Friday, 13 August 2010

Glasgow and Edinburgh

With Rowan (complaining, as ever, that he "didn't want to go to Sandy nursery" - the name he gives Fairmile, where his pal and neiighbour Sandy Power goes too) and Angus (toddling into his room under his own steam) at nursery, I headed through to Glasgow with the big two to visit the Science Centre. It reminded me of the science part of the museum in Edinburgh but with a fair bit more to it and considerable cost! I found it quite ennervating, probably due to a combination of its design and the amount of children running about. It looks like a solid billowing sail with the "windward" side that faces the Clyde made of glass.

Sean and Finn had fun playing with the various interactive exhibits although after lunch they gravitated to anything that smacked of using a computer: designing wallpaper or playing a pick-up groceries game. There was an interesting Wallace & Gromit exhibition celebating innovation and Finn spent a good while making geometric shapes using pieces that snapped together. The boys seemed less interested in the science element of what they were seeing or interacting with and more stimulated by whether or not it was entertaining, e.g. the bubbles pumping through the viscous liquid or the massive marble run or the clever clock that fired balls around until they poured into a steel framework representing the clock face and hands to indicate the time.

The trip home, after a brief blast of fresh air sitting by the Clyde in front of the BBC Scotland HQ, was a typically tedious negotiation of Glasgow in the early rush hour, with incidents and closed lanes reducing the M8 to a crawl. I just got home in time to pick up the wee two.

On Friday I decided to have a Fringe day with Sean and Finn, minus Rowan and Angus. Rowan especially would be a liability in the big crowds that gather on the Royal Mile. We parked at St. John's Hill and walked up to the Pleasance which is probably my favourite Fringe place these days since the fiery demise of the Gilded Balloon some years ago. After a wander through the nooks and crannies there we strolled up to Bristo Square and across George IV Bridge to the High St. There we caught the start of an Irish lad doing his street performance which involved juggling up to seven balls, then a bit of fire-eating and finally juggling flaming torches atop an 8 foot tall unicycle. The boys got a good view at the front of the crowd. Next we caught the end of a Geordie contortionist who escaped from a straight-jacket, mangling his double joints almost as much as the English language in the process.

We returned to the Pleasance where Sean and Finn entertained themselves in a kids' zone play ark while I had a cup of tea and looked longingly at the muffin I'd bought for the boys. It was a good afternoon out, giving the boys at least a taster of the busy, cosmopolitan city they live in at Festival time.

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