It's Boxing Day, reading books and eating dates...
As the days get ever shorter Deepavali carries hope with it into the darkness which lies ahead. On the darkest night of the new moon in the month of Kartika, Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs will celebrate in their own way, but for each, over the course of the five days of festivities, the lighting of candles and … Continue reading By the light of the Moon
Books are a key to the future - time to get back to the library to look for clues about tomorrow..
Last weekend I went for a walk amongst an ancient grove of oaks – not just a picturesque carbon sink, but a useful illustration of how different communities experience uncertainty about the future. Once numbering 4,000 trees, this oak plantation was planted sometime in the Middle Ages by a landowner who would already be dead … Continue reading Facing an Uncertain Future
Trees and pilgrimage have been linked since ancient times, not least in the autumn
During the research for my book We are Pilgrims I encountered many pilgrim travellers but none quite like Martin Gray. Over the course of 38 years, this photographer and anthropologist has visited thousands of pilgrim sites and sacred places in 160 countries across the globe. His web-site World Pilgrimage Guide is an essential source of information for anyone contemplating … Continue reading A Life of Pilgrimage
From my lockdown study, I allow my mind to wander and think of Pandit Nehru who as a boy mastered the art of ‘astral flying’, letting his mind roam where his body could not. It served him in good stead. Nehru was imprisoned many times in pursuit of India’s independence and from his cell wrote … Continue reading Sweet Thames Run Softly
In the late afternoon I walk on the heath. A stonechat perched on a plinth of gorse while a hobby circles overhead, patient, unrelenting, waiting for a chance to pounce. A silver birch tree buzzes with a flurry of finches, continuously moving and impossible to glimpse for more than a second. At the end of … Continue reading The Cardboard Age
Where shall we go this weekend? Where shall we go this summer? Until recently the answer depended on how itchy your feet, how expansive your wallet, how much time you could take away from work, school or family. It has been something of a shock to lose the liberty we once took so much for … Continue reading Lockdown Loopholes
On Tuesday I travelled to Toledo, that city which lies at the heart of La Mancha, Spain. Home to Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, and Judah Halevi, the medieval scholar. Both accompanied me and my friend George on our way through the city on this week’s virtual pilgrimage. Through these characters, George illuminated the current … Continue reading Tuesday’s Toledo Travelogue