Friday, May 22, 2009

Continuing Saturday Adventures: May

Entry for 17 May 2009:

More Saturday Adventures:

1. Burrell Collection special exhibition of Greek pottery: This was a loan from the British Museum, depicting various mythological and mundane themes (Heracles, sport competition): We went to this out of loyalty to our youngest son Kenneth, who is a classics major, trying to absorb as much as we could of the images on the ancient amphoras and trophy vases on his behalf.

2. Newark Castle: Not a city in New Jersey, but a castle down the Clyde Firth and opposite from Dumbarton Castle, at Port Glasgow, the old deep water port before the Clyde was dredged. Naturally, shipyards grew up around it over the centuries, eventually dwarfing the 17th century castle and its older defensive tower. Then, shipbuilding moved up the Clyde toward the City. Now, all but one of the shipyards are gone and torn down, receding like the tide of the centuries, revealing the castle again. It’s an obscure, lonely place, though; we are perhaps only the second set of visitors that day, even though it was a lovely, sunny May Saturday. The Historic Scotland person – ticket-taker, docent, shop-keeper, maintenance- and handyperson all rolled into one – appeared to be bored or lonely, and talked at us for quite awhile. “A hidden gem”, he called the castle. And he was right: the late medieval square tower; the 1690’s house, with its well-lit great hall, kitchen below, gallery above; modern parkland (where shipyards used to be), all overlooking the Clyde estuary.

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