Monday, March 07, 2011

Poking about

On Saturday we were hoping to get out walking but the weather gods must have heard me after all (see below) because it's back to cold, grey gloom. For something indoorsy to do we decided to head for Kendal's museum which we've never been in before, mainly because it hardly ever seems to be open. Just lately, though, they've amended the opening times to include Saturday mornings from 10.30.

We arrived a little early so parked up and trotted round the corner to the Sleddal Hall antiques centre, which we'd seen on a recent episode of Antiques Road Trip. It's based in a higgledy-piggledy seventeenth century building and isn't so much quirky as completely bonkers. Room after room opens up, each one stuffed to the rafters with, well, stuff. Stuff in boxes, stuff on shelves, stuff dangling from the ceiling, stuff piled on the floor. In some rooms it was a job to actually move about, without turning sideways and breathing in. But it was all, without exception, fascinating and just the sort of place you might find buried treasure, or at the very least that one antique something you've been looking for for years.

By now the museum was open so we headed back and spent the next hour poking happily round that. Like many small town museums it's a complete hodge-podge of local exhibits: everything from pots and altars from the local Roman fort to a whole window from the booking office of the local hotel. There's a bit about Kendal castle behind a mock castellated wall, and a whole section on Alfred Wainwright, the celebrated guidebook writer and illustrator. Upstairs there was a room full of wildlife panoramas which made good use of a collection of stuffed fluffy animals and birds. I hate these when they're presented in glass cases with labels left over from Victorian times, but at least here they've shown some imagination in displaying them in their natural habitats.

Considering the museum is free, it's exceptionally good value and a great place to spend a bitter March morning.

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