an inspirational young conservation charity working with 12 to 17 year olds, for which Lily became a ‘youth ambassador’. Find out more about their amazing work at actionforconservation.org

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The Kingdom

A love letter to conservation, our changing climate, and the difference one person can make in a great big world. This is the quiet story of Sonam Phuntsho, a forest caretaker in the Kingdom of Bhutan, who has spent the last 60 years planting over 100,000 trees by hand.

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WOWI

WOWI is an acronym for What Once Was Imagined, a reference to William Blake’s proverb ‘What is now proved was once only imagined’, and the title of a beautiful exhibition at the Royal College of General Practitioners. There are 28 exhibits and it opened on the 28th of November, William Blake’s birthday, but I don’t think that was part of the plan, just a happy and auspicious coincidence. Read more

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St Luke Blesses St Ives

We were blessed to be in St Ives when the period of clear sunshine and late, late, late summer, known as St Luke’s Little Summer broke over the town. Read more

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Patrick Heron

It was the dark limbo daze between Christmas and New Year, when the days melt namelessly into each other and the sun goes on holiday. So we went to the seaside, looking for some winter colour. The Patrick Heron exhibition at Turner Contemporary in Margate was just the ticket. Read more

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Maisha London June 2017

Jake Long (drums), Nubya Garcia (saxophone/flute), Shirley Tetteh (guitar), Amané Suganami (piano/wurlitzer), Twm Dylan (double bass) and Tim Doyle (percussion) stretching out at the Boiler Room in June 2017. They’ve gone from strength to strength, and in November 2018 they released their long-awaited first album, There Is A Place, a beautifully uplifting collection of songs that recalls the music of some of the pioneers of spiritual jazz. I hear echoes of Pharaoh Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Gato Barbieri and Don Cherry. I can’t stop playing it. It’s my record of the year – There Is A Place.

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Backwards To Go Forwards

I found this video on Boxing Day at a fascinating website I just discovered called Arbutus Yarns, a great treasure house of Irish music built by Myles O’Reilly and furnished with all the gorgeous first-hand unadulterated musical beauty he can find. I think I’ll be visiting him again – Arbutus Yarns.

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