Monday, October 31, 2022


 Linked In posts for Early October 2022.  Playing guitar on my balcony, starting a painting project, looking back at my one and only visit to Portugal, and the “ancient past” of life in Zimbabwe.

There is a certain severity in the architecture of Porto. Partly the nature of the local stone, partly the maritime climate blowing up river from the Atlantic. But this is tempered by a somewhat idiomatic sense of the baroque.

What does that word mean? Like all words it means what thousands of people have coopted it to mean in a variety of contexts. Meanings morph continuously. It implies a bending of the rules of classicism, a bending of surfaces also, perhaps a bending of space-time 😜

Spiral columns, broken pediments, complex curves at every turn. Some snippets sifted from my visit in 2016.


I'm embarking on a little painting project. It's one of those things that just kind of happened. Can't remember why I started taking closeups on my balcony. Just a whim I guess.

The habit of combining photos in fours is just part of housekeeping my image gallery, but a couple of days later I realised it might be interesting to buy four cheap canvases at the local supermarket and mount a set of semi-abstract compositions close together on the wall.

Early days yet. Just roughed out the first two. Will get all four up to this stage and hang them together. Then I can keep looking at them. Bursts of activity as the spirit moves me. Layers of shading and texture oozing up from the subconscious mud.

Is anything ever finished? There will come a point when I'm more interested in starting something else.



Glazed wall tiles as an external finish are common in Porto. Sometimes they are flat and smooth, sometimes embossed. Blue and yellow are common with a white ground.

They form a marvellous contrast with the coarse grey stone. Splashes of colour and a surface that can be scrubbed down before the maritime life forms take too firm a hold.




Just messing about on my balcony after a productive day of Revit work for my day job.

Music is such a great way to divert the brain from its endless chatter.  Slide guitar instrumental in open G.



These are photos I took in Bulawayo 20 years ago. At that stage I never imagined I would move to Dubai barely 18 months later.

Are these relics of a disgusting racist past? That would be one interpretation. Actually I have no way of judging the humanity of the architects involved though it's certain they were all white.

I do see a rich historical record: four different attempts to capture the mood of the time and to project the identity of a rapidly growing city with government buildings, offices, banks and hotels.

I was on a visit to the school of architecture there to teach a group of students about setting out buildings in a hands-on way.

Special memories for me. I wonder where they all are now?



I have many pictures of metal railings in Mauritius, dating back to the early days of my exposure to digital cameras. I will have to fish them out. Indeed a little series of posts on Port Louis would be a pleasant diversion methinks.

But these ones are from Porto. Much the same vocabulary. Some of these are castings, some hand forged by muscular blacksmiths. Of course I prefer the latter for pure aesthetics, but it's hard to resist the economics of mass production.

Call it the William Morris dilemma. I guess it brought us the modern movement with all its benefits and pitfalls. Don't get me wrong, glass balustrades are great. But you gotta love these old railings. Weather-beaten and rusty, they still tug at the heart strings.


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