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Archive for February, 2011

…and we’re back (with a trip to Down House)

Apologies for the hiatus. To restart, here’s a post on a trip to Down House that my missus and I made last October. For those not in the know, Down House is Charles Darwin’s home. This is a post light on content but with some nice photographs. Indeed, one of them has earned itself a place as the blog’s new profile picture.

If you live in London and haven’t been to Down House, I recommend a trip. I should say: you really don’t learn much science and it’s a bit of a nuisance to get to (a bus from Bromley South to Downe village and then a brief but poorly signposted walk). Still I enjoyed it a lot and I’ll admit to a rather pathetic excitement at finding myself standing in Darwin’s study. The exhibits and audio-guide perhaps teach you more about life at Down House than about the science of Darwin’s work.

For the Darwin children that escaped serious illness, it seems life there was pretty good: they had a wooden slide to position down the stairs and Darwin’s daughter recalled:

it is proof of how good a playfellow he was, of the kind of terms we were on together, that Leonard when he was about four years old tried to bribe him to come out & play with him during working hours by offering him sixpence.

Photographs aren’t allowed inside the house but here are some highlights from my outdoor snaps…

Darwin's greenhouse, which housed many of his experiments

Another picture of Darwin's greenhouse, but more doory this time

..and another picture of Darwin's greenhouse but this time showing the inside view. Ooooo!

View from the Sandwalk, a short loop of path that Darwin would regularly walk to think

Darwin would place a pile of stones at the start of his walk and then would kick one away on each lap to keep count. Apparently, his children liked to tease him by sneaking extra stones onto the pile.

Me loitering on the Sandwalk with a vacant look that disproves the "Sandwalk => genius" hypothesis

Here I am lazing around on the rear veranda of Down House

This is me in the garden – ladies and gentleman, we have a new profile picture

Rear veranda floor lit by the streaking late afternoon autumn sun

OK, you may not be fascinated by the details but I hope you like the pictures and as I post more, it should become apparent how relevant Darwin is. Probably less so his house, to be honest.