To Kent to see Down House, the home of Charles Darwin for forty years after he returned from his epic voyage in the Beagle. Lovingly restored by English Heritage you can now see the pokey study where Darwin sat with his dog Polly and wrote the work which tore down Victorian beliefs about the world and man's place within it.
Darwin emerges from the exhibition as a family man - ten children - with an obsessive eye for detail, spending eight years just classifying barnacles. The house is much bigger than I thought it would be and there's lots you don't see, which makes you wonder what you're missing. The gardens are lovely though, not fussy, just well tended.
The trip was the idea of Graham who runs our book club. We were there to discuss 'This Thing of Darkness' which is a superb book by Harry Thompson all about the Beagles' voyage, and about its captain, Robert Fitzroy. Recommended.