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  • Day84

    Day 84: London Pass Day Three

    May 10, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    Final day of the London pass, so time to finish off packing in everything that was included under the ticket umbrella. The first stop for the day was the final World Heritage site in London - Kew Gardens. We managed to get out of the house fairly early, and on the tube heading south-west.

    Kew Gardens is one of the world's oldest botanic gardens, and was founded in the late 18th century on the site of an already-existing royal palace garden. The first Director was Sir Joseph Banks, who brought new species in from across the globe, collating them and studying them in the name of science.

    The park was huge and very well maintained, not just in the manicured sections but in the other sections too. There were a couple of large pavilion buildings that contained greenhouse-style displays and preservation rooms, including one pavilion with 12 different temperate zones (hot & humid, hot & dry etc). Also a large section of Australian plants which felt quite odd to see - standing in England looking at eucalypts and bottle-brush!

    Stopped off at the Orangery building for a tea and scones break, then did some more wandering. Lots of wildlife about too, ducks and geese and squirrels and that sort of thing. We also did a brief walk around of Kew Gardens Palace, which was the companion building to the (since-destroyed) main Kew Palace where King George IV lived during his long degenerative illness. The remaining building was where his Queen and daughters lived, and was quite well done. Well preserved and maintained, though they were at pains to mention repeatedly that they received no funding from either the government or the crown! We gave them a donation.

    Back to the station where we grabbed a couple of sandwiches for lunch and hopped on the train. Next stop was the Beefeater Gin Distillery where we were meeting my brother Sean and his girlfriend at 3pm. Actually managed to properly organise things this time and the meet-up went smoothly. Was great to see them both after several months away!

    The tour was interesting - I didn't realise that gin is basically just raw alcohol infused with flavourings (juniper berries, plus Beefeater use orange peel, lemon, liquorice and a few other things). It's their only distillery, which seems small for a world-wide operation, but apparently the factory and it's four (4!) employees churn out 10,000 litres every day. Crazy.

    The tour also included a free gin and tonic in their lounge afterwards, so we indulged of course and had a good catch-up session. But it didn't last too long, as they needed to head off to a function of some sort. So we said our farewells and parted for the next 24 hours. Back home for us, where we had a night in of work and another dish of spaghetti with pesto!
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