Nico (vilakins) wrote,
Nico
vilakins

What I did in the rest of my holidays

I see I didn't post anything for the last part of my holiday as I wasn't near a PC. OK, for those who wondered what I did, here it is.


After Portmeirion and the Blaenau-Ffestiniog railway mentioned in my last holiday post, we went to Llangollen to for a canal trip across the aqueduct there. I saw this once on The Two Fat Ladies and wanted to float way above the fields like them. We had a lovely quiet relaxing two-hour canal trip marred only by a boat-load of lager-louts who had run aground and once free had no idea how to navigate round a bend. The weather was beautiful, we moved at little more than walking pace, and we just sat back and enjoyed the sun, the tree-lined canal, and the mother duck with 9 or 10 tiny fluffy ducklings Greg took pictures of. (My 7 films are now being developed and put onto CD; I'll post the best or funniest here and others in an on-line gallery.) At one point our guide pointed out a hotel where Pavarotti stayed for an Eisteddfod. Apparently they had to demolish the wall between two rooms to get his enormous bed in.


We then went to Manchester to stay in Harriet's lovely house, the one with the turrets used in a recent Wobblevision of 'Bounty' (non B7 fans--don't ask). She cooked us a slap-up veggie meal: chickpea casserole followed by ginger ice-cream, yum!
The next day, another lovely fine day, we went out to the Standedge canal tunnel. On the way we were stunned to see a pub called, in proud brass (or brazen?) letters, 'Smut Inn'. There was a black and white dog on their sign and Harriet thought it might be named for it. Hee. It's got to be a good Wobblevision location for Space City though. The canal tunnel would have taken 3 hours to go through; we just went 20 minutes into it but Harriet plans to go back and do the whole trip. Got a pic of the Smut Inn on the way back.
That night we went out with Harriet and two other B7 fans to the 'curry mile' in Manchester on a bus driven by a lunatic. The meal was wonderful, and almost all the guests were Indian or Pakistanis (always a good sign) in beautiful clothes (including the men and children) but all wearing running shoes / trainers!!! Bizarre.
Strangely enough we got the same would-be Schumacher driving the bus on the way home.


I was going to meet a friend (another B7 fan I know) in York the next day while Greg went to the National Railway Museum. However on the way out of Manchester the engine light in our rented car came on so we pulled off and rang the company. The said to go to the airport to get another car, so I rang Jane on her mobile. She was walking the walls with her husband and kids and said no problem, they'd wait for us to turn up. Two hours and another car later, we did but Greg couldn't find a park, it being a bank holiday, so he let me out and I had a lovely afternoon tea with Jane in the Earl Grey Tearooms in the Shambles, talking about the con and B7 and of course Vila. After that we were out of time so we had to drive north.


We spent the night in a hotel in Rainton (located only after I went into a pub and asked if there was anywhere to stay in the area; people were very friendly, gave me directions, and even guessed my accent; most think I'm Australian.) The next morning the restaurant was full of a business convention having a working breakfast--all the usual jargon but in accents just like Neville and Dennis from Aufwiedersehen Pet.
We went to Gateshead to see the Angel of the North statue in the cold rain, then to the Baltic Centre to walk the Millennium Bridge and admire the other five bridges in view, and the Sage Music Centre. This is opening later this year and is an amazing thing, like three merged partially-glass domes with buildings inside. Everyone I met called me love or pet, and unlike some I don't find this patronising but friendly and funny.
Then it was Middlesbrough and the transporter bridge shown in Aufwiedersehen Pet III, now painted a disconcertingly bright cornflower blue. We went across on it and the operator told us that people really did think it had been demolished and sold to Americans; they got thousands of letters and phonecalls about it.


We went back to York for a second go at it and had better luck this time. We found a lovely B&B right by the river and walked on the ancient city walls in the evening. The next day Greg went to the railway museum, which he said he could have spent days in, while I went to the Castle museum, which wasn't about the castle at all, but 600 years of everyday life. It's wonderful; I'd recommend it to anyone. I especially liked the armour and weapons exhibits and comparisons to modern examples, and the questions posed about historic decisions like "How would you find soldiers for your army?" The WW2 section was great too, and I even loved the costumes; I don't normally care much about clothes.
I then wandered around till I met Greg and we went in search of a traditional roast dinner with Yorkshire pudding for him (he never gets anything like that from me). We found a place which also serves faggots (for those who are puzzled, check this out; yes, people do eat them. Ick). Greg had a roast beef dinner and I had Yorkshire pudding with onion sauce.


We decided to spend our last night in Skegness on the way south because we've always loved those posters 'Skegness is SO bracing!'. And it is, out on the end of the pier and on the beach. However the waterfront and half the pier were packed with loud and garish cheap gambling booths and pokies. We were very disappointed; I'd expected a genteel row of small hotels like in Aberystwyth.


Our last stop before Heathrow was the War Museum at Duxford which has a wonderful collection of planes. The Grace Spitfire wasn't there sadly, but I saw several others, Hurricanes, Messerchmitts, and Concorde which we boarded. They also had an excellent land war museum with lots of tanks, life-size dioramas, and Monty's bedroom and map trucks. Very cool. I lusted after the official RAF flight jackets but settled for a camouflage umbrella.

And that's it. I wish it could have been a lot longer.

Tags: holiday
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