Going Back to the Scottish Visit: A Staircase of Shattering Importance

Sunday 18th June 2017

Yesterday Royston King’s shaded private stand for Trooping the Colour saved me from oblivion – although it still might come. The world has been reigned back a little from chaos since Friday although Lord Arrowby texts not reassuringly from our Nation’s heart. On Friday I was rocked also by news from the Far West – our lands and minerals won’t last long in any case once Jeremy gets to hear of them; that’s if our operators don’t ruin everything first. But I had comforting confab with a co-owner on the phone on the way to the Trooping. All the same, the great fist of punishment looms, I feel certain.

At luncheon after Trooping, Royston said people like us, at the inner core, the tiny percentage in the know, spend much time alone, although often at functions. It’s true. I went home alone, absolutely plastered and slept in the boiling heat. Royston produced a old doctor friend as a further plus one for Trooping who confided in me but not Royston that he wished to treat us to lunch. Rather annoying then, as we were staggering along in full outfits in the blazing heat with the luncheon venue undecided that I heard the doctor mention Claridges and Royston said, ‘Oh no, you pay £100 to fart in there.’ So we ended up in a Mayfair gastro pub – very nice. Madonna used to go there when it belonged to Guy Ritchie. Apparently the doctor doesn’t eat anything that might cause a heart attack. He suggested a glass of champagne then ordered a bottle of wine, followed by another. So reassuring – doctors.

But back to Scotland. We went to Culzean Castle. I’d never even heard of it although I love Robert Adam, whose work it is. Nor of the staircase inside it which turned out to be as important as the staircase entrance lobby to the Laurentian Library in Florence by Michelangelo. Why has nobody ever mentioned it before? We know Robert Adam was a supreme decorator, an interior designer before such a thing had been heard of. But not as a manager of monumental rhythms and complication.

On the way to Culzean in the van, the Laird said, ‘This is the Electric Brae.’ We didn’t get it at all. You’re meant to get an effect of going uphill while in fact going downhill. It’s one of these freak things. We made the Laird turn round and drive along it again. Laura Malcolm got quite cross which may or may not have led directly to the seagull episode later in the day. I don’t know how, if you think you’re going uphill, you’re supposed to know that in fact you’re going downhill. I think I’d have to practice the Electric Brae many times to have any hope of grasping it.

Culzean was glorious but most of all the staircase with its rhythms and illusions within an oval. The Scottish National Trust do everything slightly dingy which I liked. Apparently they have no money, unlike the English National Trust. Damp in one of the bedrooms. But they’re harbouring this earth-shattering staircase. A stairs, you ought to know by now, even a simple flight in an ordinary terraced house, is about the most appalling challenge an architect has to face. Bruce MacBain taught me that. So a quadruple-height, multi-directional oval stairs at the core of a great mansion doesn’t bear thinking about. Robert Adam turns out to have been batting in the team with Michelangelo as far as stair-case design is concerned.

In the café after the visit, there was a sudden squawking. ‘What on earth are you doing?’ Matt Driver was saying. ‘I fancied a scone with my coffee,’ Laura protested. ‘But that was someone else’s…’ ‘I don’t care. They’ve gone.’ Laura had swooped, like a seagull, and seized the vacant scone fragment before it was too late.

This was before the Election result, of course. In future we’ll have to get much better at acquiring food in this manner.

We did manage to self-buy our lunch in Culzean Castle cafe before being taken back in the van for a rest period in the Premier Inn. In the evening, the Lairdess contrived to get the Laird out of the restaurant just as we were sitting down. ‘I’ve left my phone in the van,’ she said. When he came back we were all wearing masks of himself. The game had nearly been given away by some customers exiting the restaurant who’d said to the Laird as he was coming back in, ‘It’s you, isn’t it?’ Thus we celebrated his forthcoming 60th birthday in another way. It was strange how the masks all looked different according to wearer although they were all identical in fact. A bit like the Electric Brae.

You get the masks on Amazon. You have to send in a photo of your loved one.

Culzean: the Staircase: What Directions

Culzean: the Staircase: What Directions

Culzean: One of the Great Staircases

Culzean: One of the Great Staircases

Culzean: the Staircase Space

Culzean: the Staircase Space

Culzean: a Delicious Ceiling

Culzean: a Delicious Ceiling

 

Posted Sunday, June 18, 2017 under Adrian Edge day by day.

Leave a Reply