Saturday, June 6, 2009

Last Hoorah

Tomorrow we take off for home, but made one last excursion with Sylvia, Ray worked today, to Down House, the home of Charles Darwin for the last forty years of his life until his death in 1882.

In a previous life, I actually managed a historic house museum, San Francisco Heritage’s Haas-Lilienthal House, and have retained both a professional and amateur interest in historic house museums, and I have to say that this house, operated by English Heritage, is one of the best I’ve toured. I would say that for anyone in the London area (the house is in Kent) this is a must see.

I j snapped just a few photos, including a few interior shots under the mistaken impression that non-flash photography was allowed. Oops, sorry!

Model of the HMS Beagle
The family sitting room, though he often had experiments running here, too.

The study where he worked and wrote, including the Origin. He did not write at a desk, so note the writing table that spanned his armchair where he composed.
The gardens were ornamental, provided for the kitchen and served as an extension of the great man's laboratories as well

Note the bee on the bottom flower. Darwin studied bees, along with everything else, and built hives. The hives have been recreated and the gardens are abuzz.
Sylvia had a party tonight, so we went with Ray to a local Indian restaurant. Tomorrow, Sunday, he will take us off to Heathrow and by day's end we will be back home for the first time since 23 January.

Folks have asked if we have had a good time, and the answer is that this has truly been the trip of a lifetime. We are blessed to have done a similar trip, for six months in 1972, and this time has been easily as wonderful. At some point I shall try to offer some sort of summation, but not tonight.

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