• Hawaii: forgotten flickerings of tropical fish
  • Peru: an isolated memory of dark fish-shadows swimming deep in a cool water tank on a dusty afternoon
  • Connecticut: moon landings; ice skating; igloo building; I pledge allegiance to the flag and to the purple mountains’ majesty
  • Desert: lizards, scorpions & rattlesnakes; night stars; the smell of tamales in an adobe village
  • Water: alligators, mosquitos & watersnakes; catching a yellow fish; skinning a dead raccoon


  • Lessons: a good Scottish education in biology, chemistry, physics and stuff – but also breaking free to do Ceramics and A-level Art at a Steiner school
  • Family: biology, ecology, ornithology, greco-roman archeology, modern art, modernist architecture, and lots of PSS (Practical Self-Sufficiency)
  • Skills: basketmaking, butchery, candlemaking, cheesemaking, dying, foraging, knitting, pottery, preserving food, spinning, sewing, shoemaking, tanning skins, woodwork, weaving
  • Animals: chickens, calves, ducks, doves, dogs, geckos, guinea fowl, grass snakes, goats, geese, jackdaws, kestrels, soay sheep, shetland sheep, tortoises, owls


  • Head stuff: History of Art and Ψchology, but mainly Mental Philosophy (MA 1st class honours from Aberdeen University – with commendation for papers on both Logic and Love)
  • Poland: solo visit, during General Jaruzelski’s imposition of martial law, to study the transhumance of dairy sheep to their summer pastures
  • Re-enactment: living the life of a Tudor peasant for 6% of each year
  • Berlin: group visit to East Germany; crossing from one world to another at the Brandenburg Gate; Nebuchadnezzar’s monumental Ishtar Gate with its striding lions
  • Enterprise: supplying the sandwich shops of central Scotland with Spicy Bean Pate – a vegan alternative to the traditional Scotch pie lunch
  • Tipis: made, and made use of, two large canvas-and-pole tipis; possibly the first in Scotland, the question was, why?
  • Dance: often the only thing that made sense


  • PhD: drifting somewhere between Philosophy, Agriculture and Social Anthropology, a research project asking organic farmers what they thought about life – and farming
  • Greening: tasked by the Principal of Edinburgh University to help implement his overly-ambitious plan to turn the university green in its teaching, research and estate management
  • More greening: part of a community group which bought a 1,500 acre valley in Southern Scotland to re-establish the natural woodland and vegetation
  • Factories: inspecting factories to ensure compliance with EU organic food processing regulations: shortbread & custard; fishmeal & dead chickens
  • Pilgrimage: walking from Coventry to Canterbury as part of a WWF ‘Pilgrimage for Earth Survival’; did it work?
  • USSR: on the trans-Siberian railway for 4 days 3rd class; camping with no food on a remote shore of Lake Baikal; timber yards & cattle farms; orthodox churches & pickled aubergines
  • Gujarat: friendships & festivals; walking in the desert with people who could see the edge of their world and wondered what was beyond; decay
  • Ethiopia: churches & chanting; walking in the thin mountain air with people who sang all night and never slept; honey & berbere
  • Fire: channelling unfettered male energy while painted Red all over and brandishing a seriously dangerous fire torch as part of Edinburgh’s annual pagan Beltane festival


  • Daughter: born June 2000; her father was Blue at Beltane; she is many things that I am not, I like that
  • NGO: Head of Soil Association Scotland; managing a team tasked with the overly-ambitious plan to turn Scotland’s food and farming organic
  • Village shop: rescued and re-launched the local shop; sold newspapers, cigarettes, booze, sweeties, canned food and lunchtime Scotch pies; also a modest range of wholefoods but not condoms, because they always got stolen
  • Song: just a village choir, but a very special one


  • Married: to someone with a back-story as varied as my own, but neither of us are Buddhist
  • Croatia: we fell for an old farmstead in a forest near a river, rebuilt the barn in a modernist style around the old frame, loved the place but were always drawn to the distant blue sea
  • Violins: a joint venture with Martin, I manage the website; the violin business is our livelihood and a constant thread in our lives together
  • Avenue House: a big house in the small city of Wells; big commitment, big renovation job, instagram here


  • Gardening: my lockdown obsession; designing and project-managing the landscaping of our garden and the creation of a formal pond; choosing plants for the diverse micro-climates; learning the characters of the plants and nurturing them
  • Photography & Art: I am at last finding time to publish on this website some of my photos and to construct in physical form a few of my mental creations