The South Downs is a one hundred mile long ridge of chalk laid down in the cretaceous period. Chalk is the remains of single celled creatures that drifted through the oceans around 140 to 66 million years ago. It makes up most of south east England and is a relatively young rock, but travel north and west and the geology of the UK gets much older. The science of geology deals with these huge time spans by creating aeons, eras, periods and epochs. But geology is not static. Change is everywhere. The world is not made up of things, only processes.
Author Archives: yawnthepost
This is the ‘Happy Valley’ of Sgt Catherine Cawood, and the home of the Cragg Valley Coiners. Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate was born here, his wife, Sylvia Plath, is buried here. We stayed in a converted piggery on a hilltop, where jackdaws tapped at the window and the fog sealed us off from the world outside.
A misguided attempt to record on site, an ‘outside broadcast’ which degenerates into a pub crawl. I’m joined by Caerleon resident Will O’Connell, a man whose knowledge of Caerleon you could inscribe on the little toe of the tiny toed ant. Most of this podcast takes place in the Roman fortress town in south Wales. It’s a fascinating place, but we spent most of our time in the pub. You’ll learn nothing.
East Anglia and the Fens
A trip to East Anglia, to the Fens and to Norfolk in search of finger in the ear folk singers, Brexit country and a vision of the future when the floods come and the UK becomes a minor archipelago, its lowlands lost and forgotten under the North Sea.
The dubious story of the Neanderthal twins of Tregaron, and the all too true account of the equally reclusive Stafford Beer, who played a part in world events.
George Orwell is on the Scottish island of Jura writing 1984, smoking roll ups and trying to shake off tuberculosis.
William Hershel, professional musician, amateur astronomer, discoverer of Uranus, built a telescope in Slough so huge it remained the biggest in the world for fifty years.
Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in Bath. Jane Austen was there only a few years before. Maybe the two crossed paths.
The Cornish pastiche: Tintagel, a castle on a rocky outcrop, is this Camelot? No, it’s not.
The Omphalos, Sandycove
The Omphalos, Sandycove, near Dublin, is a Martello tower and the setting of the opening chapters of James Joyce’s Ulysses. ‘Omphalos’ is the Greek for ‘navel’, the centre of the ancient world. Ulysses is a navel novel.