Dabbler Heroes – Elizabeth David

It's Boxing Day, and today marks the centenary of the birth of food writer Elizabeth David who, Toby Ash believes, still has more to offer the modern domestic kitchen than all of today’s celebrity chefs put together. I just can’t imagine Elizabeth David stealing from Tesco. No, not Elizabeth. She was ... Read More...

Sicilian Diary

Toby Ash has just enjoyed a long weekend in Palermo. Just don’t mention the M word... From the moment you land, it’s pretty hard to avoid the mafia in Sicily. Palermo’s Falcone-Borsellino airport is named after two prominent judges slain in the early 1990s for successfully pursing the Cosa Nostra. On ... Read More...

My secret booky nookie

Toby Ash confesses to a secret crush... For several years now I have posted quite regularly and have enjoyed participating in the wise, lively and good-natured banter that is daily Dabber life. So I like to think I am part of The Dabbler community; that I am among friends. Right so far? ... Read More...

Inexplicable in any language – The Museum at Alte

Toby Ash makes an unexpected and bizarre discovery amongst the golf courses and white washed villas of Portugal’s Algarve.... The Algarve is not on most people’s cultural map. Lazing about in the sun, a round of golf, Cliff Richard-spotting perhaps, but it’s not a great place for museums or galleries. Well, that’s ... Read More...

Magic of Mali

Mali may be economically impoverished, but as Toby Ash explains, it is musically wonderfully rich... I have quite an extensive collection of world music, but only recently did I notice that the majority of the African tracks were by Malian artists. Why Mali? To be honest I’m not completely sure. There ... Read More...

A Musical Mezze

Toby Ash serves up a mezze of Middle Eastern musical delights... There is only one starting point to any post on Arab music and that’s Egypt and the ‘Star of the East’ Umm Kulthum, who is widely lauded as the greatest Arab singer of the twentieth century. Born the daughter of an ... Read More...

Looking deeply, not widely

Who says paths are for walking? Toby Ash has taken to stopping and looking. These words by Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh have been playing on my mind: To know fully even one field or one land is a lifetime’s experience. In the world of poetic experience it is depth that counts, not ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary: Cake, Caffeine, Cats and Kites

Another day and another depressing article about the obesity epidemic that’s engulfing the nation. Apparently millions are catching this deadly disease every day while innocently sitting on the sofa eating cake. It’s heart breaking – literally. According to this report, shops ran out of the largest sizes of school uniforms as ... Read More...