Saturday, 30 April 2016

Reading Project update

A reading project update as requested:

Americans: just finished An Exuberant Catalogue of Dreams about Americans who restored country houses in the UK. William Randolph Hearst, the original Citizen Kane and his Welsh castle. Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and his Scottish castle, now a luxury hotel where Madonna got married. Broke aristocrats like Thomas Fermor Hesketh, who took a yacht to the US with some friends to search for rich American girls to marry. Millionare's daughter Lillian Hammersley, who changed her name to Consuelo, married the Duke of Marlborough, then divorced him. Millionaire Willie James, whose wife Evelyn was one of many lovers of Edward VII. Colourful people, outrageous wealth, stunning homes.

Romans: still really enjoying the series of Falco novels by Lindsay Davies. Witty, gripping crime thrillers set in Ancient Rome, where the hero is an early Philip Marlowe. Highly recommended as a light read.

Also a rather fusty old book Roman Remains in Britain. Amazing how many there are and how far the Romans reached. I always feel this is somewhat glossed over, especially in Scotland...I don't think the British like history where they are invaded rather than invading. The Romans specialised in cultural assimilation, they accepted local religions, tribes and leaders as long as they 'got with the programme' as we say now. Eventually the Romans withdrew from Britain as the empire was overextended and opened us up to the Viking and Anglo Saxon invaders instead.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Raspberry Beret

This post is a tribute to much loved singer Prince who died this week. Perhaps this girl's outfit I spotted today is also a tribute with her raspberry beret. Raspberry Beret is my favourite Prince song and contains my words to live by 'she walked in through the out door'. Always walk in through the out door, and like Prince, don't be afraid to be yourself.

For anyone who doesn't know the brilliant, eccentric performer that was Prince, here is a link.

Saturday, 16 April 2016


A break from pretty. This is the John Lewis building in Aberdeen. A lovely shop housed in a very challenging building from 1966. The building was designed for Norco, the Northern Cooperative Society. Sadly the eccentric spired food hall has been demolished. The building rather resembles a crazed giant concrete layer cake. Inside, there are no views from the windows.
I am quite interested in the concrete architecture of the 50s and 60s at the moment. I would especially recommend Concrete Concept, Brutalist Buildings around the World by Christopher Beanland, CCCP by Frederic Chaubin on Soviet architecture and have just bought Concretopia Rebuilding Postwar Britain by John Grindod. I resisted Soviet Bus Stops but it may be mine soon.
Also something pleasing about a watercolour of something that's just not attractive.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Seen from the Road

Seen from the road, or the staff car park. Another in my love letters to Haddo House. This delightful little building is sadly, a game larder. It is created in multicoloured bricks. There is an accompanying game preparation room in the house, a double height white tiled interior with hooks and white sinks that is just too sinister to show here. This little building matches a larger, but equally quirky construction, The Pheasantry, which I may paint later.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Street Style

Part of my series on street style, featuring interesting looking people...While waiting for my chocolate workshop (more on this in a later post), I watched the passers by. This punk/manga styled girl kept striding past along Belmont Street. I loved her green dreadlocks and giant pink trainers.