The House on the Hill – sort of

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Last month I did some architectural model making and this was the result. It’s a scaled down model of a 2008 design for a 3 storey house.

As I worked I started to associate the model with the house we lived in when I was 5.  We once lived in a 3 storey house in a village called Stockbury in Kent; number 5 of 10 childhood homes. It was an Army hireing ( a private house the Army rented to house families that were waiting for accommodation on a nearby barracks) on the top of a hill. It was very large and only heated by a range and coal fires so we lived in the rooms on the ground floor. I remembered waiting at the window each night that winter and spring for the lights of Dad’s car to appear and then seeing him get out and climb the steps to the top.

 

I enjoyed making the hill, maybe even more than making the house itself and when I put the car in place I felt quite strange. Nothing is historically accurate, the house was pink not white, the bay window was at the front not the side, the conservatory was a greenhouse and the Ford Consul was blue and white. But that doesn’t really seem to matter 🙂

Why We Need Nomads

An interesting and well observed piece about the contribution a nomadic life in an RV in America makes to the world. Sceptical? So was I but you need to read it.

Vanessa Runs

Jamming and bumming around on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska

I recently stumbled on a Quora question in which the writer was thinking about quitting his job and selling his possessions to travel the world. He gave a brief description of himself (single, in his 20s, a job but no career), and asked whether he should go for it.

The resounding answer was yes, but not necessarily because it was a respectable lifestyle. Rather, because he was young enough to get away with it. Because he still had time to build a career, a family, and a real life. Because now was the time to get the travel bug out of his system.

I was glad to read the encouragement and travel tips he received, but couldn’t help wonder: what if a 40-something man with three young children also wanted to become a nomad?

A nomad is someone who travels extensively, with no real home to speak of other than…

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Post colonial Art at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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Yinka Shonibare MBE was born in London, grew up in Nigeria and came back to the UK to study. His latest show Fabric-ation includes sculpture, film, photography and painting. He uses his signature Dutch wax print African style textiles to challenge colonial and cultural stereotypes in a series of historical contexts from the 18th to the 21st century.

The idea that there is a some kind of dichotomy between Africa and Europe, between the exotic other and the civilised European, if you like – I think is completely simplistic.

So I am interested in exploring the mythology of those so called separate spheres and in creating an overlap of complexities.” Yinka Shonibare

Top- Wind sculpture (2013) representing the sails on Nelson’s ship

Below- Moon walk (2002)

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Have pedestrians in Holland got a bit of an image problem?

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If this sign is anything to go by pedestrians in Holland don’t seem to be viewed in a very positive light. Or as Jon put it ” If you’ve got the strength to press this button you might be able to get across the road you poor thing”

It doesn’t seem to be very cool to walk in Holland, the coolest people are cycling. People look at you in amazement if you walk in the country, but that might be because you are usually avoiding bikes and cars and walking along a verge used by dog owners, which obviously wouldn’t matter if you were on a bike 🙂

 We use public transport and only drive at weekends or on holiday. We used to cycle and still support cyclists rights. All the same as a pedestrian I’m wary of cyclists in England and I was a lot more worried in Holland, not just in Amsterdam but in other parts of the country. Cyclists have their own routes but they also use the roads and the pedestrian paths and routinely ignore or disregard the pedestrian crosswalks. Astonishingly with so much freedom some still cycle through red lights! Worst of all are the scooter riders who use the same routes as cyclists.  We witnessed a scooter rider “brushing “ a boy on the adjoining footpath aside with her bike. It won’t stop us visiting Holland again but I don’t feel happy about it. 

With increased use of bikes in English cities maybe we need to think about a couple of things: 

Firstly, much of the push towards cycling comes from a green and health perspective, can I just say walking is green and healthy too.

Secondly, has the improvement in cyclists’ rights led ultimately to a further erosion of pedestrians rights?”  Because if so that’s not good.