Gromit Hunting

In a twist on the ever-popular cow parade (which I’ve accidentally caught in Bratislava, Manchester, Auckland and London), this summer has seen Aardman Animations’ Gromit Unleashed around the city. There are 80 in total, each painted by a different and frequently prominent artist: Harry Hill, Joanna Lumley, Quentin Blake, that bloke who wrote the Gruffalo…

It’s fun for everyone – adults, kids, tourists and locals – and proceeds will go to the children’s hospital.

Here’s my huntin’ so far. Bunty by St Mary Redcliffe is my favourite but it’s a close call. Good game!

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The makings of a top birthday weekend

Components of the perfect Sunday

(Plus a roast.)

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Lisbon’s street art

Turns out Lisbon has been turned on to street art for some time. I spent time wandering around taking it in. Some are crude and scribbly, others are on an epic scale and use entire buildings as blank canvases. The Crono project is a large scale urban art project encouraging world-class artists to jazz up derelict buildings. Parts of the city have been designated as Galeria de Arte Urbana, authorised for painting.

Here’s a little gallery to whet your appetite.

And a map in case you want to cruise around and check it out yourself.

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Leaf watch: they’re turning!

I’ve taken it upon myself to track the progress of the trees as they don their autumnal livery. Today I went up to Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire, the ultimate tree-watch location in the South-West.

It was owned by Robert Holford in the early Victorian age when it was the height of fashion to own a large country estate and plant a collection of trees from around the world. He went for the ‘picturesque’ style of planting, which is designed to enhance the appearance of the natural landscape using the same principles as painting.

It’ll be a few more weeks until they’re in their full regalia, but the acer/maples are well on the way. Simple pleasures. 

Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, Glos, GL8 8QS

Adults – £9 (in autumn); Concessions – £8.

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Experiments in cup cakes

Reunited with my beloved food processor, I put it to work in a cupcake mission. My cherished public, I present to you: chocolate beetroot; carrot, mandarin and hazelnut with cream cheese topping; ginger with lime curd; vanilla with a hint of lemon.

The proof will be in the eating. Somebody alert Bristol A&E.

Happy wedding day, Uncle Rich and soon-to-be-Auntie Suzanne!

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