It was the last day of the Leonardo Da Vinchi Machines Exhibition on Sunday. After lunch we strolled in the sunshine along the Wellington Waterfront to join the queues outside the Academy Gallery. Looks like quite a few others had left it till the last day to see the exhibition too.
We sat and watched an excellent video which explained the ideas behind the designs. Although well known for his famous paintings, Leonardo Da Vinci spent his life studying anatomy, biology, mathematics and physics. His manuscripts show ingenious solutions to practical problems of his time, such as siege machines, movable bridges and lifting apparatus. These are certainly extremely clever. But it was his designs for such things as gliders, flying machines, bicycles and cars that show him to be a man so far ahead of his time. How could he visualise such things unknown at the time, we wondered?
Most of the models on display were labelled “please do not touch”. But there were a few that we could play with, to see how they worked. We tried the cam hammer, the worm screw, the jack, Archimedes Screw and several variations of ball bearings. Some ideas were simple, some very complex, and detailed drawings accompanied each design.
After all this contemplation our group gathered outside the Chicago Bar in the sunshine for a cup of coffee. There was a large group of Harley Davidson motor bikes parked up and lots of leather clad bikers enjoying the sun shine too. One of our group spotted a familiar face in the crowd. “Isn't that Billy Connolly over there?”. We all looked over to see. It looked like him, and he certainly was speaking with a Scots accent, but we didn’t want to be intrusive. But….. as our group walked back to the car park we decided to go back and check
One of the bikers confirmed that it was Billy Connolly. “Go and say hello, you know he’s married to a Kiwi girl”. So over we went. He was nice and chatty and told us that he was here to perform live shows. “So I don’t have to worry what I say”, he told us with a laugh. We wished him well and left him to enjoy his drink in the sun shine.