It’s a tantalizing legend, that the building that now houses Il Buco in New York City was the macabre inspiration in Poe’s life for the setting of The Cask of Amontillado. The places Poe touched in Manhattan and the Bronx can still be found, though in most cases the surroundings are unrecognizable from his day. So […]
I first read The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe in high school. I was lucky enough to attend a school which gave the option of studying the literature of Poe and Twain in more depth, and I jumped at the chance. My teacher, Gary Harrison loves both authors, but was particularly animated about Poe. […]
The only troubling sound I heard the night I spent in the Jailer’s Inn in Bardstown, Kentucky was the sound of a cell door closing. There are two reasons I found that disturbing. First, the jail was shut down late in the twentieth century, so there are no inmates, and it’s unlikely the staff was […]
A month ago I stood atop a long barrow on White Horse Hill, with the grass covered chalk walls of Uffington Castle behind me, the galloping Uffington White Horse below me, and pondered a question for which there is no answer. What makes a landscape sacred? Is sacred the right word? Mystic perhaps. What makes […]
The chambered tombs and long barrows of Britain have long tickled the imagination, and perhaps none more so than Wayland’s Smithy. Perhaps it’s the stand of beech trees enclosing it which makes it feel more intimate, more hushed. Unlike West Kennet Long Barrow near Avebury, sitting exposed to the wind and the rain, high on […]
Cowslip is a witch’s garden plant which s traditionally found by foraging. Know for its connection to May Day, divination and of course faeries, it’s been celebrated in folklore and by Shakespeare, for its connection to love.
Looking at spring in the witch’s garden, planning the coming year and adapting spaces to changing plans. A look at what survived the winter, what seems to be spreading and what didn’t survive the freeze.
Scotland doesn’t lack in songs about being forsaken in love. But according to Ewan MacColl, who recorded the song I Courted A Wee Girl in 1956, typically the hero shrugs it off. “In this curious little song, however, the jilted lover, after attending his ex-sweetheart’s nuptials, just lies down and dies” The song made the […]
The Luccombe Valley below Salisbury Plain and Bratton Camp, just visible in the upper right. In the foreground are two of the four barrows in the valley, with one of the others being the site of the Bloodstone. While wandering on Salisbury plain one day I came across a hidden valley and as I […]
Looking down on the White Horse of Westbury from atop Salisbury Plain Nobody really knows when or why a chalk horse was carved onto the side of Bratton Downs, below the iron age Bratton Camp. The current version has evolved over the past two centuries into its rather literal shape today. An 18th century engraving […]