Category Archives: Scotland

What to do in Scotland; attractions in Scotland and the best places to visit in Scotland.

Poppies by Max Brand and Joanne Robertson at the Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow

The Poppies exhibition, by artists Max Brand and Joannne Robertson, is on at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow until 11 June 2017. This debut collaboration features paintings, sculptures and a musical work from Berlin based Brand and London based Robertson.

I wasn’t too keen on various clothes rails around the exhibition. Clothes installations seems to be popular at the moment. I saw one at the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at the Switch House at the Tate Modern in London last Summer, and another recently in which all the walls of a room were hung with clothes at the Centre Pompidou in Malaga during my recent visit to the Spanish city.

I did like the vivid colours of the wall hung canvases and the floor and wall murals in the Poppies exhibition.

I spotted some carrier bags in the materials used to construct the sculptures.

My favourite part of the Poppies exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow were the window decorations.

There were also some painted sheets suspended from the ceiling.

I have thought about doing painting some murals on the walls at home. I suppose that if I used pastels, it wouldn’t be too hard to wash the mural off the wall, if it didn’t turn out successfully.

The Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow is free to enter, It’s open seven days a week. But check the opening hours before visiting. I almost got caught out visiting on Sunday morning, as I assumed that the Gallery would open at 10am, but it’s 11am on Sundays and Fridays. Closing time is 5pm, except on Thursdays, when it’s 8pm.

Mark by Mark Wallinger at the Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh

Mark by Mark Wallinger is on at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh until 4 June 2017. The Fruitmarket Galley is located in Market Street, close to the southern pedestrian exit of Waverley railway station. It’s free to enter and the gallery is open seven days a week, Monday to Saturday 11am to 6pm and Sunday 11am to 5pm.

On the ground floor is the According to Mark installation featuring 100 chairs. Attached to each the chairs is a thread. All the threads converge at a central point on the wall at the front of the installation.

Self Portraits alludes to how all of us can act very differently in various environments and situations.

I am Innocent is a revolving double sided reproduction of Velazquez’s portrait of Pope Innocent X.

Wallinger used his own hands in Ego.

Four of Wallinger’s 66 id Paintings are on display.

Below is id Panting 44.

Below is id Painring 50.

The other part of the Mark by Mark Wallinger exhibition is on at Dundee Contemporary Arts, until 4 June 2017.

Now Exhibition at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Edinburgh

The first part of the three year long NOW exhibition is on at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art until 24 September 2017.

A fair part of the exhibition consists of work by the Glaswegian artist Nathan Coley.

It was a bit alarming to see smoke coming for the recently opened Switch House in Coley’s ‘Tate Modern on Fire’.

Another iconic London landmark is featured in Coley’s ‘Paul’

The rear of ‘Paul’ reminded me of a dolls house.

Coley’s installation ‘The Lamp of Sacrifice, 286 Places of Worship’ features cardboard models of all the places of worship in Edinburgh listed in 2004.

I loved the texture and colour of the moon in Jock McFadyen’s ‘Calton Hill’.

In the same room Peter Doig’s ‘Milky Way’ is on display.

Another piece which caught my eye was ‘State’ by Louise Hopkins.

China Red Buffet Restaurant in New Market Road Edinburgh

We had lunch at the China Red buffet restaurant in New Market Road,next to the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh, on a Sunday. We’d eaten at the other China Red in Grindlay Street, next to the Usher Hall, on several occasions.

I was keen to try the New Market Road branch as it advertised a double decker rotational food belt. The opportunity to eat at this restaurant to came when I attended the Edinburgh Art Fair in the adjacent Corn Exchange.


The portion sizes were small, which was good if you wanted to try something. The resultant large pile of empty serving dished on the table made me feel greedy. It was a bit frustrating waiting for some dish to do the round if you happened to be chatting when it first passed by.


Most of the dishes which I tried were good. Some of the dishes were lukewarm, as opposed to hot. I mainly stuck to fish dishes, predominantly prawns and salmon. We regularly eat chicken at home, so I try to eat different things when I am eating out. I tried some lamb which wasn’t great.

The only dish that you had to get up from the table to fetch was ice cream.

It costs £15 per adult to eat at the China Red buffet restaurant in New Market Street on Sunday from noon to 10pm. I had a 10% discount voucher, so paid £27 for two diners.

I prefer the more traditional buffet lay out of China Red in Grindlay Sreet, where you go over to the counter to select food. Also the Grindlay Street restaurant is in the city centre; I’m much more likely to be around there than out at the Corn Exchange.

Now 2 at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art Edinburgh

The Now 2 exhibition at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art runs until 18 February 2018. Below are photos of my favourite sections of the exhibition.

Michael Armitage’s large oil paintings on lubago (bark cloth from Uganda) were impressive. They depict scenes in Kenya.

Yto Barrada’s photos are of dolls collected by missionaries in North Africa during the 1930s.

It’s the Turner Prize winning Scottish artist Susan Philipz who has the most floor space at the Now 2 exhibition.

Electra features photos of the remnants of Marconi’s wireless ship called Electra, which was built in Leith. The ship was destroyed during WW2.

The other work by Philipsz Seven Tears spans two rooms. In one, there are works made with salt on canvas. My photos don’t really do them justice, as they have texture and sparkle, which doesn’t come through on the photos.

In the other room, there are seven synchronised record players, each of which plays a single note from John Downland’s Lachramae.

Karla Black Sculptures at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art Edinburgh

When I was in Edinburgh in late November 2016, I visited the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. I had limited time to spend at the gallery, so I decided to stick to one exhibition Karla Black and Kishio Suga | A New Order.

I much preferred the pieces by Karla Black, a Scottish artist based in Glasgow.

My favourite was an installation featuring ‘Can’t Regard’ (made of pastel panels) and ‘Recognises’ (made of cellophane and paint.



Below are some further sculptures by Karla Black which I liked,


‘Couldn’t Want’


‘Invite Often’


‘Other Civil Words’

The Karla Black and Kishio Suga | A New Order exhibition runs until 19 February 2017 at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. Admission is free of charge. The gallery is open every day from 10am – 5pm.

Street of Light Edinburgh

The Street of Light performance in George Street in Edinburgh runs every evening at 6pm and 8pm until 24 December 2016.


The event is free to attend, but you need to book tickets in advance. Even if you don’t get a ticket you can see the show from the pavement on either side.

Street of Light Edinburgh

For some reason, I thought that there was live music from a choir at the Street of Light. But it’s a playback of recorded music.


You need to wear warm clothing as George Street can be a bit of a wind tunnel. I had on double trousers, a jacket with fleece lining, gloves and an insulated hat with my hood up and I was just warm enough.


There are also some pretty light projections on buildings on George Street.




Photo Tour of the Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling, Scotland

As I hadn’t been to the Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling for decades, and the weather forecast predicted rain, I decided to pay a visit during a recent trip to the area.

I wasn’t able to take any photos of the exterior, or the garden, of the Smith Stirling, as  heavy rain had started just before I arrived.

The entrance to the Smith Stirling is attractive, with large blue doors and colourful stained glass.

entrance to smith stirling

I started off in the Lecture Theatre, which had stained glass windows depicting Scottish scenes. Quite often the scenes on stained glass windows have titles, but I didn’t spot any. I thought that the one below might be of Cambuskenneth Abbey.

stained glass abbey at stirling smith

I didn’t recognise the location of the river portrayed below.

waterfall stained glass at stirling smith

There was also some more modern stained glass, depicting local attractions such as the Wallace Monument.

local scenes stained glass at stirling smith

Local landscapes were also featured in a ‘2014 Stirling’ textile art piece.

2014 textile art at Smith Stirling

My favourite section portrayed Stirling Castle, Stirling Bridge and the Wallace Monument against the backdrop of the Ochil Hills.

wallace monument stirling bridge and stirling castle textile art at stirling smith

In another section, I thought that top left was the bell tower at Cambuskenneth Abbey, top right was Stirling Castle, middle left was the Smith Stirling and middle right was Stirling Bridge. I wasn’t sure about the bottom two.

local scenes textile art at stirling smith

There were some relief sculptures on the wall. I thought that the one below looked rather like the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

relief sculpture at stirling smith

The Wallace Sword in the painting below is now on display at the Wallace Monument.

bruce receiving the wallace sword at stirling smith

I liked the painting of the miner.

miner at stirling smith

The series of German towns and cities was painted by Otto Lamb, a German prisoner of war in the 1940s. From memory, Lamb painted directly on the walls of the camp’s Assembly Hall.

I recognised the cathedral in Ulm, as Amanda has written an article on Europe a la Carte about it being the tallest church in the world.

smith stirling ulm by otto lamb

I’d never heard of the town of Braubach. It’s situated on the banks of the River Rhine, close to Koblenz.

braubach by otto lamb at the smith stirling

Another painting which caught my attention was ‘Outside Right at Sunset Gate’ by Steven Campbell.

outside right at sunset gate at the stirling smith

‘The Pity of War’ by Anda Paterson was on loan from the Scottish CND.

the pity of war at the smith stirling

The Smith Art Gallery and Museum is free to enter. It’s located a ten minute walk from Stirling’s city centre. There’s free parking for visitors. You need to ask for a token at the reception desk to open the barrier when leaving. It’s closed on Mondays, open 10am to 5pm Tuesdays to Saturdays and 2pm to 5pm Sundays. The cafe at the Smith looked pretty popular with locals.

Damian Ortega’s ‘States of Time’ at the Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh

The ‘States of Time’ exhibition by the Mexican artist Damian Ortega at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh runs until 23 October 2016.

All the work featured was created specifically for the ‘States of Time’ exhibition, which focuses on the interaction of the forces of nature and the earth. Most of the work was made using clay.

I wasn’t that keen on the first piece I saw ‘Broken Sac’. It was like one boulder surrounded by smaller stones.  I later read that the work was inspired by a crab on a beach making a home by digging out small balls of sand from a larger mass.


The five sculptures in ‘Eroded Valley’, depicting river erosion in a plain, were more appealing to me.



‘Eroded Valley’ reminded me of ‘Bed’ by Antony Gormley, which I’d see at Tate Britain in London. The bed in Gormley’s work from 1980-81 was created with 8,640 slices of white bread which he dried and tipped in paraffin wax.


In a small room off the main exhibition space on the ground of the Fruitmarket Gallery, there were three sculptures hanging from the ceiling. I thought of them as a cross between mobiles (defined as decorative hanging sculpture suspended so that it can move freely in the air), and unevenly beaded door curtains.



There was another set of mobiles/beaded curtains hanging above the stairs to the first floor. In the video about the exhibition Ortego likened this installation to clouds, entitling it ‘Altocumulus’.


A large display cabinet housed ‘Abrasive Objects’. a variety of clay models of tools.


The clay used in ‘Icebergs’ had been painted and glazed.



I thought that ‘Lava Waves’ evoked a feeling of movement and unleashed energy.



If you’re in central Edinburgh before 24 October 2016, I recommend that you pop into the Fruitmarket Gallery to see ‘States of Time’ by Damian Ortega. It’s free to enter. The gallery is open seven days a week from 11am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, and noon to 5pm on Sunday.

Romantic Getaway Ideas: The Edinburgh Festival

Has your other half been hinting about spending more quality time together? A surprise getaway is just what you need, and finding an unusual destination will certainly win you some brownie points.

Edinburgh is a historic city with a romance that’s captured the imagination of loved up couples for centuries. But come August the population more than doubles as festivals of theatre, comedy, music, and literature kick off month-long runs.

festival theatre edinburgh

As fun as this is, it might not seem like the ideal time for seekers of a peaceful couple’s break to visit Scotland’s capital.

But with a little inside knowledge, the hustle and bustle is easy to manage. Do the festival right and you’ll be able to cram plenty of relaxation and unique dates into one short weekend.

Here are a few top tips to make your weekend at the Edinburgh Festival as romantic as possible.

Tip #1: Start your journey right

Travelling can be a recipe for disaster. Delays, wrong turns and forgotten passports – there are just too many precarious elements with the potential to trigger a blowout argument.

Proper planning will limit fallouts. If you’re flying, then using a service like meet and greet and parking at Stansted airport will add a little luxury, and prevent any arguments over dodgy reversing and rip-off charges.

Tip #2: See your favourite comedian

Alcohol, a good laugh and hopefully a few conversation starters – going to see a comedy show is a pretty perfect date idea. For comedians the Edinburgh festival is a rite of passage. Tickets for big names normally sell out months in advance, but the Fringe also stages free shows from up and coming entertainers.

Tip #3: Take a romantic stroll

edinburgh castle

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Edinburgh is a beautiful city. The castle should be top of your must-see list, but having a wander and getting a little lost is a much more romantic way to take in the sights.

The Royal Mile is another must-visit, but be warned that it will be packed with fellow tourists and canvassers trying to sell tickets. Away from the centre, Stockbridge is home to the city’s hippest cafes and shops and is well worth a visit.

Tip #4: Eat, drink and be merry

restaurant by water of leith in stockbridge edinburgh

If there’s one thing Scotland’s renowned for it’s knowing how to have a good time. Late licenses allow alcohol to be served until 5am, so if you’re a fan of clubs and pubs you’ll have plenty of time to explore Edinburgh’s many offerings.

The city centre is crammed full of pop-up bars and restaurants during the festival, so there’s plenty of opportunity to indulge in some romantic alfresco dining.

Do you have any tips or cheats for making the most out of the Edinburgh Festival season?