“Do you not see?” – the invisible magic of Nigel Smith

Nigel Smith, devoted family man, industrialist, sailor and hill walker, referendum wonk, devolutionist and electoral reformer was the most influential political campaigner you’ve never heard of. He died suddenly at home in Scotland two weeks ago aged 78, unburdened by establishment honours and with little public attention. The list of those who campaigned alongside Nigel […]

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Black and white

While it was going on the decade was entirely ours to describe, one word after another, millions of minute hands hour by hour etching out the character of the island each littoral city, sub-continents. Also, the nature of work in Dublin and Dubai, the unsatisfactory financiers, family life in all its forms the justice of […]

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The consolation of community tree planting

I have been planting trees and hedgerows for five years now, and it gives me so much pleasure that by mid-summer I find myself beginning to look forward to cold winter days spent outside armed with a spade, a sack of tree whips and the company of friends and neighbours. I started out in 2014 […]

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Obituary, 17 years on

Roddy Scott Compassionate journalist who died filming the Chechens’ forgotten war The Guardian Roddy Scott, who has died aged 31 while filming intense fighting between Chechen rebels and Russian forces in Ingushetia, would have enjoyed the irony that it took the killing of a British journalist to revive international media interest in the ongoing war […]

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The Hague

What do you do if you are the Kingdom of the Netherlands? No inheritance to speak of, only land water then sea water and over 17 million souls squeezed in between. Well, you take nothing for granted. You learn irrigation, navigation and English, you grow cash crops make yourself widely available to trading opportunities, hold […]

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Berlin in June

Such beautiful blue skies! Parks, pleasure boats on the Spree and across the imperial parade ground a soft breeze from the east cools the walls of the restored Reichstag, and stands up the tricolour of black and red and gold. Through the warm afternoon, electric scooters bearing citizens glide to and fro. These mellow scenes […]

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