Sunday 25 August 2019

Global village: The May Queen welcomes summer

The Fire Festival takes place on April 30
The Fire Festival takes place on April 30
The Scrubba Bag

Anna Coogan

The annual Beltane Fire Festival is a popular pagan-esque festival in Edinburgh which celebrates the beginning of summer by re-enacting the ancient Gaelic traditions of elemental dancing and dazzling fire displays.

The May Queen has a central role, and emerges from the Earth on Beltane Eve to lead a procession of several thousand to Calton Hill, where she lights a bonfire to announce the arrival of summer.

There'll be additional and brilliant fire displays, as well as dancing, and be prepared for a sense of relinquishment too, not least in how participants abandon their winter clothes to reveal bodies covered in decorative art.

The Fire Festival takes place on Thursday, April 30. www.beltanefiresociety

Never again be without fresh socks

Backpackers need clean clothes too, you know. Yet when carrying everything in a small bag, how  do they guarantee they  will have fresh clothes when backpacking through Europe or when on safari in Africa?

The Scrubba Wash Bag has been described "as a modern and convenient take on the old-fashioned washboard" - due to the fact that the bag has hundreds of internal Scrubba nodules which have been designed to scrub away stains on clothes.

A lightweight wash bag, it sells itself as being a simple and easy way to wash clothes. You fill it with two to four litres of water and a bit of washing liquid, pop a piece of clothing inside, rub it along the washboard-like nodules, and hey presto, you have your clothes fresh and clean in about three minutes. It costs approx. €50.

Benedict chills in Bora Bora

Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch and his new wife Sophie Hunter recently honeymooned in Bora Bora, the most famous of French Polynesia's Leeward Islands, which is in the  Pacific Ocean and under an hour's flight from Tahiti.

It's hugely popular with honeymooners, and for some very obvious reasons. For starters, the island offers peace and seclusion following the stress of organising a wedding, with intimate resorts, small peaceful villages, and miles of quiet pristine beaches.

And for novelty appeal, you can stay in an overwater bungalow, sleeping above the turquoise lagoon waters in a thatched-roof hideaway with all the amenities and services of a first-class hotel room.

To make sure you are 100 per cent relaxed, there are always Polynesian Spas which offer relaxation and rejuvenation in a tropical ambience.

New York is mad about Mad Men

New York has Mad Men fever. The final season of the Manhattan advertising drama, set in the Sixties, is showing - while The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens has launched Matthew Weiner's Mad Men, a three-month exhibition featuring costumes, props, video clips and advertising art from the series.

The exhibition will run until June 14, and give fans a peek behind the acclaimed show with a multitude of props and costumes - from packs of Lucky Strike cigarettes to Megan Draper's (Jessica Paré) "Zou Bisou Bisou" outfit.

Queues have been long during the first month yet this won't deter fans of the Emmy-winning series.

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