Saturday, 26 November 2016


popped over to Coventry to see parents after a day in the lab at Cambridge - the folding bike is so excellent and allows you get around under your own steam which is especially positive after being at the mercy of 'public transport'. Journeys are cut down, there is a sense of engagement with the city and landscape as you move through it, it's also faster than walking and sometimes faster than a car when getting to work! As a young person growing up in Coventry I watched all the houses I had lived in be demolished, the places I played in be knocked down and levelled for what appeared to be no specific purpose and all the schools I went to turned into either a car park or business park but I hadn't witnessed them be constructed. As I cycled back to the station this afternoon through the centre of town I realised that I can now add a number of buildings to the list of 'buildings-you-watched-be-built-have-a-life-and-are-subsequently-knocked-down-and-then-a-building-is built-on-top-of-it'.
But The Herbert Art Gallery is still there and has the most extraordinary reliefs on the side of the building by Walter Ritchie - Man's Struggle to control the world outside himself and Man's Struggle to control the world inside himself. I can remember when they were originally sited under a walkway inside a structure in the shopping precinct facing each other with a fountain in the middle and so slightly obscured but they are so wonderfully visible in the new location In a spare room in my parents' house I came across some structures from my childhood that take me directly to the present with my work in Cambridge. A series of wooden puzzles made by my Uncle Reg who was both married to my Auntie Floss and a Pattern Maker at the GEC. They are part of one of those memories from the past that somehow post rationally enable you to make sense of the present. In my mind he always appeared to be uniquely other, sitting in his chair at a dark round wooden table, smoking revealing mysterious handmade tactile objects which defied logic. I never could return them to their complete original state after taking them apart. The smell of them was also of another time,  a musky wax polished solid hard wooden time of lace curtains and front rooms that were only used for special occasions.