The three ‘J’s
CROSSING the Tay Bridge in brilliant sunshine this week, distant Dundee looked more like a Mediterranean port than a city raised from 19th-century prosperity on the back of jute, journalism and jam. Emerging from the station, I was immediately confronted by the Discovery—scott’s Antarctic vessel launched in 1901—and its striking new backdrop: the outpost of the V&A that awaits its autumn opening. The glorious weather showed off the architectural riches of the city to great advantage and an armyrecruitment parade filled the town centre with the skirl of pipes and the thump of drums.
No less wonderful was the surrounding countryside, which still appeared to be in the first flush of spring, with blossom and even daffodils. The broadleaf trees were only just beginning to burst into life. To my London eyes, it felt as if the year had grown a month younger. That evening, walking in a topiary garden, I used a video link on my smartphone to relay a breathtaking sunlit view of the Tay back home. One of the children compared the scene to something out of Alice in Wonderland. The other, thinking ahead to the next day at school, moaned plaintively: ‘Oh! I’m sooo jealous.’ I had no consolation to offer. JG