Sunday, 2 August 2009

windmills and pavilions

In the chaotic mess that is my life just now, I still manage to take time out to see cool stuff. It keeps me inspired, makes me happy and recharges my mental batteries.

I went to check out the Dalston Mill, a temporary windmill constructed by architects, EXYZT for the Barbican's Radical Nature exhibition on now. This is my kind of architecture. It's temporary, yet more concerned with adding value to its community than most permanent structures. The windmill powers a grinding machine and a battery operated lighting system.

When I rocked up this afternoon, there were about 20 people lined up at the bar, happily frosting cakes as part of a cake-decorating course. The bread ovens were fired up, people were sitting in deck chairs admiring the wheat field, and the little stage had been taken over for a swap shop. Did she just say wheat field? Indeed I did. The wheat field is a sort of reimagining of Agnes Denes' 1982 'Wheatfield - A Confrontation' where she planted and harvested two acres of wheat in Battery Parl landfill in downtown New York. The Dalston Mill wheat field is by no means as spectacular as the Batter Park field, but it's a lovely idea and a nice parallel.

Lately it feels as if London's had an injection in its public life with events, festivals, and pop ups galore. It's difficult to know whether this DIY explosion is an effect of the recession or whether we've just finally come round to the joys and the dynamism of a new kind of cultural life, but long may it continue.

I'm a little loathe to divulge this next detail, for fear of letting a best-kept secret out of the bag, but it's too fantastic not to share. There's a tiny little pavilion next to the big lake in Victoria Park that does one of the nicest breakfasts in London. A friend raved me about the
Pavilion Cafe and, though I'd been meaning to get round to dropping in for ages, today marked my fist visit. A brief moment of panic at walking in to the faintly campsite looking pavilion soon dissappeared when, sat on a bench overlooking the lake, a veggie breakfast was parked in front of me. It's like any other veggie breakfast you've ever had only much, much better - it has smashed avocado! Sigh x 10. If you love breakfast, you must go to this place. Only please take me with you.

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