• Mind / Body

    digital kids

    Once upon a time there was alarm about the impact TV had on developing minds. That concern hasn’t disappeared. It’s grown. Today we have tech savvy, digital kids. Parents carry mini computers in their pockets, and increasingly, their children do too. TVs were generally restricted to a room, which meant limiting access was a lot easier. Today, with the Internet, electronic media is everywhere. It’s in the schoolyard, sometimes the classroom. It’s on the bus. Smartphones and all the content associated with them,  from apps and games to YouTube and Facebook, travel with us. So when and how do we switch off? Can we? Of course as a parent it’s a duty to set boundaries and monitor the habits and wellbeing of our children. Yet how often are we as parents gazing into screens, lost in the content beamed to us by our own devices? Are we taking enough responsibility…

  • Photography,  Places

    film friday: zürich in black and white

    Recently, I decided to play with a new camera. New to me at least. In fact the camera is about as old, maybe a little older than me. But old’s relative right? Here are some of my favourites from the first roll of black and white (Kodak 400 TX negative film) I shot. The camera is an Olympus 35 SP, a 42mm F 1.17 fixed lens rangefinder. Other than some cropping and resizing for transmitting in the blogosphere I have not altered the scans in any other way. Looking at the shots it feels like time travel. What do you think? Do you like film? Do you care whether it’s still used? Does it feel more authentic, or simply nostalgic? Is it like using a typewriter to compose an email? There are more and more people using smart phones to create stunning images, but I have a prejudice — which doesn’t…

  • Art / Design / Craft,  Food & Drink,  People

    craft brewers brau syndikat: zürich creators

    It began as a challenge. Craft beer aficionado Stephan Györi (wearing glasses) wasn’t happy that Heineken was not just dominating the Swiss marketplace but the taps at the restaurant where he was a chef. So he and his friends decided to invest themselves in creating a custom beer. It was a success. Not only did he knock Heineken from the taps, now, a few year’s later, he and his partners at Brausyndikat have placed 9th in Falstaff Magazine‘s ranking of Swiss craft brewers. Today, with a proper space allocated to brew they still haven’t lost the handcraft touch, bottling and labelling their lineup of malted beverages with a decidedly human touch. Using a self-made bottling contraption which fills four bottles at a time, it’s something of a laborious process. While Philip fills the bottles, Oli caps each fresh bottle. Stephan meanwhile is strictly monitoring the temperatures on the Mash Tun.…

  • Food & Drink

    cold day, warm welcome: inä cafe

    There are days when the land seems drained of warmth, the sky of colour and any plans to find a bright spot of inspiration go completely amiss. Stumbling around Saturday was just one of those days. Perhaps I am imagining things but even the local creatures seemed to look at me askance as if to say: WTF, man, sensible people are elsewhere. We’d be indoors, given the option. Swans are usually a bit surly. However, the horse above really seemed to want to have words with me. Then I tripped across İNÄ a spot to wrap my chilled fingers around a cup coffee. Part concept store and part cafe there is a relaxed air of fun here. Then, this will no doubt surprise those of you who know me, I decided to see what craft beer was on offer. Big thanks to the über friendly folk at cafe İNÄ who also introduced me…

  • Places

    wollishofen wandering

    Wandering Wollishofen it’s hypnotic: the tick, tick, tick of its looming church clocks. Then, abruptly, it’s a jolt: the clang, bang, bong of the of the bells … awakened, it’s not: where am I? it’s, when am I? Wollishofen, a fragment, a drop, afloat in the municipality of Zürich, somehow maintains a serene, separate vibe. An echo of another place and existence. Viewed from the Eggpromenade while watched by its clock towers it is like time itself has stilled. Rolling pastures, barns, schools, playgrounds. Beautiful and eerie. Quiet, broken by a child’s delighted laugh, the bark of a loping retriever, the cluck of a hen. Afternoon sun streaking through rolling clouds and my fingers numb. What is it about this place? Perhaps, in part, it is the sense that I have been here before. Not just in the last year. Despite the lines on the clock I increasingly wonder if time…

  • Mind / Body,  Places

    fall into winter

    Light. Texture. Pattern. The way it plays out through the seasons. The way it morphs. I think I failed to properly acknowledge the transitioning from autumn to winter this year. A process that should not go unobserved, outwardly or inwardly. The way the warm soft golden green hues give way to blue grey tones and cycle once more back into the world, and, ultimately, into you. Wander into wonder. The mystery, is ever present. Spring approaches, and with it, a another shade of the same beauty. Revel in the shift.

  • Places

    memories of chios

    This time of year it’s hard not to reminisce on summers passed. The clouds start to lift. A reminder of a different kind of light grows, another world, rocky and spare, washed in bands of blueness unlike elsewhere. Chios now calls like the echo of waves. A tide swirling, tugging at my ankles as if to prompt my feet. It is not much like other islands. The Aegean. A sea flecked by the dust and rubble of ancient civilizations. Fragments. Faded postcards, from which Chios stands apart. It almost seems disinterested in being known, or iconic in the manner of the other islands with which it shares its sea. Make no mistake, though, there is history, both personal and grand, carved deep into the land, memory jagged as its coast. A haven for families seeking refuge from the daily weirdness of life. There is much memory, but it can also…

  • Books & Lit

    beer hiking switzerland: a test walk

    Lately Zürich, though not especially cold, has been relentlessly grey. Some days the impenetrable, overcast sky seems to descend on your head, which makes it all the more unappealing to move yet all the more important to do so. However, thanks to Monika Saxer, and her book, BEER HIKING SWITZERLAND: The Most Refreshing Way To Discover Switzerland, there’s plenty of motivation to go outdoors. So weather notwithstanding, I decided to test it out over the last week or so. Full disclosure: the book was given to me by its publisher, Hadi Barkat of Helvetiq, but it had already caught my eye at Orell Füssli. Either way, I was inclined to like the title as it’s the kind of idea I wish I had conceived. The book is also attractively designed with superb typography and easy to use, allowing you to choose your journey based on the location or the beer. For my…

  • Places

    what’s ahead 2018?

    The last couple of years have been strange for just about every soul I know in this world. All the things we face: the pressures of time, the rapidity of change, the demands of work and looming above it with an oppressive shadow the threat to our very existence, which, thanks to some bizarre decisions made by electorates around the world, can sometimes seem greater than ever. Yet strangely, I’m still optimistic, even grateful. Why? Because you’re reading this right now. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your time. Just know that it’s a lot. Which is why I will do my best to update this page weekly, so that you can count on some fresh content. Please share your thoughts with me, on the stories you like and why you like them. Also feel free to send me some ideas. I’ve had a busy couple of years.…

  • Places

    goldau nature park

    Until we find a way to restore this planet to its former glory, the ethics of animals in confinement will remain contentious. However, an appreciation of nature in all its many forms is something I’m completely behind. As a species inhabiting so many artificial environments which seem to cater to our needs we humans seem to forget that we are not separate from this Earth but of it. Contact with living, breathing animals other than ourselves might help us to appreciate all that we could gain by caring for our world rather than simply exploiting it as a stockpile of resources. At Goldau, amid the rubble of he 1806 landslide tragedy, has risen a wildlife centre where you can take an up-close look at a variety of wildlife, from fierce and formidable predators including bears, wolves and lynxes and much more docile and approachable fauna such as deer and mountain sheep.…