In the Scottish countryside, the good old red phone booth now houses a library, or a defibrillator, or a town’s oral history – and sometimes even a phone. And on the far reaches of the Isle of Skye we meet Donald Murdie, who tells us about his life as a ‘crofter’ and his fears of Brexit.
This week I fed my interest in polar exploration by visiting ‘The Discovery’, the ship of Robert Scott, who sailed in it on an unfortunate polar expedition to the Antarctic. I also got a peek into the V&A Dundee, the very first museum for Scottish design and in the studio of the fashion designer Katie Gibson of Gibson & Birkbeck. I talked to Neil Ross of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise about community building in rural Scotland and discovered that Scotland has a lot of windfarms. And yes, we went skinny dipping in our hottub in our cottage garden.
The pleasures of travel in Scotland: endless kinds of local beer, smoked fish and produce from the farm through a vending machine in the wall. History is never far away here, with Graham Fagen’s melancholy ‘Slave’s Lament’ in the National Portrait Gallery and one of Scotland’s earlier attempts at independence in Arbroath.
Nextdoor is a free private social network for neighborhood communities. It launched in 2011 in the US and at the beginning of 2016 in the Netherlands, its first European rollout. It has become quite popular: in the US 75 percent of all households use it, and in the Netherlands over a third of the neighborhoods have adopted it in just the past year and a half. In the UK, where the app was launched last September, it now represents 44% of the country’s neighborhoods, and release in France and Germany is pending. “It took us four years to attain the growth in the US that we have already experienced here in the Netherlands,” says co-founder Sarah Leary. “The Dutch love smartphones and are early adopters of social networking services.”
This week were my first days of vacation. I took the overnight boat to Scotland, quite an adventure in itself. Of course I had to finish some work before: a inspiring (and yummy!) thinking dinner in our Salon, a meeting at Booking for the John Adams Institute and the summer party of New Angle.
I first saw work by the French-Luxemburg artist duo Martine Feipel and Jean Bechameil two years ago at Galerie Fontana. It was the exhibion ‘Un monde parfait – In dust suspended’. I wrote an article for NRC about the way they use their sculptures to come to grips with the desolation of the modern utopia that was realized in concrete on the edges of Paris – as in many other cities.