After we have read the book several times, we decided to listen to a dramatised version of the story. The version we have is recorded by the BBC, which we thought was very well done.
The music and voices were so captivating that we listened to the recording in the car on our way to the River and Rowing Museum, which is the only museum in the country that has a gallery fully dedicated to The Wind in the Willows.
The gallery was, in Tiger's words, "enchanting". It truly was. The exhibits (skilfully crafted 3D models of the main characters and scenes in the story) were arranged in such a way that they make you 'walk through the story'. We couldn't get enough of it and went through the gallery three times slowly to immerse ourselves in the nostalgic world of The Wind in the Willows. I say "nostalgic" because the story is essentially about an old England where rural life was the dominant way of life, where a sense of frienship, community and congeniality was more prominent than it is now.
After that we went to the River gallery to learn about many topics that pertain to river study:
- the history of River Thames
- uses of rivers (e.g. transportation, milling)
- geographic structure of rivers
- river habitat
- water cycle
While we were at the museum, Tiger attended a model motor-boat making workshop. The workshop was led by a professional boat maker who came into the session fully prepared with all the materials and a scaled-down model boat design plan.
Tiger assembled the boat largely by himself but he did require some help from the workshop leader when it came to screwing the motor on (photo 7). That was the final step before the boat was assembled (photo 8). Tiger then tested his boat in a small paddling pool (photo 9). Success!
The workshop included a visit to the Rowing gallery where we learnt about the history of the sport of rowing, the science behind boat building, the different materials that make up a rowing boat, and the history of boat making.
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