Edinburgh International Film Festival 2012

Edinburgh has many festivals of all shapes and sizes. After a rocky few years the Edinburgh International Film Festival is often the one with the most gossip and speculation attached, but it’s also easily one of the most glamorous. This year a new structure and a new director seem to be taking it back to … Continue reading

National Library of Scotland’s Conservation Workshop

I spent this afternoon in the bowels of the National Library of Scotland. While deliciously labyrinthine, I was glad to have a guide. I think I was nine floors below street level before I saw a window. In among the nation’s treasured King James Bible and the First Folio of Shakespeare, I was observing in … Continue reading

Gertrude Bell

I was in the library the other day. I found myself wandering aimlessly among history, politics and travel sections partly in research mode, but also craving a little inspiration. And in my meandering I discovered Gertrude Bell, an enigmatic and wandering adventuress. A contemporary of TE Lawrence (as in ‘of Arabia’) she is, by turns, … Continue reading

The Book of Awesome

Do you ever have these people who are on the fringes of your life – acquaintances, maybe, or folk in your work network – who you think are just totally awesome? The sort of people who light up rooms and change the world and smile with their eyes. You’re not really close, but everything you … Continue reading

The Pentlands

Edinburgh is nestled among the hills, a little oasis on the waterfront. Each peak and each range have their own character – from the imposing volcanic mass of Arthur’s Seat to the sweetly suburban greenery on Blackford Hill. Now we have Ollie, I am spending a good deal more time out south, in the Pentland … Continue reading


Inheritance. A funny thing. Did I expect to inherit my Aunt Karen’s laugh? Or my Bonmama’s  index finger? Can I lament the kink in my eyebrow, which mirrors my mom’s, even when it’s a mother to tweeze? People write books about inheritance, but they always mean money or titles or yachts. Which is sort of … Continue reading

What We’ve Been Watching

I know people who work from home who listen religiously to Radio 4 or hot desk at some amazing creative hive. Me? I combat spreadsheet psychosis with background television. Only the informative kind, mind. Narrative telly is less conducive to work and more conducive to duvet days and pints of Ben & Jerrys. And here … Continue reading

Letters of Note

Can I just stop a minute on this crazy whirligig we call life? Because there is something about which you should know. It is called Letters of Note. It is full of wonderful transcriptions and facsimiles of real letters sent by real people, but now published out in the digital ether for our enjoyment and … Continue reading

A Minty May Treat

May is one of the very, very best months. There is sunshine and there are flowers and barbeques and a bounty of good, juicy wild foods for foraging. One of the first welcome friends I find in the hedgerow (after the prolific wild garlic) is mint, in all her varieties. Foraging is not a skill … Continue reading