Flew from Winnipeg > Brussels > Manchester (left Winnipeg on Saturday, arrived Manchester Sunday morning)… Not the most direct flight, but the shortest amount of travel time, with less time hanging around in airports.
Sue had left the day before, for Ponta Delgada. She’s spending the first week in Portugal with a friend, and we’re meeting up next week in Wales…
The first couple of days were pretty relaxed – few small walks/drives in the area, etc. (with the required stop at a pub for a cheeky pint).
Warhammer World (Nottingham)
Wednesday morning my Dad and I set off for Nottingham…
I didn’t take pictures of all WHW displays, but just those that were things that caught my eye (or of figs I own but haven’t painted yet).
“Hunt for the Assassin” and Bugmans Bar
We didn’t find him.
Then we had a quick drink at Bugman’s.
As you do, we exited through the gift shop. I picked up the photo book of the dioramas, a couple of WHW exclusive BB figures, a t-shirt and some other goodies, and the Lietpold the Black figure from Forgeworld I’ve been wanting for a while (as a general for my DoW WHFB/Kings of War army). My Dad bought a book of AoS fiction (he likes fantasy novels, so he thought he’d give it a whirl).
Wargames Foundry (East Stoke)
Foundry is outside a village, in a fairly rural area. Last time I was there they were located in urban Nottingham.
I didn’t spend a lot of time there, but long enough to pick out a few packs of figs from my shopping list (Swashbucklers, ostensibly for Ghost Archipelago, and Brit WWII Paras), have a quick chat with the man himself, Bryan Ansell, and take a few pictures of some of the more well-known figs in the collection displayed there (especially the old school Genestealer Cult limos [!]).
We then set off for Bromley/Chislehurst in Kent. We stayed overnight at an excellent pub/hotel, the Bull’s Head. Had a great Italian meal at Due Amici. I had a few bowls of loudmouth soup, and we stayed up talking politics.
…and then the next day, the real highlight so far and a serious bucket list item for me:
HOME OF CHARLES DARWIN – DOWN HOUSE
The house is set up as a combination of informative displays (including original journals and notebooks) and preserved/restored rooms (such as Darwin’s study, games room, and dining room). The staff were informed, friendly, and obviously had a keen interest and involvement in the subject. My Dad was very impressed with the facilities as well…
I spent some time in the house, and then went outside to wander the grounds. The gardens and greenhouses were restored, and included the experimental gardens and items of interest.
But, the absolute highlight was the Sandwalk*…
Perfectly, I was alone as I retraced Darwin’s steps around the path.
I was crushed by the emotional weight of being in such an important place and got quite teary-eyed, if I’m being honest. Greatly meaningful to be there, personally. Appreciate my Dad making it happen.
Today was pretty relaxing – I had my first night of uninterrupted sleep (always an issue when traveling), and we went for a nice walk in a nearby woodland area. Heading out to the local pub later and then back for dinner. I’m taking the train down to Cardiff tomorrow, to spend some time with my brother and sister, and also to meet up with Sue. I’ve been missing her, of course, so I’m looking forward to that (not to mention getting down on the floor to play Lego [literally or figuratively] with all the nieces and nephews).
“In 1846, Darwin rented from Sir John William Lubbock a narrow strip of land of 1.5 acres (0.61 ha) adjoining the Down House grounds to the southwest, and had it planted. He named it the Sandwalk Wood. One side was shaded by an old shaw with oak trees, and the other looked over a hedge to a charming valley. Darwin had a variety of trees planted, and ordered a gravel path known as the ‘sandwalk’ to be created around the perimeter. Darwin’s daily walk of several circuits of this path served both for exercise and for uninterrupted thinking. He set up a number of small stones at one point on the walk so that he could kick a stone to the side each time he passed, so that he did not have to interrupt his thoughts by consciously counting the number of circuits he had made that day.”