Turning back to winter

After more than a week of nearly warm temps and sights of such marvels as green lawns, blooming pansies and vegetable gardens being cultivated, the weather ahs turned colder here–although not as dramtica as teh blizzard that has struck Halifax in our absence.

We spent part of yesterday at the National Portrait Gallery and found it a marvel in many ways, including its purpose built facility, the sheer strength of the collection, and the unusual way in which one is already in the collection virtually upon opening the door–no antechamber moment.    portraitgallery

There are at least two enormous friezes showing nationalist history, each circling the atrium.  The larger of these, set back along the mezzanine walls, includes some gloriously late 19th century renderings of Columba preaching to the Picts and a battlefield scene, of about 1300, which takes up nearly a half  acre of wall.

The busts on display on th entrance, in the atrium, give one the thought that marble was in no shortage here, ever.  And the curator’s descriptions of each subject are so wonderfully full that you get a life story, including quirks and peccadillos, along with the visual character.

Earlier ihe day, we had climbed Calton Hill, site of one of the first public parks in Britain.  In addition to Georgian and Victorian monuments to soliders and benefactos (Nelson, Playfair), there is a stone cairn overlooking the alarming new Scottish Parliament building below, near Holyrood.  The cairn was built as a lookout for the formation of the parliament body (not the building) and includes stones from Robert the Bruce’s legendary castle, from Auschwitz, and from other memorialized loci.

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One Response to “Turning back to winter”

  1. Mary Burkey Says:

    I thought I wanted to return to Edinburgh during the Festival, but now you’ve convinced me to aim for Hogmanay! And I am wondering if you met up with this graphic novel fan…
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7807920.stm
    Safe travels – and bring pictures to Mid-winter!

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