Following Jon Day’s appearance as Country Mouse last month, Thomas Marks now takes to the streets of London as Town Mouse, eagerly watching clocks for the coming of summer.

The clocks change this month, and London shrugs off its dark winter. I have always loved that active verb, ‘change’, since it lets me imagine the clocks flickering into life, adjusting their own mechanisms before they retune the mood of the capital. Out of Mean Time comes the kind light of summer: the hour’s leap forward seems so enigmatic, when I hesitate over it, that it might just as well be some trick of natural magic. Each year, it draws my thoughts down the river to Greenwich, to the meridian line – and to the unfathomable way that time fans out from this city…


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by TOAST ( 22.03.12 )

In the first of what we hope will be a regular column, Jon Day embarks on new adventures as Country Mouse, so named after the Aesop fable The Town Mouse & the Country Mouse. Our Town Mouse, Thomas Marks, will make his first appearance soon…

On the shelf above my desk I keep my small collection of found objects: a piece of razor-sharp flint; the tail of a squirrel; a rabbit’s skull, light and brittle as parchment. Pride of place is a malevolent aged jaw, six inches long, curved like a scimitar and spiked with several lethal-looking teeth. It is the jaw of a pike. It must have belonged to an enormous fish; certainly double figures, maybe a twenty or thirty pounder. I found it one spring morning on the banks of a lake in Oxfordshire, though how it got there I’ll never know. Who, or what, could have caught such a fish?


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by TOAST ( 29.02.12 )

James Attlee invites us to savour the long nights of winter – their rare darkness and the too-easily-forgotten light of the moon.

For those of us who live in northern latitudes, one of the first signals of the changing of the season makes itself noticed at the end of August. Before we have reconciled ourselves to letting go of the summer, which may well give the impression of only just having arrived, the evenings begin to grow shorter. As September advances, even as we enjoy what may be some of the warmest weather of the year, darkness encroaches further, a forewarning of the long nights of winter waiting just offstage. What could there possibly be to celebrate in this shortening of daylight? Our hearts militate against rising for work in darkness, only to be greeted by darkness again as we leave to make our way home. After all, we feel like saying, we are human beings, not moles! We deserve a little more daylight than this…


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by TOAST ( 03.10.11 )

Lara Smrtnik

Last weekend we went to Harvest at Alex’s… Initially lured by talk of good food plus talks and demonstrations by the likes of Mark Hix, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jay Rayner and Alys Fowler, we thought Toast would fit in well…


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by TOAST ( 16.09.11 )

A small film, by our very good friends Muir and Osborne. Knitted, filmed, edited and composed by Muir in celebration of their new book Best in Show: Knit Your Own Cat. A worthy pastime if ever there was one.


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by TOAST ( 13.09.11 )

Last week we packed our bags and moved to the Wilderness. We arrived on Tuesday, with two vans full of our favourite outdoor things – deckchairs, firebowls, storm lanterns, blankets… – to install ourselves near the lakes of the Cornbury Park Estate, and in the tents of the very first Wilderness Festival. We hefted boxes and carried piles of blankets, attached lanterns to bamboo poles and hung them from trees, arranged deckchairs, put up bunting and washing lines, decorated stages and projection screens, and late at night allowed ourselves a swim in the lake (four girls in matching polka dot swimwear) then warmed ourselves around our very own firebowl…


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by TOAST ( 18.08.11 )

For those of us based in London our forthcoming trip out of this wild city and into the Oxfordshire countryside will come as a welcome relief. The cause of our exodus has been planned for some time however – Wilderness, a new festival run by the same people as Secret Garden Party, asked if we wanted to join them in their celebration of arts, music and the outdoors, and we saw no reason to refuse…


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by TOAST ( 08.08.11 )

Filmed on our spring summer 2011 shoot…


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by TOAST ( 15.06.11 )

Jon Day.

Over the hill, through a gap in the trees, Coniston Water spins itself out into the distance: a blue ribbon of water glinting in the spring sunshine. It isn’t the largest or the deepest of England’s lakes, but it might be the most tragic, and from here it feels like the most mysterious…


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by TOAST ( 31.05.11 )

We talk to Alastair Sawday, founder of the Special Places to Stay guidebooks and the new luxury camping website Canopy & Stars, about his childhood spent in trees.

We’ve heard that you liked building inventive tree houses as a young boy… My first ‘tree house’ was actually more of a den – a few planks up in the canopy with a rope ladder for my friends and me to scramble up and down…


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by TOAST ( 01.04.11 )
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