• Places

    prince edward county

    It’s probably inevitable that anyone who inhabits a loud, sprawling, stinking mega-city believes at one time or another that the only antidote is some form of pastoral life. But would it truly work after a few weeks? If it was somewhere in Prince Edward County it certainly might. Until relatively recently, this large isthmus which juts into Lake Ontario was only inhabited by “Proudly Loyalist” settlers, and overlooked by much of the population of its own province, not to mention the world at large, because once upon a time people, especially Ontarians, sneered at the idea of Canadian wines. Now, however, this latest of Ontario’s appellations proves that’s no longer the case. Winemakers can safely praise such things as the “limestone purity” of their chardonnays and calcaires because over the last decade or so PEC has gained a foothold in the imagination of both connoisseurs and purveyors of enological culture. For what was once simply a staid but sun-kissed…

  • Places

    evening in another world

    Hello there. Haven’t written in a while, partly because I haven’t had a moment to myself. Last couple of evenings I’ve finally had the chance to sit back a bit and appreciate the beauty of another vista. Have to say I love the way light seems to be unique to each and every place you go in the world. The way it slants. The way it bounces off the scuffed boards of a barn. The way it trickles like honey through a beautiful woman’s hair. Pure, natural magic. Today, I’m going to bottle it.

  • Places,  Uncategorized

    the disappearing mist: tarabya

    Perhaps it’s the proximity to the Black Sea. One last stretch of strait and you are somewhere else entirely, behind another curtain. Some mornings you emerge from your house to a disappeared world. What was there the previous morning has vanished. Objects become outlines. The vaguest sketch of reality. It’s kind of magic, almost as if you could trip off the sidewalk and fall into an infinite nothingness.

  • Food & Drink,  Places

    a few good apples

    Today I’d like to show you a few good apples. They’re a little bit nicked and pocked in spots, but overall, pretty beautiful with an honest bite, surface to core. Perhaps that’s because they’re not modified or engineered to grow excessively large, or coated with wax to shine under fluorescent lamps. Cut one open and you can see the apple goodness. They’re from a farm that doesn’t manufacture apples — they’re from a farm that grows them. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to identify good apples, to tell those that are grown from those that are manufactured. I only wish I could say the same about elected leaders. Good luck at the polls, everyone. I’ve been thinking long and hard on your dilemma.

  • Places

    avon calling

    Hello from the land of grey skies and green grass. That’s right, England again! This time I’m in Bristol, a place I haven’t seen in more than a couple of decades. England’s not the only one that’s getting a bit grey. Must say, I’m loving the vibe of this place. Lovely people, real ales, great food, shops, all in a walkable city package that’s bursting with art, culture, music and really good coffee too. And did I mention the towering trees? This city might just be the paragon of urban virtue.  I barely even noticed the rain occasionally fogging my lens. Above is a small glimpse of the area around Clifton Suspension Bridge, the world’s very first suspension bridge, which spans the Avon River Gorge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel — an engineering feat which no doubt helped pave the way for our much more recent intercontinental bridges back in…

  • Places

    mistanbul returns

    I like the way mist isolates objects, and shrouds the city in an atmosphere of mystery — it becomes kind of minimalist, like a Danish mystery. I’m suddenly imagining a co-production: From the North Sea to the Black Sea … a body floats past a Turkish socialite’s tea party, still clutching a diplomatic pouch in her pulse-free fingers. Murder most foul. One victim, two passports. A diplomat or a spy? Chief Inspector Sigurd Ericcson and Kaptan Mehmet-Ali Osman are on the case. How will the differing investigative styles of this unlikely duo lead to an arrest? A cross cultural clash is inevitable as a pan-continental pursuit leads the two from the water’s edge to the razor’s edge. From steam-soaked hamams to sweltering saunas, from Taksim Square’s wig-wearing, gender-bending transvestites to a sado-masochistic European Parliamentarian, a bizarre array of locations, witnesses and suspects will lead our Nordic-Turkic crime-fighting heroes on a harrowing journey to uncover…

  • Places

    fire and water: urfa

    Şanlıurfa, El Ruha, Edessa, Riha or perhaps just plain old Urfa (as it’s most commonly referred to) is a welcome surprise. The drive in from the airport, however, is not encouraging.. An imposing and ugly housing boom has left much of the outer fringe of modern Urfa looking like a victim of its own success. Then, however, you penetrate that encircling ugliness and find an ancient land associated with the prophet Abraham/Ibrahim and the local traditions of its Kurdish population as well as a very large Arabic minority and you begin to sense that you’re in for something different and possibly wonderful. Make no mistake: this is the East of Turkey, close to the Syrian border. Yet despite its proximity to that troubled land, it did not seem at my first, and very cursory glance, especially affected by the troubles on the other side of the border, nor too interested in…

  • Places

    old city, new door

    Don’t know about you, but I like a good door. This one was particularly appealing as I passed it by in a Sultanahmet han today. I like the patina of rust over the chipped green paint. I like the way it’s ramshackle and yet still locked up. I like the fact it’s all gone slightly off kilter with age (I can relate). And I really like the way the cats seemed to keep a lookout from it, slipping through the narrow gap at the bottom with their semi-liquid bodies. This unpretentious entrance is kind of grand.

  • Places

    the wonder of the pinewood

    In Istanbul it’s increasingly difficult to remember that our world isn’t comprised entirely of concrete and glass. Luckily this city has a few surprises left in store. One of which is only a few hundred meters from Haci Osman Metro station. Rough and unkept, unlike Emirgan Park or Belgrad Forest, is a large, and largely unused, pine wood. Although it’s open to the public, it’s not open to cars — although, unfortunately, it did seem to be open to the  odd motorcycle. A few hundred meters from the entrance, you begin to lose sight of anything but the stands of pine. A blue sky looms overhead, and sunlight filters through the branches. Soon the city disappears, and aside from the wail of the occasional siren, you hear little more than the wind through the trees. Stray a little from the beaten paths and you’ll soon feel the soft springy carpet…

  • Places

    roundabout the thames

    Polite nods. Leaf-strewn paths. Moss-veined brickwork. Winding paths. Posturing swans. Groomed trees. Cottage-sized homes. Good to be back in England. There’s nowhere else quite like it. Still, I miss you, Sof.