Sunday, December 10, 2017

Out and About: London to Kent

Continuing the belated saga of our vacation in May:
Over the next couple of days, we continued to ramble about the city of London.   We walked, enjoying the scenery.   If you're looking, there are sights of interest everywhere- details of buildings, pocket parks tucked into squares and spaces, and churches large and small.  Here's St. Mary Abbot's.

We walked to the Design Musuem, which had a fascinating exhibit of futuristic architectural drawings from the Soviet Union.    They combined modernist design with the ideals of socialism- a fascinating insight into what the Soviet system aspired to be, rather than the way it turned out.    The design muscum itself was an interesting building.   While I'm not particularly a fan of modernist design, the extensive use of warm wood made this building much more appealing.

Our next museum stop was at the London Science Museum- a perennial favorite- this time we went to see their exhibition on the history of robots, in particular why the robots were built as they were and what the builders' aims were.  (The linked page includes a short video about the exhibition with some of the robots shown.)  The exhibit started with various kinds of automatons, and progressed up to more modern robots.   The one pictured below was one of my favorites.   It was a mechanical figure of a student, designed to write out a series of literary passages, but its origin was something of a mystery.  But when the mechanism was cleaned and repaired for the exhibition, they set it to writing out it's 'lesson'  - and at the end it included a note of the workshop where it had been built.  In a sense, the creation signed the creator's name to his work.

We also went up to see the Winton Gallery, which was new since our last visit.   It has a selection of objects designed to show the important role that mathematics has had in our history and society.  (The linked page has a short video from the gallery.)  The sculpture behind the plane is a representation of the airflows that surround the plane in flight.

We had also planned several day trips outside the city.  One morning, we boarded a train for Bearsted station and caught the shuttle to Leeds Castle.   They give you a fairly lengthy walk through their pleasant grounds to build up suspense.  Not that we had any complaints- it was lovely.

There were many local residents about.
The current incarnation of the castle is more of a manor than a serious military fortification, but it was suitably impressive.  There had been a castle on the site since the 1100s, but it was heavily remodeled in 1823, which accounts for the present appearance.
We walked around the outside, taking it in.  
We toured the inside.
The last owner of the castle was the daughter of an American heiress who bought the castle in 1926, and redecorated much of the interior.
We quite liked the library, in particular.
After seeing the castle, we explored the gardens:
We saw fascinating falconry demo, which included a hawk who prefers to chase its prey on the ground, and a magnificent owl.
We found our way to the center of the maze (of course there was a maze!).  And we exited through the grotto, which was designed to produce a pleasurable shiver in the under-three-foot set.
We saw more gardens.
And took a circuitous route back to the shuttle stop...except there was a little too much admiring of scenery (can you blame us?) and so we missed the last shuttle and got a bonus hike back to the train station for the trip back to London.

Click this link to see the slideshow.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos. Hopefully, the hike back to the car park wasn't TOO long. LOL