Dornoch Adventures 2016 – Pt II

Not all fun and games at the moment. As people may know I have malaria type symptoms coupled with complex post traumatic stress disorder. I am currently locked out of our b&b and with no way of gaining access to my medication. Tonight is going to be tricky.

However, today was a grand day other than the above. I spent the morning field recording and catching up with relatives and the the afternoon chilling with Kathryn and eating cake. Popped out for a bottle of punk ipa (£4!) and ate fish and chips for tea.

We then popped into Dornoch centre and caught these cheeky chaps.

I have been offered a sofa to sleep on tonight but without my medication I will not get any sleep – too many flashbacks to Vietnam.

I hope Kathryn gets some sleep.

Dornoch Adventure Blog 2016 – Pt. I

So me and my good wife stayed over at Home Farm last night. The reasoning behind this became apparent when we woke at 0445 to catch a train from York at 0730.

What was the insane logic behind this idea and more importantly what was the destination?

Well the mode of transport was train to Inverness and then by car to a small sea side village in the highlands called Dornoch. We have a Gran who lives there who we affectionately call granny Dornoch (obvs) and she has reached a milestone birthday.

 


 

The whole family are descending on Dornoch for a weekend of cake and a sensible amount of tea. My immediate family are planning on a hike on Saturday but I aim for a day of field recordings. It is a quarter to 11 and I am in the town I visited every year since I was born. It is probably one the of the few geographical constants I have in my life. Bliss. What makes it better is that it is still reasonably light outside.

 

Prague: Been There

Well, we arrived back in the drizzly UK around 4 hours ago – and I already miss Prague. Why – well, because it is an inspirational city. It draws on such a rich seam of history that it is impossible to pop out for a coffee without needing to reference a great scholar / movement / Saint. An example of this is that on our last day we were getting thirsty so we called in to the nearest cafe – the nearest cafe at that time was the Grand Cafe Orient which symbolizes the unique Czech contribution to the cubist movement not only in architecture but in furniture, pottery and glass.

We managed to scale the top of a tower and sipped champagne – holding hands and taking in the Prague skyline.

I want to wax on about every minute detail – but I will try and keep it Blog-friendly and write the highlights. I have been told I am in danger of turning in to ‘one of those people’ who print out pamphlets about their holiday to inform their relations – bollocks, maybe this is the digital equivalent?

Well, here goes – My personal highlight was spending time with Kathryn. My biggest down-light was walking everywhere (which is also my second favourite part of Prague – an ongoing Urban Derive through Europe’s tumultuous past). The cultural highlight was seeing original Alfons Muca paintings – he pretty much started the Art Nouveau movement* and there was a wealth of early C20th Czech glassware. There were Architectural Murals, Paintings, Buildings, Statues, Cutlery (you name it) in the art nouveau style – Kathryn was in her element, she loves that period.

I got to finally see the Astronomical Clock! The Astronomical Clock (Orloj) was started in 1410 and is mounted on the southern wall of Old Town Hall in the Old Town Square. The clock mechanism itself is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; “The Walk of the Apostles”, a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures—notably a figure of Death (represented by a skeleton) striking the time; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months. According to local legend, the city will suffer if the clock is neglected and its good operation is placed in jeopardy and a ghost, mounted on the clock, was supposed to nod his head in confirmation. Based on the legend, the only hope was represented by a boy born in the New Year’s night.

* I may be wrong here – please feel free to correct me in the comments section

Well – here are some of the many photos that I took:

Hello! … From Prague!

Well, this is a bit exciting isn’t it – I am sat in a hotel room on the last night of my break and there exists technology that enables me to blog on my phone.

Expect an action update tomorrow, upon my return. Meanwhile allow to say that Prague is a fantastic place with fantastic people. The people really make the place. Almost a genii locus. Curious vistas = curious natives. Yes, I came a bit awestruck – not quite knowing what to do and where to do it.

But, with the wife by my side I have a lot to look forward to on our next trip. Yes, I have and will hold Kathryn to a return leg. The areas we left unexplored are the castle area and the Little Quarter – we aced the New Town, an area heavy with art noveau wonders (a theme that continued throughout the holiday) and we nearly got to see the highlights of the old town and Jewish quarter.

Enough for the three days but it left us wanting more.

I promise to do a grown up blog when I get the chance. With pictures.

First Stop In Prague

In 1576, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II chose Prague to be his home. More than any other person, Rudolf made Prague a hotbed of alchemical interest. Rudolf lived in the Prague Castle, where he welcomed not only astrologers and magicians but also scientists, musicians, and artists. In addition to noted alchemists Edward Kelley and John Dee, Prague was also home to the astronomers Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler, the painter Arcimboldo, the poet Elizabeth Jane Weston, among others. Rudolf arguably spawned the most intense period of occult activity in history. Continue reading →

Zdenek Vlach

Zdenek Vlach’s large body of work is very distinctive and his use of strong primary colours and sharp lines dominate his often stunning interpretations of what are, in many cases, fairly ordinary films.

Born 21st March 1942 in Prague, Zdenek died on 13th July 1999, unfortunately just a couple of weeks prior to the opening of the Edgar Allan Poe International Festival that he contributed so much to with 6 brilliant pieces, especially commissioned for the 3 month long event. Continue reading →

Me & Liam Neeson – How I Owe Him One

Back in, I think, January of this year (2015) I wrote a blog article about where I would like to holiday in 2015, here – Where I Would Like To Holiday In 2015 #1. Well, things did not go ahead with that plan as the whole of my immediate clan descended on Granny Dornoch in the Highlands for a week (well, not all of us – Dad was busy planting potatoes).

So, inevitably, these holiday plans took a back burner as I took on more work – as did the Mrs take on more work. However, we were very fortunate to have a bit of money gifted to us and so I thought about how to break it to the Mrs. about my plans for carrying out The Great Work in Bohemia. Continue reading →