Three days ago, my mum had a routine hospital appointment in Perth in the middle of afternoon.
We decided to make a day of it and tootled off for lunch at one of our favourite eateries, the Macmillan Coffee Shop at Quarrymill, on the outskirts of Perth.
It’s been exceptionally cold across Scotland for the past few days, and we were very glad to see a fine selection of soups on offer. My mum and I chose country vegetable while my dad opted for carrot and sweet potato.
Nicely warmed by the soup, we turned our attention to the next course. Rather than indulging in a sweet treat, my dad fancied a brie and cranberry toastie on brown bread. As usual, I couldn’t see past the date and cinnamon scones and my mum was deliciously tempted by a large slice of warm apple pie with cream.
Very happily filled and with plenty of time to spare before the hospital appointment, we ambled off to Perth Museum and Art Gallery for a spot of cultural mooching. We were fortunate to find a parking space nearby, but even the short walk from car to museum was strikingly chilly. It was a case of woolly hats on and hoods up.
Inside, the museum was a sheltered haven of peace and calm, and we almost had the place to ourselves.
I was particularly interested in an exhibition entitled ‘Life in Miniature’, which contained a curious mixture of small items from the Museum’s permanent collection. Among the artefacts were several Ancient Egyptian pieces, including the little Ushabti figure below, whose date was given as ‘circa 2600BC – 30BC’.
Ushabti were carved figures, popped into Egyptian tombs and thought to magically come alive in the hereafter. They acted as servants, carrying out any manual labour required of the deceased, primarily working in the fields of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the afterlife. For that reason, Ushabti often feature agricultural tools. The one above had its arms crossed and a farm implement in each hand. It’s impossible to tell from the photograph how small it was, but I don’t think it can have been much more than 2 inches tall.
Noting that our parking time was nearly up, I coaxed the parents out of The Story of Perth and Kinross exhibition and led them back to the car.
We had parked next to North Inch, the big sister of South Inch, and Perth’s largest public park.
Whereas South Inch is especially attractive to families with young children (containing, as it does, an excellent children’s playground and a duck pond as mentioned in this previous post), North Inch has a particular appeal for certain sports enthusiasts. As well as housing an 18-hole golf course, the park contains rugby and football pitches. Goal posts can be seen in the picture below.
North Inch is one of the world’s oldest golfing locations, the game having been played on this land for more than 500 years. In 1833, one year before the more famous Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St Andrews was given its regal title, Perth Royal Golfing Society became the world’s first royal golf club.
For many people, however, North Inch simply provides a nice green space to stroll around on a sunny day. On this particular day we didn’t have time for strolling, or indeed the inclination given the ferociously icy wind, but it was pleasant to gaze upon the grassy terrain as we made our way back to the car.
By the time we’d been into and come out of the hospital, the sky was growing dark and threatening across the city. It started to hail as we walked to the car, and it’s been hailing and snowing on and off in this part of the world ever since.
Tomorrow is the 1st of May, and the forecasters tell us the weather is expected to warm up a touch (a most welcome change, in my opinion).
In the meantime, we have a birthday to celebrate (my dad is 87 today) and some cake to eat up.