Having stayed a couple of nights at the small, tasteful and quirky Taybank hotel, Long-Suffering Wife (LSW) and I moved on and stayed for further couple of nights in Dundee at a large, modern Premier Inn. This was right on the Tay estuary, over which we had a great but very windswept view.
It was also conveniently close to the new V&A Design Museum outpost in Dundee. This is a wonderful building, designed by Kengo Kuma. The museum provides a video explanation by Kuma of why the museum looks like it does and that made it even more interesting for me.
The weather was intermittently very wet (dreich is the appropriate Scottish word I believe), so we went to the dry comfort of the V&A twice. We took in not only the standing exhibitions, but also the temporary ones including a very comprehensive and wide ranging one about Plastic: ‘The Remaking of Our World’. Fortunately that was every bit as interesting as the big exhibitions I have seen in recent years in the V&A London. It’s great that Dundee has such an impressive centrepiece.
While in Dundee, LSW did start to eat again following the illness she had picked up from First Grandchild (FG) the previous weekend. However, she quickly regretted it and, with the rain still persistent, our movements were limited. Then, for a while, the weather relented and we did make it to the McManus Art Gallery and Museum. This is a lovely looking building exhibiting proudly the seafaring and industrial history of Dundee, its art and its most famous people. Then,, as the weather closed in again, we visited the Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) centre.
At the DCA we saw an exhibition by Manuel Solano. He became blind after contracting AIDS and, incredibly, the exhibition contained just work that he had produced since losing his sight. Another interesting hour was passed out of the showers.
While at the DCA we also saw Living, a new and very moving film starring Bill Nighy. He is perfect for the lead role and is supported by excellent acting all-round in a really lovely film. We both enjoyed it hugely.
It was great to have visited Dundee and to see a different Scottish city. The weather changed our plans of what to do there and the rain reinforced our impression that the car was king along the city’s coastline since we seemed to spend a lot of time getting wet waiting for the little green man lights and for the traffic to allow us to cross. But, given the tricky weather blowing in from the East, and given that LSW wasn’t fully operational, we did a lot of good things in Dundee.
On our way back to Edinburgh via the coastal road around East Fife we had to take a couple of diversions to avoid flooding. We spotted the huge waves off the coast as we passed the famous golf course and lovely buildings of St Andrews and decided to stop at the fishing village of Crail on the easternmost coast of Fife to take a closer look. We parked and walked down pretty, narrow lanes to the harbour. As I rounded a corner to get a closer look at the breakers and take a souvenir picture, I was astounded to be instantaneously splattered by sea spray even though the sea was 40-50 yards away. It really was startling weather.
We drove on along the coast and stopped at a recommended coffee house in St Monans (The Giddy Gannet) where LSW managed half a scone. Then we pressed on and had lunch at The Ship Inn right on the coast in Elie where LSW watched me eat a tasty plate of fish and chips with all the trimmings. Then, with one of us rather more stuffed than the other, we set off for a final 36 hours or so in Edinburgh.
Remarkably given the pressures and events of the last few days, Eldest Son (ES) and his wife were entertaining again (with help from her Mum), this time to celebrate her Dad’s birthday. It was a lovely evening with, as usual, lovely food and a chance to meet one of ES’s new uncles-in-law and his wife. Gradually LSW and I are getting to know our newly extended family.
To round off a momentous and lovely week in Scotland, (lovely despite what viruses and the weather occasionally threw at us), we had a few hours with FG including a visit to the National Museum of Scotland. We had taken him there earlier in the year and he loved it again even though he was still recovering from his illness. I previously vowed to take him to this wonderful museum whenever possible when in Edinburgh and that vow stands; it is so exciting for him and, as he grows up, I think it will retain his interest (no pressure FG!)