Auckland Art Gallery

Auckland City Art Gallery on the edge of Albert Park had a makeover while I was overseas.  It was awarded World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival last year too.  You can see why.  It’s a beautiful space and the new roof gracefully soars above it.

 

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I’ve always liked the gallery, especially when I was a student because it was – and still is – free to enter.  There are some of my favourite works by Colin McCohan and Rita Angus as well as the truly magnificent Aromoana by Ralph Hotere.

 

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Plus, the scones at the café are exceptional.

 

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Take a step back

My friend Liam has a theory about Coniston.  He thinks it is too close to the mountain that bears its name and when you stand in Coniston you are too pressed up against the view.  I think he’s right.  You need to step backwards, go to the other side of the lake and from there appreciate the beauty of the small minor’s village.

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It is, in its own way quite lovely.  The mountain, The Coniston Old Man, is omnipresent, a huge towering rock with far more of a presence than the lake which shares its name.  The houses and shops are stone and unrelenting grey.  On a sunny day they glow.  On a cloudy day they glower from their perch beneath the Old Man.

Coniston is a famous for a couple of reasons.  John Ruskin, the art critic, watercolourist and philanthropist lived on one side of Coniston Water in his house, Brantwood.  He inspired people as diverse as Frank Lloyd Wright, TS Elliot, William Morris, Ebeneezer Howard and Tolstoy.  I’m simplifying hugely, but basically he said that are connections between art, nature and society.  His home and gardens are open to view, and as they are the opposite side of Coniston Water to the town, Liam’s theory is proved correct, from Ruskin’s house the view is magnificent.

Just down from Ruskin’s house is the Swallows and Amazons Tearoom.  Swallows and Amazons is a series of books by Arthur Ransome which I read as a child.  Set in the 1930s on a fictitious lake which drew inspiration from both Coniston and Windermere, these books are lovely.  When you are out on the water you can almost hear John, Susan, Titty (I know), and Roger calling to each other.

 

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In town you can take your pick from any number of pubs and cafes.  The beer at the Black Bull is legendary and the soup at the Green Housekeeper delicious.  Personally, I’d buy some chocolate slice at the Honesty Shop and take a stroll up the Old Man.  The view of the silent Coniston Water and out towards the other lakes is magnificent.

 

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Brick Lane Beigel Bake

“What do you want?”

“A salt beef beigel, of course.  One with mustard and gherkins!”

One for you, Benjamin.

 
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East London Street Art

Tired of all those pictures of mountains, lakes and leaves?   Me too.

 

Yesterday I took a walk around Brick Lane…

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Leadenhall Market

Light and colour on a gloomy London day.IMG_8654

The Thames by Night

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I need a hat!

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Better!

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Coniston Water

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This is my favourite shade of blue.

Autumn Road

Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all Robert Frost

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Roast Dinner at The Black Bull – with sprouts!

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