One of my absolute favourite places is the Gellert Baths. Show me a bit of faded grandeur, preferably Art Nouveau style , combine it with a swimming pool and hot springs and you’ll have no bother from me for a while. For a couple of blissful seasons I led tours to Romania which flew in and out of Budapest so I was able to come here ( or to other baths , I did vary it a bit) more or less every week. I almost started to feel like a regular. The first time I went , years ago , there was only Hungarian spoken and it was a bit of an undertaking to work things out. Now it is a piece of cake in comparison. One thing I did notice was that in the past there were strict reprimands dished out to anyone in the swimming pool without a swimcap on . As most people didn’t have their own they handed out very glamourous shower cap things as a stand in. The regulars on the other hand , wore caps in two colours with a stripe down the middle. At some point someone gave me one of those “regulars” caps which I took great delight in wearing. This time around I only saw one swimmer still with one of these. For the rest, no caps and, it seems, no insistance on them anymore either.
Michael Nobbs – all round artist extraordinaire, based in Wales has a really inspirational website with lots of things to explore. He’s been doing a series of podcast for a while – charmingly done and well worth a listen. I also bought a copy of his “75 Ways to draw more” – I’ll take it along with me on this trip and see if it helps me get into a bit more of a drawing habit.
Getting into a bit of a Hungarian mood – Kalman Balogh. I first heard this cimbalom player last summer when he was perfoming with the Jani Lang band who are based in Aberdeen. In the meantime I’ve acquired one of his CDs and his name keeps popping up in all kinds of other contexts. Possibly the best player of this instrument that I’ve heard
The illustrator Lauren Child is someone else whose worked I’ve loved for a long time. For years my favourite part of the book festival has been talks by children’s illustrators. They take different formats, but are always instructive and entertaining – even for those who aren’t illustrators, like me. ( Her website is called Milk Monitor – is this a peculiarly British thing ? School milk , dished out at break time by the “milk monitors” . Particularly awful in winter when the milk had iced up and was left next to the radiator to thaw and became horribly warm. )
Finally, continuing my stroll round Edinburgh cafes, the Cafe Newton at the Dean Gallery is a favourite. The most pressing question there is ” best brownies in Edinburgh ” or polenta cake ? The illustration at the top of this post is a painting of the gallery by my Dad, which he showed at our joint exhibtion in Edinburgh in April. Prints of this painting will soon be available online, let me know if you would like to be kept informed.
Please do keep adding your own “Five on a Friday” in the comments or your blog.