Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The blog is dead. Long live the blog.

It's the end of another year. We're leaving for Ireland in less than a week now and this will be my final post of 2012 as I'm going to be far too busy (or possibly just too lazy) to write anything else after today.

Needless to say, we're all quite excited. This will actually be our first Christmas away from São Paulo since moving out here, as we didn't go back until well into January in our first year and didn't go back at all last year. Of course, the sudden drop in temperature is going to come as something of a shock. I see that this afternoon Dublin might even make it as high as 6 degrees. Meanwhile, back in São Paulo, we're going to be looking at 34 degrees of muggy, overcast sweltering heat. Oh joy.

Anyway, on to more important matters. Not only is this going to be the last post of 2012, it's also going to be the last at this address. It would appear that I've used up my entire allowance of free photo storage space and if I want any more I'm going to have to pay for it. And not just buy it, but rent it. Every month. Forever. Well, this being the Christmas season, and me being a somewhat Scrooge-like blogger, I've decided not to bother. Instead, I've just created a new account, with its own new photo storage allowance, and this should see me comfortably through to the end of our time out here and the official end to all my ramblings.

So, from now on, if you want to follow our adventures, you can do so at;

I tried to make it look just the same as before, for the sake of continuity, but for some reason the background colours are a bit different now and my html really isn't up to putting it right. Anyway, this way you can easily tell if you're in the old blog or the new one.

So, bye for now. Have a happy Christmas and I'll be back next year.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Street pedallers

One of the first things Helen wrote after moving out here was a short piece about cycling in São Paulo and how dangerous it was. You can read it here, if you like.


But a lot has changed over the past two years, or at least it has in our part of town. These days more and more people seem to be getting on their bikes, and it's not just for a gentle Sunday morning pootle around the conveniently deserted roads either. People really seem to be using their bikes to get somewhere particular now; to work, to school, to the shops.

There are a few reasons for this. First, although the car is still king in São Paulo, these days it's becoming more of a constitutional, rather than an absolute monarchy. About eighteen months ago a new campaign was launched called Respeite o Pedestre (Respect the Pedestrian) with the aim of reminding drivers that the law continues to apply to them, even when they're in their car. This may seem somewhat obvious, but at the time the campaign was started, two people a day were being killed in São Paulo by being run over while crossing the road. Okay, so sometimes pedestrians are stupid as well, and do things like try to cross the road by dodging between speeding vehicles, while talking on their phone and looking the wrong way. But not often. Nearly always, it's the driver's fault.

So drivers were asked to do various things including;

• Reduce speed when approaching an intersection.
• Indicate in advance before making a turn.
• Give priority to pedestrians who have started crossing the road.
• Stop as soon as people begin to cross the crosswalk.
• Always stop at a red light when there is traffic.
• Expect the pedestrian to finish crossing even after the green light.
• Observe the speed limit on the road.

To which I have to say, well, duh!

But to give the average Brazilian driver some credit, the campaign seems to have been a huge success. I now find that I can cross the road pretty successfully on most occasions, even with children in tow, and drivers really will stop if I'm standing right in front of them when they try to turn. And clearly, respect for the pedestrian has given drivers the idea that they can respect other people as well; other drivers for a start, and also cyclists - especially those odd ones who seem to like to cycle on the road instead of the pavement.

Another reason for the increase in the number of cyclists is because of the increase in the number of cycle paths. Between 2006 and 2011, the Municipal Government built nearly 15km of new cycle paths - which doesn't seem an awful lot to me in a city of 18 million people and nearly 8 million registered vehicles, but they seem fairly pleased with their efforts. What they lack in quantity they've more than made up for in quality however - at least the bits I've seen. Along Avenida Brigadeiro Faria Lima - the huge, eight-lane beast that crawls its way along past the end of our nice little street - they've built a lovely new two-lane cycle path that runs along the central reservation. It's wide, meanders gently around trees and benches all along its route, and is safely separated from the traffic with a wide grass verge and (where necessary) safety barriers.

But probably the biggest incentive to would-be cyclists is seeing other cyclists out on the streets. I know that when we first moved out here I missed my bike terribly, but one look at the roads reassured me that I wouldn't have been using it much anyway. Now I'm not so sure. I still don't see as many cyclists out there as there should be, but at least now there seems to be an general attitude that the bicycle is a perfectly acceptable alternative to the car. Or almost. São Paulo's roads still kill something like one cyclist every week.

São Paulo even has its own rent-a-bike scheme now as well, Bike Sampa. It's fairly new and I only noticed the distinctive orange bikes for the first time last weekend, but since then I have seen one or two of them around the place.

I haven't given it a go myself yet, but then I don't really have anywhere to go on a bike. The school and the supermarket are about the only two places I go on a regular basis and both of them are an easy walk away. And I was never much of a Sunday pootler either, so I doubt I'll be biking up and down the middle of Faria Lima just because I can. I think I'll save my cycling for when I'm back in the UK where I can at least remember which side of the road I'm supposed to be on.

Look, this year even Great Big Scary Santa's on his bike. And I really can't see many cars arguing with him over who gets priority!

Friday, November 23, 2012



We've just spent a long weekend at Iguaçu, enjoying some of the most fabulously stunning views of nature I've ever seen - waterfalls, rainforest, rivers, animals, birds. You name it, it was there. And it just went on and on, in every direction, for as far as you could see. I managed to take 230 photos in three-and-a-half days and I still don't think I did the place justice. Luckily for you, though, I'm not going to put them all in the blog - only the most impressive 100 or so.

For those who don't know, the Iguaçu (or Iguazu, or Iguassu, or Yguasu - take your pick depending on which language you prefer) Falls lie along the Iguaçu River, which is part of the border between Brazil and Argentina. Most of the Falls are in Argentina but to do them justice you really have to see them from both sides of the river and so this is what we did.

Day one was taken up with getting out of São Paulo and settling into our very nice hotel at the other end. We were staying at the Iguassu Resort (their spelling) which is on the Brazilian side, about 5 km from both the entrance to the park and the airport which are right beside each other. There was a lot of building work going on around the resort which unfortunately meant that the main swimming pool was out of action, but seeing as the whole place was inundated with smaller pools and jacuzzis at every turn, this wasn't so much of a problem, and I can honestly say we were never bothered by the noise or inconvenience.

The kids loved it. There was a dedicated games room where they could play table tennis, or chess, or even David's very own version of snooker (without a cue) and it was quite nice for Helen and me to send them off on their own so we could have a bit of peace and quiet from time to time. The food was great as well, although I really need to learn how to use a buffet without abusing it. I must remember it's eat all you want, not eat all you can. Six different desserts in one sitting is really, really unnecessary.

Anyway, on to the Falls. We decided to do the Argentine side first as there's a lot more to do on that side and we thought it was probably better to get the longer, more tiring day out of the way while we were still fresh. So, we got up early, had a nice quick breakfast of cereal, fruit, bread, ham, cheese, scrambled eggs, bacon, omelette, sweet pancakes, cake, fruit juice and coffee, and then set off (in a very large taxi).

Getting out of Brazil took us five minutes while someone looked over our passports and then stamped them. Getting into Argentina then took us three-quarters of an hour while our driver queued with all our  paperwork to have our names written down somewhere. And that was quick, thanks to a judicious bit of queue-jumping on his part. Sometimes, when it's busy, it can take up to three hours apparently. This is not something they tell you about in the guide book so if you're thinking of making the trip, bear in mind that your whole morning might well be taken up just sitting in a car park. And why is it so quick to get out of Brazil and so slow to get into Argentina? Well, in the words of our driver, "porque Argentina é chato."

Once we were actually at the Parque Nacional Iguazú all was forgiven however. The park is very well laid out and the various different routes are well sign-posted. There is also a train which takes you all the way up to the top of the park so you don't have to waste time wandering through the rainforest for a couple of hours before getting to see any waterfalls.

I'm not going to give you a blow-by-blow of every waterfall we saw, but the first one deserves a special mention because it's the biggest and it was seriously impressive. It's called Garganta del Diablo (The Devil's Throat) and here it is in all its glory.

After that, we spent the rest of the day following the other trails, walking in front of waterfalls, above waterfalls, below waterfalls. Everywhere you looked there was a waterfall, and every time you thought that this view was the best, you'd turn a corner and come face to face with an even more stunning one.

 To end the day James persuaded us to take him on a boat trip around a couple of the more accessible falls. We were warned that the pilots liked to take you nice and close to the spray and that we would probably get a little wet so we carefully packed away as many of our clothes as we could in the handy waterproof bags they provided, just in case.

Well, my goodness. A little wet is a serious understatement. We got drenched. Okay, so we were sitting  right in the front of the boat, but even so, no one told us we were going right inside the waterfall. Poor David was terrified and I'm really not surprised. For about ten seconds I was literally unable to breath the pounding of the water was so fierce. We were all completely soaked. And then they did it again. For even longer. It was absolutely brilliant! And what a star David was. Within five minutes of getting back on dry land, he had completely forgotten his fear, had declared it one the best things he'd ever done and was begging to do it all again.

After that we called it a day, spent another half an hour or so at the border and then went back to the hotel for a well-earned and needlessly large buffet dinner of soup, bread, salad, rice, sandwiches, seafood paella, steak, vegetables, creme caramel, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and chocolate pavê (who knows, but it was so nice I went back for thirds). Also on the menu, but not making it as far as my plate, were the wonderfully named 'sweetish rice' and 'nuts pudding'.

The following day, after a leisurely breakfast of... well, by now you've probably got the idea, we set off to do the Brazilian side of the river. The Parque Nacional do Iguaçu is a lot smaller than the Parque Nacional Iguazú and the trail which takes in all the views of the Falls only takes about an hour to walk. The views, however, are amazing. Being further away from most of the waterfalls, you get a much better idea of the scope of the entire region than you do on the Argentine side, even though you can't actually see all the individual falls.

If you're planning a trip, don't be fooled into thinking you can skip the Brazilian side. The trail may be a lot shorter, but the views are every bit as stunning and the experience is every bit as rewarding.

 There are also other things to do inside the park as well as look at the falls. Again, you can go on boat trips and get wet, but having done that one already, we cruelly ignored James' desperate pleas for more. Instead, I was persuaded to take him on the arvorismo or tree walk, which seemed like a perfectly good opportunity to do a bit of father/son bonding while having a bit of an adventure.

Note to self: eight metres is a lot higher than it sounds, especially when you're struggling your way along an obstacle course while balanced on a narrow wire cable. Okay, so we were roped off to a safety wire, but relying on that would have been tantamount to cheating and I was not about to be shown up by an eleven year old who seemed to find the whole thing so much easier than me. I did, however, use my bad back as an excuse to duck out of the final challenge which was to climb a telegraph pole, stand on a tiny platform at the top and then hurl yourself across to catch a trapeze about eight feet away before being lowered back down to the ground (rather quickly).

James did it of course, despite being terrified. And not satisfied with his first attempt, he went and did it a second time, just to show how insane he really was. Meanwhile, I redeemed some of my lost cred by nipping up to the top of the climbing wall amid shouts of "Go Spiderman!" from the staff, which pleased me no end.

It helped me work up an appetite as well so once we'd rehydrated and I'd managed to stop my arms and legs shaking so much, we headed back to the hotel for another super-sized helping of buffet.

For our final day we decided not to do the other thing people like to do when they visit Iguaçu - namely pop across the border into Paraguay and spend the day at one of the massive shopping centres there, filling up several suitcases with cheap knock-off copies of brand name electronic goods and designer clothes. Instead, we decided to go to the Parque das Aves, which is a wildlife sanctuary - mostly for birds but with the odd snake and crocodile thrown in for good measure.

Now, I have to point out to anyone who doesn't know me well that birds are not really my friends. Not at all. In fact, I'm terrified of them. Yes, even the tiny little ones that like to jump up onto the table and try to steal your lunch from right in front of you - in fact, especially those ones. So I would just like to point out that for me to agree to spend a couple of hours in a giant bird sanctuary was pretty darned noble. And brave. And scary.

Of course, most of the birds were in cages. But then, on occasion, so was the only path. I tried, I really did, but the toucans did for me. They just have no fear. And one of them crept up and landed right next to me while I wasn't looking. So being the brave man I am, I ran away and hid behind my children until I could escape to the safety of the alligator pen.

But I have to admit, despite the fear factor, the Parque das Aves was an excellent way to spend a couple of hours. It wasn't too big, it was nicely laid out and you were able to get right up close and personal to a lot of exotic birds (if you like that sort of thing). The tour guide in me definitely recommends you put it on the itinerary. And stay for lunch as well. It's nice food, very reasonably priced, and not a single bird tried to steal mine off the table.

And that was pretty much it. We had a few hours to kill after lunch so we spent it lazing around by the pool and making sure we had a bit more to eat before heading for the airport. Then back to good old São Paulo.

It was a fabulous holiday from start to finish. I now have many, many wonderful memories and many, many average photos.

I also need to go on a diet.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Doing without

The power was off again on Saturday. This time it was only for a few hours and as it was for planned work, we at least knew about it in advance so we could make sure we were ready for it. Not only does this involve charging up all the laptops and iPads and making sure there's nothing open on the computer, it also involves filling up as many plastic bottles as we can find with drinking water. You can't really drink the tap water here and so we have a nice fancy filter that plugs directly into the main water supply and gives us lovely clean and chilled water whenever we need it. But of course it also comes with a plug on it and stops working whenever there's a power cut. Still, as I said, we were prepared.

What we weren't prepared for was the power cut that came on Sunday. This one was one of the more common São Paulo sort - the sort that comes with its own thunderstorm. I really should have learnt by now that when the temperature goes from twenty-five to thirty-five degrees almost overnight, then there's a storm on the way, and Sunday's was a stunner. It didn't last very long, but the hail was fairly impressive and the wind was strong enough to blow the cobwebs out of a fair few trees. And buildings.

I'm not entirely sure what exactly this was, before it was this. It might have been some sort of bus shelter or possibly someone's roof. Either way, it's now making a complete mess of the local trees and power lines.

So anyway. Off went the power once more. Only this time we weren't so prepared, having used up all our reserves of water the previous day and (rather short-sightedly) not yet replaced them. And this time it was late afternoon. It was dark because of the clouds and it was chucking it down with rain so going out anywhere was not going to be such a great idea. And, just for a bit of added fun, we lost our water supply at the same time, apparently due to a leak at the end of the street.

Not that we could have had our drinking water anyway, what with the lack of power, but this time we had to do without anything at all. Nothing to wash up with, or wash with, and most importantly of all, nothing to flush the toilets with. And believe me, in this heat, and with four of you in the house, that's not so much fun.

Nor is trying to sleep without air-conditioning. Yes, I know air-con is a wasteful luxury and houses are built with windows so you can open them to let the fresh air in. But out here there are several problems with that. Firstly, the air is not all that fresh. Secondly, opening the window can sometimes make it hotter, not cooler. And thirdly, mosquitoes really like open windows, especially if they've just been disturbed by a huge storm. Oh, and fourthly, it's really noisy with the windows open, what with all the planes and helicopters and cars and dogs and parties.

We put David to bed, but he couldn't sleep because he was too hot and too thirsty and it was too dark without a light on in the hall. So we moved him to the back of the house, where there was a faint hint of a breeze, and we set up his bed and his mosquito net, and we put a candle outside the door. But now it was too noisy as well as still being too hot. Tough. There was nothing else we could do short of letting him sleep in the fridge - and even that wasn't all that cold by this time.

Eventually he did fall asleep though. Then it was time to do the whole thing again for James. Then for Helen and me. But finally, after much huffing and puffing and shifting of beds and setting up of mosquito nets, we were all ready to try and get some sleep.

And then the power came back on. So we got up and woke the boys up and lugged their beds back into the room with the air-conditioning and sent them back to sleep, then Helen and I went back downstairs, turned off all the lights that were now on, did the washing up (as the water had miraculously come back on as well), refilled all the water bottles ready for the next time, put all the laptops and iPads back on charge and then finally...finally went off to bed in a nice cool bedroom with nothing more to show for our troubles than a handful of new mosquito bites - or in Helen's case, a handful, an armful and two legs-full - and a shopping list which features candles, torches, batteries, ear plugs and insect bite cream.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Time off for good behaviour

Happy holidays.
Last week the boys were on half-term and for once we decided to go off and do something with the time rather than just spend the week festering in São Paulo. After all, we do live in this huge and mostly beautiful country and really haven't seen as much of it as we would have liked. Well, now we've seen a bit more of it, having spent the week on Ilhabela - an island so beautiful they decided to call it Beautiful Island. (Actually, they called it Ilha de São Sebastião. They called the whole archipelago Ilhabela, but these days the name is used for the island on its own). Anyway, people have been telling us we should go there ever since we arrived in Brazil two years ago and it's a shame we didn't make more of an effort to go there earlier as it really was a very beautiful island.

The island in all its glory - just don't try sailing round the bottom of it, clearly.

This is what people say about Ilhabela: The beaches are fabulous, especially the ones round on the east coast which are only accessible by boat; the walks into the interior are hard work but well worth the effort for the breathtaking views, stunning waterfalls and amazing wildlife (birds, mostly); the insects are an unbearable menace, especially the borrachudos, (imagine a mosquito, then double it and add ten); don't bother going over a feriado weekend (public holiday) unless you really, really like the inside of your car. The only way to get there, unless you have your own boat or helicopter, requires a car ferry and a lot of patience.

Well. If everything in the above paragraph is true, then our trip to Ilhabela was anything but typical.

This is why it's called Ilhabela.
For those of you who know Ilhabela, we were staying down in the south, in a wonderfully quiet apartment complex about twenty-five minutes gentle walk further south than Curral Beach and fifteen minutes walk from the nearest supermarket - which is nothing really, until you have to do it carrying two bags of shopping and twelve litres of drinking water. Of course, these things are all much easier if you have a car, but we like to do things the hard way and came by taxi - although it did help that we spent the first two days with friends who did have a car and who were able to drive us to the island's biggest supermarket so we could stock up for the week - a task which, despite all appearances to the contrary, we failed at miserably. As a side note: How can two small boys eat so much bread?

Enjoying the sand, or possibly playing invisible chess.
Anyway, on to the holiday. The apartment was fabulous and contained the two things I really don't like having to do without - a comfortable bed and quiet air-conditioning. (What do you expect? I'm an old man with a bad back.) It also came with its very own home cinema system which I think we ended up using every night. I hate to have to admit it, but suddenly our 46 inch wall-mounted flatscreen TV no longer seem all that impressive.

Even more impressive than the home cinema - the view from the bedroom window.
But as nice as it was, we didn't go to Ilhabela for the surround-sound experience, we went for the beach. Our first two days were overcast and by Monday morning we were beginning to wonder whether we were going to see the sun at all, but then the clouds obligingly burnt off and we had three whole days of glorious sunshine. And for once I managed to avoid getting burnt on the very first day!

Here I am, wearing my happy beach face.

The company was elegant and sophisticated...

The food was hot and tasty...

The scenery was quite nice as well.
Needless to say, the kids loved it. James was slightly disappointed by the calmness of the sea and frustrated by his parents' inability to stay in the water for more than ten minutes without starting to shiver and complain that they needed to go and lie down for a bit in the sun, but eventually he settled down to help David pile up a load of sand and then disguise it as a rock and that seemed to keep them both happy for two whole days.

King of the hill.

Words fail me.
 The clouds came back on Thursday and so we took the opportunity to take a break from the beach and go exploring instead. The plan was to go and find a waterfall - one of the many coming down from the hills in the middle of the island - but sadly the rain started when we were only about half way there so we abandoned the trip and went and spent the afternoon with the home cinema instead. And it's not quite the right time of year for waterfalls anyway. There has been very little rain on the island (or anywhere near São Paulo for that matter) for months now and even though we could clearly see our nearest waterfall, it was a little unimpressive.

Look closer. It's there in the middle. Honestly.
It was much more impressive on Friday however, after a full night of heavy rain, but as this was our last full day, we decided to spend it back at the beach. This was not, as it turned out, such a good idea. For a start it was a feriado and so the place was heaving, despite the lack of any sun. What had been a lovely quiet beach two days before was now wall-to-wall tables and umbrellas and ambulantes (hawkers, not ambulances). The sea was rough as well, throwing waves right up to where the tables were set out so it gave the beach an even more crowded feel. At first James was delighted and we all spent a few adventurous minutes being hurled around in the water, but actually the current was so strong it was becoming a little dangerous and we had to retreat back to our tiny patch of beach, at which point the general feeling was that it was too cold and too crowded and we should go back to the apartment, have nice hot showers, eat lots of bread and watch a film. So we did.


Cold and cramped. And not even some burnt cheese on a stick could cheer us up.
On Saturday we packed up and came home, and despite it being a feriado, we managed to get straight onto the car ferry which was already there and loading when we arrived at the dock. In fact, the whole journey only took about four hours, including stops, which is pretty remarkable considering we know people who ended up taking nine hours to make the same trip. We also came away with very little in the way of bites. James, Helen and I all got about four or five each and David, who's like a mosquito magnet here in São Paulo, came away with just one. Considering we saw people down at the beach with nasty red bites all over them, I'd say we did very well. Two layers of mosquito-netting at night, antihistamines and enough repellent spray to sink a battleship clearly did the trick.

So now we're back in São Paulo (except Helen, who only got one day off before having to fly up to Rio first thing on Monday morning for work). The kids are back at school, I'm back at my desk and our holiday already seems like it was weeks ago. Still, lucky us. It's now only a month until our next one...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Art not without ambition

When I was ten years old I appeared on the back page of one of our local newspapers. I was at a small art exhibition and was pictured admiring a particularly unpleasant-looking sculpture of a head. The caption below the photo read: Andrew may not know a lot about art, but he knows what he likes.

Forty years later, and clearly, nothing has changed. I still know nothing about art and I still know what I like. But these days what I like seems to be very little, especially when it comes to contemporary art. That's not to say I hate it all - far from it. The house is filled with paintings by contemporary artists and I love every one of them. That's why I give them wall space. But once art moves off the wall, I suddenly turn into an old fuddy-duddy with extremely conservative tastes, and words like 'installation' or 'performance art' send a shiver down my spine.

So last weekend, when we accepted an invitation to visit the Trigésima Bienal de São Paulo, the city's largest contemporary art exhibition and one which, as its name implies, only comes around every other year, I really didn't hold out much hope of it being one of my more memorable days in Brazil - especially as we were going as a family. Honestly, there are few things worse than dragging yourself around a huge contemporary art exhibition filled with items of dubious merit, but doing it with two impatient, hungry and bored children is one of them.

"This sucks."
"How long do we have to stay here?"
"I'm bored."
"I'm hungry."
"Why did we have to come here?"
"When can I have my computer time?"

and all of this interspersed with,

"Don't run!"
"Don't touch that!"
"Get off there!"
"Why didn't you go before we left the house?"

But I'm happy to report that our trip to the Bienal was nothing like this. Or not much, anyway. It helped that it was free, so I'd already got my money's-worth as soon as I'd stepped through the door. It helped that it was situated in the wonderful Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavillion, designed by Brazil's one-man construction company, Oscar Niemeyer. And it also helped that we were accompanied by our friends Freddy and Gisela, who know way more about contemporary art than I do and were able to guide us around and make sure we got to see all the best bits - and understand them.

Niemeyer's Pavillion. The black carpet is actually a piece of art, by the way, and is now adorned with several six-year-old's footprints!
 We saw some interesting stuff. We also saw a lot of stuff I would have to try really hard to call interesting. But that's the great thing about going somewhere free - I don't feel I have to spend a lot of time appreciating every single little thing I pass simply because I had to pay to see it. If I think something's not worth bothering with, I just don't bother with it.

Scary, ugly thing by Tiago Carneiro da Cunha. The artist is a relative of a friend and was the only exhibiting artist I've met, so he gets a free plug here.
Part of the large and strangely compelling Arthur Bispo do Rosario collection.
Perhaps not surprisingly, James was less than enthralled by the whole trip. Art is not his strong point - or even his middle point for that matter - and he found the outside much more interesting than the inside.

David is the budding artist of the family however, and he had a much better time, finding plenty to entertain him. There were even a few exhibits he was allowed to interact with, although there were also one or two that he really should have kept his hands (and feet) off.

That's more like it - art you can really get inside. One of Absalom's  miniature buildings.

This was another of David's favourites - forgot to see who it was by.

David also wins the award for the quote of the day. In reply to my suggestion that if he'd been a bit older perhaps he could have had some of his own work displayed, he sighed and told me I should have invented him a lot earlier. That's telling me. Clearly the trip inspired him though, and as soon as we got back home he went straight to work creating his own new collection. But sadly he's surrounded by philistines. While I could appreciate his neat series of paintings on the iPad, his extended installation comprising a hundred and fifty colouring pens and crayons laid out in mysterious patterns all around the lounge was simply dismissed as "a mess" and "in the way".

So, to be fair to him, I promised to post the iPad work as well.

Tiny Cube