Notes on matters deep, curious and whimsical.

Nature in the City: Flowers in Concrete Jungles

Along Bow Road A woman in a niqab bends down to look at a purple allium growing in a grass verge.  She takes a picture of it with her smartphone camera, pausing to line it up…  This was one vision… Continue Reading →

Running headphone free…

Natural Beats It happens when I’m waiting at a station platform and the robin sings high on the post, when walking slowly through sloping farmland to the beach and now, even when I’m running…  I’m talking about hearing the sounds… Continue Reading →

Songs for Broken Britain Pt. 3: Mick Jagger gets political and quotes Marie-Antoinette?

Then and now… Speed was important for Mick Jagger when he wrote and released these two songs of protest that you’ll read about here…  “I didn’t want to wait until next year when they might lose any impact or meaning.”… Continue Reading →

Songs for Broken Britain Pt 2: Liar Liar by Captain SKA

This broken country… “The fervour of the music matched the energy of the streets, as racism, poverty and violence ran rampant.”…  Wrote Heather Augustyn, author of Ska:  The Rhythm of Liberation.  She was describing Britain in the 1960s when Ska… Continue Reading →

On running

Summer running… My daughter and I have started running together.  It’s free, helps us out of low moods by raising those endorphin and serotonin levels, can be companionable and reconnects us with the earth.  Once you get going, it is… Continue Reading →

Songs for Broken Britain Part 1: Plan B

What is Music for Broken Britain? Music for Broken Britain is music that resonates with how I feel about my country of birth right now.  For me it is part of a grieving process.  It is also an expression of… Continue Reading →

The bluesy words and spell-binding tales of Big Bill Broonzy (Music for Friday)

Found again Blues lyrics haven’t really jumped out at me before, though I’ve loved the raw instrumentals and expressive, soulful tunes. Perhaps this has changed now… We recently watched a documentary on Big Bill Broonzy, not a blues musician that… Continue Reading →

Walking, meditating and talking: The way to Joss Bay

Walking and thinking ‘In non-Western cultures, the ideas of footfall as knowledge and walking as thinking are widespread…’ writes Robert MacFarlane in his atmospheric and fascinating book The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot.  Walking is so often linked to… Continue Reading →

The lyrics of Lily Allen are words worth listening to. (Music for Friday!)

What is it about Lily Allen? It’s the words… I love words and those that she writes are brilliant. Not only that, but she delivers them so clearly that even I can get most of them by ear. (I often… Continue Reading →

Using Art in Language Teaching and Learning

They go together… Words and images are natural partners.  After all they are both about communication.  Think how they complement each other in haiku, where illustrations often accompany these short but sweet poems.  As someone who loves the visual and… Continue Reading →

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