To celebrate Katherine’s new position as Prof at the University of Edinburgh and the family’s acquisition of a new house, another visit to Edinburgh was called for. The first thing they had which was new was a useable garden….space for Aiisha to ride about in (when she wasn’t using the new climbing frame). Plenty of space for clothes drying too!Grandma and Aiisha were soon hard at work clearing up after a blowy day……But we were soon all out and about in beautiful Edinburgh…and waiting for the bus which would take us to Almond Valley Discovery Centre where we all had amazing fun…..This place had no end of surprises including a ‘Musical Wood’ with loads of large instruments to play…..
and very well-looked after animals of all kinds…here some rheas guarding lots of very large eggs (the male does most of the incubation….there’s sexual equality for you)……and when we went on the train journey around the grounds we saw lots more and with a knowledgeable commentary….We didn’t miss the lamb feeding…..this must be easy…….in fact the lambs were so greedy it was difficult to maintain hold of the bottles….….more adventures before we left. We all thoroughly enjoyed the day and I can’t recommend this place highly enough…..do go there if you get chance.Another day involved a visit to the National Museum, always a treat….When Grandad and Grandma were left alone with Aiisha (a rare night out for Katherine and Nasar…very rare, they must do it more often) it involved dressing up…and bed-time…that must be easypeasy with all our experience…not in bed yet…..…..and teeth to brush….Phewww…….Another day, and first a scoot across The Meadows…this hill looks tough….…and a bus to Dalkeith Country Park a real favourite…Dalkeith Palace is currently home to the University of Wisconsin…..First, the cage drop to negotiate, suspended from a bridge over the gorge…I wouldn’t do it…….Then more fun…….for children and Mums….Lovely grounds to admire…and a brilliant restaurant…some people are enjoying their meal……Just time for a climb on the way home…An adult theme today with a visit to Dalmeny House Dalmeny House was completed in 1817 and sits in rolling parkland to the West of Edinburgh. With spectacular views overlooking the Firth of Forth, the house is home to The 7th Earl and Countess of Rosebery, of whom more later. The House contains two intermingled collections of art and objects: the Rosebery and Rothschild collections. Meticulously curated by Lady Rosebery.
“The Rosebery Collection incorporates both the pieces collected by the earlier Earls of Rosebery for Barnbougle Castle and the newly-built Dalmeny House and those assembled by the 5th Earl of Rosebery. This collection of pictures and furniture includes fine views of the Estate and Edinburgh by some of the best-known Scottish painters. It also includes furniture made for the house and the family portraits in the Hall, Library and Dining Room. The 5th Earl and his wife, Hannah de Rothschild, continued to build on the astounding collection of art and fine furniture which her father, Baron Meyer de Rothschild, had begun. Their letters and diaries reveal a great happiness in seeking out new treasures together.
Baron Meyer de Rothschild, Nathan’s third son, built Mentmore Towers, which he furnished with a dazzling collection of art and objects dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries. It was a time when the misfortunes of the variousEuropean royal families had released on to the market a great number of pieces of the highest quality. Baron Meyer and his agents were quick to acquire many masterworks of decorative art from the previous three centuries.
Baron Mayer had only one child, Hannah, to whom Mentmore was left after he and his wife died in 1874 and 1875. Hannah married the 5th Earl of Rosebery in 1878, bringing this wonderful collection into the Rosebery family. The two continued to add to the collection until Hannah’s tragically early death in 1890. At the death of the 6th Earl of Rosebery in 1974, it became necessary to sell Mentmore Towers and most of its contents to pay death duties. Many of the best objects, however, including the contents of the Drawing Room and the porcelain, were brought up to Dalmeny House to complement the Rosebery collection already there.” The drawing room has particularly fine French furniture
The 5th Earl was absolutely smitten with Napoleon and started to collect whatever artefacts he could, eventually setting up a special room for his collection -the most important outside France…..He He made some major coups, including David’s portrait of Napoleon (now in the Smithsonian in Washington) and Napoleon’s superb travelling library. To them he added the cushion on which Napoleon’s head had rested on his death bed, a desk and chair and even the shutters of his bedroom from Longwood on St Helena, his throne as First Consul, a magnificent shaving stand from the Palace of Compiègne, and some outstanding portraits of Napoleon and members of his family by Appiani, Lefebvre, Girodet and Wicar, By way of contrast, it also contains the ingenious collapsible campaign chair of the Emperor’s most redoubtable opponent, the Duke of Wellington. After the interesting tour of the house with the knowlegeable guide we adjourned to the dining room for tea and cake and there had a lovely chat to the Countess (the Earl had already popped in for a caramel slice). There seem to be very few visitors, so she is obviously keen to make the best impression. The House desrves a lot more. We had already looked around the grounds……a most enjoyable day yet again.A highlight of our visit was a family outing on the new Waverley rail line, the longest new stretch of domestic railway built in the UK in over a century. It terminates at Abbotsford, the Borders home of Sir Walter Scott…..Just an hour’s ride from Edinburgh through beautiful countryside……Our first sight of the house itself was from the restaurant in the Visitor Centre, a beautiful modern building with, as well as the restaurant, an excellent museum and shop.To get to the entrance we walked through the beautiful gardens including the spectacular walled garden…For the house we chose to have the audio guide with a commentary by Sir Walter himself. This was exemplary and chock full of interest. Our starting point in the Hall gave us a good idea of what to expect…decoration that is way over the top but at the same time rather homely…..a home you might be glad to visit (as many famous people did). Plenty of places to admire the view….a library which is quite obviously the heart of the home….and lots to admire including the books themselves, a fascinating collection as you would expect…….even the celing and light were spectacular……There wasn’t a single room that was not a sheer delight….including rather surprisingly a rather large armouryThe one restrained room was the dining room re-decorated by his French wife after his death….I mentioned the famous people who came to call – one was JMW Turner with whom he had a very up and down relationship. Anyway great to see Turner’s palette and travelling case….On the way out a mounting stone in the guise of a favourite Scott dog, proved a hit with some….On the way back after passing through the walled garden again we examined some Roman plaques. These had been plucked by Scott himself from a site on the Roman wall…..those were the days!Without a doubt one of the most interesting houses I have visited. I would love to go again…… We had as usual a lovely time in Edinburgh and it was fantastic to see Katherine and Nasar’s new house taking shape, only a very few finishing touches needed including stair carpet……..but after all the angst in moving, it’s definitely a house to be happy in……