by Michael McCarthy
August 30, 2018

Moth snowstorm is a powerful and heart-felt meditation on the Great Thinning that mankind is wreaking on nature. The author draws on his personal experiences - from his earliest years onwards - expressed in close and personal terms, lining these up in parallel with the plight...

August 30, 2018
House for an Art Lover

On the inside this might be just another sugar-coated wedding venue - for which purpose it can indeed be hired - but the grey flanked House for an Art Lover in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park is another key to unlocking the visionary output of the architect and designer couple...

June 28, 2018
The Hill House

Try for a moment to imagine the noisy industrial clamour of Glasgow at the very start of the twentieth century, when shipyards and their associated engineering works made the Upper Clyde the ship-building centre of the world, an industrial furnace that contributed to the term Clyde-built...

June 27, 2018

Be prepared to be overwhelmed when visiting Lacock Abbey (even on a heavily overcast day, as it was when we visited it). The Abbey sits close up against the River Avon in the northern quarter of Wiltshire in glorious, wooded countryside. Much of the original abbey has disappeared but “large...

June 22, 2018
Kew Gardens and the Temperate House

Kew Gardens, June, first sunny day for a while, first visit and one is weak-kneed and pea-brained at the scale and splendour of the place. We were drawn in by the re-opening of the Temperate House after its hugely ambitious restoration, but there was so much else to see and think about. Kew-phew...

June 19, 2018

A separate post on this site marks the joy I feel about parts of the Kintyre peninsula in western Scotland. It describes the source of that joy as being the shoreline which Kintyre’s eastern B roads runs adjacent to, with the road at times weaving up and away from the shore which it...

June 16, 2018
The Kintyre shoreline

Kintyre, not too unlike a finger of home-made shortbread on the map, leaves Argyll behind by bending a knuckle at Tarbert and then pointing nearly due south towards the shores of Northern Ireland, leaving at its tip a gap of no more than 12 miles of open water between the two countries. To...

June 16, 2018

Shed tears today that the beloved Glasgow School of Art has yet again been enveloped by flame and gutted by fire. Shed tears that an icon of the Glasgow skyline is again a source of black smoke. Shed tears that one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s finest creations has again been in the...

May 28, 2018
Great Chalfield Manor

Browning’s “Oh, to be in England now that April’s there” tugs with even greater poignancy as May moves on and the season’s heat builds under blue skies. Rural England in full verdant bloom must be locked in the memory of so many travellers abroad. However strongly that...

by Adam Nicolson
May 25, 2018
The Seabird's Cry

Adam Nicolson’s The Seabird’s Cry is a work of such intelligence, such passion and such craft that you may never think of seabirds in the same way again. It is a volume dense with experience, sifted research, anecdote and dogged explanations whose cumulative effect is to...

May 18, 2018

I‘d not be troubled if above the entrance to the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre it said “Here be Giants” because everything about this place is, well, gigantic, whether stamped into being by Finn McCool on his own or by a league of giants bashing basalt into 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7-sided...

May 12, 2018
Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple

What a mouthful, a place called “Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple”. What a puzzle that the person who built it was called “the Earl-Bishop”, an earl or a bishop, well both actually. And that archaic word “demesne”, used more in Ireland than in England: not just an estate but a slice of land...

April 27, 2018

When faced with another couple of tourists saying how welcoming and kind they found everyone in Belfast, our driver Danny said, “Well, yes, that’s it really. Belfast people are very kind to everyone. It’s just that it’s each other that they’re not kind to!”

We...

April 21, 2018
Rathlin Island

Rathlin Island is Northern Ireland’s only inhabited offshore island. It lies 15 miles from Scotland’s Kintyre Peninsula and is a 6 mile ferry hop from Northern Ireland’s Ballycastle. It may be just 45 minutes on the water but, not unlike Seamus Heaney’s father, it comes...

February 5, 2018
The long-form web page

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s dictum that “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” can be re-deployed most helpfully when discussing Reader View, a topic that touches on web page design and browser behaviour. But...

January 20, 2018
Website accessibility

The perpetual churn of new technologies and techniques can sometimes blind-side us to some fundamental issues in web design that we need to keep in focus all the time. One of these is accessibility which - for me - has been sharpened up by the brief but high-value book on the...

October 31, 2017

Dominating the lower stretches of the River Adur as it flows towards Shoreham, and perched imposingly above the A27 Shoreham Bypass, is Lancing College Chapel. Driving westwards, it is hard to resist looking at the detail of the chapel’s southern façade, at its buttresses...

August 24, 2017
Flowers in a glass vase by Jacob van Walscapelle

Flowers in a glass vase by the Dutch painter Jacob van Walscapelle is only midway in size between A1 and A2 paper sizes, an oil painting dwarfed by many of the larger canvases around it at the V&A Museum in London. What it lacks in scale it makes up for in quality. It is as if the...

May 2, 2017
Casa Batlló, Barcelona

Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia would have been a competitive whirl in the years between 1870 and 1914, with wealthy residents vying with each other to build or renovate homes on this fashionable city centre avenue. None more so than Josep Batlló, a silk manufacturer who commissioned Antoni...

April 24, 2017
Casa Milà, La Pedrera, Barcelona

Casa Milà was Antoni Gaudí’s fourth project on Barcelona’s main avenue Passeig de Gràcia and was to be his last civil work before he devoted himself entirely to La Sagrada Familia. The building was planned from the ground up, rather than being a renovation like Casa Batlló, and was...

April 22, 2017
Website building resources

The business of building a website is sufficiently detailed. Anyone engaged in this detail comes to depend upon a wide range of resources. Amongst these, there are some on whose giant shoulders we alight almost routinely. They deserve mention.

This list is something that I should...

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