Up again after yesterday’s extra-low figure, but still nicely down…
Before I crawl back to work tomorrow, I had one last day out. I took the train to Darlington, walked to a bus stop and caught a bus to Barnard Castle, which I visited last November (was it really that long ago?). This time, I’d arrived early enough in the day for a visit to the Bowes Museum, located a short walk from the town centre. Now Barnard Castle is an unremarkable market town, albeit one with an impressive castle, so it might come as a surprise to see this:
The Bowes Museum is indeed a misplaced French chateau, which probably wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in France, but is a remarkable thing to see in Northern England. It contains an impressive collection of paintings, ceramics, textiles, silver and this remarkable object:
This is the actually quite famous Silver Swan – it would be impressive enough as a lovely piece of crafted silverwork, but it’s more than that – it’s an automaton built in 1773, which thanks to careful conservation, still works. Though it’s only run once per day (at 2pm, get there early as everyone want to see it). The performance is introduced by a curator, who talks about the history of the Swan and winds it up (as well as winding up any American visitors when he points out that the automaton is slightly older than their country!).
As I only had the X70 with me, I didn’t get any really good shots of it in action, but here’s a rough idea:
It’s a beautiful thing, and well worth seeing. Tickets are now valid for a year, making a visit much better value – I only had time for a quick look around, and I’ll have to go back for more.