The paintbrush door handle is a clue. But it still seems unlikely that inside this metal container parked in a lay-by on a pretty leafy country lane in Berkshire, works a Mozambican artist by the name of Walter. Yet, here he is, smiling, congenial, and happy to show any passing interest his distinctive, vibrant acrylic paintings, inspired by shapes, symbols, celebrities, ‘visual quotes’ and his own colourful life and background.
Born in Maputo and schooled in South Africa, Walter Koch now resides in nearby Windsor and cycles to his metallic cabin to paint. And herein lies the second quirky connection. His “Studio Gallery” is adjacent to the infamous Velolife Bicycle Café and Workshop; a haven and destination for cycling enthusiasts who peddle at speed through this popular arboreal route on a daily basis.
Run by South African Lee Goodwin, it is a slick model of an old English public house transformed internally into a rustic, shabby-chic bike-shed, offering on-the-spot servicing of bikes by Sam, while customers rest their weary legs and partake in fabulous coffees and teas with sublime cakes and sandwiches all made in house by Lee’s brother and top caterer Tim Goodwin, and served with a smile by Hayden. The staff, the customers and the artist-in-residence all share a common passion for cycling (and cake!) and their friendliness and enthusiasm is palpable. The whole experience is an absolute winner and I’d recommend a visit to anyone who loves something a little off-beat.