Sunday, 29 June 2008

National Museum Of Scotland (hello dolly)

We were going to go to another art gallery today, modern art. The gallery was supposed to be in Charlotte's Square. We walked around the square and couldn't really see it. There were tourist buses, but they were for the Georgian House, something else entirely.We looked up the street number and located the building and I climbed the steps and peered through the window. Nothing. I tried turning the big brass door handle (I must've been very keen) and then I decided to peer through the brass mail slot (I don't know why) it creaked and fell sideways off one of its hinges. I giggled nervously and ran back down the stairs and down the street. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Or should I say the best thing to do. I'm sure as I stood some distance away describing what had happened to S, that I heard the sound of a mail slot being restored to its rightful position.So the gallery was off the agenda. I suggested the museum and so we set off around the side of the castle, through Grassmarket (which is a great area full of pubs and restaurants and a lovely wool shop: ) up past Greyfriars Bobby (S was well impressed) and past the cafe where JK wrote Harry and finally to the museum.
The Museum was fantastic. They had musicians playing jazz and classical music and because of the design of the building you could hear it as you walked around. There were a lot of objects to do with Scotland's rather tumultuous history. And some quotes on the wall from something called the Oath of Arbroath (which is where Big Lou is from).We saw some lovely accessories for witches and a sort of scottish guillotine called a maiden. I got chatting to a guard (another friendly Scot) who told me that Dolly the sheep, who I thought was in another museum closed for renovation, was actually in the building so we went looking for Dolly. Is it just me or did she not live very long?Anyway we found dolly in this great room with all these interactive displays and the Watt steam engine (which is enormous). It was a great room and I think maybe the adults were having more fun that the kids.After that we went to look at the Viking and Roman displays. In amongst them there were sculptures by Andy Goldsworthy ( I almost sat on one called 'hearth') which I found just as interesting as the exhibits. Andy does amazing sculptures using natural materials. preferred the game of peekaboo that we played. In one section they had a kids area where kids could dress up as Romans or Vikings and they even had chain mail but it didn't fit me.
Finally we looked at the top floor which was about Scotland and the Empire and Industry (phew). Also very good. I saw a loom for making tartan and more steam engine thingummies. And again more cool stuff for kids. In the emigration section they had forms for the kids to fill out about what they'd take and what they'd miss if they had to leave home. Some of the answers were funny. I'm still not sure about the chicken.
We walked back towards the royal mile, with me stopping for a felafel. The man asked if I was Australian then asked if I wanted chilli sauce. What's with that? Normally I actually don't mind a touch of chilli but I said no just to throw him. We decided that it was time to go back to the apartment when we saw an Australian busker doing whip demonstrations on the royal mile. Talk about cultural exchange!

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