Friday, 22 July 2022

and i would walk five hundred more (10. 011)

Following the North Coast 500 back towards the North Sea and open waters, we stopped at the stately ancestral home of the Clan Sutherland in the Highlands, Dunrobin Castle, the medieval fortification extensively remodelled in the 1830s in Scottish Baronial style for the second duke—whose father was a touch megalomaniacal having commissioned a colossal statue of himself build atop Ben Bhraggie visible at every point in the county and whose land reform practises were responsible for the Highland Clearances, landowners evicting crofting communities (tenant farmers) to make room for the far more profitable raising of sheep for wool.  

Dunrobin takes its present form thanks to these gains. We opted not to take the guided tour owing to the large amount of tour coaches parked in the forecourt—including a Rotel bus with a sleeper carriage (see previously) so instead we walked around to the beach of the Firth of Dornach to see the residence from that side before later claiming a patch of strand as our own.

Thursday, 21 July 2022

and i‘ll be in scotland afore you (10. 008)

Meandering along the Spey and visiting a distillery—though too early for a tour and a testing before heading to Elgin (Eilginn, possibly meaning Little Ireland and reminding early Celtic settlers of home) in Moray whose cathedral was left in elegant and vaunted ruins since its destruction by fire in the late thirteenth century. 

I tried not to drag H to too many monoand i‘ll be in scotland afore you liths this trip but willingly we went to see the Stone of Sueno outside of Forres, the largest Pictish slab carving in the nation. The plinth traditionally associated with Sven Forkbeard features a Celtic style cross on one side and possibly a coronation scene on the other. 

Next we took a look at the ancestral home of Clan Brodie and the grounds of Fort George, a Vauban-inspired bastion that suppressed Scotland’s rebellion by taking the strategically important headland at the straits between the Firth of Moray and the bay leading into Inverness and Loch Ness before journeying there ourselves—seeing the Clava cairns, an ensemble of Bronze Age burial mounds along the way. 

We marveled first at Loch Ness and set up camp near Drumnadrochit (Druim na Drochaid) and hiked along a high coastal trail to Urquhart Castle overlooking the loch, whose invasion attempt by Edward I of England in 1296 marked the beginning of the Scottish Wars of Independence, besieged and never rebuilt in order to deny Jacobite elements purchase to reorganise.

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

aberdeenshire or deeside, donside (10. 006)

Decamping from outside of Edinburgh, we first headed to the quaint village of Queensferry to marvel at the antique and modern trio of bridges that span the Firth of Forth and link the south with points northwards.

Driving on, we came to the Grampian mountains and the landscape became increasingly remarkable as we went on.  

We stopped at Balmoral to visit the royal residence (we can definitely see why the Queen would live there part-time) before returning to the Highlands and winding and unforgettable trip through the Cairngorms with lots of stops to take in the incredible vistas. Leaving the Dee and the Don, we were now on the River Spey with its whisky distilleries and salmon spawning.

Sunday, 17 July 2022

amersfoort (10. 001)

Under way to catch a ferry across the North Sea, we made time for a stop in a picturesque old thirteenth century town in Utrecht a bit downstream from Amsterdam and took in some of the sights between the medieval centre and the combined land- and watergate that allowed entry and egress with the fortified walls being built at the same time, Koppelpoort.

Under high security and operated by a staff of a dozen raddraaiers, Amersfoort rebuffed many siege attempts and was never raided. The late Gothic tower Onze-Lieve-Vrouwetoren (Our Lady) on the defensive canal/moat is the tallest steeple in the country and was at the time of construction in the seventeenth century the geographic of the Netherlands and was the coordinates 0,0 on their grid system and presently still the reference point of the Royal Dutch cartography survey.
Shortly after the city’s character was established, it was dubbed Keistadt—after residents (in turn called Keientrekker) took part in a bet between landholders and hauled a boulder from the moor of Soest to town—large stones being a relative rarity in the Low Countries. The people of Amsersfoort were a little bit embarrassed by this reputation and so hid the massive object in 1672 soon after retrieving it—in exchange for beer and pretzels and bragging rights—though were persuaded in 1903 to re-embrace this honour and placed the boulder in a prominent spot by city hall. In between the start and conclusion of the boulder episode, the settlement‘s namesake was exported to Brooklyn but is now the only community not to retain its Dutch name but rather Flatlands and was the place of birth of artist Piet Mondriaan.

Thursday, 25 November 2021


brickover: iconic album covers recreated in LEGO from Pasa Bon’s curious links 

sand castles: an innovative intervention to counter desertification 

all about photos: arresting, colourful best-in-show exhibits from the AAP annual competition—via Kottke

no one listens to cassandra: rediscovering a 1997 article on what could go wrong in the twenty-first century that’s eerily prescient  

parks & rec: a huge collection of vintage outdoor living catalogues and magazines—via the morning news   

what—it’s not magaggie’s birthday: an unauthorised Simpson’s cookbook  

spin-cycle: a gorgeous, inviting laundrette outfitted by Yinka Ilori and LEGO

Friday, 29 October 2021

suite №4

For the iconic motor carriage’s sixtieth anniversary, the design studios of Mathieu Lehanneur made some modifications to the classic Renault 4L (“Quatrelle,” manufactured from 1961 to 1994)—now fully electrified and with photovoltaic cells to help charge engine batteries as well as glamping accessories—the first hatchback as sort of an open, motel on wheels. More at designboom at the link above.

Friday, 13 August 2021


Via friend of the blog Nag on the Lake we learn that in anticipation of our promised flying cars and jet-set future in the mid-seventies, Winnebago ambitiously teamed up with a helicopter service (that sourced its craft from army surplus) to offer a flying recreational vehicle that could go anywhere, with a spacious and luxurious cabin fully equipped with all the comforts of home, sleeping six with full kitchen, bath, generator and colour television.
Many more details and specifications at the links above, including footage of the model in flight. Though out of the range of most like its predecessor which also burned through nearly three hundred litres of fuel per hour in flight and required a qualified pilot, we also learned from the comments section that such ostentation is not only relegated to the past but there’s currently for hire an amphibious plane, the Grumman Albatross, with similar accommodations.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021


This fully equipped residential building by architect Sergey Kuznetsov is a steel-clad installation that reflects the building’s surroundings and is perched on a hill in Kaluga, an aesthetic but inorganic intervention for the park on the bank of the Oka river. Read more about the model home, perhaps future glamping experience called Russian Quintessential from Design Boom at the link above.

Monday, 19 July 2021

bohuslรคn secured a well-situated site to act as base camp at the marina of island of Vindรถn, we had the chance to leisurely explore the colourful and craggy harbors and fishing villages of the granite cliffs and fjords of Sweden‘s south central west coast, sharing the North Sea with Norway and Denmark—this rocky archipelago approaching ten thousand islands and skerries, though mostly linked by land bridges today. we visited the larger port of Lysekil, a formerly important trading centre and a quarry but now focused on oil refining and tourism.
Next we saw the cove of Kungshamn and Smรถgen with its ensemble of fisher huts.
Not the Reeperbahn or St Pauli’s in miniature but picturesque and pleasant nonetheless, we saw Hamburgsund whose short-haul cable ferry takes passengers over the hundred-meter sound to the island of Hamburgรถ a hop away, and finally the beautiful Fjรคllbacka, built around a massive boulder in the centre of the village and holiday home to Ingrid Bergman.