Tuesday 25 June 2013

Sayonara Stratford

So off we went to the MAD (Mechanical Art and Design) museum this morning. It was a wonder of intricate mechanical pieces.

including some Steampunk style models.

Some were small, and some were big. They all did something.

Many were clear overall, but extremely puzzling in the detail.

There were numerous wonderful examples of the succession-of-balls-on-a-big-dipper-type-construction sort, including this relatively simple one made from Meccano rather than stainless steel track (which tended to be massively more complex and eye-engaging).

Some took clockwork or other mechanical systems to a different level.

In a darkened side-room there were mechanically operated laser contraptions.

The enthusiasm of the curator and the receptionist was infectious. Never before has someone followed me round a museum to make sure it was all working. Or opened up a showcase so I could work the piece by hand because the electric drive was a bit sticky! It was all well worth the £5.50 (concession) entrance fee, and we spent an hour and a half happily engrossed in the displays. What was especially intriguing was the artistic element. Many of the pieces were designed not just to be "engines", but to explore ideas – it had a philosophical edge in places.

And then, at last, after six days or so, we bid farewell to Stratford. The way out of Bancroft basin on to the canal suggests they don't want you to leave!

You wind round the back of the houses…

and at last find yourself encountering locks of normal width again.

So it's até logo, au revoir, auf wiedersehen. Until the next time. New batteries, full water tank, empty poo tank, the canal stretching sort-of northwards. What more could you want!


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