Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Grand Day Out

Today we rode the bus into London. It was really great because it was organized by the University, so it was a free trip! It took about an hour and a half to get to South Kensington, which is a wealthy area of London. Iain did great on the bus trip, as usual. We are so blessed that he is such a good little traveller. We were dropped out near three free museums, so we spent the day "museum-ing" and didn't really scope out the neighborhood. Maybe next time. No matter how long we spend here in the UK, there will always be more to see.

We visited the Natural History Museum first and spent most of the day there. Here is the Diplodicous skeleton which you see immediately on entering the museum. They have a pretty good collection of dinosaur bones and fossils which is probably the most interesting part of the museum.

Here I am with the Triceratops. I wonder what these creatures looked like when they were alive and what killed them. Such a puzzle.

After the dinosaurs we saw some neat Earth science displays about volcanos and earthquakes. After that we went over to the Biology exhibit to see what they had about fetal development, but it was very limited and a bit of a disappointment.

Then we went outside to check out the little Christmas fair and ice rink they had set up. The vendors all had little wooden huts and I enjoyed strolling about enjoying the sights and smells (there was a marvelous little shop that smelled SO Christmassy). We didn't skate since it was a very organized, regimented and expensive affair. But we did enjoy watching everyone else.

After that we headed off the the Science Museum. They had a bunch of steam engines (not trains, but the kind that powered factories during the Industrial Revolution) that were cool. They had lots of old computer equipment, plus a big history of mathmatics display, and antique ship equipment and old radios. If you know any techies that like to walk down memory lane, this the museum for them. We were pretty tired by this point, but Brian did enjoy seeing the avaiation display, especially the Spitfire.

The Spitfire was one of the planes used by Britain in World War II. Britain was Hitler's last obstacle to conquering Europe and his Luftwaffe planes were relentlessly bombing the UK and especially London. There were only 740 of them made, but they managed to frustrate the Germans despite being at a terrible disadvantage. It makes you think of Churchill, doesn't it? I'll leave you with this:

"I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty's Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation.

The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old." --Winston Churchill June 4, 1940, at the House of Commons

Wanna know more about the Battle of Britain? Click here.

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