Aberdeen is known as "the Flower of Scotland", I'm told. I know it better as "Granite City" because such a huge part of Aberdeen is built from granite. Whilst Aberdeen's Duthie Park is understandably a turist attraction, most visitors will just know the grey granite city centre with its very few pockets of greenery/fresh air. You walk and walk and suddenly all you know of the world is grey granite. And then you make it to the Union Terrace Gardens and you sigh a very big sigh of relief. Except The Aberdeen City Council has decided the Union Terrace Gardens need to be developed (or should that be re-developed).

You see, planning permission was already in place for a new visual arts centre - an expansion of Peacock Visual Arts which would have provided North East Scotland with a proper arts centre next to its Art Gallery and the library - as was funding, but these £13.5m plans have now been scraped in favour of a £140m plan suggested by local oil tycoon, Ian Wood. Wood's plan involves raising the Gardens to street level (using a concrete base), a car park and new shopping facilities.

Cue massive public outcry, a public consultation which found overwhelmingly against Ian Wood's plan, and a City Council which decided to side with the money man.

As you can tell, I'm on the side that think a concreted Union Terrace Garden will just make Aberdeen look even more grey. It is a shame.

On an entirely different note, if you read nothing else today, do go read Bells' blog entry about reading her grandmother's letters. It tugged damn hard at my expat heartstrings and it also made me miss my grandmother even more. I'm a professional cynic, but, really, my heart's not in it (especially after reading Bells' words).


It is times like these that I wished I smoked. Tough decisions to make and it is (unsurprisingly) tough to make them. I knit to relax and (again, unsurprisingly) I have finished a hat within two days. So, let's distract myself with interesting links. It usually works..

+ Unusual Architecture does what it says on the tin. I rather like Poland's Crooked House and am in love with the Kansas City Public Library.

+ A Map of the Galaxy's Most-Travelled Space Port Stations. As someone points out in the comments: "A word of advice: do not use the restroom at the Eagle Nebula station. I know it means you'll just have to hold it for 30,000 years until you reach Carina, but trust me, you'll be glad you did."

+ A really interesting grid: Human Variation - The Height/Weight Photographic Grid. I'm particularly intrigued to see how I'd look if I followed my doctor's advice..

+ Libraries' surprising Special Collections.

+ And, finally, a soul-destroying link: The Waste Land .. LOLCat-style. I don't even find it funny, but if you are of a less serious disposition than me you might find some sort of enjoyment in "fonician in teh whirlpoolz,  spinny/ spinny fortunes’ wheel. / in teh fonician, ponder ur fate!" Grrr..

+ Finally, finally: foxes on trampolines. Just because.

Never See the End of the Road

And so on the last day of my NaBloPoMoing, some sad news. Jørn Utzon, the Danish architect who designed the Sydney Opera House, has died. The Opera House is arguably one of the most iconic 20th century building and yet Utzon never visited it himself after falling out with its money men. He continued to design beautiful, extraordinary buildings which both incorporated and distanced themselves from Modernism (and its horrible offspring, Brutalism). Most of these buildings were never built; they proved too expensive or perhaps too startling to imagine in real life. Utzon retired from architecture in the late 1970s and became a recluse.

I cannot resist posting this youtube clip, filmed on the steps to Utzon's Opera House: "There's a battle ahead, many battles are lost / But you'll never see the end of the road / While you're travelling with me".

As for my own folly, my own indulgence of NaBloPoMo? It has been a pleasure rather than a chore to post every day. As the holiday season approaches, I will be unable to keep up my work blog ethic, but I do hope to maintain a certain sense of regularity. Thank you all for reading.