Spring Calling

P A R T   1 :   T H E   B U R R E L L

We left the blog at the bothy, a couple of weeks ago. Charlie dropped me in Glasgow, where I had a spare morning and was thrilled to get to the wonderful, reopened Burrell Collection, in Pollock Park.  I used to spend quite a lot of time here with my Mum, in the early 80s, when the Burrell had first opened, and we were living for three years in Helensburgh, not far from Glasgow.  Mum and I used to spend hours and hours pouring over the astonishing displays - but even then, it was the building, too, that felt incredibly special.  Designed in a competition by Barry Gasson, the building has recently had a careful but significant upgrade, after forty years. All of its special qualities felt completely unchanged. It's a truly mesmeric building, sitting on the edge of woodland, filled with light, texture and the fragments of Burrell's astonishing collection.

It was a wonderful trip down distant memories, yet everything fresh, and connected to nature - as I remembered it.
The incredible contents have been given a fantastic new display.  I am not sure who designed the re-hang, but it's superb.
So many treasures abound.
Wonderful visual connections between objects:
And downstairs, a fascinating display on the history of the competition, some of the many entries received, and a history of the development of the museum, and the gift of Sir William Burrell to the City of Glasgow of his remarkable collection.
Here is Gasson's model of the building, developed for the second stage of the competition.  Wonderful.


P A R T   2 :   E D I N B U R G H

Then, to Edinburgh - where I was meeting for a couple of days to develop the next steps of the Tornagrain New Town, about which I've written so many times on the blog.  Always wonderful to be back.
Apart from taking in the full horror of the newest arrival on the skyline of this magical city. What a disaster.  What were they thinking?  I don't need to tell you what the nickname of the new W hotel is.  Oliver Wainwright does it better, here.  "The worst building in the world" is probably an understatement.
Let's move on. We know that this terrible building won't last, while the rest of Edinburgh does.
He we are exploring (in the pouring rain, the next morning) tiny mews and tucked away corners of the city, taking inspiration for the next phases of the Tornagrain masterplan.
Perhaps learning more in the quiet spaces than in the great sweep of the classical city, magnificent as it is...
Blossom on Ann Street - the most beautiful street in the world?
That afternoon, I was meeting with some of my old tutors from the University - going on an amazing trip down memory lane. This is the Art College, where I spent a year....
Our old studio!
Yes, please...
And then, to Old College for a fascinating meeting with the Vice Chancellor of the University, before heading to the Architecture and History of Architecture school, to give a talk about Tornagrain and some of our other work.


P A R T   3 :   Z U R I C H   F O R   F E W E R   T H A N   2 4   H O U R S

A N D   T H E   M O U N T A I N S

I was back down in London for a few days, and then Charlie and I were off to Switzerland with friends for what is feels like it's becoming an annual pilgrimage. This year, we'd stopped in Zurich for the afternoon and night.  After a good lunch there wasn't a massive amount of time to explore, but I'd spied the Landesmuseum on our way in from the airport and couldn't resist what it offered. We arrived 40 minutes before closing time and hurtled around. What a joy.

Dinner at Kronenhalle, and the next morning we woke to a mist-filled lake.
Then to Kleine Scheidegg, to what I really do feel is the most beautiful hotel in the world.
The weather was crazy for a few days, with huge winds, followed by a massive blizzard. 24 hours of snow.
And the following day the weather was perfect.  Clear blue skies, not a breath of air.
Charlie on the hotel terrace, looking the part.
There is no place you'd rather be than at the Hotel Bellvue des Alpes terrace, for lunch, on a day like this.
This is the view from above.
Dusk that evening - total silence, and total peace in the mountains.
Amazing clouds the following day.
And then we were off. Here was our little train back down the mountain.


And home. Spring is in the air.
The chickens seem to be heading further and further afield at the moment.
A lovely walk this morning:
Charlie's garden looking wonderful, even if we haven't been here so much:

And this evening, it felt as if spring was here.


Would it be a sacrilege to power wash some of the ancient buildings? Seems a shame for so much of the old stone and bricks to be hidden. Feel the same walking through Lisbon. All that gorgeous exterior tile covered in grime.

Sally Leonard

Would it be a sacrilege to power wash some of the ancient buildings? Seems a shame for so much of the old stone and bricks to be hidden. Feel the same walking through Lisbon. All that gorgeous exterior tile covered in grime.

Sally Leonard

Thank you Ben! Although I don’t always get to read your blog, it is one of my most favorite things to do! Blessings!

Tita Aguirre

Who keeps the Corgis when you travel?

Linda Frost

So beautiful to see your visits and so many memories for you. Your trip to the ski slopes was so peaceful with the snow and then Dorset and your beautiful garden starting to come. How beautiful. We are having cold weather and not a lot of greenery or any flowers insight. Loved the picture of Charlie at the ski area, charming. Thank you for sharing. So looking forward to the garden Charlie will have for us to see this year. Have a wonderful Easter. I do hope you will be taking pictures of your quaint beautiful church and some Easter pictures, as so enjoyable and magical. All the best from Canada.

Darlene Chandler

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