The Green Man is all around us, but who is he and where did he come from?

Green men at Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford. Pictures y Rex Harris

The Green Man caught my imagination years ago. I believe the figure probably dates back to pre-Christian times, and his origin is lost in the mists of our pagan past. Others put a Christian interpretation on the symbolism of the figure which appears in churches across Europe.

Continue reading


Is this the face of Christ worshipped by the Knights Templar?

The Templecombe Head

The Templecombe Head

Traces of the once powerful medieval order of warrior monks known as the Knights Templar remain across the Westcountry. And it was curiosity about a holy relic linking the order and the mysterious Turin Shroud that took me to a small church in Somerset. Continue reading


How the internet makes news a free-for-all

News is undergoing rapid change. And the big players face being marginalised as upstarts grab audience share. For example, I went online to get an update on the latest situation in the Gaza conflict. I found a Channel 4 News story about the resignation of Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi who said she could no longer support British Government policy. In the comment stream was a series of links to news reports of Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. I clicked on a link which took me to YouTube. And then I was adrift in the bewildering global news matrix.

Continue reading


Are books more than stories, and what does that mean now?

One of the themes of George Orwell's novel 1984 is the constant monitoring of society by 'Big Brother'

One of the themes of George Orwell’s novel 1984 is the constant monitoring of society by ‘Big Brother’

I read today about a couple who sold up to sail around the world with their three-year-old daughter. They got rid of everything except for two antique chairs and their books. That got me to wondering why they kept their books. When Zara and I down-sized two years ago, we had to empty a big old Edwardian terrace to squeeze into a mid-1800s stone cottage in the old town centre of Exmouth. So a lot of our stuff had to go, including our books, amassed from our teenage years onwards. It was a tough decision. But when we analysed why we want to keep books, we  came up with some interesting ideas.

Continue reading


My two great uncles died on the Western Front, but they are still remembered

Walter, left, and Arthur Willoughby in uniform, probably 1916

Walter, left, and Arthur Willoughby in uniform, probably 1916

It had been raining for five days before Private Walter Willoughby and his pals packed up their tents and trudged two-and-a-half miles in darkness through boggy fields in Flanders, Belgium, with German shells exploding around them. It was the early hours of Tuesday, October 9, 1917, the first day of the Battle of Poellcapelle, another day of carnage in the First World War.

Continue reading


So how can news organisations earn trust in the digital age?

So we’re all publishers now. There is an avalanche of content pouring out on Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Organisations are publishing their own stories, businesses are pushing out their own content. So how does a news organisation flourish?

First, and most fundamentally, by earning trust. That means much more transparency and accountability. So far print titles are switching their focus to online. But in the not too distant future the audience digital natives will have little loyalty to print brands. So how can we earn their trust?

Continue reading


Updated – My complaint to police about taking photographs is now resolved

ALMOST four weeks ago I made a formal complaint to Devon & Cornwall Police after a police officer threatened to arrest me for ‘obstruction’ and seize my iPhone after I took a photograph of a car crash on Exmouth seafront.

Continue reading


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,417 other followers