What I did on my holiday

Well, we’ve had the end of the Festival fireworks so that’s it,  summer is officially over for another year.

Finale of the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival

Finale of the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival  by Scott Barron on Flickr

In time honoured “back to school” tradition I thought I’d tell you about a couple of  museums that I’d not been to before, but finally managed to visit during the very occasional sunny days we had this summer.

Knowing how much I like textiles, a few people had been telling me to get myself down to the Borders Textiles Towerhouse in Hawick. So, catching the bus one Saturday morning  I headed down through the Lammermuir Hills to the historic Border town. The museum did not disappoint. I was given a really warm welcome and there were all sorts of textiles to look at. I’d managed to time it so that I caught an exhibition of work by a quilting group, showing a real mix of styles and techniques. I also really enjoyed the various Border towns’ coats of arms which were made by pupils from local schools, giving them a chance to work with fabric. There was a very interesting short film describing the history of the Towerhouse, which was previously known as Drumlanrig’s Tower. It’s had quite a lively and varied past. My favourite thing though had to be the exhibition of Hawick’s role in the cashmere fashion industry. I really liked seeing how yarn went from raw materal being spun and knitted on machines, through quality control, to end up on the catwalk. There are some amazing examples of really high quality cashmere garments on display. If you have an interest in fashion or textiles, then this is the museum for you!

While I was in Hawick I couldn’t resist a stroll through the lovely Wilton Lodge Park to check out the Hawick Museum. I’d heard that the museum had exhibitions celebrating two famous motorcycling sons of Hawick, Jimmie Guthrie and Steve Hislop. It’s really interesting to compare their motorcycling experience as  Guthrie was racing during 1920s to 1930s and Hislop raced from 1980s to 2003. Both exhibitions have great artefacts spanning the careers of the two bikers, from trophies to racing gear to the bikes that they actually rode.

My second outing was also to the Borders. The sun was glorious on the day I took a trip to Paxton House. This may seem a bit a of trek but in fact it really is quick and easy to get to. I got the train to Berwick upon Tweed, then the number 32 bus from right next to the station. This handy service drops you right at the door of the museum. What could be easier than that?

The house really is wonderful, and we were given a guided tour by a very knowledgeable guide. I think my favourite part is probably the kitchen, closely followed by the amazing pieces of furniture scattered throughout the rest of the house. If you are a fan of Chippendale then I recommend a visit. There is a packed programme of events so  check out their website to find out more.

I was glad that I had such good weather as the grounds are quite extensive with some beautiful walkways. There is  a lovely path along the riverbank which has a woodland walk at each end. I also found a great spot to sit by the lily pond in the gardens at the back of the house (just what I needed to rest myself after a big slice of cake in the cafe!)

The garden pond at Paxton House in the Scottish Borders

The garden pond at Paxton House in the Scottish Borders by Karen V Bryan on Flickr

So what museums did the rest of you visit this summer?

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