Sunday, April 04, 2021

Houses and gardens in times of Covid

Yesterday, on a warm and windless day, we went with the family to Jupiter Artland, an outdoor sculpture park just outside Edinburgh. It's in the grounds of a manor house. This is the owners'  swimming pool - not, sadly, open for visitors' use; indeed, we've only been allowed to see it on the last two occasions. As you can see, the pool is an artwork in itself. 

This is the very impressive house. The original house was built in 1622, added to over the years and completely remodelled in the Jacobean style in 1858, so most of it is not nearly as old as you'd think from this picture. All the turrets must be spoof. The current owners bought it and its estate in 1999 and made it into the sculpture park - they live in the house and have a private garden (and pool). 

The art is not what you'd choose to have on your walls - like this, which looks like a traditional cottage but is relatively modern. You step in the door and find that the walls are built directly on to an uneven outcrop of stone (or, a facsimile of one). 

This is a fishing net or similar, strung between trees. 

There are various artificial terraced hills, fun to run around. 

This is called The Lovebomb, and despite its rather eerie appearance it's actually made of hugely enlarged photos of various bits of orchids, attached to one another. I assume it's the seed-bearing parts, hence the name. 

It's all a bit odd but the children really like it. Mainly, it's just a lovely walk round a partly-wooded estate, with far-reaching views and strange things to look at in places. 

 As far as beauty is concerned, my garden is just as lovely at the moment, but a lot smaller and I don't think I could charge people to come and admire it. 

No one came forward to buy our items so I changed the £20 to Free and there was much more interest, which says something about human nature. However, it's fine. The filing cabinet and the corner cupboard have gone and the desk has a queue of three people wanting it - the first to ask for it can't collect it till Thursday so we'll wait and see if she does, and if not we'll ask the second in the queue and failing that the third. 

As we knew we would have to, we now have to empty four Billy bookcases and move them about an inch and a half to the left, to make room for the bunk beds we're putting on one side of the study for future small guests. It does seem slightly futile, to make our study much less useful as a study just to accommodate guests - will we ever have guests again? The bunks will only ever be used a handful of times, I suppose. But still, for those times, I hope they'll be useful. 


  1. That's a very interesting (and quirky) looking estate. Fun to explore it and great exercise. You will have guests again, and when you do, you'll be ready for them. People always want something for free. (which suits me fine if I can get rid of stuff faster) Happy Easter to you and yours! xoxo

  2. Yes the spare room question exercised us a while back. We alternated between possible regret for not providing one to relief that there would be one less bedded room standing by for the very few occasions that it would be needed and then back again to wishing we had somewhere more comfortable to accommodate those rare but welcome guests or family members. Maybe when you empty the four Billy bookcases you might find that you only really need three and you will have Kondoed at the same time.

  3. I would pay to see your garden! Much better artwork. I am glad that you are making strides with clearing activities - even if they are profitless in a financial sense. I'm sure that they will not be profitless at all when young folk do come to stay. And they will come to stay! My intention was to declutter and clean one room a day this Easter holiday. Which was all very well with the hall and the dining room, but I've been stuck between the living room and the rest of life for four days now...

  4. Ahhh, Jupiter Artland looks like a really fun place to visit. That's some swimming pool -- I might be dizzy swimming in there though! Sounds like you're making great progress with the study clean up. I've never understood downsizing as you get older. It makes wonderful sense to have less to take care of, but, in theory, your family is growing, so it seems to me you would need more places for when they hopefully visit. I'm steadfastly refusing to downsize, but since my family has settled here in town, I don't really need the extra space. Well, except for sleepovers. Oh! and your garden is looking stunning!!!