The hanging gardens of Barbican

Blog, Sights


Many of London’s great landmarks are easy to love. The architecture is straightforward, quite obviously attractive, easy to photograph and aesthetically pleasing without question.

The Barbican is a place that my eyes aren’t quite sure what to do with. I find it truly fascinating and it’s one of my favourite spots in London.

I love the great rhinoceros-grey sprawl of concrete and the way its long round legs trudge through the still green ponds. I love the contrast between the brutal straight lines of the buildings and the window boxes overflowing with flowers that tumble over the edges.

At the same time, there’s something quite ugly about it.

I realised, in order to describe how I feel about the Barbican, I need a very specific word. After some searching, I found a term that ticks the box: “Jolie-laide”.

Jolie Laide: a woman whose face is attractive despite having ugly features.

During my semantic search, I came across an article by Stephen Bayley in the Architectural Review, talking about this whole idea of beauty and ugliness. In the article he suggests that “we only enjoy the ephemeral deliciousness of beauty if we have an active concept of ugliness…

“Heaven needs hell.”


I work nearby, so I took a lunchtime stroll recently. Here are some picture taken on my wander.


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The river at Postbridge, Dartmoor National Park, Devon

Postcards from a roadtrip to Cornwall

Blog, Sights
The river at Postbridge, Dartmoor National Park, Devon

The river at Postbridge, Dartmoor National Park, Devon

Despite going to university in Devon and spending three years living right on the brink of Cornwall, until last weekend I had never been there. How did I let this happen!??

Anyway. In the early hours of Friday morning, we packed up the MG and headed West.
The weekend was spent adventuring, in the glorious twin counties of Devon and Cornwall.

We explored the moors of Dartmoor National Park, ate Cornish pasties and waved hello to a tiny Dartmoor pony who was just trotting around, swishing his tail, doing his thang looking so cute and tiny.

Later in Bude, we wandered along the clifftops, dodged swooping seagulls and ate fish and chips and crab bisque by the beach.

After lunch, we zoomed along the Atlantic Highway to Tintagel with the roof open, the sun on our faces, and much to Gavin’s disgust, the sound of Justin Bieber pumping through the speakers.

Upon arrival, we skipped down the steep path to see the turquoise waters of Tintagel cove. Gavin then imparted a load of made-up facts about what makes the sea look turquoise, the history of Tintagel and the legend of Arthur before we huffed and puffed and grumbled our way back up the hill. It was very steep you know!

We took a trip to Padstow, then meandered around the harbour eating ice cream and lolling at creepy peeping gargoyles.

It was a GREAT weekend – may I suggest you all go there immediately.

When you do, stay in Langstone Manor. They have sweet little wooden cubby holes to sleep in, they love the environment and the site is actually inside the boundaries of Dartmoor National Park – i.e the WILDERNESS.