• 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…

  • 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…

  • 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.…

  • Places

    wintery wonder in poschiavo

    Southeast of St. Moritz is a remarkable little town called Poschiavo in the Graubünden canton. Accessible on the Bernina Express, which begins in Chur and terminates in Tirano, Italy is well worth the effort, especially if you kick your legs out on the train and watch the incredible landscape wash by your window. Craving a little change after the festivities of Christmas and New Year, we took a little journey to this Italian-speaking locale and soon saw ourselves in the grip of a snow heavy spell while Zürich became quite balmy as of New Year’s Eve. Surrounded by mountains, intersected by the Poschiavino River, there seems to be a disproportionate number of excellent eateries and organic labels – 87% of the Valposchiavo farmland products are certified by Bio-Suisse. During the heavy snowfall we were content to hunker down and be catered to by the staff of the Hotel Albrici, a palace…

  • Art / Design / Craft,  Places

    swissmas at bellevue

    If you are one of the bah humbug set and in Zürich, avoid Bellevue’s Zürcher Wienachtsdorf at all costs. There is so much Christmas cheer it could quite possibly kill you. We experienced it for the first time last year before we moved and were duly impressed by the show put on by Zürich in general, but with special mention going to the organizers responsible for Bellevue. So at the risk of imperilling anyone who loves to cringe at Christmas, here are some shots of all the mania from this year and last year. And anyone who needs gift ideas for me can also check out the cool stands by Lekka, Circle Sustainable store and Freitag among the many stalls with some pretty good swag. Just saying. So perhaps I’ll see you around for some mulled wine and some hot smoked salmon … thinking perhaps this Christmas thing might just catch on.

  • Mind / Body,  Places

    masaola regenwald – another zürich hotspot

    Winter, when it arrives, can knock me sideways. This year, with the change in city, being farther north was a doozy. So for a dose of wellness and a mental escape from pervasive greyness, I sometimes like to visit Masaola Regenwald, a simulation of a Madagascar Rainforest at the Zürich zoo. This 11,000 m2 lush, oxygen-infused dome teems with life. Flora and fauna abound. Razor-edged ferns and soaring bamboo, trees and countless other species of plant provide a home to low swooping fruit bats and colourful birds to tiny geckos and multi-hued chameleons, tortoises and even tree-clambering lemurs. It’s more economic than a plane ticket, and yet still a transporting, mind-bending experience. The Treetop Walkway is particularly elevating, like a path to endless summer. And who doesn’t dream of that?

  • Art / Design / Craft,  Places

    candle-making at bürkliplatz

    As a child I was always getting into trouble playing with candles. My name was regularly cursed after several tablecloths ended up coated with thick gobs of hardened wax. What fun it was to dip my fingertips into the melted goo and feel it harden into a seal. I couldn’t resist. If only I’d had a chance to make candles instead of mess them up at the dinner table I might be a different person today. Or not. Anyway, right now, underneath a tent enfolding the music pavilion at Bürkliplatz there is beeswax candle-making, a meditative pursuit where kids can put their little mitts to good use making candles rather than trashing them. For a reformed candle-vandal such as myself this is great development. Perhaps I can even repay my debt to society by helping my daughter to light the way with these all natural mini crafts. It’s also a…