11 July 2011 (Monday) - Another Day Off

Following on from Saturday’s English Heritage extravaganza, today we thought we’d have a look round Downe House – home of Charles Darwin. We set the sat-nav, and off we went. And we were doing fine until we got to half a mile from the place where we found ourselves in a traffic jam. After sitting like lemons for twenty minutes I thought I’d go see what the hold-up was.
Some plank had decided to drive a lorry carrying a static caravan along a very narrow lane, and then (for no adequately explored reason) unload the static caravan onto the middle of said very narrow lane. And then to add insult to injury a bus had attempted to overtake the static caravan and had wedged itself into a hedge. The obvious solution to this problem would have been to turn the car around and go back the way we came, but we were hampered in our efforts to do so by locals who were “helping”.
We eventually negotiated our way to Downe House. We parked up, and made our way inside. We started off with a look round the upper floor which had a potted history of Darwin’s life and achievements. I suppose that being a life scientist by trade, Darwin is old hat to me. And what they had on display was dumbed-down old hat.
The ground floor was done out with an audio tour about Darwin’s domestic arrangements. (Apparently he used to play billiards with his butler). The audio tour was at first sight far more high-tech than any of the audio tours we had over the weekend – it was on an iPad. But a crappy iPad. The battery on my one went flat half way round. And they didn’t allow us to continue the audio tour into the garden as the batteries weren’t up to it. Instead they gave us a written transcript to read as we walked about and got ourselves lost.

At the weekend we went to four English Heritage sites – all reasonable priced: I would return to any of them. Downe house was a tenner to get in and wasn’t worth the money. It was a good job that being members of English Heritage we didn’t have to pay: I would have demanded a refund – it was crap.

The plan was then to call in at a couple of caravan showrooms on the way home. The sat-nav took us a very scenic route to Hollingbourne. The caravan showground there had some nice caravans, but they weren’t cheap. I programmed my sat nav to our next port of call: ME15 5AU. Now it’s possible that I may have got the post code wrong because both my sat nav and ‘er indoors TM ‘s tried to take us to somewhere in Saudi Arabia. It was at this point that I lost the will to live, and we gave up and went to McDonalds. Where the chips were cold.

And so home where I swapped ‘er indoors TM for “Daddies Little Angel TMand “The Crip” and we set off fishing. Yesterday we’d been fishing from midday to mid afternoon, and the fishing wasn’t good. I mentioned yesterday that we fish at the wrong time of day, and so today as an experiment we started fishing about 4.30pm, and stayed to about 9.30pm. After an hour the Rear Admiral joined us, and after a further hour Richard-Father-Of-Lisa came along too.
Richard openly admitted he had no time for tiddler bashing and was going for big stuff, but he had a couple of tiddlers, and one not quite so tiddler-ish. And those of us who were tiddler bashing had eighty-five between us. “The Crip” and me together only amassed just over twenty: this evening was a roaring success for the Folkestone Fish-herds.

Future fishing trips will be, like today, later in the day…

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