September 29th 2018
On my second weeks holiday following the 60th birthday milestone I had a sort of staycation based in Glasgow and managed to tick off a few sites on my list.
The first was Abbotsford House in the Scottish borders. The home of the writer Sir Walter Scott, it was built in 1824. Scott is a fascinating character from Scottish history and in addition to creating many phrases which have found thier way into common usage in the english language (e.g. 'blood is thicker than water', 'lock, stock and barrel' etc.), he was influential in the way Scotland was and is viewed at home and abroad. I have mixed views on his contribution but his influence cannot be underestimated: a huge subject, which I cannot go into here.
My friend Graham, a former borders policeman was my companion. We both found the house a fascinating place to visit and I certainly gained an greater insight into Scott's contribution to the Scottish nation. Many of the artefacts in the house (Scott was a collector) related to the subjects he wrote about such as 'Bonnie Dundee/Bluidy Clavers' and Rob Roy Macgregor. The audio guide and input from local volunteers was excellent and you could spend a good hour to two hours in the house before tackling the grounds. Highly recommended.
Two days later provided a bit of a contrast from visiting a building which is just under two hundred years old to visiting a brand new structure which has just opened, the V&A in Dundee. Sitting alongside the RSS Discovery and exploration ship (which sailed to Antartica 1901-04) on the banks of the River Tay, this is a stunning creation. The architect was Kengo Kuma from Japan and the exterior of the building seems to be uniquely shaped both like a ships hull or waves of the sea.
The photos will do the talking. There is a great exhibition on Scottish design and Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Oak Room has not seen the light of day since it was dismantled in the 1970s, but is here in all it's glory. Another great trip for a day out.
This blog is just a taste of my visits but I hope the photos will inspire some of you to make journeys to see things old and new.
All the best.