Whilst idly scrolling through Insta recently I came across the above sentiment, and it instantly resonated.

That same morning I’d found myself getting way more excited than is probably normal about the delivery of an Amazon package containing a grout reviver pen (though I would still challenge anyone unconvinced by this to buy one and see for themselves their power to transform the bathroom…), and then about eating a hot-cross bun with some nice blueberry jam I’d recently bought.

I realised at this point – and not for the first time – that I’m probably pretty boring. But the nice thing about getting to your late thirties and being a bit boring is that you don’t really care whether you are or not.

It’s a bit like that moment during the nights out of yesteryear when you would finally get to take off an uncomfortable pair of heels after teetering around awkwardly all evening, and put on a pair of trainers instead. How much more comfortable you would feel from the change of footwear more than compensated for any loss to presentation that may have ensued. When we shift focus from the big and exciting stuff we notice the magic in all of the things in between, and often feel way more comfortable for having done so.

Life is short. This club does permit trainers. Do what makes you happy.

Now, I’m off to continue grouting the bathroom tiles and marveling at the difference a simple little stick of grey paint can make. Mun-yay-nity 🙂

Song of the Day: La Strada – Mean That Much

A song that just sounds like March. Maybe it should be called Mean that March. Ho ho.


I’m not usually one for an art gallery. If you were to plonk me in a random city and ask me to pick from a list of local attractions, I’d prioritise: a) anything that involves moving on water, b) anything that involves interesting food, or c) anything that will make my ears happy and my legs want to dance. I don’t think you can usually do any of these things in an art gallery (but if you can, please tell me about it!)

The Tate Modern is one of the UK’s most famous art galleries and I have been twice throughout my entire life. Once with a couple of friends (all I have is a fleeting memory of something we were chatting about as we descended an escalator), and once when I needed to quickly make use of the facilities whilst drinking from the pop-up places on the South Bank. I have often heard and read about how wonderful this place is supposed to be, yet I’ve probably never really embraced it properly. I love the concept of art, but mostly as written or musical forms as opposed to static ones. When it comes to the prospect of art galleries, I just don’t always get them.

On a recent day off work, I was in London with some time to spare and thought I should try and broaden my horizons by making a proper visit – alone – without the distraction of catch-up chats with friends going on in parallel, and with the time to move around on my own terms. To read what I wanted to read. To pass by what I wanted to pass by.

I ended up covering every square meter of the Tate within about 50 minutes (the recommended visiting time is 3-4 hours). I guess I just don’t have the sort of brain which is always receptive to what I’m sure are genius feats of creativity. During my trip, I was confronted by: some fluffy drapes hanging from the ceiling in the entrance hall that resembled something from the dodgy Ghost Train at Cassiobury Park funfair in the 1990’s, Cezanne’s paintings of a few discoloured apples that looked like something from a yellow-sticker haul, and a picture frame sculpted into the wall that just looked like somebody made a mistake with a chisel then tried to make it look intentional by completing the rectangle shape. Each of these things are no doubt way better than any ‘art’ I could produce and I mean no disrespect to the artists, but they just didn’t make me feel anything at all.

But, there were a few exhibits which really did make me stop, stare and think. Tracey Moffatt’s ‘Up in the Sky’ collection of photographs designed to capture indigenous and non-indigenous lives intertwined in a deprived town in the Australian outback, Martha Rosler’s representations of American airports as channels of the human body and transience of life, then this one, Cildo Meirele’s ‘Babel 2001‘:

It’s a tower comprising of 800 vintage radio sets ranging from the oldest at the bottom, to more modern ones at the top. They are all playing at the same time; different frequencies, at only slightly different volumes. “No two experiences of this work are ever the same”, reads one of the only exhibit descriptions I have ever been interested enough to read in full.
And that’s entirely the point of it. Meireles’ exhibit aims to remind us that as soon once we reach information overload, communication fails. Read one hundred random facts and you’ll maybe remember ten percent of them. Read three and you’ll probably remember one hundred percent.

Out of 800 radio sets that were all playing at once; I could only really recognise one song, an ’80’s number I never remember the name of. There were dozens of voices, but I couldn’t make out what any of them saying. A friend of mine went to the same exhibit a few days later and heard something else entirely. I found the whole thing incredibly clever, and very powerful. When one person speaks you’ll hear every word but when everybody is doing so at once, in different frequencies but similar volumes, nobody really gets heard, and that’s a shame.

We live in an age where technology has advanced so much, even since 2001 when this work was completed. The parameters of choice have become so broad, that we’re far less likely to be hearing or seeing the same things anymore. I have previously written about the impact of the likes of Freeview and streaming services on the day to day chats we used to have about television, but it doesn’t end there. These methods of communication and entertainment are designed to make our lives better and our minds more informed but I’m not always entirely sure that they do.

The more we have of something, do we still make the most of each individual component? Do we really remember each episode we’ve watched if we’ve binge-watched several series? Each book we’ve read if we’ve almost exhausted the Library? Or each stereo we listened to if there were 800 to choose from? Does knowing that we can pretty much find out anything we want to know within minutes thanks to the internet make us really feel more intelligent as a society or does it only make us set a higher bar for ourselves? I remember sitting in front of the computer in my early ’20’s, fresh out of Uni with no idea what to do next, knowing that in the hidden corners of the internet right before me I could probably find an opportunity that would change my life or kick-off my career, but feeling slightly pressured by that same knowledge, and simply having no idea where to start looking. I think I searched for a bit of advice, only to find dozens of people sharing a billion contrasting opinions that only added to the confusion, and ended up giving up and looking up recipes for interesting curries instead.

Among the vintage radios forming Babel, I recognised the Sony stereo that accompanied my school homework and thought back to the days when you couldn’t simply skip a song you didn’t enjoy, only manually fast forward. And though something like Spotify would have seemed the stuff of dreams back then, I felt some nostalgia for the days when you’d just have to listen to a song regardless, and would often grow to like it in time. We are very lucky with what we have now but there is definitely something to be said for keeping it simple, too.

I left the Tate, bought a coffee, and spent some time thinking about what I’d just seen. I then realised what I was doing, and acknowledged taking a step closer to realising what all the fuss about art galleries is about 😉

(But seriously, if you know of an art gallery on a speed boat, that serves unusual world grub and plays Weezer as you walk around please let me know)

Song of the Day: The Shins – The Great Divide (Flipped)

This is the sort of anthemic song you feel should have been around for years, but in reality it’s only a couple of years old. It’s just lovely. That is all.

“Ooh, the blind
Collective mind of man is all they’re offering
Then you bring a breath of life out of the emptiness
Your hand in mine, oh-oh-oh (your hand in mine)

The great divide”


If there’s one thing I don’t like so much about the Kent landscape (which I will otherwise wax lyrical about) it’s that it’s a little bit too flat.
I probably shouldn’t complain about that too much, because if it wasn’t then we’d all have to perform hill-starts more regularly, and would probably have slipped over countless more times in this past, particularly icy week. Plus, I can still feel my heart crunch when I recall younger times trying to carry my weekly grocery shop up a particularly steep alleyway in Lancaster that always felt as challenging to conquer as I imagined the ascending travelator on Gladiators would (the sausage roll and fags diet probably didn’t help with that, mind).
Either way, when you’re used to living in a county which is predominately flat – albeit beautiful – it’s easy to forget just how massively diverse the landscape is across the rest of the UK. Only in relatively recent years have I really started to realise and appreciate this; and because to get to these places requires resources which we don’t always have spare, it makes any opportunity to see them that little bit more precious.
I was absolutely stunned by Snowdonia when a close friend who grew up there first showed me around her home, to the extent where it seemed hard to believe that it shares the same island as the likes of the M25. Fresh air, clear water, wild ponies roaming around in heather-topped hills, and other mesmerising panoramics, were in abundance, and the best thing is that they were all free to see, and get completely lost in. As a bit cringe as the saying may sound, Snowdonia is an area that truly feeds the soul and I try to return whenever I can for some ‘lunch’. Every time I go, I realise I have still only seen a small fraction of it. My friend says that she often wished there had been more for young people in North Wales to do whilst she was growing up – more cinema complexes and McDonalds like we had plenty of in Watford – and I tell her that I often wished I’d had mountains and lakes nearby, instead of concrete consumerism and pollution. I always sucked at bowling anyway.

Both of us craving mountains over the Christmas break – but with North Wales seeming too far for the time we had – on New Years’ Eve we decided to visit the Peak District for a day, another area which I know shamefully little about and had only visited once previously. We spent the afternoon walking up Mam Tor – a route recommended by Much Better Adventures – and from the peak looked out at a huge expanse of land consisting of multiple counties of northern England. We also read a bit about the famous caves – some of which were still inhabited at the turn of the 20th century – and found out about the limestone quarries the area is famous for. It was a very wet, windy and slippery day (made more challenging by the fact neither of us were wearing the right shoes) but the harsh gradients enabled us to give our legs a good stretch so that by the time we eventually got back to the car – covered in mud and exhausted – we felt deserving and ready for some stodgy food at the pub. It had been a good workout and an even better exploration of some dramatic yet beautiful – and completely new to us – scenery. Well worth the four hour drive.

We weren’t there for long but it was enough time to make a big impression. I have been thinking about it a lot since, and have many daydreams about going back and seeing more of it. And so, since it’s January and a time to traditionally look ahead, I suppose it’s reasonable to state the following: I have absolutely no idea what assortment of good, bad or bizarre things 2023 may conjure up but as long as it features some hills and mountains, that’s okay 😉

Song the Day: Mikron – Lyre

Feeling electronica at the moment! This is a nice chilled piece from a duo of Irish brothers. One of those songs you can file away in ‘perfect for driving at night or working to’.


From the safe distance of three days, and combined with the presence of a couple of drinks in the pub, I fully agreed with my friend’s suggestion that to take a dip in the sea before sunrise the following Tuesday morning was a most excellent idea. Seize (or rather, ‘seas’) the day, and all that jazz.

By Monday evening I was experiencing more than a few second thoughts about this great plan. I really wanted to do it, but I also really didn’t want to do it. Life is perpetually freezing at the moment, with its sub-zero temperatures and heating rations, and so it would surely defy all logic to make it even more so.

I text my friend to see if she still wanted to go ahead, and stated that I would be happy either way – which was true – but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t have felt a slight (read: ‘massive’) relief had she had a change of plan.

But she still wanted to go.

And as it turns out, I’m very grateful for that.

We met at Seasalter at 7:30am, whilst the sky was still that inky shade of navy blue that makes everything else on the horizon seem way more magical and mysterious than it does in daylight, the lights of Whitstable harbour glowing in the distance.

The air was fresh, but milder than the days that had preceded it. It actually felt quite nice. There was barely anybody about, apart from a couple of people walking their dogs, and a soothing silence, aside from the gentle lapping of waves.

Getting into the sea itself was not without some immense discomfort and anguish. My friend was much braver than I, and was able to submerge herself pretty quickly, whilst I merely paddled and shook my limbs about like an octopus trying to take off a t-shirt for a while in the hopes that it may warm me up. Eventually I followed her lead, and whilst neither of us were submerged in the water for long, we both felt so refreshed afterwards and were pleased to have got in. I was also glad to have brought along a hot water bottle, and the coffee felt extra amazing.

Though it hadn’t quite been a refreshingly cooling bathe on a hot Summer’s day, I was grateful to have had a fix of nature first thing, and grateful to my friend for encouraging me to do it.

I was washed, dressed and back at my desk for 9am. Just another reason why I love living near to the sea, and another reason why sometimes you just have to say yes.

Song of the Day: The Magnetic Fields – The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side

This is hands down one of the most beautiful songs ever made, in terms of both composition and message. For me it’s one of those ones you forget about for years then it comes on on the shuffle playlist, and sounds though you’re hearing it for the first time all over again. Just don’t try singing along from 3:05 onwards because you’ll run out of breath, I’ve tried many times over the years 😉


Out of the 150+ posts on this blog across the past eleven years, I’d guess that around 50% of them reference things seen or experienced whilst out and about in rural Kent. That was never the intention, I never really warmed too much to the idea of keeping to a main theme, even though a lot of people suggested it was the best way to create an established blog. It’s just testament to the local area that so many of my outdoor rambles have managed to inspire the content for the monthly post.

It seemed to start about ten years ago with a trip to the beach, continued with a maybe slightly-cheesy-in-retrospect ‘life lesson’ from the maze at Leeds Castle in 2015, a fresh glut of writing upon moving to Faversham in 2018 and then an even bigger one in 2020/2021, because walking outdoors was essentially all we were able to do.

And though we can thankfully do a lot more again now, there are still few things that I enjoy more than being out exploring the pretty unique surroundings of Kent (or perhaps it’s just because I grew up in Watford, where postcards feature the ring road and you feel privileged just to see a tree.)

(That’s possibly being a little unfair, you’ll often see one. But only one.)

Nonetheless, in over ten years of living here I’m still not bored of Kent, and despite having walked round the countryside near to where my parents live in Canterbury countless times, it took until now to learn that we have our very own set of pyramids:

Giza, Canterbury

The photo above features what is known locally as the ‘Tetrahedra Field’. It can be found at the end of a private residential gravel-track road leading out of a village just outside of the city. With minimal footfall, it’s of little surprise that hardly anybody knows of it, and though it could be easy to assume (I certainly did) that these stones are probably nothing of note, the reality is much more intriguing.

It turns out that these triangular structures lie on what was once the site of a World War I aerodrome. Their purpose was to generally get in the way of the tanks that were used by the opposition, and if you look closely, you can still see the letters and numbers which identified them. When the airfield was closed down in the 1940’s, they were all moved into the random field above, next to the railway line.

At first glance it may only look like a graveyard for unwanted giant Toblerones circa Christmas 1972 (though that too would be exciting) but it’s also a classic example of the benefits of looking at some things twice. I will continue to be intrigued by what other hidden gems and pieces of secret history we may have lying around us here in the Garden of England, and I want to go and find and write about them all, ha!

Song of the Day: The Bad Plus – Silence is the Question

Eight minutes that’ll change your life (I exaggerate. But I promise you, it’ll do something). I don’t normally have the patience for long songs, particularly if they start off too slow, and nor do I really listen to jazz, but I somehow stumbled across this one and it sucked me in. I’ll say no more, you just have to listen to it all in one go. Just amazing.


I often hear people say that of all the seasons, autumn is their least favourite.

It’s cold. It’s dark. It rains.

None of those attributes would win first prize in a beauty contest, and eating ice-cream is nowhere near as thrilling (though it doesn’t prevent one from trying to find out).

But I am going to take a brief moment to defend autumn, and push it a little further up the perch.

I spend a lot of time walking around my hometown each evening as a way to get the steps in when working from home. There is something beautiful about this place during any season; the biting clarity of a winter sky adding fine outlines to chimney-tops, bonfires burning by the duckpond on balmy spring evenings, and bright red sunsets at 9pm in summer.

Come autumn, the walks invariably take place in the dark, I return with wet feet, and the town is very quiet.

And it can sometimes take a little longer to spot the scenes of brilliance, but they’re still there: golden reflections dancing off the water below, and Victorian lamp-posts illuminating the paths ahead. Deep-fried fish and vinegar floating through the air, and televisions lighting up living rooms like discotheques.

The glow of anticipation for impending festivities, and watching people chitter-chatter through restaurant windows. Cat-shaped silhouettes sprinting along the tops of fences, and smoke lingering in the air from bursts of colourful fire. The dazzle from the fairground as it visits for the weekend.

There are a lot of awesome things about autumn.

Everything has its place.

Song of the Day: Philip E Morris – The Polka

Spotify recommended this song to me. Philip E Morris is a Swedish composer who specialises in fusing electro beats with traditional, older songs. I can’t admit to knowing quite what’s going on in this piece but I like it, and it jazzed up a recent supermarket visit to listen to it. So there we go.


With everything that’s going on nationally and in the world at the moment, you have to celebrate every pleasure where you can at the moment, no matter how small it may seem.

Geocaching is one of my favourite things to do in my free time these days because it combines exercise with nature, and I like the challenge of trying to find things. It’s a hobby that many haven’t heard of, but with 35 million players all over the world, it’s actually hugely popular. ‘Caches’ are hidden pretty much all over the place, most often in points of interest, and people of all ages like to search for them whilst exploring the world.

With International Geocaching Day having taken place this month, I’ve been trying to get into the spirit of it by getting out and doing it as much as possible to make the most of the light Summer evenings. One of my favourite things about it is that the GPS map of the geocaches gives you reasons to take turns you’ve never taken before, explore new places, and find out new things about your surroundings. Geocaching has guided me to disused Underground stations, memorials for historic events I’d never heard of before, and seemingly random spots that offer some of the most stunning of views. All places I may well not have ventured if not for the game.

It was during one such occasion recently that a turn I probably wouldn’t have taken otherwise afforded me this beautiful panorama of golden fields and gorgeous horses:

It was a scene of pure peace against the external noise of current affairs, and during those moments of taking in the scenery around me, I felt I had discovered something very special and secret.

And these kind of moments make me wonder more generally, about what else is out there waiting to be found? What other beautiful views? What other contented creatures? Maybe sometimes we underestimate the potential for these things to be much closer than we think. Maybe it’s not always about going further, but simply going different. Not overlooking that plain old alleyway to our right, but wandering up it anyway and just seeing what’s on the other side.

Some years ago, I used to think that to see something really new and breathtaking you had to travel very far, but you don’t. You’ve never had to.

Not if you’re willing to look.

Song of the Day: Teenage Fanclub – Speed of Light

Classic Scottish indie. I borrowed this album from the library in 1999 and it doesn’t seem any less new now than it did then. Does this mean I’m officially old?

Actually, not sure I want to know the answer to that…


Last week, it finally became my turn to catch that wretched Covid bug that has sent the world into a spiraling state of chaos so much over the past two and a half years.
It was inevitable, and I feel incredibly lucky that I made it this far without experiencing it, yet still, the feeling of being suddenly exiled into isolation upon sight of a double-line, will never be fun.
And so came about a prolonged period of virus-enforced rest during which very little was done that required use of a brain. Reading the television guide and making accurate use of the remote was probably the extent of it, certainly on the days when I felt at my worst, but sometimes there is value in being so still, and taking time out of the ordinary.
Whilst taking some time to bathe in the fresh air outside, I noticed things that in normal circumstances I’d perhaps be in too much of a hurry to notice. This bumblebee for example, fastidiously gathering nectar from a wildflower:

I was transfixed by this for a good while, watching it move from bud to bud, taking it for everything it could get before flying on to find more. I was impressed by its determination and ability to scope out what it needed, and lamented the fact the species is in decline whilst appreciating the efforts of conservationists to reverse this. In this moment, I realised I hadn’t actually thought about bumblebees for quite a long time.
Why would I?
But why shouldn’t I?

And then appeared this yellow ladybird, which I was equally in awe of:

I couldn’t remember the last time I’d really seen a ladybird, let alone a yellow one! I’d virtually forgotten they existed, and momentarily wondered in my viral haze if one of the more common red types had just been exposed to too much sun during the recent heatwave. I was intrigued so I – of course – googled it, and realised I had been holding a Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata (or in other words, 22-spot ladybird). I also learned that ladybirds, incidentally, are named after the Virgin Mary. Historic farmers would pray to Mary and request that she protect their crops, and felt those prayers heard when ladybirds appeared and consumed the insects that threatened them. It is a neither sun-blanched nor rare species, but why did it feel like the latter? If one were to land upon my shoulder as I walked to the car on my way to get somewhere, would I even be giving it this much thought, or would I just sweep it away and carry on?

I am not going to pretend that if I had the choice between staring at ladybirds and bees, or being around loved ones, that I’d make the same one imposed upon me last week, but the time did remind me that being still and silent enough to really observe things can sometimes exhume joy and awe from the slightest, most unexpected and hidden sources.

We spend so much of our time rushing around from place to place, ensconced in task to task. I promised myself after lockdown never to take that for granted again, and I won’t, but there’s never any harm in being reminded of the benefits and importance of time to pause. To stop. To notice. To enjoy.

To… bee 😉

Song of the Day: Mighty Mighty – Law

This is a classic example of a genre known as ‘twee pop’. Twee pop emerged in popularity in the UK in the mid-’80’s as result of a compilation cassette – C86 – issued by NME magazine. Sometimes known as ‘jangle pop’, twee pop is a subgenre of indie characterised by simplicity, harmonies and upbeat melodies. In other words, exactly the kind of music you want to listen to when you’re poorly. This track, from Birmingham-based band Mighty Mighty, was one of the songs on the original C86 cassette.


During a recent rainy Monday morning, I popped into Canterbury Cathedral, a UNESCO world heritage site near to where I live.

My car was having its MOT nearby, and with the rain showing little sign of abating, I was hopping from place to place for shelter. The coffee crawl was fun to start with but by about Americano number four I wanted to head somewhere a bit different, and looking out the window towards Cathy’s Bell Harry tower, I felt inspired to be a bit of a tourist for the day, and made my way over.

I have visited the Cathedral tonnes of times over the years. It has played a notable part in our family history, and there’s so much more I could write about it beyond the content of this post, but those can be stories for another day.

Instead, for now, I’ll just tell you a little anecdote about a particular tile in the photo above, the tile with the reddy-orange stain on it next to the black rug.

During one of my first visits to Canterbury Cathedral, in the early 1990’s, I was too young to really understand anything beyond a very basic, watered down version of history. I knew that the Cathedral was famous for being the site of the murder of somebody called Thomas Becket – who had clearly irritated somebody (King Henry II it turned out) – and that it had attracted many visitors due to the belief in miracles which took place at the site after he was killed.

It all sounded quite scary and gory to a seven year old, like what might happen on Eastenders or one of Bowser’s Castles, but nonetheless it was intriguing too. As we walked around the particular area where the famous assassination had taken place, my older sister pointed down at the reddy-orange stain and looked at me with a grimace:

“That’s the stain from his blood when he was killed.”

Suddenly, a scary story became scarier and my infant self felt a shiver down her spine. Numerous questions abounded within – will we see his ghost? Will we have our heads chopped off too, if we stand here too long?

Well, evidently we didn’t, as I sit here writing this almost thirty years later, but there was certainly one long-term impact of this narrative which has made me look incredibly foolish over the years, and that’s the fact that it was only an embarrassingly few years ago that I realised that my sister hadn’t been telling the truth about the unusual stain on the floor.

It had absolutely zip-all to do with Becket, not then, and certainly not ever! I have lost count of the number of people I have given this misinformation too over the decades since; no wonder my Religious Studies teacher didn’t look overly impressed as I shot my hand up in class during year 10 as we learned about Becket, to tell a bunch of nonplussed teenagers of what they could see at the Cathedral.

And there’s an interesting lesson in all of this I suppose. Not to believe everything you’re told, for sure, but on the flipside I ask myself: would I have found the Cathedral as interesting as a seven year old if it weren’t for my sister’s gory story? Probably not. Would that one piece of stone still make me smile and recall memories of a family day out in 1992, thirty years later? Definitely not.

So yes. There’s a lot of history in Canterbury Cathedral. And that small, almost invisible speck, is mine.