Places to stay in Aberdeen – 21 February 2015

When the ‘quine’ wobbled through reception at 5.00pm, belly hanging out over her pyjama bottoms, leather bomber jacket, no shoes, trailing a toilet roll, I sensed this was going to be a little different from my normal night in a Travelodge.

Travelodge - 21 February 2015The next morning, checking out, I mentioned to reception that I couldn’t hear the rowdy night in the street outside for the party going on in the corridor. “Aberdeen at the weekend sir, I can only apologise.”

We spent the day recovering in a beautiful, if unfinished, family house on a farm.

bull pen - 22 February 2015“Which way’s the countryside?” said Innes (he’s a city boy, like me) so we went for a walk to show him.

BA- 23 February 2015The next day was back to normal life between London and Edinburgh.

 

Nursery School – 13 February 2014

For one and a half hours I had a shot at being a nursery school teacher. They knew I was coming so made it like the day job: we drew what we wanted, then we built it.

Nursery 13 February 2015Two castles and a treasure map, then some dragons. Then, like actual lunchtime CPD, they watched a programme about bricks: grow you’re own clients. Great fun, and thanks to the kids who chose not to bully me at all.

A cyclist turns up at the consultation – 12 February 2015

For the first time this year, the sun has made it over the horizon in time for my morning commute. The number of cyclists seems appreciably up from the dark winter months.

Consultation 13 February 2015In the evening I popped passed Grosvenor’s smart consultation event and had a chat with a fellow user about annual Brompton mileage: 1,300 for me, 2,000 for our local green councillor. Better try harder.

All Duck & Waffle – 5 February 2015

With my colleagues for breakfast at Duck & Waffle 40 storeys up the Heron Tower. Planning the future of our business.Duck & Waffle - 5 February 2015 Impressive neighbours peer in the window.

Taxi - 3 February 2015Work is busy. The weather is cold and grey. Sketching will remain an indoor activity for the next month or so. This limits any outdoor views to what’s right in front of the coffee shop window as I eat breakfast. I think this is called a TX4, from the London Taxi Company.

Sleeper - 5 February 2015The weirdest way to travel remains the sleeper. In the bar at the start of the journey you can just glimpse the romance of rail travel from bygone days. Seven hours later you join the rest who’ve hardly slept to queue for a shower in Euston station.

Urban design Panel - 28 January 2015At the Edinburgh Urban Design panel in the City Chambers. Former Provosts watch over the group to remind us to do the best for this amazing city. I’m a back seat driver on this one, so I watch David H doing his professional presentations in Edinburgh… 6 Grosvenor Street - 15 January 2015 …and on Grosvenor Street in London.

Alan Hamilton - 31 January 2015Alan Hamilton in Hemma at lunchtime.

Royal Festival Hall – 27 January 2015

Our HTA Sketch Club joined forces with the London Society for a trip to the Royal Festival Hall. I was inspired by some 1951 illustrations of the design, and by the characters who came along to draw and chat about it afterwards. Royal Festival Hall - 28 January 2015

It was a great pleasure to meet octogenarian former architecture tutor Maggie, who set me straight on a few things.

Earlier, I felt among friends with oldest pals Scott, Pete and Dougal…

Pete Scott and Dougal - 22 January 2015…and alone hogging a big empty table in an otherwise packed west London restaurant.

The Courtfield - 21 January 2015Back home with Isla and Fraser.Isla - Fraser - Harviestoun - 19 January 2015

Some Recommendations – 17 January 2015

One of the good things about travelling to the same places is getting to know the best places to eat and drink: I’d recommend Caravan on Exmouth Market, if you’re ever in the area.

Caravan - 14 January 2015I’d recommend a Porsche too, but not one like this, sitting in an airport departure lounge.

win a porsche - 14 January 2015

A Saturday morning eating cake and ice cream at soft play, just after breakfast? My kids would definitely recommend that.

robbie & jemmas - 17 January 2015
Coffee, sketching and enjoyable chat for me, so I’d recommend it too. Not enough time to finish the drawing though. I’m sure there will be other parties.

 

 

The Stand – 10 January 2015

In the Stand with Jane, Keith & Julie after supper at the Malt Whisky Society. Their pal, the amusingly unconventional Jojo, is compere.

stand 1 - 10 January 2015

From my limited Festival experience there can only be two stars of these multi comic stand up nights: the compere and the headline, like tonight.

stand 2 - 10 January 2015I need to earn my nights of comedy and whisky, so in the morning I ran around a snowy Arthur’s Seat.Winter Run - 10 January

Slowly.

 

Rubicon Way & an Odd Looking Engine – 6 January 2015

We’re wrestling with the potential of some big brick buildings just now so I’m on the trail of the lauded examples. Designing buildings is hard, so it’s worth learning from those who’ve done it well, recently.Rubicon Way - 6 December 2015These are round the back of Kings Cross. Two big blocks, by Maccreanor Lavington and PRP.rubicon way 2 - 7 December 2015There’s lots to admire: consistency, bold entrances, roof lines, grand changes in scale, well considered materials and junctions. Using decent quality brick to begin with, even.Rubicon Way 3 - 6 December 2015

On the way to Leeds in the morning I caught up with this odd looking engine.

class 67 - 8 December 2015She (he?) pulls the Caledonian Sleeper up from Edinburgh in the colours of the English, Scottish and Welsh Railway, which I understand is owned by the Germans.

How to Predict the Weather – 3 January 2015

On the first day of the Christmas break I read an article about how the Romans had used the Twelve Days of Christmas to predict the weather for the coming year, so I thought I’d take a look. Christmas Day 2014Starting after Christmas Day (above), watch what the weather does each day and extrapolate that to the relevant month. Now I’m sure that the Augurs had a system to make it seem much more complex than that but that’s what I did. January isn’t looking great but March will be nice. Fraser in Sick Kids - 29 December 2014Trouble is, it’s hard to keep track even of something as simple as that. Stuff happens: this is Fraser in the Sick Kids (he’s alright now). Light in the Sick Kids - 30 December 2014So I missed a couple of months through spending too much time inside. Daddy's 87th Birthday - 3 January 2015I’d recommend that if you’re planning to take a holiday in July you go abroad as it’s going to be very wet here, and if you’re going to visit Edinburgh for the Festival, go for the second half of August. September should be lovely.Lilly's House - 3 January 2015Thinking about it, it seems surprising that the Romans would have had Twelve Days of Christmas. Perhaps two weeks of parties, family illness and little exercise have left me a bit confused.

Time to get back to work.

Party Season – 21 December 2014

Sitting next to the Arbroath Smokies stall the morning after the HTA Christmas party.

Arbroath Smokies - 20 December 2014If I’d have found this yesterday I might have come up with a better ‘Secret Santa’.

HTA Party - 19 December 2014To me, the party looked a bit like this. In reality it looked more like this.

Frozen Party - 21 December 2014At another party the next day with Fraser and Isla. The parents looked a little worn, but the kids were having a great time.