On Sunday, I was up at 8.00am in order to leave at 8.30am to get a 9.33am train to Swindon. The two changes (Oxford and Didcot Parkway - frellin' Sunday services) were relatively painless, and I met Vicky and her parents at Swindon with no trouble and more or less on time. They'd promised to show me the Avebury Stones and Stonehenge as they're local landmarks - along with the white Ridgeway horses - so off we went to Avebury. I got a random photo of some of the stones, but couldn't get any closer due to mud, unsuitable shoes and impractical jeans.
Right near these stones is the Red Lion pub. It took me far too long for the name to register. "Red Lion pub. Hang on, where are we? Avebury? Red Lion pub at Avebury? That's a "Most Haunted" location!!" So, needless to say, we stopped there for lunch. I mean, we were going to anyway, but the fact that it was an early series 1 location made it all the more interesting. Yes, I'm a great big geek. I get excited about randomly managing to cross MH-locations off my list when I visit them (though it's not as exciting as Cloggy's car...)
I had a very nice brie and bacon sandwich in there, even though I didn't see anything even remotely ghostly. Now I need to watch the episode again and find out where they were sitting for their pre-vigil dinner, and proceed to get even more excited when I realise we were at the same table, or something...
Onwards after that to Stonehenge, passing Silbury Hill along the way. Silbury Hill is the only man-made hill in Britain, and nobody knows what it's there for. There's also a hole in the middle, apparently.
Random sheep had to be photographed, obviously... :) After that, we headed to Stonehenge. Even though you have to pay to get in these days, it's still easily viewable from the road, so that's where these photos were taken from.
That first one was taken through the fence when we got slightly closer, and the second one was taken from near the carpark, at a slightly different angle. It's certainly a fascinating and very eerie place...
After that was Lydiard Park, the Hall situated in which is a possible future Most Haunted location (what??), in that it appeared on the list of locations before the series aired even though it wasn't confirmed at that point. We did originally plan to go back on Tuesday to look around the house, but that plan was thwarted by general tiredness. I suppose it's merely a testiment to my utter geekness that I could actually picture how they would film it. First, however, was some wandering around the grounds.
The ice store, which used to be accessible and is now padlocked. Spooky, though.
Some weird-looking trees in the immediate grounds.
That's the hall itself. I can just see it now. Karl would be standing where I was when the photo was taken, however many yards away, and would run jerkily up to the building in a haphazard fashion (the old-movie graininess would be added later, of course), whereupon Yvette would appear bedecked in Another Fabulous Coat and would introduce the show, before disappearing back inside the building again... Yeah, I've been watching this show waaay too long.
The church at the back of the hall (graveyard was apparently inaccessible) and a squirrel in a tree. It stayed perfectly still until I'd taken a picture and then ran off again...
After that it was back to her (tiny!) house to meet her new cat, Pipsqueak, where we checked email and other online randomness (including my first of many spammage posts to mosthauntedgeek) and set about watching some Most Haunted.
Monday morning, we headed to Asda to buy alcohol, a tag for the cat's collar, and various other bits. The alcohol was for our planned post-Lenny Most Haunted into-the-small-hours marathon, y'see. After that it was briefly into Swindon town centre to drop off a film, scour HMV for things (got the Maroon 5 single of "She Will Be Loved", which has the video on it...) and then to Vicky's old secondary school because she was going to visit her art teacher. The result of this little excursion was much school-like nostalgia (especially in the sixth-form art room, that smelt of, well, school art room) and myself decreeing that I will write to Miss Insch at some point. Possibly after graduation when I have the certificate and can go apologise to Mrs Gregory because she was right all along.
By about 4.00pm, we were starving, having not eaten anything except some bread&jam that morning (at 8.30am), so we got some baguettes from Sainsbury's, took them back, and finished off the roast chicken from the night before, whilst watching more of Most Haunted until it was time to get ready for Lenny Henry.
The show itself was fantastic, and very, very funny. He covered such diverse topics as sex, gender differences, music, the generation gap, what black people think of him, and war, for which he had interviewed people on the street to get their opinions and then incorporated them into the show. In the first act, he spent about 15 minutes heckling the front row and incorporated their names/jobs/bags of rolos into the show, which was very nice. :) He also introduced four of the many people living in his head: Neville, the corner-shop owner; Rachel, his wife; Daniel, her son, a solder out in Iraq; and Eliot, "the wolfman", Daniel's real father. We don't find out they're related until the end of the second act, though, which was completely dominated by the four characters, including an array of accents, and Lenny singing "Jesuuuus, come to me!" in a very convincing soprano... Actually, considering he wasn't wearing any costume or make-up, he makes a terrifyingly good woman. There were also a few bits about family relations, specifically his own, which were all the more amusing for the fact that a) he's married to Dawn French and b) you could honestly picture her saying those things. :D
Oh, and this was Rachel's theory on the war: it's all to do with the size of men's willies. See, George Bush thinks his is bigger than everyone else's (it's probably true...), and Tony Blair says "Well, I'm British, and we don't like to talk about our willies, but I stand up beside George Bush's willy." Oy. The slash. Terrifying.
We stage-door lurked - having found it earlier that morning - along with about 15 other brave people (including the one and only black family in the audience...) and waiting a bit. Len appeared after a few minutes, equipped with his own permanent marker, fully prepared for fangirls and having no fear. "Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello," he said, nodding to the accumulated fanpeople. There were two people in front of us - one of whom he'd heckled during the show - "It's Tamsin!" - and then it was us. While he was signing Vicky's, I asked if we could have our photo taken. He said just as long as we were quick because he was leaving (though there were a substantial amount of people by this point) so out came my camera...
:D Silly faces! Of course, after that, as we were leaving, I saw about three other cameras appear. Oops. Sorry, Len.
I'll scan the programme at another point, as my scanner's still dead until I get a new computer and a new scanner to go with it. Should only be a matter of time, yay!
So, we were going to watch more Most Haunted when we got in, but due to the various different coloured lighting effects in the show, we both had horrendous headaches, also from laughing far too hard, so we got in and went straight to bed.
Today we decreed to be a day of lounging around watching... oh, take a wild guess. For breakfast, we had steak, chips and onion rings (which would've been tea the night before had we eaten lunch at a sensible time), whilst watching the videos. Then we decided to finish off Vicky's film by taking random photos of the cat, and took that film to be developed down by Asda. We rented Elf from Blockbusters while we were there, just to give our brains a break. I was squeeing too much over Yvette being generally adorable, and Vicky was squeeing over the orbs whenever she spotted one they didn't... before decreeing them to be moths, obviously. So, because of that, we thought "You know, we need some chocolate", so off we went to Asda. And came out with just over 1kg of pick-n-mix sweets.
Back we went, and dumped all the sweets into a bowl so we could pick at it. Whoa, too much sugar. Film was good, though. Eventually, we just had to put clingfilm over the bowl and put it in the kitchen because we were both feeling sick. I started to feel like Rygel in Terra Firma... only, y'know, not a slug. We took the movie back and got the photos, and then watched a bit more Most Haunted until Vicky's dad came back from work - he's a milkman, y'see, works weird hours - and we went to Pizza Hut to get some dinner. And then he drove me back to the station for my 8.22pm train, and I went home.
Incidentally, Cheltenam Spa is a horrible station. Really. Horrible.
So, that was that. I'll be seeing her again in about two weeks when we go up to Derby to visit Becky for a weekend (when I shall also hopefully attempt some Christmas shopping in the Eagle Centre - wow, memories...) and I go back to the Vine to pop in on Sue and Steve, whilst getting some more Vimto jam from Tesco's in the process. I swear, that Tesco's in Derby's the only place that sells it...
Before I fall asleep completely: does anyone fancy coming to my graduation? I have two spare allocated tickets, you see. It'd be £7.00 but I'll pay for you if you want... just, I was going to invite my grandmother but she'll be completely mortifying, and I don't think I have the energy to cope. So. Open invitation...