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.
The 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.
“Which way’s the countryside?” said Innes (he’s a city boy, like me) so we went for a walk to show him.
The next day was back to normal life between London and Edinburgh.
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.
Two 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.
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.
In 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.
With my colleagues for breakfast at Duck & Waffle 40 storeys up the Heron Tower. Planning the future of our business. Impressive neighbours peer in the window.
Work 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.
The 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.
At 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… …and on Grosvenor Street in London.
Alan Hamilton in Hemma at lunchtime.
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.
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…
…and alone hogging a big empty table in an otherwise packed west London restaurant.
Back home with Isla and Fraser.
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.
I’d recommend a Porsche too, but not one like this, sitting in an airport departure lounge.
A Saturday morning eating cake and ice cream at soft play, just after breakfast? My kids would definitely recommend that.
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.
In the Stand with Jane, Keith & Julie after supper at the Malt Whisky Society. Their pal, the amusingly unconventional Jojo, is compere.
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.
I need to earn my nights of comedy and whisky, so in the morning I ran around a snowy Arthur’s Seat.
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.These are round the back of Kings Cross. Two big blocks, by Maccreanor Lavington and PRP.There’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.
On the way to Leeds in the morning I caught up with this odd looking engine.
She (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.
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. Starting 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. Trouble 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). So I missed a couple of months through spending too much time inside. I’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.Thinking 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.
Sitting next to the Arbroath Smokies stall the morning after the HTA Christmas party.
If I’d have found this yesterday I might have come up with a better ‘Secret Santa’.
To me, the party looked a bit like this. In reality it looked more like this.
At another party the next day with Fraser and Isla. The parents looked a little worn, but the kids were having a great time.