Bram Stoker passes through a whalebone arch into a time shift, buys an ice cream from a van owned by Stranglers’ drummer Jet Black. Sir Henry Irving morphs into Christopher Lee. Monkey Puzzle Trees do something even more astonishing.


Glastonbury is the capital of These Weird Isles. Forget the Festival, wander into town. It is the epicentre of the age old longing for some half hidden Celtic twilight, a nostalgia for a time that never was, a home of sorcerers, eccentrics, tarot readers and crystal magic. If towns are rock bands, Glastonbury is Hawkwind.


Rambling through a churchyard in Amersham to see the grave of Arthur Machen I discover the resting place of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in the UK. A small amount of digging reveals the prosecution was led by a Buddhist, the same barrister who represented the Crown in the trials of Derek Bentley and also of Timothy Evans, both hanged, and both later declared innocent and whose unfortunate lives were told in major films: ‘Let Him Have It’ and ’10, Rillington Place’.

The South Downs

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.