It is that sense of innocence and wonder that I felt while I explored Lewis’s Nova Scotia. This is a salty, rugged landscape full of forests and circled by coastline, with snug harbours, clinking boats and relaxed, friendly people – a folksy kind of world to big-city dwellers. This province is often called Canada’s Ocean Playground because you are never far from the coastline. There are also more than 5,000 lakes amid a population of fewer than a million people, yet it remains something of a mystery to British travellers. … [Read more...] about Maudie’s Nova Scotia: exploring the landscapes that inspired Maud Lewis
Music in central america
A small museum tells the plant’s history and features curiosities such as a two-headed calf and Uruguay’s first lightbulb. When the tour finishes you can mull over the cycles of wealth and decline that played out here, the dawn of globalisation before the word was even coined, over lunch at La Chimenea, on a riverside terrace built over the plant’s former water pumping station, with a view clear across to Argentina. Inside, wood burns to charcoal in a hearth several metres wide, to grill the parrillada (barbecue) of perfectly seared meats (and a few vegetables if you insist) – a Uruguayan national passion. The owners are so friendly that when we found out they didn’t take cards, and we didn’t have enough cash, they told us just to put an envelope under the door later. It only serves lunch though, so save dinner for the town, a separate world from the factory complex with its villas, Anglo-Germanic sense of order, and probably the world’s only … [Read more...] about Fray Bentos: a town in Uruguay – not just a meat pie
“The only human beings left in the modern supply chain are truck drivers. If you go to a modern warehouse now, say Amazon or Walmart, the trucks are unloaded by machines, the trucks are loaded by machines, they are put into the warehouse by machines. Then there is a guy, probably making $10 an hour, with a load of screens watching these machines. Then what you have is a truckers’ lounge with 20 or 30 guys standing around getting paid. And that drives the supply chain people nuts,” he says. … [Read more...] about End of the road: will automation put an end to the American trucker?
Her second novel, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, "started with the setting. I always wanted to write about Lapland: my mom would tell me stories about it, and it took on a mythical quality in my mind. There are things you hear at a certain age that influence you in ways you don't realise until 20 years later." The far-north location sets the temperature for the novel as a whole: it's a beautifully chilly, ruthlessly unsentimental creation. After the death of her father, Clarissa sets off in search of the mother who vanished from a mall bakery when she was 14: "She said to tell you," the bakery assistant says to Clarissa, "she got tired of waiting." Her quest takes her to the Arctic rim, where she toils through snow, ice, false leads and family history before finally tracking her mother down in, appropriately enough, an ice hotel. Clarissa herself is Vida's most memorable creation: brittle, frank and, despite her tough breaks, far from straightforwardly sympathetic. "I … [Read more...] about A life in writing: Vendela Vida