Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Leaving London

The trip from Oxford to London was uneventful, apart from having to stand up for an hour, mostly because of my luggage and me being a bit paranoid about it on a crowded train.

Thursday - Kevin had the day off, so the two of us headed out to Greenwich. We saw the Cutty Sark, wandered through the National Maritime Museum and went up the hill to the Royal Observatory, where I proceeded to insist on reading every title card on every display, much to Kev's boredom.

And stood on the Prime Meridian. Curiously, it's not the Prime Meridian used on British ordinance Survey maps. They use the Bradley meridian, which is few metres away from it. Presumably this was the Royal Astronomer's meridian (there were a few meridian over the years) when the OS maps started.

Friday, I was on my own again. Failed to see the matinee of Noises Off that was playing in the Piccadilly Theatre and had Sylvester McCoy in it because there was no matinee on a Friday, so went off to Perivale instead. Perivale is where Ace in Doctor Who comes from, and she's right. Perivale is a hole. Still climbed Horseden Hill and took photos of location shots from 'Survival', because the sort of sad geek that I am. Couldn't find anywhere that sold Perivale postcards, though. (Sorry Kate!)

Spent a bit of time in the new Forbidden Planet store (they moved while I was away from London) and left copies of Borderlands for their magazine buyer to evaluate. Not really expecting to hear anything back from that.

Saturday was fun - my flight was supposed to leave at midday. I had to be at Heathrow, or at very least the Heathrow check-in at Paddington by 10am, so I dutifully set my alarm for 9:00am and went to sleep....

... and woke up at 10am, as I'd set my alarm for 9:00pm. I'd managed to pack pretty much everything the night before, so it was a matter of throw in the last couple of things and get my butt to Euston Square tube station to get the Circle Line to Paddington. I''d reckoned I'd be there by 10:30am and all would be well.


Euston Square Station was closed.


Now what? Well , I got to go for a ride in a black London taxi after all. That was, after I'd found an ATM, as I'd spent all my cash. (Was planning on using coins for tube ticket, credit card for train to Heathrow) So I got to Paddington by 10:30am, and joined the queue for the check-in at Paddington.

After reaching the head of the queue 20 minutes later, I was politely informed that I was too late to check-in at Paddington and could now only check-in at Heathrow. Right. Bloody fantastic.

Got the 10:55am Heathrow Express, which deposited me at Heathrow Central station at 11:10am. Then, a mad dash to the check-in desks at Terminal 3. As I got to the desk, I saw a sign that the final check-in time was 40 minutes before the flight. The time now? 11:19am. Phew.

They say to allow 40 minutes to get your boarding gate. They're not wrong. First, there's the huge queues to get through the three x-ray machines in the secure area. Then, there's 3 quarters of a mile of duty free shopping, followed by another huge distance to the gates themselves. Then you have to find your gate. I ran most of the way, and got to the gate with 15 minutes to spare. The person on the gate who took my boarding pass said "Oh, you needn't have run. You've got plenty of time after the final boarding call."

If looks could kill.

Maybe I Should Mention...

I should probably mention that I am back home, safe and sound.

I use the term 'home' loosely. I'd only been living here four weeks when I went to the UK for 5 and half weeks, so while the stuff in the house is reasonably familar, the actually dwelling isn't. (You can read an earlier blog post about that.)

And I need to get used to having the indicator on the correct side of the steering column of my car. And to the fact that my car isn't a 2003 model Volkswagon Polo.

Also, I'd like to rufute the story that's going around that I went to the UK to visit BBC quarries. I'd like to point out that a didn't visit a single quarry. Or any multiple of quarries.

I'll post about my last couple of days in London and a few facts and figures tomorrow.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Almost Home

Well, at Changi once more. Home in 7 hours or so. Must dash. Last Call already.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Baby Did a Bad, Bad, Thing

It's a disaster of my own making, as always.

While I was in Hay-On-Wye - the second-hand bookshop town, I found a copy of the second edition of Nicholls and Clute's Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Now, Anna used to have a copy of the first edition, but it was stolen when we were living in Wembley and never recovered. (My computer equipment was). So I bought it for her (after a quick transglobal confirmation that she wanted it).

Now, it's a huge book. Massive. And heavy. I chucked it in the book of the car, to deal with how exactly I was going to get it home later. Now, as I had to give the car back today, it had to be dealt with.

So, I packed it, neatly and snuggly, in my backpack. No problems.

So where's the diaster come in?

You see, I also wanted a copy of the Encylopedia. I was quite content for Anna to have the copy I'd found, as I'd be able to reference it and the like, and it wasn't like I was going to find another copy. I was happy in my mind with that arrangement.

The trouble came today when I glanced in the window of an Oxfam I was walking past in Oxford. Looking back at me was another copy on the Encylopedia. It was cheap, too. Only £12. (The cover price is £50). What to do, what to do?

Well, as Anna said when I purchased the first one - 'Buy now, repent at lesiure'. There's no way another one will fit in my luggage, so I'm going to have to lug it by hand to London (due to leave in about 10 minutes to catch the train) and try and figure out how to get everything home once I get there.

Out and About

After a very lovely couple of days in Cambridge (thanks Daniel!), I got back on my horse and struck out into the Wilderness - to Oxford. The journey included a short flirtation with the worlds biggest carpark - the M25. Due to some late rising, I didn't do much once I got to Oxford as it was quite late. Did a usualy nocturnal wander to find somewhere for dinner. Oxford is the only place so far where I got lost enough to have no idea what direction the way back was. Thank goodness the YHA in Oxford is next to the Train Station - plenty of signs about the place.

I love the bookshops in Oxford and Cambridge - they're huge, they're open late, they have a huge SF/Fantasy sections and carry a range of graphic novels and manga. Actually, just about every WH Smith, Borders and Waterstones in the country carries graphic novels. It's just plain weird to be able to walk into a bookshop just about anywhere and see a copy of 'Watchmen' and almost complete runs of 'Lone Wolf and Cub' just sitting on the shelf, usually next to several copies of 'Maus'. Even Quality hardly keeps a copy of 'Maus' on the shelf.

As I have to return the car today, I spent yesterday catching up with the last few spots I'd missed when I was in this part of the country 3 weeks ago.

So, I made it to East Hagbourne (where bits of 'The Android Invasion' were filmed. Yes more Doctor Who) - very pretty - thatched roofs and stuff. Even got to see one being re-thatched. From there, I headed across to the Uffington White horse. This was a bit disappointing, as there's nowhere really you can see the whole thing from, except from the air. This seems to be because the horse has sunk into the hillside a bit, so the gullys it has created block the view of other bits.

From there I drove the Aldbourne. This little village was where the Jon Pertwee story 'The Daemons' was filmed. As I drove into the part of the village where the church and the village green was, I felt like I'd just driven into a timewarp. Apart from a bitumen path across the diagonal of the square and the modern cars, it looked EXACTLY like it did in 1971. And probably years before that. If you listened hard, you could still hear the Brigadier shout 'Jenkins. Chap with the wings. Five Rounds rapid'.

I had lunch at the pub on the green - The Blue Boar. It was renamed 'The Cloven Hoof' for the story - there's a copy of the artwork from the pub sign on the wall still, and the member of staff who caught me looking at it, volunteered - 'Did you know that a Doctor Who story was filmed here once?'. It seems to be one of the few places that remembers the day the BBC came to town.

And then I went to Avebury.


This is the coolest place in the UK.

Imagine, if you will a stone circle. The stones aren't quite as massive as Stonehenge, but still pretty huge. Now, make it bigger than Stonehenge. Say, large enough to fit a small village into. And another two smaller circles. You've pretty much got Avebury.

It's the most weird juxtapostion you can think off. Ancient standing stones in fields with some sheep - and the local pub ('The Red Lion' strangely - no cash-in here) is just beind them. Elsewhere, you can see the entire village behind the stones. Plus it'd come up strangely overcast, giving the whole place the most eriee feeling. The sort of place you want to spend All Hallow's Eve (The Red Lion was already advertising Halloween)

Headed back to Oxford via Swindon (I was going to go to the Rollrights and Stratford-Upon-Avon, but ran out of time :( ). Got a bit lost in Swindon trying to get across to the road to Oxford. However, I came across the scariest intersection ever. Imagine a pentagram. Now, put a roundabout on each vertice, so that each roundabout is connected to the the two adjacent. Now, put another roundabout in the centre, that interconnects the other five. Now, let traffic loose into this maze. Aiee!

I has dinner and a pint last night at Tolkien and Lewis's local - 'The Eagle and Child'. The Inkilings used to meet their regularly to discuss their work. Not a bad little pub.

Anyway, I should really go and return the hire car (I've driven something close to 3300 miles) and see more of Oxford before I catch the train back to London tonight.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Kill Bill

I loved it to bits. Simple revenge story, told in a complex way. Great Tarantino dialogue, fantastic cinematography. It seems to me that Tarantino has spent the last 5 years in a basement watching Samurai films and every episode of Rurouni Kenshin. Go and see it!

Or, if you want a more eloquent view, try Tama's Blog

Sunday, October 19, 2003


On Friday, I drove to Cambridge. Not by the most direct route. Got confused about which M1 I needed to be on. The A1 turns into the M1 about 5 times on the way down from Scotland. Some of them turn back into the A1, some of them don't. Hence the confusion.

Plus, I sidetracked a little to track down more Doctor Who locations. I haven't found any for weeks, OK? The one that I found was the small town of Upper Hambleton, which is on a peninsular on Rutland Water. This formed the primary locations of Vortigan's Lake and the nearby Village for the 1989 story 'Battlefield'.

Got to Cambridge at the nominated hour and found Daniel's office at the rather space-age looking Centre for Mathematical Sciences. Amongst other things, it's where Stephen Hawking has his office. Went back to Daniels rooms at Sidney Sussex Collage, where he was recently made a fellow. Got to go to Formal Dinner on Friday night, but sat on the Low Tables, rather than the High Table, with the Collage choir. Went to a small party that the choristers had afterwards. (Daniel sings in the choir)

Spent all of yesterday walking about Cambridge seeing the sights/sites. Kings, Trinity, etc. The Borders bookshop here is huge, and there's a selection of other bookshops, including one that has a whole basement of various remandered books for £1 each. Went out for curry in the evening and went off to see a film. We saw Kill Bill - Volume 1. I might review it better in a future post. In short - excellent Tarantino fare. He's obviously spent the last few years watching as much Samurai anime as he could get his hands on.

And right now, we're off to go punting!

Friday, October 17, 2003

Scotland, dear Scotland

When I last wrote, I was in Stirling for the night. I had a good look at the Old Town that night, just wandering about and taking pictures in the dark - great stuff.

In the morning, got to look at the Castle. The thing the tour guide was most proud of was the Great Hall - they've just finished restoring it to what it would have looked like circa James IV - it only took 35 years to do so. Much time was taken recreating the barrel ceiling from scratch. All oak, not a single nail or screw.

They're also recreating a set of Unicorn tapestries from scratch - the originials are in a museum in New York, but it's thought they once hung in a bedroom the Royal residence in Stirling, so they're figuring out how they were woven, as they are incredibly detailed, but they're using wool instead of silk this time.

Headed off to Edinburgh just after midday. Stopped to get a photo of the Forth Road Bridge. You know the one. Also got a Motorola facility in the shot. Since I was in Edinburgh at 3:30pm I had time to look about the place near the hostel for a bit - which included the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Who'd have guessed I'd quite like the Surrealists, particularly Dali?

I spent all of Tuesday in Edinburgh (stayed two nights - first time I'd stayed two nights anywhere since Dover). Did the Castle in the morning (two castles in as many days! Who said I was castled out?) and saw the 1pm gun being fired - the crowd flinched - as well as the Honours of Scotland (read: Crown Jewels), the Stone of Destiny, and an Exhibition of James VI and Elizabeth I and the whole sucession thing. It even included actual correspondence between them. Like, the actual letters, signed by them. Elizabeth went a little overboard with her squiggly bits.

Afterwards, I checked out the Camera Obscura (having never seen one - it's basically a periscope with a series of lenses that project the image outside onto a white table) and meandered down the Royal Mile, before trudging back the 3 miles to the Hostel. (For the curious, Kirsten and Lindsay weren't there.)

Drove to York on Wednesday, with a brief diversion for Roman ruins and Hadrian's Wall and got to York at 4:30pm, which meant I could have dallied longer on Hadrian's Wall, rather than the jump-out/take-photo/jump-back-in-car thing that happened. Ah, well. Next time....

York is an ancient walled city. Really, really old. Under Yorkminister (when they went to shore up the foundations in 1967 to stop the place collasping under its own weight) they found the remains of the Norman Church it'd been extended from, and the Roman fortress town that had been there been there 900 years before that. The Roman drains still work today.

And tomorrow, I'm off to Cambridge.

Monday, October 13, 2003

That's a Bit Clever

Has anyone noticed that the advert box at the top of the page reflects the content on the blog? Just now it was advertising Portmerion Pottery and Portmerion China.

Dammed clever, that is.

Belated Post + Some new stuff!

This is what I was forced to post in my discussion forum this morning:

The internet kiosk at Inverness SYHA is MUCH better than the others I've used, but it's got a content filter. Which means:

1) I can't get to Patrick's blog. He uses naughty words.
2) I can't get to www.blogger.com, for no good reason. "Domain with forbidden contents" my bum. Which means I can't do an update to the blog.

So. Yesterday I went to John O' Groats. Not the most north easterly spot in Scotland - there's a place called Duncansby Head 2 miles east and little bit north from JO'G.

I've driven over 2000 miles now.

Today I'm going to Perth, Stirling and possibly Edinburugh. I'm not sure if I haven't already driven through Helensburugh.

Met some nice people at the Castle night before last - a bloke from Mark, from Esperance, and two Canadian women, Kirsten and Lindsay, who I think were studying MSc in Animal Studies (read: Vet) in Glasgow, but were travelling about. I may bump into them again in Edinburugh, but there's two SYHA hostels in Edinburugh, so I guess it's 50/50.

Further to that - I didn't make it to Edinburgh, as I spent too long in Perth, so tonight I'm in Stirling, just down the road from the castle. The Wallace monument looks very pretty at night time, and just dammed Victoria Gothic during the day. And there are many steps to the top. 237-odd. Nice view, would have been better on a clear day.

Other things I've missed in the last couple of days: I spoke to Jo and Patrick on the phone day before last, so I can say first hand that they're alive and well. And getting married, apparently. They told me independently, so it might just be true.

Yesterday my camera stopped writing to my 512Mb memory card, which shits me a bit. The advice in the manual is to reformat the card - not so useful when there's 120 pictures on it. So while I was in Inverness, I found a camera shop and got a new 256Mb card. I almost filled the 16Mb card I brought with me 'just in case' in the intervening 4 hours. Maybe a bit snap happy.

Friday, October 10, 2003


After a day of solid driving I made it to Scotland. Stayed the night at Loch Lomond, and I'll be continuing to push north today. The SYHA at Loch Lomond is a huge old manor house. Very impressive.

And I stopped at Hamilton yesterday, which is where the two operators at work come from.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Small correction

Jo's not out of ICU after all. Not with that punctured lung. But is awake and talking to people. Actually, 'Big Bad Leroy Brown' (aka Graeme, Grant's brother) has more up-to-date info in the forum. And apparently the Theatre Australia site has regular updates.

And Now the Bad News...

I got an SMS from Grant today while at Caernafon Castle - apparently my good friends Jo and Patrick are both in Hospital after a horror car accident. There are a number of broken legs and Jo was in ICU, but I'm told is out now, but hadn't been woken yet, but will be today, whenever today is.

I'm quite shaken by this news and my best wishes and most happy thoughts are with them, and I'm really quite glad they're both still alive.

I Can See You're Not From Sardines, Jim

OK, I'm done with Wales.

Most noticable feature of Wales: The castles. They're everywhere. The Normans built castles when they tried to conqueor the Welsh, the Welsh built castles to try to stay unconquored, and the English (most notably Edward I) built castles to keep them conquored. It's not possible to move about in Wales without seeing another castle. In fact, you could be walking down the street, trip up and discover there's yet another sodding castle on the pavement.

I've visted a few - the aforementioned Castell Coch, Caerphilly Castle (in Caerphilly), Raglan Castle (although just from the front - sorry, Bron) and today, Caernafon Castle. All glorious stone structures. But I'm feeling all castled out now.

Things in Wales that weren't castles: The ancient Roman ampitheatre in Caerleon, Bit Pit coal mine in Blaenavon (actually, another Doctor Who location, but I only found that out later), the Centre for Alternative Technology (just north of somewhere startiing with M and followed by many constanants and not enough vowels), Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station (decomissioned, and in the process of being made safe), Portmerion (where The Prisioner was shot, and that place with the really long name that I don't have in front of me and is refered to as Llanfair PG by the transport companies.

Also - Snowdonia. The scenery is breathtaking. It was all sculpted by glaciers at some point or another is just dammed stunning. I cursed a lot of yesterday for there not being enough places where I could safely pull over to take pictures.

I was going to go up Mt Snowden today, but the weather had other plans. Where I could see the peak from my window at the Snowden Ranger YHA yesterday afternoon, this morning, someone had taken it and replaced it with a low cloud bank that persisted all day as far as I could tell, being somewhere else.

Right now, I'm in Chester, and tomorrow I'll be heading north past Liverpool and into the Lakes District.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Driving Miss UKaisy

The roads haven't killed me yet. They frustrate me no end, though. It's annoying enough that the indicator and the windscreen wipers are on the wrong sides of the steering column, but I'm coping with that and get the right thing, but only if I'm not acting on blind instinct.

The roundabouts are OK. I've pretty much got them down pat. And the way almost everyone seems to want to speed is interesting and more frustrating to them. It's the condition of the roads.

I could, for example, be travelling down the A36. It's an A road, with a low number. It's an important road. I can be in the middle of nowhere and the road will suddenly become a dual carridgeway in really good condition. And then it will become a twisty narrow two lane road. And then we'll hit a village and it'll become a SINGLE lane road. Sometimes there will be a set of traffic lights to control the traffic. Sometimes. Haven't these people heard of bypasses? Douglas Adams wrote about them - they must have. It's not like there isn't the space. In the UK, if you're not in a bloody village, you're in a bloody paddock.


Radio One

Whilst driving about the place, I've been listening to BBC Radio One. It's sort of a cross between 92.9 and Triple J. The play the crap popularist stuff, but also play the occasional indie tracks. High on their rotation is new single for The Darkness, 'I Believe in a Thing Called Love'. It debuted in the UK chart at number 2. I really like it. It's good rock. I agree with Patrick - it's good shit, although I've yet to hear any other tracks off the album, which has slipped to number two in the album charts here.

Apparently The Darkness' album is a re-release. It got an initial release earlier in the year, but sank pretty much without trace until one of the Radio One DJs adpopted it and gave it some serious airplay. Which may or may not be crap.


I made my way out onto Salisbury plain on Thursday morning, so I could see Stonehenge - that world famous stone circle. It's much smaller that I exepected it to be. It looks so much taller on television, somehow. Still impressive from an engineerin perspective - those stones are very heavy, and from Wales.

Went around the corner to Woodhenge, which was even shorter, being concrete blocks where the wooden post once were. The body of a three year old child was found near the centre of the circle with a split skull. It's assumed from this that the ancient people who built Woodhenge practiced human sacrifce, but there's little other evidence to back this up, apparently. I'm wondering if a block of wood got dropped accidentially on the kid when they were building the thing.

I wanted to head to Avebury (huge stone circle, with a village in it), but I'd already arranged to stay in Bath for the night and didn't have time if I wanted to go to Longleat. I'm going to have to come back to this part of England later.

On my way to Longleat, I tried to find the Westbury white house. I did find what was labeled as a viewing area at the bottom of a line of hills, but I couldn't see a thing - a thick fog had descended. I did find away to the top of the ridge the horse was carved into, so I got my photo.

My afternoon was spent at Longleat House. Longleat has several attractions - it was the first manor house ever to open to the public, the estate had the first safari park to open outside of Africa, it's the site of the worlds largest hedge maze and it's got the Longleat Doctor Who exhibition.

I didn't do the safari park, but I did the other things, starting with the maze. It really is very big. I made it from the entrance to the exit fairly easily - but I could see an observation deck in the centre, and spent the next ninety minutes trying to find my way up to it, getting lost and going in circles. Did eventually get there, to discover that this was the centre of the maze.

I went to the Doctor Who Exhibit next. It was a bit disappointing really. Basically it's several old monster costumes in glass cases with flashing lights to make it hard to photograph. Oh, and a naff console. It's closing at the end of the month after 20 years. The guy who runs it was hoping it and him would be moving to Blackpool.

However, they did have a selection of books for sale. It may have cost me £14, but I'm now the proud owner of a copy of 'Mindwarp'. Bwhahahahahahaha!

I also checked out the interior of the house. And I thought the Royal Pavillion at Brighton was extravagent. I've never seen tooled leather wallpaper before. Or ceilings built around pieces of artwork imported from Italy. The guide for the house tour figured out I was Australian - my accent isn't broad enough for people to pick. She'd been a house matron at the girls school in Mt Lawley (PLC?) in 1968.

Dashed off to Bath to make my 6pm check-in. Discovered quite quickly there was no parking at the YHA and that someone arrived at the same time as me. She turned out to be a woman named Stacey - a civil engineer from Brisbane. We got talking when we had to move our cars back into the street. We ended up going to dinner together and on a 'ghost walk'. The ghost walk was interesting. It was a walking tour around Bath's paranormal hotspots, which also happen to sites of historical significance, so we got to walk the sights of Bath, with an amusing patter which added in ghost stories to the history of Bath. The guide could have been better as his act, but apparently he was a temp - his father ususally did the walks.

Next morning, met up with Stacey again and we headed off initially to take a free walking tour of Bath, but we got distracted... by the Roman Bath Museum (dirty minds, people!). There's a natural hotsping under Bath. The Saxon knew all about it and the Romans soon found about it when they occupied Britian. And build a dirty great bathhouse around it. With a temple in the middle to Sulis Minerva. (Minerva being the Roman Goddess of Wisdom, and Sulis being the Saxon god of the spring). Partook of the springs waters at the end of the museum in 'The Pump Room'. 50p a glass and a bit mineral salty.

We also went to the Jane Austin Centre. Apparently Jane spent a bit of time in Bath after her parents retired there in the early 1800's. She hated it. Stopped writing completely and hated the noise and the bustle and wanted to go back to Wiltshire. Which she did, eventually, but not until getting engaged for 12 hours before calling it off. Jane's father had a huge library, and apparently her relationship with her father was not unlike that between Mr Bennett and Lizzie in 'Pride and Prejudice'.

Left Stacey in Bath, and headed off towards Cardiff in Wales, to meet up with Bron Ellis, ex-Perther, who's a friend of mine with whom I was staying for a few days.

So that brings us to today. I got a big internet fix last night and this evening, and today we went to Castell Coch (The Red Castle) with David, with whom she lives (and his family).

Interesting place. Converted from a 13th century Norman fort in the 1870's into what's termed a medieval fantasy castle for the third Marquess of Bale. Bits of it are 1870's, whilst the rest is what they thought medieval stuff was like. The architecture is fairly accurate, but the furnishings are a bit fanciful.

Tomorrow - more Welsh castles.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

The Sad Fan Tour Continues

Right. Not sure if this is going to work. The version of IE on this YHA kiosk is a bit funny and very knobbled.

Since I last posted anything of significance, which I think was in Hastings, I've been to Battle to see the 1066 Battlefield, the Long Man of Wilmongton, and then to Brighton to see the pebble beach, the pier and the Royal Pavillion. I'd intended to spend the night at Arundel, but was foiled by Arundel YHA being fully booked. Didn't find this out until I got there, as I stupidly didn't phone ahead. They booked me into a place called Truleigh Hill (back towards Brighton) and gave me crap directions, so spent the next two hours trying to find the place, which turned out to be on the top of a hill miles from bloody anywhere. I've booked ahead since then.

Next day, headed to Arundel - the castle was closed - it was Saturday. Did find the back way into the estate and did manage to find Hiorne's Tower (featured in Silver Nemesis and other telefantasy, after a 3 mile slog around some very pretty gullies. From Arundel, went to Winchester, to see the Cathedral and the grave of Jane Austin. The cathedral was taken over by a flower festival, so I didn't get to see inside. Settled for the house where Jane died.

Stayed the night at a place called Lulworth Cove. Lulworth Cove is where the beach scenes for The Curse of Fenric were shot. The road in had an amusing sign labelled 'Tanks Crossing', as there was a Ministry of Defence training area nearby. I stopped and got a picture of it.

Sunday - Went through Dorchester to Poxwell and Osmington for its White Horse (there are 8, apparently in the UK. Another 6 are around Salisbury Plain, according to my map, and the other is at Uffington)

Then to the Cerne Giant - I reckon it's a fake. There's no documentary evidence of it until 1694. And it's crap compared to the Long Man. It's just not quite right. Could be a characture of Cromwell.

Saw some lovely little Devonshire villages and stayed the night at a B&B in Plymouth. From Plymounth, continued east into Cornwell. Saw some nice Cornish fishing villages - Polperro is was my favourite - before heading down the Lizard to the aforementioned Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station and Lizard Point - the most southerly point in the UK. Then onwards to Penzance for the night.

Monday - Headed off to Land's End. It's a tourist trap. £3 just for parking! I only wanted to be there 30 minutes. Got some photos and dashed off. I'd been given an errand to run from the manager of the YHA at Penzance. I was to take tickets for a soccer match to the manager at Bellever YHA in the middle of Dartmoor (where I was going to spend the night), but he said I'd be there by 5pm!

Tried to find a cornish stand stone that was on my map, which involved tight single lane... lanes. There's allegedly hundreds of circles and monoliths and whatnot across the UK. However, they don't seem to care enough about them to do something simple, like say, put up a few signposts. I didn't find it, and ended up on a twisty little coast road to St Ives. My time restraints meant I couldn't got the Tate Gallery branch at St Ives.

Continued along the nothern Cornish coast. Passed four windfarms and could see more in the distance when I turned off to go to the Eden Project. I'd regreted not going on the way along the south coast and was going to be dammed if I was going to miss it again. I'm glad I went. Imagine you had a hole on the ground, probably from open pit mining. Now build two huge green houses from huge plastic spheres, fill them with plants (one rainforest, one mediteranian) and volia - the Eden Project.

From there, headed to Dartmoor. Driving the Moors at night (I went out for dinner) is certainly an experience. A little misty too. Oh, did I mention the sheep, cows and ponies that roam the moors? And the lack of roadside fences?

Today - Found Hounds Tor (on Dartmoor) where The Sontaran Experiment was shot. From there drove to Glastonbury and walked up the Tor, from the Park and Ride car park, which is about 1 mile downhill from the base of the Tor. The buses stopped running on Sunday, and there is NO closer carpark. Got to the summit and was almost blown off - the wind was ferocious. No digeridoo player, which is sure to disappoint Stephen.

Went to Wookey Hole after that - Revenge of the Cybermen. South-west WA caves are much better. And then to Salisbury where I'm writing from now.

Stitches is doing fine, appart from getting a little grubby and maybe losing some fur, but I've wrapped him in my hat from now on.