Tuesday Travels. . Morris and Sons, Melbourne

This is my favourite store in Melbourne.  Morris and Sons. You really have to know where to locate the store as it is not at street level.  The store is above Dymocks Book Store at 234 Collins Street.As you can see it is a wool shop.  Why would I be visiting a wool shop when I am trying to get rid of the wool I already own?  I guess I am just a sucker for punishment.  So many wonderful knitterly things to look at, not just knitting but crochet, embroidery and  tapestry.

A magnificent collection of sock wool.

Their window display.

I felt proud of myself when I walked out empty-handed.  I was so tempted to buy more wool but resisted.  Maybe when I am in New Zealand I will buy some possum wool.

Tuesday Travels . . . The Hunterian Museum, Glasgow

You can tell by the entrance to the Hunterian Museum that this was a building of some age.

The architecture was beautiful.

The museum is not huge but there is still a great deal to view as there is a large collection.  Part of the museum was closed off as they were preparing a new exhibition. The exhibition that was featured while we were there was the distance slabs of the Antonine Wall.

I neglected to take a picture of the actual slabs but they were extremely interesting.

This one is from the internet,

“This distance slab was found in 1812 in the Duntocher area of Clydebank, near to a roman fort. These distance slabs were made by the legions to mark the completion of a section of the Antonine wall and have been found in several places along its length. The stone is richly decorated with two roman soldiers flanking two winged females (an unidentified mythological creature) below the central area with the inscription. The inscription translates as: “For the Emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, father of his country, a detachment of the Sixth Victorious, Loyal and Faithful Legion completed the rampart work [over a distance of] 3240 feet”. The sickle or axe shaped banners on either side of the inscription plate are similar to animalistic symbols found on other distance slabs and jewellery from the Roman period and may have been influenced by art from other cultures incorporated within the empire.” (Kevin Grant- University of Glasgow)

They also had some shoes which were the same as those we had seen at Vindolanda, andthey were in beautiful condition.

Once we left the Antonine exhibition we moved into the main display area.

Fascinating exhibits and I particularly loved the huge pictures which were used as teaching aids.

If you are in Glasgow you must certainly visit the Hunterian Museum.

Tuesday Travels. . . Paisley

I would have to say that Paisley was a bit of a disappointment in my view. I had been  looking forward to visiting the Paisley Museum and Art Gallery but unfortunately it had been closed up the day before we arrived and it was to be closed for a few years for major renovations.  Oh dear.  We will need to go back another time.  Paisley is vying to be named UK city of Culture for 2021.

Paisley is probably most commonly associated with the Paisley pattern.

“Paisley refers to a patterned cloth inspired by an ancient Persian design of curved, teardrop shapes in many different colours. The pattern became very popular in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries and its English name comes from the town in southwest Scotland where the cloth was produced.

Between 1800 and 1850, the town of Paisley in Scotland was the world’s leading producer of shawls with the paisley design. At a time when most textile manufacturers were making paisley designs with just two colours, the weavers in Paisley were making their designs with five colours. By 1860, paisley designs from the Scottish town contained up to 15 distinct colours.

In Asia, the pattern has remained a popular design on everything from textiles and clothing to rugs and jewellery. Paisley patterns are often woven with gold or silver thread on silk to make high-quality gifts for special occasions. Paisley is used in a wide range of decorative items including paintings, curtains, table linens and pottery.

Paisley eventually fell out of fashion in Western culture for a time but became popular again in the 1960s thanks to the influence of Eastern-influenced music and psychedelia.” (Macmillan Dictionary)

You can read all about the history of this beautiful pattern here.

While in Paisley we stayed at a wonderful hotel called Ashtree House Hotel. 

The dining room had echoes of Charles Rennie Macintosh furniture.

The view from our sitting room/bedroom.

The hotel was ideal for us as it was only ten minutes drive to the airport for our return to Australia.

One of the attractions we were able to visit in Paisley were The Sma’ Shot Cottages where you get an insight into two distinct periods of Paisley’s weaving history. Admission is free, however, all donations towards the upkeep of the cottages are gratefully accepted.

Paisley was our base for further trips into the centre of Glasgow.

Tuesday Travels. . . Wigtown

On our way back to Glasgow we spent some time in the Scottish border country. We visited Wigtown which is known as Scotland’s National book town.  The fact that it is a booktown was planned as a way to regenerate the town after the demise of the creamery and distillery which closed in the 1990s.  The distillery has since reopened.

The town has certainly been revived and we were lucky to visit just as the Wigtown Book Festival festival was about to begin.  The festival is in its 21st year and it is held every Autumn.

The houses and shops are decorated with temporary art work and it adds to the festive feeling of the place.

There are many enticing bookshops in which to wander but our favourite was the Old Bank Bookshop, crammed to the rafters.

I loved the exterior columns of this shop.

Apart from being a booktown there was also some very interesting history to the town.

“This marks the traditional site of the martyrdom.”

We first read about the martyrs when we visited the churchyard in Wigtown and it prompted us to find out more.

I thought you would be able to read this if you clicked on the photo but that doesn’t work so I have done a screen shot so you get some of the story. (I have since been able to fix the click on the photo so you don’t need the screen shot.)

There were some truly awful punishments relating to religion.

Wigtown was well worth the visit and we then continued our journey to Newton Stewart where we stayed at Creebridge Lodge.

 

Tuesday Travels. . . Vindolanda, near Hexham, England

If you get the chance to visit Hadrian’s Wall in the UK you must also visit Vindolanda.  I have spoken to some travelers who were disappointed with Hadrian’s Wall and felt that there really wasn’t much to look at, which is true if you just look at a bit of wall!This is a model of the fort settlement that is being excavated at Vindolanda.

Vindolanda was a Roman auxiliary fort just south of Hadrian’s Wall in northern England, which it pre-dated. Archaeological excavations of the site show it was under Roman occupation from roughly 85 AD to 370 AD.  I know it isn’t Hadrian’s Wall but it is an amazing piece of history available for all to view.  You can even volunteer to be part of the excavating team.

My husband and I have visited twice now and our visits were four years apart.  It was amazing to see how much more had been uncovered in the four years.

The site has a museum where various uncovered artifacts are displayed.  You need to allow yourself plenty of time to view the site and the museum.  I will let the photos do the talking. You can click on the photos to get them full size.

Tuesday Travels. . . Inverness

I was reliving memories of my childhood visits to Inverness when we came across Inverness station.  My elder sister was in charge of me when we both traveled by train to our uncle’s croft at Boultach in Caithness.  Dad would drop us at Perth where we caught the train to Inverness.  We had to change trains at Inverness and a vivid memory of mine is that we couldn’t find our tickets for the ongoing journey.  A bit of a panic but we did find them thank goodness.

You can see from the announcement boards that there are four pages for the 17.54 journey from Inverness to Wick.  We would get off the train at Helmsdale and then on the bus to Latheronwheel.  Our uncle would be waiting with the tractor at the End of the Smerral Road and my sister and I would sit on the tractor wheel guards for the trip up the road to the croft at Boultach.

You can stay in the station building at Helmsdale as the property was completely refurbished after being out of use for 20 years.

Inverness is a beautiful city and my husband and I spent a couple of nights there before we were to continue on our journey south.  We spent some time exploring the city centre and visited the castle where there were some beautiful views of the river Ness.

We stopped at the Castle Tavern for lunch and the meal we had was absolutely delicious.

Neeps, potato, haggis and Drambuie cream sauce accompanied by oatcakes.  Yum!