Downe in Kent

17 Jul

As part of a week’s break in London ,meeting with family, we visited Downe House, the home of Charles Darwin.

Less than 9 miles away from my daughter’s home in South London and within the M25 circle, the village of Downe is typically English and very beautiful. One of the ” fathers” of theory of evolution, Darwin lived here with his large family. He was reported to be very child friendly and had a wooden slide which could be fitted on a stairway for the children to play. Coupled with a swing and cricket matches played in the corridors and halls of this lovely home, I think that the evidence is there to confirm it.

Charles was married to his cousin, sharing the same grandfather. Related to Josiah Wedgewood, the whole family were gifted, scientific and productive which, added to their tremendous wealth, made them a force to be reckoned with. The garden was used for Charle’s research and he wrote his famous books within Downe House.

The day was warm and sunny with a fierce heat to be felt from the direct sunlight. Bees were much in evidence which encouraged me to buy some honey laced, dark beer from the English Heritage shop.

Darwin had travelled for 5 years aboard The Beagle, seeking out samples, evidence and clues to the origin of man and the adaptations of wildlife to cope with changing conditions.

A tough journey. You needed to be brave just to commence it. Just look where these gallant men sailed.

Our day at Downe House was interesting and fun. We had lunch with my son , his American wife, my daughter (complete with grandson to be !), her husband and our grandaughter aged 2 and a bit.

The campervan was perfectly sized for the narrow and winding country lanes around the area and there were several admirers on the car park when we prepared to leave.

We made good time , getting home in about 3 hours, which for around 180 miles is pretty good. Shame though, that yet again, the M25 anticlockwise from Dartford was plagued by drivers hogging the outside lanes at low speed. This produced the inevitable “undertaking” by the the even more lawless amongst us. No old style traffic cops to be seen. What a surprise ! In a world where everyone must work beyond what is sensibly achievable.

The M1 Northbound was even worse. Tailgating was the norm. I saw gaps between cars of a half a car’s  length , running at 65 mph. Again, slow drivers hogging the outside lanes en masse. Even Darwin would have muttered “Jesus” under his breath, but then he probably did not believe in him. I just wonder how little some of these senseless and dangerous drivers have evolved…………………………….  rant over.

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