12 April 2012

Easter 2012 Trip

After 18 months of hardly leaving The Bay, last week we set off on an expedition.  
There were two purposes to this trip: 
  1. to look around the Derby area for a suitable place to buy a property when ours is sold; and also 
  2. to attend the opening of David's daughter's art exhibition in central Edinburgh 
Day 1:  A leisurely drive up to Derby, to stay with my daughter and son-in-law (230 miles).
Day 2:  Woke up and glanced out of the window to see that son-in-law had painted the top of their new garden wall white - or rather it wasn't, it was snow!  

We were ill-prepared for such weather as the previous week had been warm and sunny.  We didn't even have gloves with us, although had had the presence of mind to pack our coats.
We looked at estate agents and then drove round suitable areas.   In town the pavements were slushy, wet and windy which wasn't much fun and subsequent, driving around the countryside was hazardous and we didn't feel like getting out of the car and exploring.  The wind was making the sleet, and sometimes even snow, fall horizontally.  
We did wonder why we were planning to move 'up country'!
That evening we sat round the fire and looked at the many details which we'd picked up that day - what a lot of properties are on the market at the moment!

Day 3: Fortunately, by the next day the snow had disappeared as quickly as it had arrived, because this was the day to motor up to Edinburgh (290 miles) which was enjoyable the weather was mostly light cloud or actual sun shine.

In southern Scotland, there were slight remains of previous snowfall in crevices on the hills.  As it was rather picturesque I risked annoying the driver by taking a few quick pics.  Again, we had a pretty smooth journey, arriving just before nightfall.

Day 4: After a good night's sleep, we drove over the Forth Road Bridge (no toll these days!) to Fife, for a day out with the relatives.  Unfortunately not the best of weather as it was showery, although we could at least see where we were going.  
After a good lunch and peruse at Blacketyside Farm Shop (http://www.smartcommunityfife.org.uk/directory/listing/blacketyside-farm-shop/), we drove to three of the quaint, picturesque fishing villages on the far south east coast of the county: Pittenweem, Anstruther and Craill.

This is our walk around Craill:

(please turn your head 90 degrees to look at this and then guess its purpose!)

At each village we stopped and had a wander, finally having tea and cake at the Fishery Museum in Anstruther  (http://www.scotfishmuseum.org/).

Day 5: Took a picnic into Edinburgh, to David's daughter's, so it was three daughters and us for a lovely lunch, followed by a trip to the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland (http://www.nationalgalleries.org/portraitgallery) and, after a quick coffee in St Andrew's Square, at look at the artwork 'Invisible Fields' (From the majesty of nature to the intricate workings of the human body, continued advances in science and technology enable us to see and understand our world like never before. Using a variety of cutting-edge imaging techniques, scientists and artists will capture your attention and stimulate your imagination, revealing sights usually invisible to the naked eye. Invisible Worlds will take you on a unique and intriguing journey through the wonderful (but often unfamiliar) realms of the very big and the incredibly small, the near and the far. It will reveal some of the complexity and beauty of nature – in fields as varied as biomedical imaging and astronomy – with a selection of striking images that straddle the borders between science and art. Look closely, you may never see the world in quite the same way again!) 

Pics below: left - grains of sand ; right - how we women strain our feet when wearing high heels!
• The National Maritime Museum, Astronomy Photographer of the Year (2009–2011)
• The Royal Photographic Society, International Images of Science Exhibition 2011
• Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition 2011
• NASA, Incredible Photos from Space
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and 'field of jeans and kilts' (http://www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk/venues/st-andrew-square-garden).

Day 6: Drove to Glasgow, to see more relatives, in Pollockshields (http://www.pollokshieldsheritage.org/) and, whilst preparing Easter Sunday lunch watched hundreds of people in the Sikh parade to celebrate Vaisakhi (http://www.searchsikhism.com/festivals.html).
We enjoyed a delicious late lunch of Scottish roast lamb, roast chicken and all the trimmings, before driving back to Edinburgh, leaving the relatives to their traditional egg-rolling in the park before the rain set in.
Day 7: Up, not too early and had delicious lunch, as always, at The Bridge, Ratho (http://www.bridgeinn.com/), followed by meander along the canal tow path (http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/ratho/ratho/index.html).
In the evening drove into Edinburgh (no parking fees) for the special opening of 'Dead Kitch Twisted Beauty - Angels & Demons' (http://www.list.co.uk/event/246339-sharon-woods-dead-kitsch-twisted-beauty/)*, which didn't disappoint.  It was great to see Sharon's work decorating the space - and so many enthusiastic people.  Unusually for a first exhibition, many items were sold, even on the first evening, and so she was so happy.
Day 8:  Wended our way gradually back to Derbyshire, arriving just in time for dinner.
Day 9:  Popped down to town to see estate agents and visit areas where we might like to live.  This is fun but very tiring.
Day 10: Drove back home to Torbay, calling in to see relatives in Somerset.

It was really great to see so many people, although unfortunately did miss some as they were away for the Easter break.

This was the sunset when we got home.

* Demons and angels. Dolls and monsters. Rogues and sweethearts. These are the citizens that populate the mysterious cityscapes of Sharon Woods. Some approachable, others impenetrable, the subjects are intriguing, alluring, and grotesque, wearing whispers on their lips and concealing secrets in their hearts.
Assembled as an installation of furniture and photography, Woods sets a scene that is at once both playful and unsettling, pieced together from dead kitsch and twisted beauty.
Welcome to her world.
Sharon Woods is an artist who lives and works in Edinburgh.

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