Please don’t call it a blogiversary: lessons from a decade of blogging

If I could travel back in time to visit the me of ten years ago, when I started writing this blog, to tell myself that he/I would still be doing it a decade later, I doubt I would have been believed. That I would be writing this anniversary piece under the shadow of a global coronavirus pandemic, as the UK entered its third national lockdown in a year, would have been a greater surprise than the fact Richly Evocative was still going – but only slightly.

Making a mountain of Solsbury Hill

For a lover of hills, this small region of the country offers quite the range: steep hills, lone hills, round hills, hills with views of the sea, hills buzzed by kestrels, or patrolled by buzzards, internationally renowned hills with ruined churches on top, hills crowned by stands of trees, hills once topped by hill-forts, hills with winds that land a flurry of blows near the summit and hills disguised as city streets, with houses and shops groaning up and down their slopes.

Handles

I never considered handles before this,  never wondered who’d held my borrowed basket last filled it, gripped it tight, placed it back neat or abandoned by checkout,  unsettling us in its eerie. Didn’t ask, didn’t wonder what those hands did, who they touched waved slapped caressed, ever so tender. Did they stare at the milk…

Australia in a time of fire.

Always there was something to take pleasure in seeing, always the ongoing news of fires, along with smoke haze and smells of distant burning, gave a constant reminder that nothing could be taken for granted. I’d notice something and point it out to the children, then privately wonder whether that species of bird, or fish, or plant would still be here if, one day in the future, the boys ever came back. Every sighting might be a farewell.

Un coup d’oeil: a lucky walk by a mill

Going down to the mill is something we do every time we come here. It’s a short distance downhill from Rue de la Roche, where my parents-in-law live, to the town’s second river. When the water is low, as it usually is in August, the visit also includes a walk across the stepping stones and…

Edging into Kent

I started to wonder how far I should go, without a map or much water, but a trail leading out of town and into the fields is always hard to resist. After all, as Richard Jeffries notes in in Nature Near London, one should “Never omit to explore a footpath, for never was there a footpath yet which did not pass something of interest.”

Dream dapples, Pied-beams and Tantalights

As the beam touches you, it has a near instant effect, quickly drawing your thoughts out through the window and filling you with a desire to be out there, on the other side of the glass, walking in the sunlight, exploring the city streets, or escaping over the horizon, (I like to think of this particular effect as a positive variety of Corpse-light or Willow-the-wisp, but without the danger of being drawn into some terrible dark and boggy end).

A dark square with potential: Brooke’s Market, EC1

To the left of the hostel, and contrasting with its lime-white walls, the soot darkened, red and yellow bricks of St Alban the Martyr, stretch up and up – in one direction forming the church’s hulking tower, in another eventually tapering into a gabled roof with turrets, topped with a crucifix – and just a little lower down, mammon’s TV aerial.

St Alban’s grand scale crammed into a tight spot, give this half-hidden Neo Gothic edifice an uncomfortably, squeezed appearance; like a fat parochial priest squashed into the corner of a Southern Train vestibule.

Tache Tales for Movember

I’m doing Movember this year. For those of you who know all about it, please hurry along and make a donation here: http://mobro.co/mattgilbert1 For everyone else, here’s a bit more information: During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in the UK and around the world.…

Audi Quattro ‘Ahab’

If only more ads were as good as this. This American commercial for Audi Quattro is excellent. Based on a strong but simple idea, it draws inspiration from Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’, but here it is a Great White Car rather than a Whale that is pursued by a man obsessed with hooking the thing. (What…

Why I love Twitter

There’s a lot to put you off Twitter. People spreading hate. Bots pretending to be people spreading hate. People wanting to police the thoughts and comments of strangers. Attack mobs flaring up. Oversharing. Utter inanity and mundanity. I get why lots of people leave or never join in the first place. But, there is also…