Sunday, 31 March 2013

Remarkable Roth

Book of Easter is the truly genius The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth. A long, poetic and moving story set in Austria before WW1, examining change, death, loyalty and the passing of empires and cultures. An amazing book with some of the most beautiful writing I have encountered for many years. Magical and sad. Roth himself was an Austrian jew and his novels are based on his own life.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Art Nouveau Oddity

This lovely Art Nouveau cast iron chimney stands at the junction of Holburn Street and Justice Mill Lane in Aberdeen. Apparently it is a 'gas ventilator'? And that's all I know.

I love it's slightly Arabian Nights incongruity though, painted in vibrant colours and sitting on a teeny traffic island.

Here is a fantastic blog with information about these obscure pieces of street furniture. I love street furniture, the things people rarely notice the lovely design and antiquity of like post boxes, bollards, gratings...

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Beauty from the less trendy shelf....

There is so much label snobbery around beauty and toiletry products. As much as I love the various offerings of vogue et al, I wouldn't dream of spending hundreds of pounds on a jar of face cream.

In fact,  I like to scour the shelves of  Boots etc for the unfashionable, the cheap,and the obscure. The rose or lavender scented, the aged brands, the traditional formulations....cold cream, bath salts, powders. Ever noticed how there are trends in formulas and products...what happened to talcum powder? Why the rise and fall of the bath bead? My hairdresser tells me hair mousse has gone the way of the dodo also and now I should have styling spray....

Anyway, here are some favourites which are neither expensive or trendy....

Radox bath salts. So cheap, so fantastic when you are tired and achey.
Palmer's cocoa butter. Body butter at a fraction of the price and smells of chocolate.
Elnett hairspray. Smells like hairspray should, of nights out.
Pears soap. Looks great (goes red when held to the light), smells good.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

A Running Update

Ok, more of a jogging update. But I did jog 7K the other day, the furthest yet. Sadly, it was on the teadmill in the gym, where there are no views despite a stunning location by the river and where you can't hear your music because of some R'n'B they are tormenting you with. I like to run along the old railway line by my house, lined with pretty hedgerows. It's too cold right now though.

I was pleased though, although I was in agony after. Running is funny. In the first ten minutes you think you can't go on. The first thirty are ok. Then you go into a kind of euphoric superhero state. Then your legs start to go all numb from pounding up and down on them. I did discover though, that the treadmill turns onto 'cooldown' after an hour. When, because I am incredibly slow, (I think I walk faster) I was still jogging grimly away. I felt good though when the bloke next to me who was moving at lightning speed, dripping with sweat, stopped after only ten minutes. Ah Runners Schadenfreude...

Thursday, 21 March 2013

March Books

Yes, I'm a bit early with this, but my March and April are turning into a frenzy of work and busyness so I thought I'd score them off while I had the chance.

And my March book is a cheat because I am rereading Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter. I haven't read it for about ten years and I'd forgotten how brilliant it is. It's a rip-roaring, sexy, bizarre, gothic, feminist novel about a Victorian woman who happens to have wings. One of those books with a great story but so much else going on too. And beautifully written.

Honorary second place goes to 'Addition' by Tony Jordan, a comedy romance about a girl with an Aspergers style counting disorder. Slightly disturbing, but also really touching and funny. For graphic novel/comic enthusiasts I would also recommend 'Hawkeye; My Life as a Weapon' which is moving, exciting and a real work of art. As well as starring lovely Hawkeye from The Avengers, a film I love beyond reason.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Favourite Building

This is my favourite building in Aberdeen. I love it because it is Bonkers. Gothic Baronial Art Nouveau, put in a box and shaken up.

This is No 50 Queen's Road, by JB Pirie, 1886. I believe it is on the site of the earlier Old Rubislaw House belonging to the Skene family and dating from the 1600s. Sadly this was demolished, but at least it was replaced by something good.

Queen's Road ia a mass of eclectic mansions, from Olde English to French Rennaissance in style. I hope to paint more of these fascinating houses.

For interest picture is shown before and after inking, not sure which I prefer....somehow they capture different aspects of the architecture: mass or detailing.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Delightful Delgatie

Delgatie Castle, which I visited with my friend Alison a few years ago. It's lonely, shabby, meandering. No-one knows how old it is and, according to a fascinating lecture I recently attended, it has a hidden private chapel within a suspiciously thick wall. It also has an award winning tea-room. Inexplicably we didn't go to this but instead ate cheese sandwiches in the car in the pouring rain! Happy days.

Not sure how I feel about the pen drawing, I kind of prefer my wobbly pencil efforts...