We woke before dawn on Friday to what became another bright, sunny day. The last week or so has persuaded us that spring might really be here although we have had some night frosts. I had a meeting to attend in Liverpool and so was on my usual early train, quiet with commuters reading, listening to music or catching up on sleep. The meeting finished, I caught a train to Wigan North Western where James was going to pick me up and drive on to Edinburgh. This train was also quiet as most people were heading into the city, not away from it. Just before St Helens, I saw an abandoned factory and covered in street art and wondered about finding it some time to add to my abandoned and derelict photography collection. As I was early, I took a stroll into the town centre where people sat in the sun having their lunch and a busker played while his dog snoozed, soaking up the heat. I had a coffee and the woman behind the counter (whose hairdo resembled that of Bet Lynch from Coronation Street) debated how many celebrities had died this year with another member of staff. Her broad Lancastrian accent reminded me that I had indeed left Merseyside behind me. Back at the station, a hen party had commandeered the ladies toilets in order to get changed and made up before catching their train so I stood in a queue there for quite a while. James arrived eventually and we headed north. Rooks busy in the rookeries and lambs playing in the fields alongside the M6 and A7 all added to the spring feeling.
Saturday morning was devoted to art, the afternoon to a walk with friends around the Hermitage of Braid and the evening to film. The Scottish Gallery of Modern Art has several exhibitions but art begins outside with installations and landscaping.
Inside, a small exhibition of Bridget Riley’s work charted her progress from monochrome to colour and back to monochrome. There were also several other displays of pop art and Young British Artists whose work involves a variety of media. I enjoyed seeing David Hockney’s Rocky Mountains and Tired Indians, painted during a residency he undertook in Boulder, Colorado and Jessica Warboy’s Sea Painting, Skateraw Bay 2016.
The evening’s treat was Dheepan, a very powerful and moving film. Today, on our journey back south, the weather seemed to chime with Bridget Riley’s journey in paint as the sun disappeared and were treated to very heavy rain which could in no way be described as an April shower. There was even some snow on a Pennine Ridge – back to monochrome.