Tuesday, February 12, 2019

We had a grand day out, but V&A Dundee is a major disappointment. The real V&A is one of the wonders of the world, stuffed with beautiful and interesting and unusual things from all over everywhere. I’m sure they could have spared a couple of trainloads, on loan.

Over lunch (at the Dundee Contemporary Arts centre, down the road) we tried to think of disappointing museums which might rival what we had just seen. I couldn’t produce one, but Helen and her sons suggested the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle in Thessaloniki.

The Dundee V&A is on the waterfront, right next to the three-masted “Discovery” which took Scott and Shackelton to the Antarctic. One might have hoped for some light and air. No. The ground floor is entirely devoted to cafĂ© and shop – it was crowded, and the effect bordered on the squalid. Upstairs there is the gallery of Scottish design (a few things there) and the exhibition gallery – that one contained a show about ocean liners which might have been mildly interesting, but was prohibitively expensive.

There was some knitting in the design gallery – a “Fair Isle” jumper in natural colours, and an exquisitely fine lace hap. The jumper had its sleeves folded across its chest so that I couldn’t follow the sequence of patterns up the body. I stood there looking, though, and felt pleased with myself that I had at last succeeded at corrugated knitting. I put “Fair Isle” in inverted commas because I would, myself, reserve the term for something with some colour in it.

I did learn in that gallery – here’s a tidbit for you – that kaleidoscopes were invented in Edinburgh in the early 19th century.

Much else to say, but I’m very tired.


  1. Anonymous12:42 PM

    It does sound like a nice outing...good friends with interesting places to go... what more is there other than corrugated knitting. will have to try my hand at that. glad to hear you had a good time.

  2. What a disappointment! It sounded so promising.
    I'm pressing on with "Cousin Phyllis" and I can feel Steerforth shaped clouds gathering on the horizon.

  3. =Tamar3:53 PM

    There was that one period where the natural-colors Fair Isle was what sold, but one would think they would have had a companion example from the era of "hooray for aniline dyes". I hope the lace was displayed well.

  4. I’ve been away from all things computer for a week or so. I did think of you, Jean, because I was helping my oldest friend whose husband died from Type 2 Diabetes. My goal was to remove all traces of in-home dialysis and assorted medical paraphernalia and get the apartment back to looking like a home. We nearly made it, but I got no knitting done except on the plane. I’m not a horror far, but Stephen King has written some good non-horror, hasn’t he? Have you read Delores Claiborne? That was a good movie, as well.

  5. I nominate The Butter Museum in Cork.

    1. I'll remember that. I think we have struck a useful vein of enquiry here.