Thursday, December 10, 2009

Edinburgh: Indoors

This post shall be about things that are indoors in Edinburgh. It shall include only places I dared to go into (the Children's Museum is the scariest place on earth and you couldn't pay me to go there again - who needs a ghost tour when you can wander alone on the third floor of a deserted museum full of decaying, hundred-year-old dolls staring at you with their beady little eyes?), and of those, only places I was allowed to take pictures. So I will not be showing you the crown jewels. Sorry.

Being in Scotland, there was of course a lot of plaid, especially in the Tartan Weaving Mill & Exhibition. Here's the mill part:

And here's the exhibition:

This proves that terrifying mannequins are universal. Their outfits were quite nice though. I fancy the tartan tights. Well, not really. I just wanted to use "tartan tights" in a sentence.

The Museum of Scotland is full of cool stuff. For example, glass models of exotic sea creatures!

They were made in the late nineteenth-century by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka for natural history museums throughout the world. There were a lot of them and they were incredible.

And bottles, for no special reason.

I didn't take a picture of the caption, so I guess they were only pretty, and not intrinsically interesting.

This is a picture I took specifically for Simon P., because we had been talking about Fresnel lenses (six months ago). I don't remember why. And from this picture I can't tell whether this actually is one.

Anyway, interesting fact: this display is all about Robert Stevenson, who was not only an innovater in the use of Fresnel lenses in lighthouses, but ALSO the grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Now, the moment you've been waiting for since I mentioned them a couple of posts ago... the Lewis Chessmen!

They are from the twelfth century and were found in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. Like real Vikings, they are very cute. Look at those little hands! And those bulging eyes! They're just like bad-tempered babies! And that's all I had to say about them. When I said it was going to be really interesting, I lied. That's called marketing.

I was somewhat surprised to come face to face with Dolly in the middle of the kids' area of this museum. First of all, I forgot she was Scottish. Secondly, I didn't know she'd been stuffed.

Stop me if you knew this, but the reason some people think Dolly only lived to be six is because her "mother" was already six when she was cloned. So Dolly was basically born at the age of six. Which would explain why she got arthritis when she was only five. That, if I may say so, sucks. Poor Dolly.

They also had a robot that could spell your name in blocks. It was mesmerizing.

And the rest of the time we were outside.


simhedges said...

I've just noticed that cunningly all the names of your photos of Scotland are prefixed with "England". I won't tell the Scots if you don't -)

Simon said...

Ha, good, let's just keep that little slip-up a secret! In my defense, my trip started and ended in England, and most of the middle was in England too, and all the photos are bunched together. But that's no excuse. Drat!