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"Birthday"

Had lots of fun yesterday. It wasn’t the best of starts when my son bounded in at 6am and jumped onto the bed (grrrrr), but it did make us get on with the day. We packed the picnic, and then off to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The YSP was good. We choose a particularly bad day to go, because all the indoor exhibitions were closed for change-over, and outside it was blooming windy – although to be fair it’s a lot windier today, and snowing, so I mustn’t complain. It only took us 45 mins to get there, and we had a good old wander around looking at the various bits and pieces on display (and occasionally wondering if things were art or just something the wind had blown there). I’m not a particularly arty person, so I was never going to spend 30 minutes analysing a piece from all angles (espcially not with a three year old in tow). My appreciation of art is more along the lines of “nice cat”, “like those colours”, “that’s odd”, as I walk past – but one thing I really appreciated about YSP is the fact you’re encouraged to interact with the pieces.

I find it much more meaningful to actually touch things – run my hand over a surface, or poke my head through a hole. In some cases to actually walk through the piece. It’s a far more authentic experience for me then, say, visiting an art gallery where you’re kept 5m from the art by a rope cordon. Much more interesting for the boy too to be able to stroke the bronze cows, or walk between a statue’s legs.

My favourite part was what I think was the Access Sculpture Trail. Here you were semi-guided along a trail, where the pieces formed part of pathway – a bridge here, a pass there, a brick tunnel, that sort of thing. It formed a really nice whole, somehow, and really felt like a journey.

We came back via Henry Moore in the Country Park – although it was rather too near lunchtime to linger at this point, and I’d only show my ignorance by not knowing what any of his work is called. Quite impressive though.

It was clearly far too windy for a picnic outdoors, so I’d removed the back seats of the car before we left. We opened up the boot and spread the rug inside, and had a very pleasant time eating our sandwiches and being buffetted by the wind, looking out over the Country Park.

We had planned to go for a swim in the afternoon, but the boy was so tired after his exertions (and 6’o’clock start!) that he feel asleep in the car, and slept for about 3 hours, which didn’t leave enough time for swimming before bed.

Birthday cake and pressies next (hooray!), then boy to bed, and we settled down to watch a film and eat pizza. Pretty much my perfect evening. Inspired by our trip to the YSP, we plumped for Art School Confidential, a film neither of us knew anything about, but with a really good cast line up (Sophia Myles, John Malkovich, Jim Broadbent, Anjelica Huston, Steve Buscemi) and written by Daniel Clowes (who also wrote Ghost World, which I really enjoyed). It was ok, as films go. Quite amusing, and an acceptable plot, but not gold by any means. The more I see Sophia Myles in, the more I like her (and let’s face it, anyone who’s been a major character in Dr Who is off to a great start). I have half a suspicion she’s a one-trick pony, but let’s see.

So a really nice day. Was really fun to do something a bit different!

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