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Knowledge, Perspectives

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Where The Grass Is Greener

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Esther Lafferty
Where the grass is greener Gaudi Park guell colors in Barcelona

Every so often, everyone should take the time to reassess one’s place in life and consider where one would like to go next, (other than the chocolate stash on the top shelf). I have a longharboured ambition to be a Russian ice star, dancing in sequins and skates with gymnastic flair, but have been held back by both the geography of my birth and, if I am honest, a lack of physical athleticism on sharpened metal.

But just recently this idea has been smashed like the china at a Greek celebration. Who says a leopard never changes his spots? A chameleon might beg to differ, and I am embracing an alternative vision for the future. When I grow up I would like to be Gaudi, mosaicking colourful wonders in Mediterranean sunshine.

Earlier this year whilst in Malta, I stumbled camera-less across a leopard-challenging Mediterranean chameleon, which was live and if not exactly kicking, happily fading into his surroundings as he ambled across a field. The Significant Other and I had a wonderful view of his zygodactyl feet as he headed away. Zygodactyl may sound like a ground-bound version of a flying dinosaur but refers to two groups of opposing toes per foot, allowing chameleons to climb and walk with equal ease. You learn something every day (and yes, I did have to look it up). He was almost enough for me to put Gaudi to one side and become Gerald Durrell instead.

Just days later, as The Significant Other and I strolled through the local village we saw a similar creature (I sincerely hope he wasn’t the same one) lying on the road as if perfectly flower-pressed for posterity by a passing wheel. Camera in hand, I snapped a shot. It wasn’t really the memory I’d hoped to take home but taking up taxidermy was a step too far. I came up with a more artistic alternative, immortalising him in coloured tiles of glass and porcelain, a mosaic which beat a postcard hands down although, admittedly, it’d be more costly to post.

Always attracted by anything sparkly, I have now evolved into a specimen that both Gaudi and Gerald Durrell would surely recognise: an obsessive magpie (in safety goggles). I’m gathering colours, shapes and textures, searching for old crockery and blingy beads with a vengeance, and spending heavenly hours amongst flying shards, cementing triangles and sparkle onto anything that moves. Woe betide any ice-skater that gets close.

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Mon 18 Mar 2019

Six Science Superstars

to Watch in 2019

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Mon 18 Mar 2019

The Princess who Hid in a Tree

An Anglo-Saxon Story

Frideswide was clearly a remarkable young woman, who overcame formidable challenges. Yet while overseas visitors to Oxford encounter her story, through a glowing stained glass window by Edward Burne-Jones near the saint’s medieval shrine, not many local people know it.  

Wed 13 Mar 2019

Paper Nations

Put South West Writing Landscape on the Map

Paper Nations, a creative partnership led by Bath Spa University’s Research Centre for Transnational Creativity and Education (TRACE) and funded by Arts Council England, is calling

Mon 11 Mar 2019

Life as the director of a Muslim funeral parlour isn’t always easy, but Ayesha has things pretty sorted. She and Zeyd share everything: a marriage, a business, a future. Until Tom walks in to organise his boyfriend’s funeral. A snap moral decision, informed by the values of their community and their faith, has profound consequences. Forced to confront a secret she has hidden even from herself, Ayesha must decide who she is – no matter the cost.