May 2009 Archives

For those who do not know me too well, I drive a MINI. I fell in love with the classic ones when I saw them for the first time, and when the new ones came out, I had to have one. It was my dream car, and it had to be red with the British flag on the roof. An icon. A symbol. I do notice that a lot of graphic designers tend to drive MINIs. 

There is something about the MINI that inspires a sense of creativity and individuality. Other cars do not come close; there are endless graphic options and customisations for the MINI, and some of these are created by independent individuals, companies, and BMW itself. In fact, a MINI event, MINI United, was hosted last weekend. The event was held at Silverstone race track over three days, and events included racing around the track, watching races, live music, karting, famous MINIs (including those appearing in films), a history-of-the-MINI line-up, club stands, and the unveiling of George Harrison's (my favourite Beatle) original and replica new MINI. 

One of the highlights for me was walking around the car park and the line-up of MINIs (including the club stands) and admiring each and every MINI. The MINIs came from all over Europe, and some of the MINIs came as far as Russia. Each had its own unique design and individuality. A work of art. By the end of the weekend, I had also purchased something from BMW for my MINI: Union Jack indicator panels!
A few photographs of fasionable Minis designed by artistic celebrities are below.
David Bowie's chrome Mini
Madonna's military-style Mini
Kate Moss' spider web Mini
Paul Smith's fashionable striped Mini
I have been spending some time trekking out on the moors in Dartmoor recently. Some of the hiking is on barren landscape. Here are a couple of photographs taken in the moors.


Letterboxing Rubber Stamp Designs

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I've taken up a new hobby: letterboxing. Letterboxing involves locating boxes placed by other people using map coordinates and clues; the boxes contain a rubber stamp.  When you find the rubber stamp, you stamp it in your book. The hobby requires a lot of walking and map-reading skills. It's a great way to get exercise and to find some unique rubber stamp artwork.


I went to Dartmoor, the birthplace of letterboxing, to begin my search for these rubber stamps. Most of the ones I discovered were found in pubs because clues to letterboxes are hard to come by due to vandalism. (Next time I visit Dartmoor, I will send off for a couple of charity walk clue sheets.)


Some of the stamps that I located are beautifully designed.  Each is its own work of art. Below are scans of some of the nicer stamps that I have collected on my journey.









Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness

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I recently visited Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle, which is on the shore of Loch Ness. I approached the castle by boat on a cruise over Loch Ness. There is much to see and do, and the landscape is picturesque.

This site was the location of a medieval castle, but the current structures date from the 13th to 16th centuries. These buildings were probably located on the raised area that the current grounds of the castle occupy. It was partially destroyed in the late 1600s and fell into ruin. 
We took a boat cruise across Loch Ness to the castle and took in the stunning views and learned about the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie.
After we disembarked, I climbed the top of the hill to see the views of the castle before going to explore the ruins.
This wooden catapult was fascinating and demonstrated warfare of that time. 


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