Of course, we also observed the BBC transmitter and the ruins of the palace itself: sphinxes (generally in quite good condition) and statues (rather less so), grand staircases and terraces. The dinosaur park occupies a corner of the main park, but is itself quite a large area, with many Victorian sculptures based on early excavations and analysis. In many cases some of the details have turned out to be incorrect, but it's still a very impressive collection, in its own way just as educational as the more interactive exhibits at the more popular Natural History Museum. There was quite a collection of wildlife around too - herons, coots and a cormorant drying its wings, standing on a mostly submerged rock in the middle of the lake. Although there were quite good signs describing the sculptures, the signage in the park as a whole was poor and could do to be improved. The planting in the dinosaur park was imaginitive - Monkey Puzzles and tree ferns, as well as native species, but again there was no labelling, which is a shame as clearly a lot of effort has recently gone into the area.
After lunch we began to work our way back, first to Dulwich Picture Gallery. Although it's a relatively small collection, it's quite well chosen: most European genres from 16th to 18th century are represented. Aside from the paintings, there are many ornate tables and chairs, probably mostly as a bequest from one of the gallery's founder patrons. The descriptions of some of these tables were tantalizing: would it really have been so much effort to put up a photograph of the opened table alongside the exhibit?
Finally, on to Tom's party. It was good to see Tom, however briefly, as things like football and several small children intervened. I'm not really a party person, but it's the first time I've seen him for years, so it would have been churlish not to make at least a modest effort. The walk back to Peckham Rye station (there being no trains from the closer East Dulwich) was interesting: probably not the sort of place one might feel comfortable alone after dark, but not at all threatening in daylight. Interestingly, we observed a pub that is actually called The Nag's Head: whether it had this name before Only Fools and Horses is something we did not debate. We were fortunate all day with train connections, and the DVD recorder did its thing with Doctor Who. As usual, some good ideas, some maybe-not-so-good ideas; inevitably, there will be more to say about that next week.