This page is an experiment: to lay out links to the majority of the content added to the site since it took this format and to do so on one page. Content has been grouped, styled and highlighted in pursuit of improved readability.

The surprise of doing an audit such as this is that it encourages one to adopt something of a curator’s perspective — tweaking the display to reveal patterns and themes. (Did I mention anything about icebergs?)

Main content pages

a continuing journey of diverging interests

pages of this site (as distinct from other types of content) are listed here; about the same quantity again was culled in a radical pruning several years back.

Blog posts


blog posts are available here. These are on a broad range of topics — mostly about web design and development — but off-topic posts are scattered about.

Truth sidelined by tribal epistemology

Help is at hand

Mapping in Backdrop CMS

Drupal version 8: loyalty or farewell?

Ten steps to greening your website

Progressive JPEGs and Donald Rumsfeld

Quicklink and Website Carbon

No Man is an Island

Can a web page have too much white space?

The long scroll

Adding a scroll indicator

Viral content and long term lift - an example

Nature therapy and VE Day

Pixel squeezing with JPEGmini

Flash flushed

Know your tables

The BBC Sounds app and the onTabletFling() event

The need for speed

Bridget Riley at the Hayward Gallery

Watermarks and brand recognition

Farewell Drupal 8. Hello Backdrop CMS

Characters dangling in space

Field can contain HTML

Mapping your business

Reader View

Eddie Izzard and Pingdom

Charles I, King and Collector

Adieu Minitel !

Website accessibility

The chestnut leaf breakout

Flowers in a glass vase

La garde-robe

Website building resources

Things that search engines look for

Viewing those big pictures

Surrounded by orchids

Database alley

The importance of web standards

Targeting a menu link from two levels down

Meet the Soays

Strengthening your passwords

Good reading

Reading is a silver spoon you can’t be born with. For some, the ability never develops or does so only through struggle. It’s only natural then to share the fruits of reading fluency freely and with passion. It’s what bookworms — and English teachers, practising or retired - do.

A few of these posts are shamefully short whilst others have veered towards being essays. You have been warned! Get in touch if you think I’ve misread — or even missed - something.

Dave Goulson
Desmond Morris
Muriel Barbery
Samuel Beckett
Eliot Higgins
James Joyce
Merlin Sheldrake
Samuel Beckett
Patrick White
Isabella Tree
Dave Eggers
P. W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking
Ian McEwan
Maryanne Wolf
Patrick White
Maryanne Wolf
Patrick White
C.F. Tunnicliffe
Patrick White
Michael McCarthy
Patrick White
Patrick White
Robert Macfarlane
Herman Melville
Stewart Brand
Ursula K. Le Guin
Catherine Caufield
Robert Macfarlane
George Orwell



places show up here. Each has left a mark sufficient to prompt a post. Some of them originate from our teaching website in France (with its less complicated language) and these are listed after a grey horizontal line. Some of these posts are vehicles for pixels, some for words; some posts have both working in harmony.

The Isle of Coll

Rathlin Island

Petworth House

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2017

Ightham Mote

Lancing College Chapel

The i360, Brighton

Casa Batlló, Barcelona

Lincoln Cathedral

Casa Milà, "La Pedrera", Barcelona

Hardwick Hall

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Stokesay Castle

The dance in moonlight


Standen House

St Botolph's Church, Hardham

Montacute House

Haddon Hall

Barrington Court

St. Celynin's Church at Llangelynnin

East Coker

Parham House

Round the corner, via north Africa

The Uig Sands Chessmen

Auch cathedral

House for an Art Lover

Trapeharde's wheel of time

The Hill House

Lewes Crescent

Lacock Abbey


Kew Gardens and the Temperate House

Le Lac du Pêcher

The Kintyre peninsula

A late spring in France's Patagonia

The Kintyre shoreline

Prieuré de Mimizan

The Glasgow School of Art 2018


Great Chalfield Manor

La Romieu

The Giant's Causeway

The Maquis de Meilhan

Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple

Bostah Iron Age Village

Belfast's Murals and Peace Walls

The Glasgow School of Art

Website development and design reading list


volumes do indeed sit on my shelves and I have read them all — bar the odd chapter here or there. They have helped me to stay out of the classroom and have nourished me immeasurably. I’ve not used a star system to set one above another, but my comments alongside each may help perform that function. Some of these books I find — and still find — to be quite simply invaluable.

Sustainable Web Design

Tom Greenwood; A Book Apart, 2021

Flexible Typesetting

Tim Brown; A Book Apart, 2018

Accessibility for Everyone

Laura Kalbag; A Book Apart, 2017

The New CSS Layout

Rachel Andrew; A Book Apart, 2017

Web Typography

Richard Rutter; Ampersand Type, 2017

Design for Real Life

Eric Meyer & Sara Wachter-Boettcher; A Book Apart, 2016

Beginning Backdrop CMS

Todd Tomlinson; Apress, 2016

Pricing Design

Dan Mall; A Book Apart, 2016

Designing for Touch

Josh Clark; A Book Apart, 2015

Migrating from Drupal to Backdrop

Todd Tomlinson; Apress, 2015

Responsible Responsive Design

Scott Jehl; A Book Apart, 2014

On Web Typography

Jason Santa Maria; A Book Apart, 2014

You're My Favorite Client

Mike Monteiro; A Book Apart, 2014

Drupal Search Engine Optimization

Ric Shreves; Packt Publishing, 2012

Content Strategy for Mobile

Karen McGrane; A Book Apart, 2012

Designing for Emotion

Aarron Walter; A Book Apart, 2011

Responsive Web Design

Ethan Marcotte; A Book Apart, 2011

The Elements of Content Strategy

Erin Kissane; A Book Apart, 2011

Introducing HTML5

Bruce Lawson and Remy Sharp; New Riders, 2011

Stunning CSS3 - a project-based guide to the latest in CSS

Zoe Mickley Gillenwater; New Riders, 2011

Drupal 6 Attachment Views

J. Ayen Green; Packt Publishing, 2010

Drupal 6 Panels Cookbook

Bhavin (Vin) Patel, Packt Publishing, 2010

Drupal e-commerce with Ubercart 2.x

George Papadongonas and Yiannis Doxaras; Packt Publishing, 2010

Drupal 6 Performance Tips

Trevor James and T.J. Holowaychuk; Packt Publishing, 2010

Cognitive Surplus: creativity and generosity in a connected age

Clay Shirky; The Penguin Press, New York, 2010

Drupal 6 Search Engine Optimization

Ben Finklea; Packt Publishing, 2009

Pro Drupal Development - 2nd edition

John K. VanDyk; Apress, 2008

Building powerful and robust websites with Drupal 6

David Mercer; Packt Publishing, 2008

Wikinomics: how mass collaboration changes everything

Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Wiliams; Apress, 2008

Designing with Web Standards - 2nd edition

Jeffrey Zeldman; New Riders, 2007

About Face 3 - the essentials of interaction design

Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann and David Cronin; Wiley Publishing, 2007

CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd edition

Eric A. Meyer; O'Reilly, 2006

Web Copy That Sells: The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy Every Time

Maria Veloso; Amacom, a division of American Management Association, 2005

The Zen of CSS Design - visual enlightenment for the web

Dave Shea and Molly E. Holzschlag; Peachpit Press, 2005

The Elements of User Experience - user-centered design for the web

Jesse James Garrett; New Riders Publishing, 2003

Visual Interface Design for Windows

Virginia Howlett; John Wiley Sons, 1996

The Elements of Typographic Style, second edition

Robert Bringhurst; Hartlet & Marks, 1996

The Media Equation

Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass; Cambridge University Press, 1996

The Design of Everyday Things

Donald A. Norman; Currency Doubleday, 1990

French archive posts


posts about living and teaching in rural France gather a little bit of virtual dust here. From 2010 onwards, until we returned to England in 2016, we enjoyed working with French adults and youngsters who came to stay with us at our house in the Gers to work on their English. With both of us being qualified teachers, we like to think that we made something of an impact.

This experience was immensely rewarding for Jane and I, not least because it gave us insight into the value various French people placed upon learning English. We also made many friends, some of whom we continue to see even though we now no longer live in France.

We advertised the business through our own website,, now no longer live. We also developed a collection of blog posts which we hoped would allow potential clients to get a feel for what it might be like staying with us.

In my capacity as a website designer, this part of the business had its own appeal as I could see how powerful an informal blog can be when attached to the more formal pages of a business website. Sometimes these English language blog pages would rank on page one of Google France search results, an unintended consequence of using HTML without tricks or paid-for advertising.

For sentimental reasons, a selection of these French-based blog posts has found a final resting place in this section of the site.

The Booth Museum of Natural History

Brighton's Royal Pavilion

Arundel Castle

Grasses, names and history

Footprints from the past

Markings in wood

Albert and the miniscule worlds

A van with a difference

An explosion of colour in Auch

Black, yellow and wonderful

A flame-proof amphibian

The European tree frog

Asparagus - the king of vegetables

The golden lady in our kitchen

Crossing the Tarn in style

Competition - caption for cat photos

Le Musée des Jacobins

In the footsteps of d'Artagnan

What course do we use?

Spring has arrived

Keeping an eye out for birds

Upside-down cake

Curry - a favourite in England


Pronouncing words that end in 's'

English adjective order

The Bassoues donjon

Software development archive


software projects cling on tenaciously here. This stuff was done prior to my designing and building websites, enabling me to learn how to listen to clients and to design systems that responded to their detailed requirements. The following applications are software projects (not website projects) that demonstrate some of these qualities. Written in either VB.NET or ToolBook Asymetrix/Click2Learn ToolBook Developer (the first Windows-based multimedia software authoring system) they were — with one exception — front-ends to databases. The majority of them were eLearning or course-management applications.

Welcome to the pre-internet museum!