Fading Indelibility

Old habits die hard. So, it turns out, do new ones. Back when I was living in Japan, I had a friend who was born near Tokyo in the 1950s. His family wasn’t poor, but with the scarcity of protein that Japan faced for many years after World War II, he grew up eating whale…

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New Arrivals

The first snow of winter, marching towards us across the Jura. The sun was shining in a final burst before a major storm that was due to hit overnight, and I had to go for a final autumn run in the last bits of warmth, even as I could see winter’s approach. No images here…

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A Whisky Woman and a Spring Cordial

I finally bottled a batch of elderflower cordial yesterday, after letting the brew steep for a couple of days and then rest in the fridge until I got around to cooking it up. One of the bottles I used – I’d actually saved it for use as a cordial bottle – reminded me of a…

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Fish Owl Equation

The Blakiston’s fish owl (Bubo blakistoni) is an intimidating creature of tufted ears and daunting size – the largest known owl in existence, it stands at up to 75 cm (2.5 feet) and has a wingspan of over 180 cm (6 feet). It is also a flying barometer of forest health. Its dining habits –…

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Diving In

When I first moved to Japan many, many years ago, someone told me to bring along a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label as a gift to the head of the household where I would stay. I thought it seemed like a very specific gift, but was assured that this was exactly the right thing…

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