Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Home of Charles Darwin

As we are still paddling through water in the garden
lets return to August and complete the days visits
Having left Lullingstone Roman Villa and our lunch and walk around Eynsford village we are now at Downe House, the family home of Charles Darwin the Victorian scientist.
I am not here to discuss his theory of evolution but to get some insight into his family life

Charles Robert Darwin was born on 12 February 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire into a wealthy and well-connected family. His maternal grandfather was china manufacturer Josiah Wedgwood, while his paternal grandfather was Erasmus Darwin, one of the leading intellectuals of 18th century England.
Darwin himself initially planned to follow a medical career, and studied at Edinburgh University but later switched to divinity at Cambridge. In 1831, he joined a five year scientific expedition on the survey ship HMS Beagle.

The front of his house

and the back

surrounded by extensive gardens and orchards

Do you see the gentleman snoozing on the chair to the left of the picture? He was in that supine position for the whole of our visit!

The gardens and surrounding landscape were Darwin's 'outdoor laboratory' and provided much of the inspiration for his work

Here and above we see his famous 'thinking path' - the Sandwalk

We are now inside the house and looking at his collection of clocks

and information about his 9 children

the children's home made slide on the back stairs that would be used by staff

A fossil of a Giant Ground Sloth from Patagonia 

A replica of  HMS Beagle where Darwin spent his life at sea 

A life size replica of his cabin on board ship


His study where he wrote his revolutionary book 
On the Origin of Species

A recreation room

Dining room

Sitting room

I do like this little reading table with the books below on a turn table
Of course it's time to make for the tearoom before driving home

Thursday, 26 April 2012

It's Gone

Well it's gone at last, and my Clematis, and my Eunonymous, and my Lavenders 
Could not get a picture of the final demolition as it was done in torrential rain and could have damaged my camera
I'm really wanting to get stuck in now in this whole area, plus the area where the greenhouse was but without too much cost
or adding too much extra garden maintenance

The flooded garden will cramp my style for a while

Ever since drought restrictions were put in place in many parts of the country at the beginning of April it has not stopped raining
not just 'rain' but torrential downpours

Is this going to help the drought - not at all apparently as this kind of rain mostly runs away and does not soak into the dry and parched ground like steady winter rain that soaks through to the water table before being taken up with all the new Spring growth

I guess it's watch this space!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

More on the Olympic 2012 site

Having gone shopping at Westfield yesterday I thought I would update on the Olympic site

Here we are driving past the Olympic site having had the car checked over by a sniffer dog and a mirror under the car

3 car parks altogether for the shopping centre - 9 levels and totalling 5000 cars in all
I can now have an App (if I want it) on my phone that will find my car!

One wonders if it will all be finished in time but apparently building work is ahead of schedule

The Shard  sticking up on the horizon - nothing to do with the Olympics - nearing completion when it will be the tallest building in Europe - 1,017 ft
I remember thinking that the Empire State Building in  New York was high when I went to the top in 1960!

The Olympic village seems well and truly finished

an interesting shot of a Mini in one of the streets attached to the Mall

and souvenirs everywhere!
I have to say there is never a dull moment when we go anywhere
We got caught up in an evacuation and security scare mid-afternoon

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Garden Saga Continues

I am surprised that nobody won the test!
The greenhouse has gone
Mark and Sue said they were absolutely blessed to receive this as Sue grows her own vegetables and has always wanted one
We were blessed to know that it is going to a new home where it will be well used as it was in the past

nearly gone

Gone and now the work begins

The old shed on the right is next - it has served us well

The people at the back of us allowed their 13 Leylandi to grow to about 40 feet. They eventually cut them back after they had damaged our fence and were affecting the greenhouse
When Alan began to remove the fence this is what he found
all the foliage had been piled up behind our fence and was causing more damage
Nothing we can do as we don't want to cause a fuss

Today it's time to begin dismantling the shed
I wish  had got a photo of 80 year old Alan on top of the shed roof  while it was dipping in the middle with the shed swaying
I was none too pleased

After a hard days work we are beginning to see the light
as he dismantles it a plank at a time to begin with,
necessary as the shed is leaning over too much

So what was I doing while this was going on?
My hard work will begin when the site is cleared and I can begin planning and planting so for today it was sorting things indoors, laundry and baking of Date Scones and Gingerbread

While continuing to enjoy the Crab Apple blossom