If the weather is dry one of my favourite places to visit in Dundee, is Barnhill Rock Garden, in the seaside suburb of Broughty Ferry.
It’s usually quite sheltered in the garden, with the trees and shrubs offering some respite if there is an easterly wind. I’ve visited at all times of year.
There are plenty of benches and picnic tables in the garden. Plus, there is free on street parking and the all important public toilets.
I really like sitting by the pond, but there is only one bench with a good view of the pond.
It never seems to be too busy at Barnhill Rock Garden. If it’s a good day weather wise, most people seem to head for the beach. If the weather isn’t great, the cafes in Broughty Ferry are more appealing to many.
When I visited Barnhill Rock Garden last Summer, there was one of the giant penguin sculptures which formed Maggie’s Penguin Parade.
I visited the V&A Dundee in mid October 2018, around three weeks after the museum opened. As a Dundonian, I was expecting great things of the V&A Dundee.
I’d seen the construction progress during visits to the city over the last couple of years. I thought that the building looked like a large dark ship jutting out on the Tay Estuary. I really liked it.
It was cloudy morning, with heavy rain forecast for later, when I arrived in Dundee. Therefore, I started off my visit with a good walk around the exterior of the V&A Dundee, in the hope of avoiding the heavy rain.
However, as I looked at the building close up, I wasn’t so impressed. It appears to be constructed mainly with concrete. You can see the large steel brackets which secure the concrete slabs at an angle.
My disappointment continued inside the V&A Dundee. There was so much space, but so little to see (free of charge). There was the Ocean Liners exhibition, but as it cost £12 for adult entry. I didn’t go in.
On the ground floor, there was an information/ticket desk, a gift shop and a cafe. The cafe become really busy during my visit. There weren’t enough tables and chairs, customers were having to take their drinks and snacks over to the seating at the bottom of the walls.
With a southerly aspect on an estuary, I expected great views from the museum. But no, there were only some letter box style windows, most of them located well above eye level. Surely, particularly in Scotland, you’d want to let as much natural light as possible into a building?
The best part of top floor which had large windows with views to the estuary and the adjacent Discovery Point, was a restaurant and bar. We attempted to go there for a coffee, but were told that the tables were reserved for those having a meal. So much for the architects claim of of the V&A Dundee being a living room for the city.
Now I reckon that you could easily see the free sections of the V&A Dundee, both located on the top floor, in under one hour
There was an exhibition called the Scottish Design Relay on the landing. Young people throughout Scotland were challenged to co-design a new object, service or artwork.
There was a queue to enter the Design Galleries. There were interesting exhibits such as the Rennie Mackintosh Oak Room, some tapestries, clothing and an interactive display on wellie construction.
I liked Ciara Phillip’s ‘This, looped’ installation beside the queuing area for the Design Galleries.
I thought that some of the best views of the exterior of V&A Dundee were from the adjacent Discovery Point. I was able to enter Discover Point free of charge using my National Art Pass.
My recommendation would be to go into the V&A Dundee when it’s quieter. Either early, arriving at the opening time of 10am, or arriving later around 4pm. There is plenty else to see and do on a trip to Dundee. I recommend the Mcmanus Galleries, Dundee Contemporary Arts and Discovery Point.
With a price tag of £80m, the V&A Dundee should have wowed me. I don’t even blame the architect Kengo Kuma. Architects have their flights of fancy. It was up to the client to say ‘hold on a minute, where are the windows, to let in natural light and expose the views, and the space for the exhibits’? In my opinion, in design terms, as public space, and a as a museum, the building is a total flop. Looking good from a distance is not as important as the interior fulfilling its purpose.
Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) is hosting the first major exhibition in Europe of work of the American artist Eve Fowler.
The work is influenced by the American writer Gertrude Stein. Many of the pieces are text.
There is also a film by Eve Fowler, with it which it as if it is to be. The film features female artists based in New York and LA, filmed creating their work. There is a soundtrack of various female voices reading from Stein’s Many Many Women.
The exhibition is not the most accessible to those not into contemporary art. But I like to give different types of art, which might not initially appeal to me, a try.
The exhibition is free to enter and runs until 26 August 2018. It’s open daily from 10am to 6pm, with late opening until 8pm on a Thursday.
Andrew Logan’s sculptures, constructed with broken tiles, mirrors, jewels, resin and glitter, appealed to me. The head in the cage below reminded me of Louise Bourgeois’ cells, which I’ve seen at Tate Modern in London. Although Logan’s subject looked a lot happier, and more glamourous, than the occupants of Bourgeois’ cells.
If you’re in Dundee, why not take a look at Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness at DCA. It’s free to enter. It’s open every day from 10.00 to 18.00, with late opening until 20.00 on Thursday. My Dad is a fan of the Jute Cafe Bar at DCA.
Wneh I stayed at the Fisherman’s Tavern in Broughty Ferry, a coastal suburb north of Dundee city centre, in late November, I decided to go for a walk along the Tay Estuary immediately after breakfast. It was a really sunny, but cold and breezy, morning.
Broughty Ferry RNLI station is located close to the Fisherman’s Tavern. There’s a private pier out to the lifeboat.
The morning sun illuminated the boat sheds at the Royal Tay Yacht Club.
It was so different looking back towards Broughty Ferry with the low sun shining across the water.
A bit further along in the Dundee direction. there was a sculpture and some seats with inscriptions.
I could see the Tay Road Bridge in the distance.
On my way back I walked down to the public pier. I couldn’t get a good photo of Broughty Ferry Castle, due to the low sun.
If you’re in Broughty Ferry, I recommend a walk along the Estuary towards Dundee.
The Degree Show at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee runs until Sunday 28 May 2017. If at possible, you should get to Dundee to see this fabulous show.
I didn’t have the energy to get round the whole show, as I’d been at the McManus Galleries and Dundee Contemporary Arts earlier that day.
Below are photos of some of my favourites from Fine Arts and Jewellery sections at the 2017 Degree Show at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design.
In the Jewellery section, I thought that the name Zydrune Auksoriute (her work in pictured below) sounded familiar. I checked on Europe a la Carte. Sure enough she was the artist whom I stumbled upon in the Howff Cemetery in Dundee in 2014.
Zydrune hadn’t modelled her own jewellery, but I spotted her (on left) modelling for Jenny Gillies.
Unfortunately, photography wasn’t allowed in the textiles section. I was dazzled by the colours, patterns and textures of the various textiles.
I hope that my photos have enticed you to visit the 2017 Degree Show at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee.
The McManus Galleries, one of Dundee’s most distinctive landmarks, was built in Gothic Revival Style.The gallery and museum, which opened in 1876 as the Albert Institure, was closed to the public for four years between 2006-2010 for major renovations.
Upon entering the building, I was drawn to the stained glass windows in the Cafe.
The beautiful stained glass continued with the depictions of well known Scots, including Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott, on the staircase windows.
On the first floor, the Albert Hall, there was more magnificent stained glass.
I found the ‘Making of Modern Dundee’ section very interesting, although it was rather sad to read about the decline of so many industries in the city.
In the 1870s Dundee was the UK’s largest whaling port. However, that industry had declined by the early 1910s. There’s a collection of whaling equipment, including the harpoons depicted below, in the gallery.
The Tay Rail Bridge opened in 1878, connecting the East Coast line from London. Two years later, the bridge collapsed when a steam train was crossing during a storm, resulting in the death of all passengers and crew.
NCR first started manufacturing cash registers in Dundee in1946, later moving onto the making of ATMs. In its heyday it employed more than 6,000 workers. The manufacturing side of NCR ceased in Dundee in 2009.
Dundee publisher DC Thomson is best known for the Dandy (which ceased publication in 2012) and Beano comics. Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, pictured below, are two of characters in the Beano.
Dundee became known for video game development with the launch of ‘Lemmings’ in 1991 and ‘Grand Theft Auto’ in 1996 by DMA Design. In the late 1990s DMA Design changed ownership three times and the Dundee office closed.
There was a Dundee United football strip from when this local team won the Scottish Premier League in 1983. Known locally as the ‘Tangerines’ the colour of the strip reminded me of the infamous Scottish ‘Irn Bru’ fizzy drink.
The McManus is open Monday to Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sunday from 12.30pm – 4.30pm. Admission is free of charge.
If you’re in Dundee make sure that you visit the McManus Galleries, even if only to admire the interior of the building.
I had lunch at the Taza Indian Buffet restaurant at the City Quay in Dundee in May 2014. I paid £7 for lunch. You can park free of charge for one hour outside the restaurant.
It was a Bank Holiday Monday, so the restaurant was busy. However, I didn’t have to wait for long to get a table. My table had a view to the side of the restaurant, towards what looked like some sort of navigational aid.
I thought that there was a good selection of dishes for starters and main course. My favourite starter was the Aubergine Pakora.
The meat in the Lamb Curry was lean, and I enjoyed the Vegetable Curry.
There was a fair selection of desserts, including Honeydew Melon, Ice Cream and Gareau.
The staff were all very friendly and welcoming.
I’d recommend the Taza Indian Buffet restaurant on Dundee’s City Quay for a reasonably priced tasty meal, Getting a seat by the window at the back of the restaurant with a view of the quayside would be a bonus.