At the parliament, on the day of the referendum. A dramatic setting: the Crags, the press pavilions, the beautiful parliament building.
A crowd is gathering but it’s an odd, apprehensive, atmosphere. The quiet is occasionally punctured by cars passing playing music full volume: always the Proclaimers. It’s a privilege to be here, but I don’t like how inward looking this all is so I’m off home to find out what our future might be.
Monday night: a piper in Trafalgar Square, London, at a rally calling for Scotland to remain in the Union.
In the last two days I passed through Newcastle, Leeds, London and Derby to meet clients and discuss some of the projects we are delivering in England.
The week before I was in Bristol and Bath. About half of our 18 Edinburgh based staff work on projects for sites in England. The union gives us straightforward access to a market ten times the size of our own. Nobody questions where we started the day, they see it all as one country.
Here’s Roberto at his leaving do. He’s off home to Spain. As it’s in the EU we could, theoretically work there but we don’t speak the language and you can’t get home in time for your tea. The UK’s the market, not the EU. I’m not sure the ‘levers’ we can pull to transform Scotland is the problem. I think it’s the ideas and leadership around what the changes should be. Independence gives us more levers, but not necessarily better ideas.
Fraser, Isla and Innes talking about the referendum. I was in England for two days and I neither bought a house nor even opened a bank account so I’m worried, but not that worried.
Cycling from Glasgow to Edinburgh with nephews Douglas, Andreas and Ruari.
The route to Glasgow Green goes through the east end, ‘festooned’ you might say, with ‘Yes’ signs. The ‘No’ campaign reaping the rewards of running with threats, rather than any attempt at ‘Better Together’.
There are enough cake stops on this route that you could actually put on weight over the distance: this one at Linlithgow Palace.
In London admiring pavilions in public spaces, the modern bandstand? This one by Stanton Williams at Kings Cross.
Dace and Leesha, Aussies touring Europe with interesting views on independence, the strength of beer and running a business.
Sorry about the portraits!
Work’s an activity not a place: in Saltaire, Titus Salt’s model worker village of the 19th century.
There’s plenty of inspiration to be had here but me and Richard Foxley are 15 cycling miles from our meeting and looking for some conclusions.
We’ll come back.
A murky day in Camden.
I was with HTA Sketch Club but left early so missed the review of what we’d done, over a pint. The other drawings should be on our website.
I caught the plane home in time to spend some time discussing how Accident & Emergency works with some of the staff, a result of the sketches I’d done a month or so ago. I sat next to the guy above on the plane home. It was the plane, not the train, so we didn’t speak.
Lysistrata is good festival stuff: an audience of thirty, a cast of four, a tiny venue and art with ambition. Maybe this was the Fringe before the stand-ups came to dominate.
Most of the energy comes from Louisa Hollway, who covers the small stage in a few short strides.
The characters are less energetic on the sleeper to Edinburgh. There’s wi-fi in the bar, so you can catch up on the day, but I think mostly people are just trying to avoid going to bed. Earlier I sat outside the kind of independent café I love and admired the flamboyant gables on some Victorian housing in Finchley. I like the fun in this that’s missing from most contemporary brick built London housing.
Watching street performers with HTA Edinburgh’s Sketchclub.
This is “Affordable Chocolate” getting the early evening crowd dancing in the Royal Mile.
Earlier, I’d been in HTA London watching a lively, if complex, presentation from Julie Futcher of urban-generation.
The data behind why the form of cities has a huge effect on the climate they are in, and designing buildings on their own doesn’t really work.
A week in London, and 3 nice places to spend some time
1. London’s public space has had a makeover since I lived there.
The focus is kids and the device that gets them active is fountains you can play in. People used to point to Spain to show how kids playing could be a welcome part of civic space, but London does it too now. This one is Princess Diana’s memorial, swishest of the five we came across on our travels.
2. Ben’s shed. I spent some time looking at it and thinking about spaces to be creative in (with some help from the White Stripes*).
This might be what Ben would describes as ‘rus in urbe’
3. Eames lounge chair 670. You need somewhere cosy to relax after a day in central London with three under fives.
“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle I no longer despair for the human race” said HG Wells. This is the first step on my post surgery recovery: learning how to get around when you aren’t allowed to cycle. Everything takes ages.
Also I’m not allowed to travel. In Edinburgh in August that’s not a problem as the world comes to you. This year, alongside the festival, it’s the Commonwealth Games. The divers are in Edinburgh, staying at the hotel by our office and surrounded by a surprising number of policemen. Where there are crowds there are people pretending to be statues and, oddly, other people filming them. This is a real statue of Kirkcaldy hero Adam Smith, in the Royal Mile. Smith was famously odd looking but Sandy Stoddart, the sculptor, has sorted that out.
I don’t know what this self determining free marketeer might have thought about independence.
After a couple of weeks I was back to working and travelling, chatting to artist Chris Jones:
Recovered, we went to Liz & Simon’s and then to London, which is rapidly, and pleasantly, becoming the home of the cyclist.
HG Wells would be pleased.