Up to Scotland. Kelvingrove Art Museum.

On the Saturday, we all set off to the Kelvingrove Art Museum in Glasgow. I was very excited about our day there, but my youngest grandson was none too keen, as apparently he had visited many times with school, so was a reluctant participant. On arrival, as is usual with this type of venue, we parked up and then my son had to go and buy a permit to display on his car.  I didn’t take much notice of whereabouts on the car he attached said permit, as a none car owner, I don’t really notice such things.

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The building itself was a sight to behold, with ornate statues and carvings above the entrance door. Inside, it was even more elaborately decorated, and it took a while to take the carvings etc in without actually looking at the exhibits on display! Above the entrance hall as you entered was a full sized organ which was being played by someone who was out of sight as you gazed upwards. The whole place was huge, with countless corridors and exhibit rooms leading off the entrance hall, plus flights of steps taking you to other floors above and below.

The Entrance Hall

The massive organ was playing

As you can see from the shots above, the place was packed with visitors, and in the entrance hall, there were lot’s of information available about each exhibit room included in the Museum. It was vast, and it would take easily a full day (or probably more) to see everything.

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Each separate room seemed to have a different theme attached to it, this room, called ‘Scotland’s Wildlife’ was dedicated to all of the animal species that used to live or reside in Scotland over the centuries.

Heads full of expression

Another area was dedicated to ‘Expressions’ and was adored with loads of ‘heads’ hung above the staircases showing different human expressions. I loved it!

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Yet another area was dedicated to ‘Conflict and Consequence’ and was full of armour and weapons of every description.  It would have taken a far longer time than we had available to enjoy every aspect of the Museum, we only had time to have a quick glance at the Art Exhibition for example. I did take other photos and they are available in the following photo album. Just click on it to view them all.

However, our visit was spoiled somewhat when exiting the museum, to find a parking ticket had been slapped onto the front of my son’s car, despite the fact that he had paid for a display. He dashed off to find the parking attendants and returned fuming with the knowledge that they had given him a parking ticket simply because he wasn’t displaying the paid for ticket on his front windscreen! He had placed it on the back window instead! This incident rather took the enjoyment of the rest of the Museum away from all of us, so if you find yourself in Glasgow anytime, do pay the Museum a visit but remember! Only place your parking permit on your front windscreen!

TG

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Up to Scotland. The journey there.

Sorry I’m late with this post everyone, haven’t been feeling up to blogging much of late, anyway, here it is!

Set off on Friday morning to our local train station to catch the 10.58 to Leeds. Kerri had been despatched to respite the day before, complete with huge hefty case. Train arrived dead on time, and I landed in Leeds station with just under half an hour to wait for the Cross Country train to Glasgow Central. I spent the waiting time taking a shot of a Battle of Britain train stood at the opposite platform.

Battle of Britain train

Our train arrived right on time, and after spending a lot of energy pelting down the platform in the wrong direction looking for coach F, I finally boarded, stashed my suitcase in the rack and settled down into my reserved seat. Lot’s of lovely leg room to stretch my legs, and no one sat beside me! Yippee!

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For my lunch on the train I had taken a McDonalds Chicken Caesar salad and I could also plug my phone into the provided socket and enjoy the free Cross Country wi-fi all the way to Glasgow! How’s that for travelling in style? The journey up the east coast mainline is always enjoyable, especially when you begin to travel alongside the sea. I was lucky that I was sitting on the side next to the coast, and managed (though at the speed we were travelling it wasn’t easy!) to get some shots as we flew past which I’m including below as part of a photo album.

 

We absolutely seemed to fly all the way up to Glasgow, changing crew along the way. This is necessary because this train has journeyed all the way from Plymouth, and its quite a journey! We arrived in Glasgow Central early and my eldest son and his family were waiting on the platform. It was a tearful reunion for me, I knew it would be! I haven’t seen my two grandchildren for two years in the flesh, and they had both grown so much and are both far taller than me.

My eldest informed me that they had had to park the car some distance away from the station as a fish and chip shop outside had burned down, so there was no access for cars at that time as the fire brigade had closed off all the street. There had also been a big water leak nearby as well, so it was a bit chaotic to say the least.

We all had lot’s to talk about and before I knew it, I was being greeted at the door by Sandi the dog and all the cats!  A welcome cup of tea, then we set off to the supermarket so that I could buy some bits and pieces in, such as my gluten free bread and cereals etc, then we all spent the night watching Prometheus on Blue Ray which I had taken there with me so that they could watch it.

Tomorrow, they planned to take me to the Kelvingrove Art Museum, so I was really looking forward to that!

TG

This blog post created solely with Windows Live Writer, the best free blogging editor bar none!

Our Trip to Scotland……..the last day.

 

Xscape in the Braehead Shopping Centre where we went ten pin bowling.
Xscape in the Braehead Shopping Centre where we went ten pin bowling.

On rising on the Thursday and after breakfast had been eaten by all concerned, it was decided that the weather was just too cold and damp for the proposed trip on the ferry across Loch Lomond.  I was a little disappointed, but our hosts were in charge of the itinerary and as we had already enjoyed such a fantastic time so far, I swallowed my disappointment and agreed with their decision.  They had decided that it would be better if we all went to Xscape at the Braehead Centre in Glasgow which would obviously be warmer and drier!  This was a very popular choice with the children as they had been asking to go there all week.

So let me see. Technogran, she with the arthritic knees and dodgy back was about to go………….Ten Pin Bowling!  I hadn’t done this for at least 40 years if not more!  Well, I thought  to myself, I just hope that I don’t end up looking a complete fool, or worse end up throwing myself down the bowling alley by getting my fingers stuck in the ball!  So we all piled into the car and set off to Glasgow for a memorable day out. (Or in this case, in.)

Xscape turned out to be a huge Shopping Plaza complete with other venues inside it such as the Ten Pin bowling alley.  Because the children were on holiday the place was obviously packed with families.  We donned our bowling shoes and after being assigned a lane, began bowling.  Because it was so long since I had done any bowling I was very rusty but at least I was able to ‘bend at the knee’  as I let go of the ball!  We played about 6 games in total bowling against each other, and K held her own as well.  She gets really serious about competitive things such as this,  and I only wish now that I had taken some photographs of everyone bowling then you would have been able to see the concentration on her face and the looks she gave when she hadn’t hit anything.  And guess what?  I ended up making two strikes and actually won one of the rounds as well!

Navy ships on the Clyde being built

Afterwards, we came out of the building and walked around the side to view some of the naval ships which are being built at the Clyde shipyards and I took a Panoramic shot of these.  Then we returned home. This was followed in the evening by a wonderful meal out that they had booked previously at one of my son’s favourite public houses where they serve a carvery, and we were also accompanied by Cl’s Mum for the meal.  Inside it was absolutely packed with people and no wonder! There were three different meats to choose from, Turkey, Beef or Ham with generous sized portions of each piled onto your plate by the chef, then a ‘help yourself to as much as you like’ array of vegetables such as cauliflower in cheese sauce,carrots,turnip,peas,cabbage,roast potatoes,new potatoes,Yorkshire puddings,seasoning balls,etc, complemented by cranberry sauce, mustard sauce and as much gravy as you could manage to fit onto your plate!

The price for all this food?  £3.50 a head!  I kid you not!  Everyone laughed when I said to them “ I’m picking this pub up and taking it home with me!”  No wonder it was so busy!  For any of you who might be contemplating a visit around that area in the future, the public house in question is called the Stonefield and it is situated on the Dumbarton Road in Milton, Dumbarton. They are also doing a Christmas Fayre menu of two courses for £5.00, three courses for £7.95 and on Christmas Day the whole works for £36!  Not only that but its one of those public houses where you feel instantly cosy and welcome.  I tell you if I could have picked it up and carried it home with me I would have done!

The Stonefield public house,Dunbarton Road, well worth a visit!
The Stonefield public house,Dunbarton Road, well worth a visit!

Then we all returned back home, K and I to begin our packing for the following days return back home, and my son and his family to relax in front of the TV.  So the end of another very enjoyable day.

TG  Open-mouthed

 

Our Trip to Scotland……..Stirling Castle.

Stirling Castle.
Stirling Castle.

On the Wednesday following breakfast, we all packed into the car to undertake the promised visit to Stirling Castle. This journey took quite some time to make, but at last we arrived at the castle, parked the car and ventured in.  The weather forecast had stated that it would be raining in the morning and then brighten up in the afternoon, and this encouraged us to don raincoats for this visit which we were glad of as the forecast proved correct.

There was lots to see, and as R had recently visited the castle with his school, he took charge of conducting us all on the tour.  As you approach the castle you pass by a statue of Robert the Bruce which set K off looking for one of William Wallace ( very big Braveheart fan!) but we didn’t see one of him and she was quite disappointed.

Walking to the battlements First of all on entering the main courtyard, we made our way to the battlements in order to take in the stunning views from that vantage point, and then we ventured into the Great Kitchens which were very interesting.  Figurines depicted what life would have been like in the kitchens, and dotted about each exhibition were books that you could read about the meals that would have been cooked in the kitchen at the time.

We then made our way to the Inner close and the Chapel Royal where there were some fantastic tapestries to be seen  hanging on the wall in here.  Following that we went into the Great Hall which is the largest ever built in Scotland.  It really was magnificent and it didn’t take much imagination in order to visualise the long tables filled with food and the King and Queen sitting on the two thrones on the top table. There were five huge fireplaces, two on one side and two on the other with one behind the thrones which were used to keep the Great Hall warm. Of course my grandchildren and K took turns at sitting on the thrones and pretending to be very royal!

King R and Queen S in residence! Next we made our way outside and down the walk to the Tapestry Studio, where a lady was busy making a tapestry that would end up in the Chapel Royal and join with the others already displayed there. The room was filled with different coloured bobbins of silk and the guide told us not to talk to the lady or disturb her. The tapestry she was working on was sideways on, and a picture on the wall depicted what the finished tapestry would eventually look like.  I was really full of admiration for those who work on these tapestries.  What patience they must have!

Then we retraced our steps back up to the Inner courtyard to go around the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regimental museum which is housed there.  This was really interesting when you realised that the regiment had been involved in some really major battles which ranged in history and time from fighting the colonials in the American war of Independence right through to  World war one  and then two.  My Dad, god bless his soul, would have been enthralled with it all.

One of the fantastic tapestries hanging in the Chapel Royal We made our way into the gardens and took in the Castle Exhibition which was housed there and was really interesting, then we paid the gift shop a visit where I bought another fridge magnet of the castle as a souvenir.  It was decided that we wouldn’t have something to eat in the castle cafe but instead go down into the town of Stirling itself so we all climbed back into the car and went into Stirling for some dinner.  It was still raining and as we had spent quite some time in the Castle  and it was now well on in the afternoon, we all decided to call it a day  and return home.

As we left Stirling, I turned around to look back at the castle up there on the hill and marvelled at how similar it looked to Edinburgh Castle.  Over to the left of the castle in the distance on the top of another hill is a monument to William Wallace, and my son and his family plan to visit this sometime in the future.

I had really enjoyed the day as I absolutely love looking around old castles and ancient buildings.  I love their history and only wish that if only their walls could talk, think what stories they could tell!

TG  Open-mouthed  The following day we had the cruise on the Loch to look forward to, that was if the weather was kind so see if we made it or not.  See my photos for more shots of the castle and our visit.

 

Our Trip to Scotland…..the other end of the Loch and back again.

 

Map picture

On the Tuesday following breakfast we set off to visit Ardlui which is situated right at the top most end of Loch Lomond.  My son warned me that it was a quite a long journey up there and it certainly was.  It was also a good job that we all took our raincoats with us because on our eventual arrival at Ardlui we encountered some drizzly rain, but this didn’t dampen our spirits in the slightest.  My son decided to pack his fishing rod into the car as he planned to do some fishing in the Loch whilst we were there.

Helensburgh On our way to Ardlui we made a detour and paid a visit to Helenburgh on the coast where, after parking the car on the front, we all stood on the pier to watch a naval submarine making its way out to sea from the nearby naval base.  We did discuss taking a ferry ride but the water was very choppy and it was quite cold as well,so this idea was then discounted and planned for another day, hopefully when the weather was more favourable.  R took a tumble down some very slippery steps which were at the side of the pier and covered in seaweed.  He soon recovered though as he hadn’t hurt himself too much. 

We then returned to the car and continued our journey to Ardlui through some absolutely breathtaking countryside which was dotted here and there with isolated farms, gorse and bracken, and hills and dales.  We were really amongst the mountains here, and with no other car in sight!  I actually got out of the car at one point to take some panoramic views of the surroundings as it was so beautiful.   Nor could I believe the size of the cattle which were grazing up here!  They were absolutely enormous. This was obviously mostly farming country and my son told us to keep our eyes open for glimpses of deer but we didn’t spot any.  We did see lots of grouse and pheasant, one which nearly got run over by the car as it was stood in the middle of the road!

Looking out over the Loch from their favourite tree. Ardlui is a favourite area for all of my son’s family and I soon felt on familiar ground, as they have often sent me pictures of the surroundings which I quickly recognised, especially another favourite climbing tree that my  grandchildren love which is right next to the side of the Loch.  Because of the rain clouds it was also quite misty up on the hill tops and I tried to capture some of the rolling mists with my camera. It was amazing how the scenery/light constantly changed as the clouds and mist rolled over the hills and mountains!  Cr then made a vain attempt to fish at several different spots along the shore of the Loch, and he was assisted by the children who also tried their individual fishing techniques but to no avail.  My son didn’t feel that it was deep enough to catch anything in that area.

The stunning view from the holiday park Following the unfruitful fishing, we continued on following the edge of the Loch to where there was a Mobile Home and Holiday Villa park situated complete with lots of boats moored up there.   What a wonderful place to have a holiday home I thought to myself.  So peaceful and quiet and complete with absolutely stunning views!  I could just imagine waking up in a morning and looking out of the windows at that view!

We then made our way to some local shops where I bought my usual fridge magnet souvenir and my son and my granddaughter tried on a Tam-o-shanter hat complete with ginger wig which was quite comical.  There were lots of little souvenir shops dotted around this area and quite a few holiday parks as well.

It certainly turned out to be a fair drive there and back again, but well worth it for the fantastic views alone, and I could well understand why people would own holiday homes around the area of the Loch as it was absolutely breathtaking.  I ended up with my head spinning trying to take it all in!  I thoroughly enjoyed the day despite the damp and drizzly weather.

 

The Holiday Homes at the edge of Loch Lomond
The Holiday Homes at the edge of Loch Lomond

 

TG Open-mouthed   Tomorrow we had a visit to Stirling castle to look forward to!

 

 

Our Trip to Scotland…….A walk in the Park!

 

As soon as we had unpacked our suitcase and enjoyed a quick tour of the house, we were whisked off to Balloch park a favourite haunt of my son and his family.  It is situated right alongside Loch Lomond with some stunning views visible from its paths.

View from the park looking towards Loch Lomond We parked the car and then began our walk.  It was chilly with a fresh breeze coming from the direction of the Loch itself but at least it wasn’t raining.  Its a lovely park containing many different types of trees complete with babbling brook and a small castle in the middle.   We also found a lovely little bench which was really cute and of course, K tried it out for size!  We had included Sandy their dog in this outing, and she was having a whale of a time running in and out of the trees, splashing into the brook  and investigating everywhere and everything.

It was by now about 4.30 to 5.00pm and the light was beginning to fade slightly by the time we began our walk along the lower path which runs parallel to the Loch itself. There were many ducks swimming close to the edge and the grandchildren nearly had a close encounter with some swans which came onto the shoreline to investigate them.  They obviously thought that the children had bread and titbits and were getting very close!

My grandaughter looks at the pier. Rh went right to the edge of the pier which was partly submerged and ended up with wet trousers, much to his Mum’s annoyance. There were loads of boats moored here as you can probably make out on the aerial map.  We had all worked up quite an appetite taking this park walk, so Cr decided to go to the nearest cafe and get some food for everyone. taking K with him ( who naturally eagerly volunteered to accompany him at the mention of her favourite subject)  so Cl and I sat down on a nearby bench to wait for their return whilst the children played at the edge of the Loch.

Some quite considerable time later there was no sign of their impending return, and as we had become quite cold sitting on the bench, we decided to go in search of their whereabouts.    As we reached the road they were just emerging from the cafe with all the food.  I had a chicken and some chips and  K had chosen a battered sausage of some description with chips so she was in her element.  We decided to take them to the car and devour them inside where it was warmer.  Cl and I had become frozen through, and whenever I get so chilled it tends to take me ages to thaw out.  The children seemed oblivious to the cold though as children tend to be.

A Swan comes to investigate. After eating the impromptu tea, we made our way back home to a lovely warm house and a relaxing evening inside.  A quick warm shower to help thaw out and K and I were soon sat in pyjamas and dressing gown for  a relaxing evening with the family. I had a surprise gift for my two grandchildren,  I had taken them my old webcam up as theirs never seemed to work correctly and so they spent most of the night setting that up on their laptop and trying it out. Once we retired for bed, I slept like the proverbial log!

“Tomorrow we are taking you to the north of Loch Lomond to Ardlui.” they informed me, “its a fair drive out but its worth it and is one of Cl favourite spots, and I’ll try some fishing whilst we’re there.” Hmm, another Vista packed day tomorrow, better not forget to take the camera then!

Balloch Park
Balloch Park

 

TG  Open-mouthed

 

Windows Live Tags: Balloch, park, Loch Lomond, boats, swans, ducks, trees, webcam

Our Trip to Scotland…..the journey and arrival.

 

As usual, I was full of trepidation as we finally exited the door at 8.10am to begin our epic journey to Scotland. How I wish I could stop being such a worrier!  On arrival at our train station, I was already beginning to get rather anxious and tense. The train arrived and our journey to Leeds was on time.  This was followed by more tension as the train before ours was due was running late.  By the time ours arrived I was very wound up and panicky!

I won’t calm down K until I am on that Glasgow train!” I admitted. This state of mine was caused by the fact that you can’t use the Advance tickets on any other train, at least not unless the reason for you missing that particular train was entirely the train operators fault.

Fingers crossed the train turns up! When we arrived at York, things went a little awry as a station employer advised me to use the lift to access platform 5 where the Glasgow train was due to  depart from, probably because I had the suitcase in tow, and silly me took their advice and used the lift despite the fact that we had never used it before as we always previously cross platforms via the overhead concourse. Well, the lift was of course full of other passengers and promptly went down and not up!  Panic stations! We found ourselves in some sort of underground corridor which we had never used or knew existed before!

We rushed up this and then accessed the Platform 5 lift.  On emerging from the lift there was no sign of any Platform 5!

I'm panicking already!Excuse me” I said to a passing station employee, “ Can you tell me where platform 5 is?” the person just walked past and ignored me!  And then as we rounded the corner we spied it.  Hurrah!  So quickly estimating roughly where carriage E might possibly stop, we moved ourselves down Platform 5.  A few minutes later the train arrived and we climbed on board to take our allotted seats and store the suitcase in the luggage rack.  A very kind gentleman assisted me with this task, as our suitcase would have to go quite high on top of someone else’s and I couldn’t quite lift it up there.

Two ladies were sat in our reserved seats, so we had to inform them that they were ours and although they didn’t seem too pleased, they then vacated the seats for us.  Why do people do this? Okay I’ll admit that we have sat in reserved seats on occasions, but only once I know that they persons they were meant for have obviously not made the journey.

Now I could relax at last!  K and I settled down for the long journey up to Glasgow, me with my novel to read and K with a copy of Metro to look at.  We had packed a lunch to eat on the train and some drinks and I also bought a tea from the trolley and K had a packet of crisps and a drink of orange juice.

It is a very enjoyable ride up the East Coast line as you take in the fantastic views of the sea on your right hand side.  K kept having to make her toilet breaks practically every stop that the train made as she finds it impossible to go when the train is moving.  Don’t worry!  She knows not to flush until the train is out of the station! (This means that she is usually gone for quite some time as well.)

At last we arrived dead on time in Glasgow Central station.  Down the platform I caught sight of my eldest son and my granddaughter waiting for us.  With lots of hugs and kisses Cr took over the suitcase and led us to his car parked in the station car park.  It was so lovely to see them in the flesh instead of on a webcam on  messenger!

Where we stayed in Scotland
Where we stayed in Scotland

The journey to their house took about an hours drive.  We greeted Cl and my granson who were watching for us at the door. “We have lots of things planned for you Mum.” my eldest son said, “ and if you feel up to it, we’ll take you to the park later once you have unpacked.”  So after a tour around the house and a look outside the windows at the fantastic view of the surrounding mountains, we were whisked off to the park for our first taste of the beautiful scenery around where they live in Alexandria.

To be continued in part two.

TG  Open-mouthed