Thursday, May 29, 2014

An affair of some gravity

The weather has been dull, uninviting and soggy for the past few days. On Wednesday we decided to branch out and tempt fate with a walk near Belvoir Castle. But the cloud refused to lift, and views were limited.
Belvoir Castle looking gothic. Photo by HH

My planned parking place looked horribly isolated and the ground sodden.  So we adapted.  We called in at the local pub - The Chequers in Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir. Surprisingly they do sandwiches - rather superior ciabatta with feta and salad, all heated. A little more pricy than my usual lunch, but still under a tenner each including a drink and extra water offered too.
One Woolsthorpe leads to another, and this was not Isaac Newton's birthplace. He was born, tiny and premature, in Woolsthorpe Manor at Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, twenty miles away. Not the original object of our outing, but it seemed like a good place to aim for.
Manor House and outbuildings
This is also the place where falling apples led Newton to think of gravity, and where he conducted various other experiments concerning light and motion.
The apple tree - regenerated from the original fallen trunk

Harry paying homage

No photos allowed inside the house - it has been refurnished with items from Newton's time, though none are the originals.  The rooms are pretty spacious, but it's definitely a home, and not stately.  Newton's parents were yeoman farmers - reasonably high on the social scale, and certainly not peasants. A big contrast with the cottage in  Alloway where Robert Burns spent his childhood.  

Highlights for me - the servant's bed in the alcove by the kitchen fire, which had to be kept alight at all times, ready to cook breakfast at some unearthly hour.
Then the copy of the parish register entry for Newton's birth.
Then the model of a mouse mill, and replicas of the telescope he made. Oh and the cat, which has a second home here in the daytime.

In this Manor House
Sir Isaac Newton
was born 25 December
A.D. 1642
Lots of info boards are spread around the outbuildings, and there's a cafe and a learning centre where you can play around with equipment showing some of Newton's ideas and discoveries. Lots of volunteers to answer questions in the house and learning centre. All run by the National Trust now, and not a bad £7 per person.

Thursday, May 01, 2014


A walk along the Grand Union Canal was rich in heron sightings.

Bird, watching . . .

under a tree
eyes us and the water

flies up
stitches the canal side in loops
wary as we walk

pauses, poised,
dips in to fish ,
then takes off, 
across the water

The biter bit?

but takes revenge . . .