Arriving at the gardens I discovered a beautiful park like setting with sculptures by artists of varying degrees of fame. It's centerpiece is Claes Oldenburg's Spoonbridge and Cherry". I had seen photos of the sculpture, a typically whimsical Oldenburg work of an over sized cherry resting in the bowl of an equally over sized spoon. That it was a fountain was news to me! A mist sprays from the top of the cherry and water pours down it's sides which flows down the spoon and is captured in the shallow pool where the sculpture resides. Another whimsical piece is a clapper less bell which swings back and forth through the use of a magnetic motor titled "For Whom". A rendering of a giant fish graces one room of the conservatory on the grounds. There are two works by Henry Moore featuring the trademark muscular look and feel of the artist. Several of the pieces are interactive allowing children to climb around them and in one case swing on a platform suspended from the work of art, suggesting to even the youngest of children that art can be enjoyable and fun. What a concept!
We returned to the bike and my nephew and I donned our helmets. Bear with me and allow me to digress for a moment to describe what, on paper, sounds like a fairly easy, if not downright mundane, act. I revolves around the actions required to put on the motorcycle helmet. My nephew has a half bowl helmet, popular with bikers in movies from the 50's and early 60's' as well as The motorcycle riding troops in World War 2. The spare helmet is the sort of thing worn by extreme riders and astronauts. First my glasses needed to come off. Then, I squeeze my head through an opening the size of a nostril and push the helmet around until it is properly aligned with my head. I return the glasses to my face and fasten the straps under my chin, occasionally having to dig them out from within the helmet where they have become lodged during steps one, two and three. Taking it off is an even more arduous task. First my glasses come off. I then wiggle the helmet until my head emerges from the nostril sized hole. I swear I almost heard a pop like that of a champagne bottle being opened every time my head was freed from it's fiberglass confines. My glasses are returned and I check my ear to ensure that my earring is still in place, also to ensure that it has not ripped the lower part of my ear in half during the preceding steps.
I am not complaining, I was having the time of my life.