Thing

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be shown around the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh, designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles.

It’s a Marmite type of building — you either love it or loathe it.

It certainly has some idiosyncrasies, but, on the whole, I liked it.

The central communual area has an outdoor garden, for want of a better word, where we enjoyed a coffee under the warm Scottish sun.

In the garden was a sculpture:

Untitled, 2004 — Sigurdur Gudmundsson
“This sculpture explores ideas about connections in the natural world. The artist was interested in the migration pattern of pink-footed geese that winter in Scotland and spend their summers in Iceland.

“The phrase on the egg is from Icelandic saga and translates as ‘with laws the land shall be built’. The plinth is lava rock from Thingvellir, an ancient site of the Althing, the National Parliament of Iceland.

“Gifted by the Althing”

I don’t know what the hundreds of MSPs and staff that might have passed by think of it but I was immediately connected with a tiny hill near Guisborough.

The common element of Thingvellir and Althing derives from ‘thing‘, a governing assembly in early Germanic society, where disputes were solved and political decisions made.

And it is supposed that a thing was once held in Guisborough.

The focus of the featured image today is not Joseph Pease‘s pile, Hutton Hall, in the foreground but Grove Hill, the small wooded hill on the right beyond the housing estate.

Between that hill and the higher ground to the left is the little valley through which Pinchinthorpe Walkway now runs. This was recorded as ‘Tinghoudale‘ in a 14th-century deed granted to the Hospital of Lowcross, where ‘Tinghou‘ means “the mound of the meeting or council place”1Dixon, Grace. “Two Ancient Townships – Studies of Pinchinthorpe and Hutton Lowcross”. 1991. Page 44. ISBN 0 9507827 2 6. This must be referring to Grove Hill.

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    Dixon, Grace. “Two Ancient Townships – Studies of Pinchinthorpe and Hutton Lowcross”. 1991. Page 44. ISBN 0 9507827 2 6

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