Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Kinrowan Estate story: Mrs. Ware Prepares an Eventide Meal

That man is going to drive me mad some day. What did you just say? ‘Perhaps he already has?’ If it wasn’t so close to the truth I’d swat you for that. Honestly, Mr. E. is a fine man to … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: Nicholas

He lowered his head as he walked into the Green Man Pub from the Worlds Beyond on a much too cold late Autumn evening. An impressive thing to do given that door’s a shade over eight feet tall. Dressed mostly in … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 26th of November: The Gypsy tradition of Serbian music, Kurdish pop, Music from Nightnoise, Hot Cocoa, Classic Fairy Tales, Slipstream, and It’s Snowing!

The odd thing about people who had many books was how they always wanted more. — Patricia A. McKillip’s The Bell at Sealey Head Yes that’s snow you see out the Pub windows here. And a quite serious snow storm … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Bonfires

Nothing warms my heart and body as much as a bonfire does. Oh I know that I could be inside with my wife Bree enjoying the warmth of the fireplaces in our Cottage , but I love, particularly as Autumn gives way to Winter, … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 19th of November: Of Dragons and Other Matters

I am Jomungand, the Last Dinosaur, destroyer, devourer, ravager of kingdoms and epochs, all greed and covetness, brooding loneliness. Once I was Dragon, but in this scientific age that is no longer stylish. The flames I kept for high drama. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Kedgeree

I had an exemplary kedgeree for my breakfast this morning along with a lovely lapsang souchong tea. Now if you’re reading this in the States, you might be puzzled as to what I ate. And when you hear what it … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Icelandic Tunes

You up too? My old bones are aching far too much to sleep, so I thought I’d sit here in the Pub, a glass of something strong in hand, and listen to the Neverending Session who for some reason are … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 22nd of October: Some Nordic recordings, a new Brust novel, Bonbons, Crochet History, Got Boobs?, Kage at Christmas, Old Hag tunes and other matters

She looks like the wizened old crone in that painting Jilly did for Geordie when he got into this kick of learning fiddle tunes with the word ‘hag’ in the title: ‘the Hag in the Kiln,’  ‘Old Hag You Have … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Autumn is Here (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, I thought you’d appreciate this copy of Ciaran Carson’s Last Night’s Fun: In and Out of Time with Irish Music, which is the best book ever done on Irish traditional music. I particularly like the chapter on what … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Estate Gardener

Though I’m called the Estate Gardener, my job covers far more than that, as it’s been enlarged many times over the centuries. So let me detail what I do. Of course I’m responsible for both the edible gardening and the … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 1st of October: Organic Dark Chocolate Espresso treats, Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol, Clannad doing ‘The Two Sisters’, Arthurian and Welsh mythology, a Terri Windling interview and other Autumnal matters

A lot of the old folklore and fairy tales and myths are intensely dark, particularly once you get away from Victorian watered-down versions. Terri Windling in our interview with her Autumn for me arrives really when the middle of October … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Elven Contradance Band

It was one of the oddest contradance bands I had the privilege to call for, as it was comprised solely of musicians from across the Border. Now the Elves tell us next to nothing about their culture, so what we … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Fall (A Letter to Tessa)

A letter from the journal of Alexandra Margaret Quinn, Head Gardener here in the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India, to her friend who … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 10th of September: It’s Definitely Late Summer!

Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. –– Henry James The piper at gates of dawn has resumed his or her ritual after taking most of the summer off. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Cernunnos

I’ve rarely been scared deeply but I was upon encountering The Horned God while on a walk with two of the Estate Russian wolf hounds deep in the woods a few days ago. As you know, this Estate is big. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Speaker for the Ravens

   Yes, a crow whisperer. Wipe that look of doubt off your face, as the story I’m about to tell concerns one such being and his tale of what a crow whisperer is. Well, the tale is true as far … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 20th of August: Aaron Copland’s ‘A Fanfare for The Common Man’ as performed by the Rolling Stones, Tanya Huff’s Peacekeeper series, a Zelazny collection, UK folk trio The Young’uns and some other matters

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood. — Jane Yolen in her Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie & Folklore in the Literature of Childhood We’ve a long tradition here on the Kinrowan Estate of giving storytellers who make it here … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Charles and Alice Pay a Visit (A Letter to Owyn)

I found this charming letter in a bundle of archival material that we were cataloging for the Library this past week. L.L. Littlesworth, Esq. was the Estate Librarian for most of the late Victorian era. From the letters of L.L. Littlesworth, … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 13th of August: Ray Bradbury mysteries, June Tabor’s jazz-folk trio, Béla Bartók, live music by Midnight Oil, Finnish jazz, libraries and Richard Thompson goes acoustic (again)

I decided to return to the library and see what I  could learn there. Besides, I like libraries. It  makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around  me. I always feel better when … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Border Postal Service (A Letter to Mauve)

Written by Robert ‘Robbie’ Macdonald, The Steward here between The Wars, to a friend, about the problems of getting postal service across the Border. The letter was reprinted by Robbie in his Journal, dated 2nd of June 1918. Dear Mauve, You … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 6th of August: “Classical” music — the twentieth century

I am quite certain in my heart of hearts that modern music and modern art is not a conspiracy, but is a form of truth and integrity for those who practise it honestly, decently and with all their being. — … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Guest Lecturer

Several Annies, do pay attention now as there will be a quiz afterwards! Well, now. Mackenzie has asked me in as tonight’s guest lecturer. He likes to keep these seminars going through the summer months, you know, when otherwise the … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Oberon’s Wood

For the longest time this year, summer fluttered her wings against the panes of spring. Now, sunlight lingers long and hot. Afternoons stretch like thrice-pulled saltwater taffy, and the days here at the Kinrowan Estate have become the drowsy, heat-sleepy days … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Hortobágyi Húsos Palacsinta (A Letter to Ingrid)

Evening love, You missed a wonderful eventide meal here last night, as Mrs. Ware decided that it been too long since Béla had been treated to a full Hungarian meal. And indeed, it included Hortobágyi Húsos Palacsinta, meaty pancakes! It … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: My Library

It’s not difficult to find the exterior alley-entrance to my personal Green Man library; not so difficult, if you know just where to brush aside the thick glossy leaves of winter ivy threatening to swallow the old painted planks of … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 25th of June: Beer Culture in America, ‘Love Shack’ by the B-52s and other Summery matters

If you see a faded sign by the side of the road that says Fifteen miles to the Love Shack, Love Shack yeah I’m headin’ down the Atlanta highway Lookin’ for the love getaway  ‘Love Shack’ by the B-52s Summer’s fully upon … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 18th of June: live music from Franz Liszt , Jennifer Stevenson on Summer, Stephen Brust novels and other matters

The Palace was more than four hundred years old and had served its purpose; it would be unbecoming to despise it for showing its age. But there was now one spot within it of something new. Turn your thought to … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Unified Theory of Libraries (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, I overheard an interesting conversation in the Library this evening. Mackenzie was lecturing the Several Annies on the history of private libraries such as ours down the centuries in the British Isles. (He claimed that ours is the … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 14th of May: music from uilleann piper David Sproule and Americana music!

“We”re all misfits here,” he says, almost proudly. “That’s why I started this squat, after all. For people like us, who don’t fit in anywhere else. Halfies and homos and hopeless romantics, the outcast and outrageous and terminally weird. That’s … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 7th of May: Adam Stemple’s first solo novel, a look at John Denver, The Mythology of Shakespeare’s Weird Sisters, John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, music by Clannad and other matters

At any rate, the tune is not a story, but stories might lie behind the tune. For, as mnemonics, the names summon up a tangled web of circumstances; they not only help to summon the tune into being, but recall … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: An Estate Ramble

It’s early one morning, barely past dawn, when I head down to the Kitchen for an early breakfast of tea and a buttermilk biscuit (as the Americans called them) with cheddar cheese and ham in it. After that, I pack … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 30th of April: a tale about a book that doesn’t exist, Sandy Denny live, some British folk rocker bios and just maybe a bit more…

Come all ye rolling minstrels, And together we will try To rouse the spirit of the air And move the rolling sky. ‘Come All Ye’, composed by Sandy Denny So you want to know about the Sandy Denny bio that Reynard was … Continue reading

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A Story Abroad: Travels in Tea Land, The Next Part: A Treehouse Cafe

In Indonesia, we found a most unusual cafe when Ingrid and I were travelling. It was a cafe that was built around an enormously large banyan tree. Now, I can’t tell you where it is, as the proprietor prefers that … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 12th of March: The Word of God, boys’ love manga, tomatoes, a must-catch music festival, another classical tradition, and more

There is a similarity, if I may be permitted an excursion into tenuous metaphor, between the feel of a chilly breeze and the feel of a knife’s blade, as either is laid across the back of the neck. I can … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 5th of March: Tull live, Nils Økland Band US tour, Cuban music, a fictional travel guide, Tobias Buckell on Tolkien, a graphic novel by Maurice Sendak, a bio of Jim Henson and other neat stuff too

One day I walked the road and crossed a field to go by where the hounds ran hard. And on the master raced: behind the hunters chased to where the path was barred. One fine young lady’s horse refused the … Continue reading

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Christopher Fowler’s The Victoria Vanishes

The trick to enjoying Christopher Fowler’s The Victoria Vanishes is to avoid thinking too hard about it. Bear in mind that there is indeed plenty to enjoy here, much of it residing in the rich characterization of the members of … Continue reading

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A Seasonal story: Jennifer Stevenson’s ‘Solstice’

A small-time rocker named Dawn breaks up with her boyfriend in the car one winter night. Dumped off on the side of the road, she storms angrily across an icy field until she trips and falls. A jolly, round woman … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Porridge

Englishman Dr. Samuel Johnson’s dictionary once slammed porridge by defining oats as ‘a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.’ Obviously he never had a good bowl of hot porridge with apple … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Memories

Hello, there. I know what you’re thinking — you might as well say it out loud. You’re thinking, “What’s a grubby teenager doing wandering around the Hall?” There once was a grubby teenager who lived in this building — I … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Venison Stew (A Letter to Tessa)

A letter from the journal of Alexandra Margaret Quinn, Head Gardener here in the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria to her friend, who was staying in Constantinople as of this letter. Alex, as she was known, copied her personal … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Guy Fawkes Day (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, It’s nigh unto Guy Fawkes Day and Iain’s Library apprentices got the jones to put on a full-blown celebration, which The Steward agreed to fund, provided that Iain gave them a full lesson on what Guy Fawkes Day really means in … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 27th of March: Franco folk music, organic chocolate, a black sea otter puppet, ‘Tennessee Flat Top Box’ is performed by Rosanne Cash, a bevy of books and films on witchcraft and other goodies!

Under the earth I go, On the oak-leaf I stand, I ride on the filly that never was foaled, And I carry the dead in my hand. Scots Traditional, author unknown (maybe) We had a party here last week to … Continue reading

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Paul Harding, Kim Hutchins, Charlotte Orr, and Christopher Pitts (editors) and various Lonely Planet travelers (writers): The World’s Best Street Food

I’ve seen a lot of Europe, the Middle-east, and the now disorganized polities of the former USSR, some as a busker in younger days, lately accompany my wife Ingrid, the Estate Buyer, on her travels on behalf of the Estate. … Continue reading

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Heather Arndt Anderson’s Breakfast: A History

So if you’re really interested in all things breakfast down the centuries, Breakfast: A History is ideal for you and why this is so what I’ll detail here. The bio for her in the book says she has the creds … Continue reading

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Fairport Convention’s Myths And Heroes

Having lived with ‘Myths And Heroes’ for a few days before reviewing, in order to gather various ideas about it, there are a couple of things I think need to be said at the outset. First, the title track – … Continue reading

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The New Mastersounds’ Made For Pleasure

The New Mastersounds is a funk and soul-jazz band that came out of the northern English city of Leeds in the mid-1990s. Made For Pleasure is their 10th album, but the first time I’ve heard about them was when a … Continue reading

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Thomas Godfrey’s English Country House Murders

Back some twenty years ago, I went looking for novels that involved murders set in English country houses. It was, in those days before search engines indexed damn near everything on the Net, far more difficult than it would be … Continue reading

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John Connolly and Declan Burke’s Books To Die For

I’ve been reading mysteries, mostly ones that are set in the British Isles, Ireland, and Europe for well over forty years now. My favourite series are set between The Wars, but I’m willing to read a well-written contemporary ones as … Continue reading

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Kristin Hersh’ Don’t Suck, Don’t Die — Giving Up Vic Chesnutt

Kristin Hersh has had a problematic relationship with music for most of her life. The co-founder of the influential post-punk band Throwing Muses and erstwhile folksinger has made music while dealing with diagnoses of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but in … Continue reading

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Van Morrison’s The Essential Van Morrison

Millions of people in the English-speaking world pick up a guitar, sit down at the piano or take up some other instrument to sing and play songs of their own devising. Thousands of them are good enough to get people … Continue reading

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