(Read Part 1 here)
Drawing was a welcome distraction during this trip. These are my sketches from the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, where there are paintings, photographs and sculpture; it was one of my favourite places to visit in Edinburgh.
The building is also beautiful.
The National Museum of Scotland has an altogether more eclectic range of exhibits, including – as seen here – the wall-mounted skeletal remains of an American bison.
There are artefacts from around the world, taxidermy animals of all sorts, and – of course – teapots.
I most enjoyed drawing these two sets of chamber bagpipes, which here appear to be warring. They look rather like a cross between a goose and a Dalek.
Something which I did not capture in my sketchbook, but which I feel compelled to mention, is the cardamom buns at Peter’s Yard – a Scandinavian bakery which was coincidentally, and vitally, only a short stroll through The Meadows from my B&B. I wholeheartedly recommend them, and also enjoyed a delicious pizza-in-a-basket for dinner here on my last night in Scotland. At some point I hope to return, as there is a lot I haven’t yet sketched. And more cardamom buns to eat.
(Read Part 1 here)
I had long wanted to visit Edinburgh – a capital city, but smaller than London, less sprawling; where the light was said to be noticeably different in quality. A genteel place, if you believe the books of Alexander McCall Smith; or not, if your mental image relies on Ian Rankin and Inspector Rebus.
First I went to London to spend the night at my sister’s flat before the long train journey northwards. She had two free-range pet rats, Ratty Jake and Ratty Elwood, who scampered and would not pose for their portraits.
In the morning I sat in the near-empty Leon café at Kings Cross station, at the back near the window, with glorious morning sunshine lighting up the steam from a takeaway cup of scalding mint tea.
Then, to the train. I am an aficionado of books, podcasts, and albums played in their entirety; I also lead a sedentary life in general. The four hour train journey from London to Edinburgh would therefore have been very pleasant, if it hadn’t been that the air conditioning in my train carriage was broken – and possibly the toilet too, judging from the smell. I was glad to get off at the station, but then proceeded to get lost. Google maps, dear reader, are not really designed for pedestrians. I wandered for a long time, trying to find what should have been a very obvious and large road, before realising that I was standing under a bridge and the road was above me.
When I eventually became un-lost, and arrived at my B&B, I fell upon the thoughtfully provided teapot and shortbread biscuits – for where there is tea and a biscuit, there is comfort and a sense of normality.
Pictured above: various teas. To be continued…
Bournemouth’s Natural Science Society has an open weekend every year. I was familiar with the building from my secret identity as a singer, and competing (not very successfully!) in the solo classes of the Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival – these are held under the gaze of slightly tatty stuffed animal heads that necessarily smell of moth balls.
On the open weekend, which is worth a visit, they display some of the exhibits that are not usually open to the public – collections of birds, butterflies, minerals and various other fascinating things. Here are some sketches I did in 2011.