Sunday, October 7, 2007

We're back in the rainy cradle of Vancouver and after sorting through all these pictures from the trip I can continue with the narative.

After the Doctor Who museum we headed over to the Central Pier for a look around. We played some games at the aging amusements, walked to the end of the pier, found a little bowling alley, ten pin with five pin balls. Ian and I played a game. The ferris wheel, dubbed the "Blackpool Eye" made a creepy old whirring noise that sounded like something out of a horror movie soundtrack.
A glance under the pier and the rusting support pillars added to the creep factor but really, I like these sort of places.
It reminded me of growing up in Jersey and the old amusements of Asbury Park. Ian thought it looked a lot like his childhood trips to Hampton Beach. Standing here we realised that places like these were the original template for those old summer playgrounds of ours. It would be a day later, in an an e-mail from Ian's mom that we would learn Ian's dad lived on this very beach as a child. We knew he was from Lancashire but had no idea his parents ran a boarding house for the tourists back in 1949. Amazing. And it totally explained why Ian's family visited Hampton Beach years later, it reminded Ian's father of his own childhood. We'll have to go back someday and hopefully track down that old house.
It was getting near 3pm, time to get back on the road to Cardiff.
On the motorway we saw cows crossing an overpass!
We got in late, found a hotel and the second we pick up the keys to our rooms we turn and see the actor who plays Ianto on Torchwood, Gareth David-Lloyd walk into the lobby and head for the bar. We're in Cardiff all right. The next day we met up with Mike Collins, an artist on the Doctor Who Magazine strip. He was introduced to us via e-mail by fellow DW fanatic Richard Starkings and what a pleasure it was to hang with him and his assistant Bethan!
Mike and Bethan were very kind to give us the tour around Cardiff Bay and some DW/Torchwood shooting sites followed by a visit to his studio.
The fountain at the Wales Millennium Centre was very cool (I got a bit soaked when I stood too close).
The old saying on the Centre is in both English and Welsh. The English says "IN THESE STONES HORIZONS SING" and the neat part is that the welsh part can be said with the english and still make sense. The Centre was playing a musical of Tin Tin which was very tempting. Instead we settled for Ian making up lyrics to ballads about Snowy.
A few steps away and we're at the secret entrance to Torchwood. A gate was put up to keep out the crazier fans but you can still see newspapers from the show covering up the windows.
Psst! David Tennant lives right over there in the condo with the sail on the roof! Of course if you watched the video diaries on the DVD you's already knew that (mwaah!)
A beautiful sculpture paying tribute to the lives of those lost at sea.

We also checked out the local parliament building, the tourist bureau with its large scale map of the city, a Norwegian wooden church, a monument to the doomed expedition to the antarctic and then a fabulous lunch of chicken Tikka and conversation about some of this summer's more dismal offerings from Hollywood.
From there we hiked over to the Red Dragon Centre for yet another Doctor Who Exhibition. This one was a lot of fun with many cool props on display including the TARDIS from the older series. Yay! Mike knew the proprietor and we got the full experience with wristbands and a quiz form to fill out. Loved it! When filling out the guestbook we saw two visitors from Surrey BC had been there that very afternoon! Weird!
Near Mike's studio and we see more familar places.
The 'police station' from Blink. Beware the weeping angels! A block away is the car park where the TARDIS was impounded.
Just outside of Mike's studio is a building where a rather gruesome death was recently shot for the new season of Torchwood. Aparently someone gets tossed off and makes a very messy end of it on the sidewalk.
At the animation studio where Mike and Bethan are based we got to meet several animators and geek out over artwork, and many, many toys and action figures.
Mike also showed off a chocolately find from a trip to Norway he made that weekend.Sketching!
And then our wonderful tour was done. It was an unforgettable day, Mike was a terrific guide and we look forward to returning someday soon.
Next stop, Hay on Wye and then... London!

1 comment:

Richard Starkings said...

When we visited Mike a couple of years ago it was POURING with rain (off and on). I'm glad you guys had a good time -- I wish we could have made it back to Blighty this year but flying a family of five to England every year and renting a car there is MIGHTY PRICEY!