Tag Archives: Heritage

Shippies, Cybermen and Signposts

Scotland is a wonderful country, not only do lots of inspiring people live there it also has the benefit of having lots of completely random things to enjoy.

Third Party and I have just arrived back from a long weekend up there. The first part took us up to Edinburgh to meet up with some Ship people. Due to the cross fertilisation process which exists this somewhat enevitably meant that within the group there were some people who were also Wibloggers. It was a real pleasure to get to meet Chorister, amongst others who I already knew.

After the Shipmeet I headed off into the randomness which any meeting up with Surfing seems to involve. Before we even reached the station to go home we had found ourselves exploring a random installation of obsure signs within one of the Princes Mall shopping centre. The exhibition is apparently called Signspotting and was put together by Doug Lansky who is doing the show as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.

On Sunday the randomness continued in Glasgow, in a slightly more planned way as Third Party and Surfing, together with their accompanying adult ;), went off to the Kelvin Grove. I don’t know what the Dr. Who equivilent of a Trekkie is but these two are both it. Thus they were in their element within the Dr. Who exhibition. For more info on this one see the post Jack made when she went to visit. I have to say it was a visit I was definately not looking forward to…I am a wuss who cannot watch Dr. Who due to the scary monsters. As it was I was ok apart from some scary face in a jar episode and the Darleks. Strangely because the Cybermen were so obviously naff I was not atall worried by them. My fear of the Darleks resulted in Third Party depositing me next to K9, who I love, for some time. My reward for dealing with the whole Dr Who thing was getting to look around the rest of the Kelvin Grove and particularly the Mackintosh section, which I adore. For anybody who hasn’t been I can’t recommend the Kelvin Grove highly enough. It has a very special level of randomness, best illustrated by the Mental Health exhibit being next to the country music section. Also they have the most laid back attitude of any museum I have ever been to.

After leaving the museum I found myself witnessing a competition of who could walk the furthest with an ickle plastic duck on their head….as I say I really did view myself as the sane adult in the group, (and that is a rare occurance).

Monday got a bit more sensible as Surfing had to go off to work. Third Party and I went off to do a spot of retail and got the whole nightmare which is buying this years school uniform out of the way. Strange that the last time I will have to do this is the only occassion I can think of where it has been painless. I think there was a certain acceptance on my part this year that year 11 will inevitably involve fashion and also a maturity on Third Party’s side about when a skirt is just too short which hasn’t been there in the past.

We finished our holiday by going to watch The Proposal. Have to say it is not a great movie, but a bearable one with a few laughs sprinkled in. If you have nothing to do with a bored tweenage or teenage girl this summer it is an acceptable way to spend an hour or so. If nothing else it has some beautiful shots of Alaska in it.

Castle…no tea room!

Yesterday took Surfing Madness and Third Party off to Prudhoe Castle. It’s a reasonably sized and partly intact English Heritage property and so I was looking forward to a scone and cream tea, alas no. This property just has a coffee machine in the gift shop.

So aside from that what was it like? Well, have to say that it wasn’t the most inspiring EH castle I’ve ever visited, but not bad. It was clearly more of an education centre than most properties I visit. The main part of the property had a “play room” type thing with colouring sheets, jigsaws and a giant draughts / chess set. The outbuildings also had a number of Krypton Factor type activities lined up for those with an odd 20 minutes or so to spare.

Went through some gorgeous countryside to find it though and whilst there Third Party took some cool photos.

International Theologians Unite to Overcome the Swan

Yesterday I went on what was effectively a school outing to Belsay Hall in Northumberland. It was the Theology post-grads annual end of academic year jaunt out to do an ickle English heritage.

Anyway, the Hall itself has been sadly neglected and is a property in need of some major rennovation. Structurally it is ok, although built in a style which is so austere that arriving and seeing the back of it one of my colleagues was heard to comment “it looks like a 1940’s camp”. However, from what I can gather this is a relatively new acquisition by English Heritage and so I am sure it will develop over time.

The gardens, though, are absolutely beautiful. The humid, drizzly weather added to their splendor as raindrops and spiderswebs hung on the leaves. The walk from the hall to the castle takes you not only through the gardens but through a quarry where much local stone was taken from. The scale of the stone mixed with the towering plants really gives one the feeling of being in a primeval setting. I am not one for lots of leaves and stuff but even I could see this was something beautiful and different; well worth a visit.

Moving on from the gardens you enter the castle. As castles go it’s small and not v. inspiring. However, to try and do something about this English Heritage have decided to install a bit of modern art occassionally. So it was, that after having to endure some terrible canned sounds of horses and randomly placed horse shoes on the journey down through the gardens, a wander up the spiral staircase led to “Luck Spot”, a chrystal horse created by Stella McCartney. (This BBC article tells you about it). In short it is a stunning piece of art made from 8000 Swaraski glass chrystals and was inspired by George Stubbs “Whistlejacket”. As with all good modern art it got the marmite reaction….you either loved it or hated it. I think the fact I walked into the room and just said, “wow” gives where I sit on this one.

Anyway after an lunch where I went to have my cream tea at the tea room, which I would totally recommend, it was off for a walk. Whilst the families played cricket, and staff sat and chatted the international group of 6 female theologians who were of a roughly similar age headed off for a woodland walk. As with any group of women aged in the late 20’s – late 30’s bracket there was of course the one with the inappropriate footware…who we were all worried about, afterall good sandals need looking after. (This of course was not Tractor Girl, I have not yet got that far in learning to be girly). It was really good fun…in our group the countries represented were: China, Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, Sri Lanka and England but the ethnic differences made no difference. We were all united in the concerns about the footware and when we came across a swan and her young as we went to cross a bridge our fear of what the swan might do if she thought her children were at risk. There was much laughter aswell as some interesting theology talk as we moved along our way. On the way back we found the swan had returned and this time was slap bang next to the bridge, with sleeping children. So it was we had to come up with a plan. The Greek member of our contingent, thankfully, came up with the idea of clapping. We tried it, six women all wandering towards the river clapping to move the birds may have looked a little strange, but it worked….and so we could return to the main group, ready to drink a little wine before heading home.

Whilst the weather could have been a little less grey it was a fun day out. In terms of Belsay Hall, gardens and castle it’s worth a visit. You probably don’t want to spend as long as we did there…but if you are in the North East this summer it is worth a visit.