Sunday, 19 July 2009

19 July 2009 - Holmwood House

Today we headed over to another National Trust property - Holmwood House - which was in Glasgow. This is a house that was designed by Alexander "Greek" Thomson, became a school, and is now undergoing restoration. Strange middle name for the architect eh? The "Greek" comes from his love of Greek architecture which can be seen throughout the house. Funny thing was the architect had never been to Greece in his life so his perception of all things Greek was....... well essentially in his imagination!

The view up from the stairs. The panels in the windows have tiny little star shapes carved out of them and when the sun shines through the window the images of stars can be seen all over the walls of the stairway.

Interesting dresser. In fact when you examine it closely it's pretty ugly really eh? Not one of Mr Thomson's better choices of furniture.

A door. Many of the doors in the house had painted designs on the woodwork. He'd obviously gone to considerable effort adorning panels and doors with artwork. Something you won't see nowadays.

A panel. Apparently pictures were once hung here when the house was first built, but these have been "lost".

Another view of the cupola.

Nice fireplace.

The following circular area of the house had me laughing away. The audio guide goes into great details about how this area of the house would have been where all the ladies of the house came to do their sewing/needlework and gossip away about handbags, make up and shoes!! They've even taken the trouble to record the chatting of a group of ladies..... just so that you can imagine yourself back in those days. However for today, in the year 2009, Teddy is looking out the window.

You will also notice a deliberate architecture feature of the bay window. The vertical ornate pillars outside would traditionally form part of the main building and accommodate the windows. But not for Mr Thomson. He was so proud of these pillars he wanted nothing to detract from them. Hence he built them deliberately freestanding to the windows. Very effective too.

And this is the view Teddy gets from the window.

This room, compared to the large formal lounge upstairs, was somewhat drab. Nice ceiling but the walls needed something. Probably spent a fortune in the rest of the house and ran out of money.

Ceiling detail - you can see how they're restoring it slowly by peeling off the old layers of paint.

Ceiling light detail.

Another fireplace.

Zeus in a Greek cartoon that is part of a series that have been painted on the walls. Cartoon??? so our Mr Thomson was a bit of a comedian?

Floor detail in the cafe. And we are told the company still make and sell these exact tiles.

Onions in the garden.

A cloche. (I might make one of these, seems easy enough, la la la). He's joking but on the day when I told him the glass cases were called cloches he poo pooed the idea saying I was just making it up. But see? What are they called? Cloches!

Full front view of the house. As you can see it's not overly grand but it's style of architecture does make you wonder whether Mr Thomson was having a laugh designing this one.

View of the house and garden.

18 July 2009 - George

For those who have visited us recently at the cottage, you'll be aware of our new feathered friends that have set up home in our hill. It's a family of pheasants. Amber has truly welcomed them into the family and named there accordingly. There's George the male bird and he has 2 lady companions.......Philippa and Philomena. He makes himself quite at home and if you are not out quick enough with the seed he'll jump up onto the Wendy house and peer inside the cottage trying to get your attention!!

...... then a quick skip and a hop and he's up on the shed now for a better look!!!

Maybe we are at the back of the house so a quick trip on the wall beside the decked area to check if ANYONE IS COMING OUT TO FEED ME!!!!

12 July 2009 - Burrell Collection

William Burrell's family were in the ship building industry. From a young age William began collecting things and basically didn't stop collecting. He amassed an amazing range of items now housed in this purpose built gallery and museum. The Burrell Gallery was designed and built around 1972 thanks to 3 architects Barry Gasson, Brit Andresen and John Meunier. The building has often been named as one of the top buildings and it is easy to see why. It is also a lovely building to wander around in; it's huge, yet it seems to successfully section off into smaller more intimate areas where Burrell's collection is displayed. His collection is so big it is impossible to display it in it's entirety. As a result they change exhibits regularly. One exhibit that has never failed to make the collection.... although from memory he does move about a bit in the gallery...... is the famous scuplture The Thinker by Rodin.

The Burrell Collection is full of great things but here are a few Andrew snapped........ including of course a suit of armour! Personally I like the Degas paintings. Also spot the Cezanne.

12 July 2009 - Pollok House

Today we headed off to a National Trust property - Pollok House - in Glasgow to have a look round, not only did Amber get to do another Gnasher hunt but there was also a murder mystery to solve - this involved a lot of reading of clues as you wandered round and then at the end some totally random guessing as to who the murderer was.

Now Andrew wrote the above paragraph and I have to say the murder mystery was solved not in a "totally random" fashion but through careful elimination and fact finding. Essentially the guy that did it....... well his eyes were too close together........ so he did it!!! The murdered chap's wife was also seriously dodgy but I put that down to the sherry ... she looked like a drinker.

I like Pollok House. It's been home to the Maxwell family. You can't say it's an overly grand house but I think the size of it makes it manageable. You could imagine living in this house whereas some of the bigger, grander houses are just too large to even imagine a family living in it. Pollok House was also one of the places my late father-in-law used to work as Head Gardener.

One aspect to the garden that proved very popular with the kids was the boxed hedge area. Makes a great maze as Amber and Alex discovered.

What a great idea for a fallen tree stump......... carve it into a cow like this........... how funny is that? Alas the poor cow appears to have had 2 rump steak stolen from his rear end!!! Whoever it was........ PUT IT BACK!!!

There were also some horses, not carved in wood, but alive and well in the stable block at the rear of the big house. Amber shot over and was happily patting it.

If you look at the expression on the horses face I swear it's smiling down at Amber!

And to finish off a distant picture of the entire house. It's a bit back to front really. This aspect looks better than the front entrance of the earlier pictures. But I guess the sweeping staircase in the main front entrance more than makes up for a simple, stone entrance way.

10 July 2009 - Ghost Walk

Years ago a group of us from work went on the Stirling ghost walk. I remembered how much I enjoyed it, especially when one of the actors, dressed as a pale corpse [is there anything other than a pale corpse?] leapt out from behind a gravestone and attempted to chat me up. Killing myself laughing I told him he wasn't my type, to which he replied "I should hope not; I've been dead for years!" Well the whole group were in hysterics.

So what was the point of telling you that, oh yes, I thought it was worth going to see the latest Ghost Walk with our American visitors. This year's tale was all about Jock Rankin, the town's last hangman. Starting at the Old Town Jail, we headed up towards the graveyard hearing tales of all the characters who were hung, mostly witches and bad men!

The room at the top of the above building was where they kept the last chap waiting to be hung.

As the actor spilled out his story we followed him round the graveyard. How appropriate a location therefore to be eaten alive by midges!!!! The place was heaving with them.

You maybe can't see this in the picture below but there is a statue of a rather camp gentleman perched half way up the front tower. He looks more like something you'd see in a fairground. I think he was Jock Rankin.

We paused for a moment as we were told who the people were in the various statues in the middle of the graveyard. I cannot recall who this one was but he appears to be giving the holy father the finger!!! He'll never get to heaven!!

The evening ended in the jail cells.

10 July 2009 - Glencoe

Ok, today we headed up north to Glencoe. The next few shots are pictures of the hills on the way up. There are a few so stick with us because there's a good one that comes up after them!

Another mountain

and another one.....

yip, you guessed right........ another mountain

oh and for good measure.........another mountain

and in case you were getting fed up with mountains........ here is a picture of a mountain

Switching themes now, I told you it was worth sticking with. At the base of the mountain there is a lovely waterfall. Despite wearing the most inappropriate form of climbing footwear [flip flops] I braved the side of the waterfall and clambered up to a spot and paddled my toes in the lovely clear water. I would love to say the water felt warm but for anyone who has visited Scotland, you would know I am lying. It was chilly. Amber clambered back down to the safety of the car, she was like a mountain goat, sure footed whereas I remained flipflop footed. Got down safely though without falling.

and we just sneaked in another mountain, for good measure.

The next picture shows that well known Beano character Gnasher. Now what is Gnasher doing up Glencoe? He is part of the National Trust current campaign to get kids interested in their heritage etc. You find some Gnashers at various National Trust locations then you send off for a bag of Beano Goodies. Amber was hooked anyway.

And back to our favourite mountains.

I would love to say we climbed each and everyone but we didn't.

We did however stop at the Green Welly Shop. No trip north is complete without a stop off here. Our visitors carried out some retail therapy. We got some coffee, 2 cups actually, the first I accidently spilt all over my bairn! Thankfully no burns; I am such a clumsy fool. She did however get a new pair of trousers though since she happened to be wearing white ones which were now embossed in coffee stains.

By the way can you spot us in the picture? Look very carefully.

We are hiding under the 3 traffic cones!