Friday, 20 May 2011


Today is my best friend's birthday. She is a whopping twenty one years old, and I've known her for eleven of them, since we were young and naive, chasing ice cream vans and making up songs, having sleep-overs and writing messages on ceilings with a torch, running around Europe on school trips and summer holidays, and wondering what life held for us; I hope it holds only wonderful things for you, DL, because that's all you deserve.

Thursday, 12 May 2011


Your heart can pick out colour when your eyes cannot.

(all others unknown)

Monday, 9 May 2011

In Flight Of Night

"The human mind cannot bear very much blankness - where we do not know, we invent and what we invent reflects our fears of what we do not know..."
- Purkiss, 2001

Birdy - Skinny Love

Sunday, 1 May 2011


It has been a year to the day that I first laid eyes on the boy I was going to fall in love with.
He makes me feel like flying.

Thursday, 28 April 2011


The summer has brough the sunshine back, and everything's getting brighter. Light on water and other beautiful things.

Crystal Fighters - Plage
Do you want to go to the seaside?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Lit Lunacy

When seeking illumination, we look to the moon and the stars. We peer into blackness and find bright faces. We ask our questions into the dark night sky because it in itself is a question. The mystery that the moon sits amongst, the furthest reaches of time and space. You can't stare the sun in the eye.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

All Is Wild, All Is Silent

Balmorhea - Remembrance

I'd forgotten how this time of year feels.

Friday, 1 April 2011


My curiosity about selkies hasn't abated one bit. I spent this morning tucked up in bed whilst the rain came down outside my window, and delighted in a selkie story for an hour or two.

I didn't know until today that Ondine's Curse is a real congenital syndrome, one in which the body only breathes voluntarily. It's name is taken from the German myth of water nymph Ondine, who fell in love with a mortal man and cursed him when he was unfaithful to her. He had sworn that his every breath would be testament for his love for her. When he broke his promise, Ondine made it so that he would stop breathing if he ever fell asleep.

My fascination with these sea-folk is mainly to do with the questions they provoke about the people that create the stories. Selkie tales seem to alway surround the tearing between two worlds and the conflict that exists within us all between falling in love and retaining a sense of self.

Thursday, 31 March 2011


The last day of March this year began windy, blowing a gale as my grandma would say, and early cherry blossom was rudely flung from the trees and onto the lawn like sad confetti. I ate museli, fed the cat and the rabbit, and watched The Lady Vanishes. I also remembered how I used to write and write and write - for catharsis, for pleasure, for the capture of something that otherwise might fly by too fast to recall or understand. It helps to make sense of things, to tie up loose ends and see where everything smooths out and becomes clear. For me, not much has been captured, offered catharsis or given pleasure for a while. There have been different kinds of capture, release and happiness, but nothing that has compelled me to write.

The morning slowly bubbled into rage. Behold, the vanishing girl. Certain certainties and truths I used to know have disappeared. How? When? At what point did I get lost? I forgot to eat my lunch, and reached a boiling point of frustration and discontent that was somehow hilarious in an empty house. So I went for a walk.

There are woods outside my house, just a small copse of trees that extend less than a mile, but I would always go there when I was small, when the weather was nice and when I needed to think about something. The wind died down, and the sun shone. Everything was quietly pushing itself upwards and outwards and the birds were calling back and forth to one another. I hitched my skirt up and climbed over stiles, held a conference with a grey horse and a Shetland pony and saw two magpies. I cut down apple blossom and the branches wept petals all the way home, leaving a breadcrumb trail behind me. No great or remarkable realisation dawned on me as I muddied my boots, but there was some kind of circumnavigationand my thoughts began to calm and organise.

I had not realised how much I had needed a homecoming, or how easy it seems to be to lose sight of yourself. Even if you look yourself in the mirror each day or constantly sign your name on pieces of paper, forgetting who you are, what you want and what you need is horribly effortless. Sometimes you need to be lost for a while in order to realise you need to be found. I want to reclaim my ambition to one day be a part of something big as well as all things small that make a life complete. I need not to vanish.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


I am writing an essay on brotherhood in Irish Fenian tales, another about community archaeology in Scotland and a third comparing two traditional folk-drama plays from where my family live in Yorkshire. I have a bad habit of letting my work surround me until I can't see anything over or around it, and I look a little like this in my own imagination.

I have been dreaming of BKFST and listening to snow tunes. Despite the fact that the crocuses are all out and Spring is pushing through, the melodies take me straight back to a bone-deep exhaustion, endless woollen layers, frostbitten finger tips and the smell of winter.
I will be home for Spring break by the time the daffodils are out.

Thursday, 17 March 2011


One of my books to finish at home over Easter is 'The Long Way to Freedom'.
It makes me so happy that Mandela was freed in the year of my birth.
I always think that coming home is freeing.

"I am the master of my fate.
I am the captain of my soul."
- William Ernest Henley

Who can truly say this?

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


Isbells - Reunite

"Now this enchantress claims that her spells can liberate
One heart, or can inject love-pangs, just as she wishes;
Can stop the flow of rivers, send the stars flying backwards,
Conjure ghosts in the night: she can make the earth cry out
Under one's feet, and elm trees come trooping down from the mountain."
- Dido in Book IV, lines 457-461; The Aeneid by Virgil (Oxford World's Classics)

Joseph Noel Paton's "The Reconciliation of Oberon and Titania" (1847)

You have power over someone.

Monday, 28 February 2011


That flowery dress was bought for a first date in the summer and worn for the 19th date, and the 34th, and the 62nd...The cardigan is green and red and cream with gold buttons, bought at Barnardo's where I volunteer and where this photograph was taken. Those boots are from Russell & Bromley, my absolute favourites; I had to send them away because their heels are so worn down that they needed to go on holiday. I've been living in that pair of jeans.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


Hyggelig (Danish)
Its “literal” translation into English gives connotations of a warm, friendly, cozy demeanor, but it’s unlikely that these words truly capture the essence of a hyggelig; it’s likely something that must be experienced to be known. I think of good friends, cold beer, and a warm fire.

(found here)


Monday, 14 February 2011


I know a boy who created an entirely new kind of crystal.
I know a girl who made a New Year's resolution to send more death threats.
I know a boy who is so full of metal that he makes machines go crazy.

Band of Horses - No One's Gonna Love You

You instead of I.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Elle Est

After a double take in Vogue many moons ago, it would seem wrong not to acknowledge little big sister's entry into Elle this month.

Thursday, 10 February 2011


There are bonds that do not break, bridges that won't burn, ties that still bind.

The Middle East - Blood

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


I'm all about the quaint.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Ships & Sealing Wax

Last semester I gave a presentation on necromancy, and this term I am almost certain will do the same for selkies. In books on my course's bibliography, old lectures about St. Kilda, from a collection of Icelandic folktales given to me by my best friend and woven into the sea-sweet film The Secret of Roan Inish...these islanders and water-dwellers, their bobbing boats and fireside stories are seeping into my consciousness.

Letters like these are one of my very most favourite things - from Lenka and Michael, from me, from anyone really. I like to write and I like to receive. Write someone a letter; the time has come to talk of many things, or so a walrus told me.

The past month, Edinburgh has played witness to the kind of glorious sunsets that you wish would last forever. There are skies so beautiful that you almost hate to see them sail away into the west, fading into inky blues and violets and indigos, slipping away like a seal into water.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Pig Island Letters

It is an odd business, tattooists practicing their art on pig skin.
Odd but interesting and bizarrely beautiful.

"Ride easy stranger
Surrender to the sky
your heart of anger."
- James K. Baxter

Monday, 31 January 2011


Consider this irrefutable proof that I time travel for a living.
Au revoir January!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Easy Company

I'd rather have a mango than a Valentine.

Best Coast - When I'm With You

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Safari Njema

There are many long over-due photographs of my time spent in Tanzania. These are a choice few taken whilst on safari at Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater, August 2010. We watched hippos appear and disappear like sinking islands in the water, saw a family of warthogs racing along the lake's shore, scalded dipped fingers in hot springs, rode jeeps standing up, stopped to let baboons cross the road, broke down next to a sleeping lion and wondered if car failure would lead to our grisly deaths, had Mexican stand-offs with vervet monkeys, got dirty and dusty and burnt and enjoyed the most amazing time.