more of the convent

Orange Hill pano July2022 sm

Still in Burnt Oak, this is up Orange Hill Road, around the corner from my mum’s house. It’s part of the old St. Roses’s Convent (I drew the main building of that a few years ago, see “the-convent-at-the-top-of-orange-hill/“), which was next to the long-since-moved St. James’s Catholic School, and also next to the Watling Community Center, which is where my mum and dad had their wedding party back in 1991. I used to walk past here most days as a kid. Well, some days. If I was walking to Edgware I would usually cut down Boston and up Littlefields to get into that side of Deansbrook. I used to walk past this way if I was heading up Deans Lane to the newsagents Eric and Mavis up by the Green Man, because they had a better selection of magazines and comics there, or to the Golden Fry chip shop. It was Golden Fry wasn’t it? No wait, Golden Fry was halfway up the Watling. I have forgotten the name of the chip shop; it’s called King Neptune now I think, but it used to be something else when I was a kid, I’m sure of it. There used to be a small police station across the street from that chippy, the Cop Shop. Anyway all that is on a different road. I would also pass this when I would go on my run, which would be all uphill, up Orange Hill, Deans Lane, past the Green Man (the junction with Hale Lane where there used to be a pub of that name, long since turned into a Harvester), up Selvage Lane to Apex Corner, where I would stop for a rest, before running back downhill again. That’s what I did in the early mornings while I was back in London (until my foot started hurting), and I thought to myself right, I should draw the rest of the convent. So I went out there in the morning and drew about half of this, adding in the rest of the details when I was sat down (resting that dodgy foot). It’s worth colouring in, but I couldn’t be bothered this time. Maybe I should make a Burnt Oak Colouring-In Book. There’s an idea.

If you want to see the previous one I drew, on another early morning walk, here it is. It’s funny, my memories of this particular building are usually after dark, this looming many-chimneyed building against a rainy purple-grey sky, an occasional light from a window, but here it is on a nice bright summer morning. 

Orange Hill Convent

B.A. Ruckus

SFO waiting in line for over two hours

I’m still in not-scanning-my-drawings-quickly-enough hell, but it’s time to catch up with this past summer’s travel fun. I went to England, France and Belgium earlier in summer, to attend my brother’s wedding, spend time with my family, take my dad out for his birthday, ‘experience’ the (now-dead) Queen’s 70th Jubilee, then escape the (now-dead) Queen’s 70th Jubilee and get some quality sketching time in Lille and all over Belgium in rain and sun and cloud. One trip back over to the home countries is not enough for this sketcher, so in July we took England and France trip #2, this time with my wife and my son. Or rather, just my son at first, as my wife stayed back for a few more days to care for our sick cat. So, my son and I went to San Francisco airport to catch our plane to London. We got there well early, had a nice dinner, played some MarioKart on our 3DS devices, iPads well stocked with Ghibli films to watch on the journey, and sat and waited to board our BA flight. Right as the boarding time came up, we were still waiting. A few whispers, I don’t think we’re getting on this plane. Then as we were preparing to board, it was announced the flight was cancelled because, get this, the tyre had been damaged upon landing, and they did not have a spare anywhere at the airport that fit that plane. It was a particularly big plane, double-decker. So, they said, they have to have a new tyre sent up from LA on a big truck. We ain’t flying tonight. Lots of confused people. We waited to get our bags, we waited in line for information as to whether we could board another flight, but no can do, they had already cancelled a flight earlier in the day because Heathrow wanted fewer incoming international flights that week due to staffing issues. Now I am usually travel lucky, as you know. Things usually work out. So to have my flight cancelled when travelling with my son was not ideal, but we made the best of it. My wife was able to find us a hotel quickly nearby to the airport (too late to go back to Davis), while we waited to see if BA could fly us the next day. It wasn’t cheap, but thankfully BA covered the cost. And there we stayed, me and my son sitting in the room playing our ukuleles, racing each other on MarioKart, watching Disney Plus shows. We went back to SFO the next day for many more hours of waiting. They were able to finally get our flight scheduled, although we still had to wait in a very long line of about 2.5 hours to check in. I recognized many of the faces from the previous evening’s lines. Some people from Ireland who had long missed their connecting flight, a few English people, and loads of people from Scotland, specifically Aberdeen, so I spent a lot of time listening to the Aberdonian accent which is a pretty nice accent. It seemed like spending one more night in San Francisco was not necessarily the worst thing in the world, although drab hotels near the airport aren’t exactly Mai-Tais at the Fairmont. That line was long, slow and exhausting. My son went and sat on a bench and read his book, played his 3DS, watched his iPad. I sketched a bit  using a blue brush pen from Belgium, see above. Had to document the experience. I also played my 3DS, read a book, listened to a podcast, anything to pass the time. Eventually, we checked back in. We went to security. We had another dinner at the terminal. And finally, we made it onto the plane. It took another couple of hours to take off, but it took off. Our section was not crowded; I think several people may have found another flight. Our seats were nice, and it was exciting to land back in London, finally, very very tired, and see my mum. My son was happy to be back in London again after over three years since the last visit, and we got a travel story to tell. It all worked out in the end.

back from london, back to the heat

Mrak Hall panorama

So, after my trip to Europe I returned to Davis and we had a heatwave where it was eight days straight of 100°+ weather. That’s been forgotten now, as we just got off a wave of ten days over 100°, of which eight were over 105°, and four were over 110°. The highest was around 116 (definitely hit 117 in Sacramento). It’s been a very very hot summer. Even on our second trip to London the temperatures were up in the records, but here it’s been oppressively hot. Thankfully it is cooling off at last, back down into the (whelp) 90s, although the fire season is on and we have had smoke in the sky from a fire in the foothills, and a soccer tournament in Tahoe cancelled (again). Back at the start of summer, it was a very hot day when I drew this panorama of Mrak Hall, UC Davis. I actually got sick that first week after returning from the UK; I had tested negative for Covid twice before flying (in fact the day I flew home was the first day they removed the testing requirement) and then negative again when I got back to Davis at our famed campus testing center. Then a day or so later I suddenly started getting ill, with a fever, a headache, a sore throat. Kept testing negative though, with various tests, so it wasn’t the Covid, but I still tested positive for ‘feeling like crap’ and stayed in bed. It took me a few days to feel ok again, but that heat was hard to do things in. I stood in the shade next to King Hall, but even then it was too hot, so I coloured it in and did all the scribbles for those trees later on. Mrak Hall is one of the main administrative centers for the campus, and Chancellor May has his offices in the top floor. I used to come to Mrak a lot when I was working with graduate students, when Graduate Studies was based here, but they moved recently to their new home in Walker Hall (you might remember all my drawings of the place). This was June, right at the start of the long hot summer; it’s now nearly mid-September, and the UC Davis Fall quarter is a week away. Our campus summertime is over. Everything gets busier now, a lot busier. Prepared? Haha.

gimme some Leuven

Leuven panorama sm

I woke up and it was raining hard. There was no way I was going to Charleroi to draw old factories if I was sitting on top of a hill getting drenched. I spent enough time getting drenched in Charleroi between 1999 and 2000 for a lifetime. So I had a little lie-in, and then hopped on a train to the nearby university city of Leuven (Louvain in French, but this is in the Flemish region). I have only been to Leuven once before, and that was an even rainier day, meeting up with one of my fellow year-abroad teachers. Always thought it would be a good place to go back to a less rainy day, but since it was raining anyway I thought, what the hell. This was my last day in Belgium, I was going to be catching a Eurostar that evening back to London. Originally I’d planned to stay another day, but as much as I like Belgium, an extra day in London is something I knew I’d love more (and I did). I dashed from shop doorway to shop doorway to stay relatively dry, until I reached the centre of town. I spent a bit of time in an interesting bookshop looking at Flemish books, including one very big volume all about the various dialects of Flanders, complete with detailed maps. If I could read Dutch better that would be a fascinating book. It’s hard for foreigners to sometimes pick up the subtleties of accent and dialect in a language where they struggle just to understand the words (I said that very thing to someone when I first came here in 1999, they asked if I was having difficulties with the accent, I said no it’s the vocabulary). I didn’t for example realize that the French of Charleroi was a particularly peculiar version compared to many other places in Belgium, such as my friends in Liege who told me they couldn’t always understand Les Carolos. Meanwhile they are struggling to understand my French, and then when I went to Charleroi, people told me “oh you have such good French!” so I understood, right, I learned it here, that’s why nobody else comprehends me. That’s my story anyway. So, I got to Leuven and had a waffle, and tried to figure out what sort of drawings I would do. I was faced with this big church – I’d go inside later – and the extremely ornate Stadhuis (Town Hall) building, which I knew I’d need to draw, but wasn’t sure where to start. I walked about, and found a covered passage by the Grote Markt where I wouldn’t get splashed on too much. I drew the panorama above. This took under a couple of hours, though I added most of the paint later. Click on the image, you will see it in more detail (on Flickr). It was a reasonably busy Wednesday lunchtime. As I drew, a girl crashed her bike not far from me, sliding on the watery street, and she seemed pretty hurt. I went over with some other bystanders and she was helped up into the dry, and her bike put to the side. I got back to my drawing, I couldn’t really help much more with my limited Dutch, but someone else was able to help her get her phone to call her mother who came to collect her. I felt really bad for her, I don’t think she’d broken anything but she was pretty upset. As much as I enjoyed this drawing I do think of that poor girl falling from her bike now when I look at it.

Leuven sm

Leuven is an important old town, the historic capital of the Duchy of Brabant. Its university goes back to the 1425 (as the old University of Leuven, though that was abolished in 1797, and its successor KU Leuven was founded in 1834). The university’s library was atrociously burned to the ground by the invading Germans in World War I. The enormous St. Peter’s Church (Sint-Pieterskerk) is opposite the Stadhuis and dates from the 1500s, though it too was seriously damaged in both world wars. I stood at the rear of the church sheltered from the storm, and drew the sketch above. I liked the shape of those rooftops. The flags were above a bar called Leuven Centraal, where I would stop in for some food before heading back. there was a young couple seated nearby who were if not on a date, seemed like it was a kind of date, they were having that “I like this music, do you like that music” sort of conversation (from what I could gather of their Flemish; I may have misunderstood, they could have been talking about horse racing for all I know). So I went into the church, walked about, was a bit overwhelmed to do a proper big sketch int here, and drew this big wooden pulpit thing that looked like a magic tree. I bet the priest loves going in there, it’s like walking into a fantastical sculpture, like you become some sort of wizard on the other side.

Leuven st peters sm Leuven Frites smLeuven Statue sm

A couple of different things. The first was outside a friterie, and is an anthropomorphized bag of frites eating a frite. He only has one arm so maybe another bag of frites ate his arm. Maybe cannibalism is a thing in the live-action-frites community. Either way this was CREEPY as hell, but not the creepiest frites related image I’ve seen in Belgium (that would be the odd three-legged feminine-frite, a ‘frite-fatale’ if you will, seen in Charleroi next to an image of, for some reason, Dopey the Dwarf). Still it is a bizarre figure. Yet it still made me hungry for more salty frites. The next statue is a more well-known Leuven fixture, ‘Fonske‘, or ‘Fons Sapientiae’. I would presume this is Leuven’s version of the Fonz, is telling kids “eeeh, be smart, be cool, read books, stay in school” and then for some reason pouring a drink on his head, which Fonzie would never do, unless the drink was hair gel. I don’t know, I’ve not seen Happy Days for a long time. Fonske was created in 1975 to commemorate the university’s 550th anniversary, and the name means “the fountain of wisdom” in Latin. Just like Mannekin Pis in Brussels, the statue is sometimes dressed up in costume. I really hope that one of those costumes is of the Fonz. (Side note, when I first met my wife in France, I would sometimes make her laugh by singing the theme tune to Happy Days in French, “Dimanche Lundi, Heureux Jours…” etc).

Well there was no goodbye grey skies, hello blue just yet, so I popped into the cafe Leuven Central (my guidebook recommended this place) for a late lunch. I got a veggie curry and drank a Kasteel Rouge, which to my surprise was a kriek (or cherry beer). Krieks are popular over here, I’ve never been a big fan of them but this was quite nice. And that was my day out in Leuven. I had to get back to Brussels and back to London, and this little sojourn in Belgium would be over.

Leuven Kasteel sm

Three Hours in the Grand Place

I left Lille before lunchtime, flying through Flemish fields on a busy train bound for Brussels. I have this life-long affinity with Belgium. Well I say life-long, I had zero affinity with Belgium until about 1999, when I was sent on a year abroad there by my university. Even then, I wasn’t sure I had much affinity with it, but I lived there and befriended the country and developed a deep appreciation for the place, which is so often overlooked and even mocked by people who have never been there. Belgium is Belgium with all its fun foibles, nobody knows that more than the locals, but it always feels a little bit like home to me, and coming back I never feel out of place. I last visited here in 2019, when I saw a fair bit of the country (Brussels, Ghent, Liege, Bruges, and the long-awaited return to Charleroi, the city where I spent that year abroad). I was coming here for just a few days, staying in Brussels the whole time but with malleable plans to see other places, and unlike in 2019 I’d not made any plans to meet up with Belgian sketchers that I knew, this was just going to be a few well-needed days to myself. After the pandemic cuffed my wanderlust, and after the past couple of years of what felt like endless soccer coaching obligations, a few days to unwind in one of my favourite countries where I don’t have to rush about worrying about seeing certain things or missing important sights, that’s what I needed. After finding my hotel (Hubert, a short walking distance from the Grand Place and the Centrale station and right by one of my favourite cafes, A La Mort Subite) I strolled familiar streets, gobbled down some frites drowned in sauce andalouse, and went to the Grand Place to stand for a couple of hours. I have wanted for years to come back to the Grand Place with my sketchbook and just spend ages drawing. I drew here back in 2019, but I was always on my way somewhere and didn’t really give myself the time. Now, I had the entire afternoon and evening if I wanted, I didn’t have to be anywhere. So I stood and drew. The results are above; click on the image to get a closer look. This is drawn on a double-page spread of a landscape Moleskine sketchbook (as are most of my panoramas) and I initially thought about colouring it in – you can see that there are very small spots of green which I added very early on in the drawing – but after two hours of drawing windows it was obvious that wasn’t happening. In fact after two hours, I had to go and rest for a little bit. So I came back a little later in the early evening, after eating at A La Mort Subite, stood in the same spot and continued for another hour until it was done. A very nice time was had by all (me). 

I did quite a lot of sketching in Belgium (of course!) over the next few days, so I will post those all soon, but wanted to put this Grand Place drawing here on its own. Next time I go back, I’ll draw the other side. 

last night on turf

FC Davis game 050722

More soccer! This sketch from May was done at the FC Davis match against a team from Oakland, played at the Playfields turf field in Davis. It was the AYSO United Davis fundraiser evening, where people involved with the club went to Sudwerk’s beer garden and had food and drink, before walking as a big group over the I-80 overpass to Playfields to the game, to support the local FC Davis team. The last time I watched FC Davis they were still playing at Aggie Stadium (they were a brand new club then) – see https://petescully.com/2018/06/25/saturday-nights-down-at-fc-davis/ – so it was nice to watch them again, and I love their black Admiral shirts (would love to get me one of those). My wife was chatting with an old friend she’s known since school while I sketched and chatted to others I know; Davis ended up winning the game, and a little more beer was had. Playfields is where I’ve coached a lot of youth soccer practices and games over the years so I’m well familiar with that surface, which is not the greatest field to play on. I actually did play a game myself before Christmas; I’ve not played in years and years, the last time I actually played was a kickaround game with students and faculty from our department in about 2013, when I stretched too hard for a cross and pulled a leg muscle, making it hard to walk for a few weeks, and I gave up then and stuck to coaching. This recent game was for over-40s in one of the local ‘pick-up’ leagues (well it was for men over 40 – though most were over 50 and still twice as fit as me – but women needed only be over 30, and they were about 100 times fitter and faster than me) (despite my recent running and fitness successes, getting decent times in the 5k races, I’ve a long way to go). One of the parents on our youth team invited some of us to take part as they needed players for their team, and it turned out they were going to be up against one of the best teams in the league. It was about six or seven a side, depending on who came, and was pretty informal, I just had to wear orange. Hot off my best ever time in the recent 5k Turkey Trot, plus lots of technical practice training 13 year olds to play club league, I felt pretty good. It was raining too and I don’t mind that. Except, when it rains, the astroturf of Playfields becomes like an air-hockey table, and my steamed-up glasses become fairly useless. They kept falling off too – I really needed a strap – to the point where I would just take them off and hold them, trying to pass to the orange blur but stay away from the blue blur. My opponents were friendly and I joked with them, but they were really good. I did score though, which was unexpected, and put us 2-1 into the lead. Lovely goal as well, considering I can’t usually hit a barn door with a banjo* (*this is a phrase I think I’ve picked up here, not typically something someone from Burnt Oak would use), I hit the target a few other times too. Most unlike me, made it worth it. But I also hit the deck time after time, mostly just slipping over on the plastic ground. I called my self “The Man Who Fell To Turf”. Those little black beads of plastic that get kicked up were just too much for my turf shoes to take. I fell a couple of times really hard, covering my legs in bruises and hurting my arm, and my opponent helped me up a lot of times. In the end I was physically hammered, although I wouldn’t actually stop playing or rest, I dropped back into defense to make a few calamitous clearances. We ended up losing about 5-2 I think it was. I had a lot more sympathy for the players I have been coaching after that experience! It did help me visualize some things I’d been coaching too. I don’t know if I could do it regularly, a lot of people my age do and it’s great for them, but I hurt so much for about a week afterwards. I wouldn’t mind so much playing on grass maybe, but that hard surface took it out of me. So I think the FC Davis players did a great job playing on it. It’s a bit like when I draw on a certain type of paper and think, oh this paper is bad, you can’t draw on this, and then you see someone else drawing beautifully on the same paper and you think, hey maybe it’s me, I need to up my game.

The footy is back this weekend. Premier League, that is. Spurs kick off against Southampton tomorrow morning. It will be a long season…

soccer by the sierras

Comstock Shootout

For the last year I was the coach of a U14 club team AYSO United Davis, which meant practices twice a week and games every weekend. It was pretty busy, and was one of the reasons I put organizing our monthly sketchcrawls on hold. This was our first season as a new club in the NorCal Premier League, and our team had mixed success, although one of the older girls’ teams won the State Cup, which was pretty exciting. (Speaking of female teams winning trophies…well done to the Lionesses winning Euro 2022!! That was brilliant watching England, an actual England team, win a trophy, when the mens’ team could not. Wicked.) Our boys’ team did not end up winning any trophies, though we played in a few tournaments and made some good memories for the kids. I had coached for several years so knew most of the players for a long time, watching them develop. One tournament we went to was the Comstock Shootout in Carson City, Nevada, which involved a long drive over the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains into the high desert. We have been there before on a previous tournament in 2017 when my son was much younger, playing on a U10 team that I didn’t coach, and I did sketch a panorama of the mountainous backdrop back then too (see: https://petescully.com/2017/06/10/over-the-mountains-in-the-high-desert/). It’s a dramatic location for a tournament, played up at a higher altitude of over 4000 feet, and we stayed in nearby Minden – see the view below from our room. The panorama above, that was drawn between two of our games (one which we lost but was close, and one which we won). I had a couple of hours, so I went to watch another Davis team, the older boys form one of the rec Select teams, beating a local Carson City team. I had to sit near the guy with the huge lime green mohawk. It’s like, yeah mate you are getting sketched, you looks cool. Contrast to all the soccer moms and pops on their chairs with their big drinks yelling “pressure!”. Actually in terms of parents comments this was a pretty good one, most of them were positive and encouraging, but we certainly saw some of the opposite of that this season. In our last tournament in Concord one of the parents got red carded and threw a wobbly, I was impressed with how the ref handled that. I’ve been mostly on the coaching side for a few years though, but I remember several years ago when I was on the parents’ side with my sketchbook, and well, if you were a shouty yelling touchline parent, you were getting sketched and I was writing down all your shouts. Well in this game they were all pretty ok. It’s hard drawing all the players as they move around the field, and you have to check yourself to make sure you are drawing the right number. Still, the Davis boys won 3-1, I was pleased for the players and coaches (one of whom actually did coach my son last time he played at this tournament), because some of the other teams they had to play at this one were brutal. You get that at tournaments, an interesting mix of levels, but you come to these for the memories it gives to the kids. The Sierra Nevadas at Carson City makes a pretty memorable backdrop.

Minden NV

I decided to call it a day at the end of the season and hung up my coaching boots, I was pretty exhausted. So, as the new season starts I will be out on the other side again, sketchbook in hand, drawing the shouty sidelines.

PS: The Women’s Euros are over, and now the Men’s Premier League will begin this weekend. 30 years since the Premier League launched! I think I’m ready for the footy to return, but I needed a break from watching it, last season was just too long. I used to do a post on this blog each year with a run down of each team and a little pixel drawing of their kit, with predictions for the season but…I can’t be bothered. I just hope Spurs do well under Conte. I’m still celebrating the Lionesses!

been away so long i hardly knew the place

3rd st panorama, Davis CA

Yes, it’s been a couple of months without a post on this sketchblog, but in my defense I’ve been lazy. Well, I’ve also not bought a new computer yet and my current one that I use for all my scanning is making a noise like Evel Knievel, so I’ve been reluctant to turn it on and catch up with the scanning. I have sketches from Arizona, Nevada, London, France, Belgium, and even Davis. Finally the other day I braved the loud slow machine and got it working enough to scan about half of those sketches. I need to work up the courage to turn it back on again and scan the rest. With everything going on in the world right now, I don’t have headspace for a noisy belligerent computer and a mountain of scanning, but at least some of it has been done. Now for the storytelling. This sketch goes back all the way to St. Patrick’s Day, and was drawn on 3rd Street, Davis. It was going to be all coloured in, but you know, one purple flag and a green tree was all it needed in the end (also, lazy). It’s hard to believe that it is nearly July now. I did do a race back in March though called the Lucky Run, it took place around north Davis where I live, and was St. Patrick’s Day themed. I wore my 1994 Republic of Ireland shirt, the one they wore at World Cup USA 94 when Ray Houghton scored that great goal as we beat Italy 1-0. I still have a t-shirt my mum got me a couple of days later at an Irish music festival that says “We kicked Italian Ass on American Grass”. Probably wouldn’t wear that now; probably wouldn’t fit anyway. I have another shirt my mum got me when Ireland beat England in 1988 at the Euros, “these boys made history” with a photo of the team. There were probably ruder ones available given the immensity of the occasion and the feeling between the two nations at the time but I was only 12 during Euro 88. I was 18 during USA 94 but the Republic’s huge baggy 90s-style shirt still feels massive on me even now. That made it nice to run in though. I’ve decided that for all future races I will wear a different classic football shirt. For the Davis Stampede in February, I wore the Hearts of Oak (from Accra, Ghana) shirt from a few years ago, that got a comment of “cool jersey!” from the race commentator as I crossed the line. I have another race in a couple of weeks, the Davis MOOnlight run, which is an evening race so I should wear something light coloured, I have a snazzy Ghana shirt, or maybe one of my Spurs shirts, another baggy 90s one maybe. Yes, something baggy, because I’ve not been exercising and practicing quite as much as usual lately so I feel a bit out of shape. I need to get back into routine, back to running several times a week, back to the gym, back to early starts; but you know, lazy. Hopefully this race will inspire me back to get out there.

Anyway I will also get back to posting my sketches and stories here again, some interesting travels to talk about, and some more travels yet to come. I’ve finally crossed the Atlantic again after three years and intend to keep doing it, make up for lost time.

TLC, all finished

Teaching Learning Complex UC Davis

Sure I’m a couple of months behind, but it’s good to get sketch-blog active again. The sketch-blog is a nice place after all, unlike the popular social media spaces that have dominated our lives and re-shaped global politics since the days when just a bit of regular blogging was the thing. It feels like a little allotment escape, a place to come away from the busy shouty high street tumble-dryer of Twitter, the shopping mall of Instagram, the awkward friends-of-family wedding of Facebook, although I do miss the music-store-noticeboard of MySpace. I prefer it in here, just me and my sketchbook, and some rambly stuff that doesn’t make a lot of sense but isn’t setting out to enrage and inflame. Now this drawing is a couple of month’s old already but it is the Teaching and Learning Complex at UC Davis, which I have been drawing as it has been built, and is now complete, save for some work on the top floor. It’s lovely inside and outside, some nice spaces for student learning. The construction people who built it actually gifted me a very nice surprise upon completion of the project, a nice sweater with their logo and  one of my construction drawings stitched into the arm! It looks great. The sweater is quality (Patagonia) but quite warm, so I’ll probably need to wait until after the Davis summer to wear it (or just bring it with me to the London for the British summer). A pretty cool honor though. I’ve enjoyed drawing this building over the past couple of years, and here are some of the other sketches, from various angles and times of day…

Silo and Teaching Learning Complex, UC Davis TLC Feb 2022 sm 052421 TLC UCD Latest at the Teaching Learning Complex, UC Davis TLC UCD teaching learning complex Teaching and Learning Complex UC Davis silo smoky sky teaching learning complex sept 2020 Teaching Learning Complex UCD July 2020 Silo and Teaching Learning Complex (under construction...)

Phew! I drew a lot. I should draw the interior some time. Now on to the next project…

Auf wiedersehen, Konditorei

konditorei, davis

This is – was – Konditorei, an Austrian bakery on 5th Street in Davis. Konditorei closed a week or so ago after 32 years in business following the retirement of the owners Albert and Gloria Kutternig. Wow, 32 years…exactly twice as long as I have been in Davis. I cycled over to draw it, although it wasn’t open. I used to pass by here on my way home from work or downtown when I lived on the other side of Davis, and it would usually be closed by the time I came by, being typically open earlier in the day, so I didn’t get a chance to come in here often. But I really loved their birthday cakes. I would always ask for a Konditorei cake for my birthday, and I had my final one a few weeks before they closed up, a delicious and elaborate white chocolate cake whose name I can’t remember. It didn’t last long. I was first introduced to Konditorei’s cakes about twelve or thirteen years ago when our department chair (who was from Germany) brought one in to share with the staff on the occasion of his birthday. I loved it so much I asked for the same one for my birthday a week or so later, it was a work of art. I’ve enjoyed them ever since. It will be sad not to have one next year! I wish the Kutternigs a very well deserved retirement.

I do love a pastry, and enjoy Austrian food. When I was 15, I went to Austria for the first time as part of a school exchange trip. Our German class wasn’t very big so it was combined with one of the younger years from our school. Our teacher Mrs Kellock was from Austria, so it made sense we would come there. We went to a little town called Lauterach, in the Vorarlberg region which is squeezed in the gap between Switzerland and Germany on the shore of the Bodensee (Lake Constance), with high mountains all around, and little Liechtenstein not far down the road. While I did spend time at the local school, my main reason for being there was for work experience, or “Schnupperlehre” as it was known. German was my favourite subject at school and I think I imagined that I might live in a German-speaking country when I grew up. In my early teens had a pen-pal in Vienna, Michaela, though we never met in person. The work experience I did was at a tiny advertising agency (with only two employees, the owner and a woman who was never there) in a small building near the top of a mountain on the edge of a town called Dornbirn. The family I stayed with in Lauterach were nice, and what I remember most is that I enjoyed the Austrian breakfast, especially the big slices of bread and all that Nutella, along with some of the freshets and tastiest milk I’d ever had. I should like to visit Austria again some day. Grüß Gott!