Bed sheets and broomsticks

January 10, 2012 / Writing / 2 Comments /

I put my foot through my bed sheet the other night. I only own two – one for the bed, one for the wash. Mine is a small house and storage is limited.

So, I ordered a new sheet in the John Lewis sale. Free delivery, within five days. Lovely. Very kindly, John Lewis even tell you that they’ll send you an email on the day of delivery so you can arrange to be at home between 9am and 6pm.

On Wednesday I received my email. My bed sheet had been despatched. As previously instructed, I duly waited in from 9am until 3pm. I’m not good at sitting at a computer all day. A lack of fresh air, daylight or exercise makes me a little antsy. I figured a quick call to JL would confirm whether or not I was waiting in so with good reason. Continue Reading →

Hearing London afresh

August 16, 2010 / London, Showcase, Writing / 5 Comments /

Selective hearing is a great thing, especially living in London where so many noises assault our ears and compete for our attention throughout the day. But selective hearing can block out the good with the bad.

Which is why it’s so refreshing to discover someone who helps us to hear the sounds of the city afresh. Ian Rawes’ London Sound Survey has re-opened my ears to the audio world of the capital.

Ian’s recordings are, to me, like photographs that capture a moment in time and forever allow a viewer or listener to focus on something that would otherwise have passed them by. Continue Reading →

Have a little faith

August 11, 2010 / Science, Showcase, Writing / 12 Comments /

Do you believe in climate change?

Every newspaper, website, blog site, etc. has an opinion on the subject. We are flooded by inch upon column inch of reportage, opinion and hyperbole. With such a quantity of information being force-fed to us, surely we are all equipped to offer a judgement on the truth of the matter.

No, we’re not.

A high number of column inches does not equate to high quality information. Neither does an ability to read (or to write) equate to understanding the subject matter in hand. A large quantity of information does, however, contribute to a common belief that we all know it all. Continue Reading →

The trouble with biodiversity

July 3, 2009 / Science, Writing / 0 Comments /

Beware the Kitchener recruitment message

When every other headline tells us the economy and planet are crumbling, when all concerns pale next to the demise of Mammon, how do we keep biodiversity, if not at the forefront of, at least somewhere in people’s minds?

Biodiversity is the poor relation of environmental concerns – a fringe concern isolated at the edge of the anthropocentric interests of the majority; the biodiversity sector a small band of altruists, whose passion marks us out as oddities amongst a nation of consumers.

“Why does biodiversity matter?”

“It just does!”

We sustain this fantasy at the cost of our cause. Altruism is dead. It’s time to admit our preference for one species above another, to recount with joy those minor and mind-altering stories of personal encounters with wildlife, to acknowledge the economic value of the natural world and join the rest of the world in unashamedly embracing our selfish gene.

Continue Reading →