Some clarification of terms I think to start.
Erin = rinnywee
Pete = Sigellius from Eve-Online
Richard = Harm from Eve-Online
Nina = sweetmonsoon and Richards wife.
I think that covers it...
So hmmm.. where to start. The begining I guess...
Bath - Spa's, Abbey's and Fudge
Friday was the start of the road trip. I allowed three hours to drive to Bath, I would have been on time to, if not for the rain.. This was no ordinary shower - not drops, but buckets of rain. The only way I could tell I was on the road was the car in front's lights. Madness.
Picked up RinnyWee at the OU in Bath at 13:25.. so only 25 mins late, I made good time.
Let me just say Baths' road system is such a mountainous crazy maze compared to this eastern plains lads home.
Anyhow so we wandered around bath for a while and bath is a very pretty but expensive place.
Still looks pretty even with all that cloud.
Bath has roman baths (*duh*.. oh on the right of the photo btw) which are great, but EXPENSIVE to get in.. we saw the £8 entrance fee and went "fuck that." So no photos of them for you. However on the roman theme we did find out why the empire never lasted.
Romanus et Domu.. or something
Not a look to strike fear into the enemy that. Anyway, not able to go into the baths we opted for the much less expensive (read: free + "donation") Bath Abbey. This abbey is beautiful. It would blow you away, although I think the Abbey in Kings @ Cambridge has more "OMG!" factor this is sooo pretty.
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After monstering the town center we decided we needed to camp down, Erin (being the clever and cunning girl she is) found a list of campsites at the tourist information office. I then bought fudge. No there is no link there, other than we both ended up buying some REALLY nice fudge, and eating chocolate covered strawberries. mmmmmmmmmm.
Anyway we journyed out of bath a little way to a farm that put us up for the night. Chalk Farm, I highly recomend it.
This place is not exactly the best equiped, but its so pretty.
The road into the farm.
This place wasn't luxury but had some really cool horses and a pub
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Also this place has a fabulous name:
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So yes, we got up and were greeted by this view:
I can see a house from here.
Not the most awe inspiring sight ever... but certainly fabulous in the morning. Anyhow.. from here it was on to..
well... sort of. Not wanting to pay the exorbitant price of entry and be surrounded by badly dressed americans we opted for strolling past the fence while playing the Lord Of The Rings score.. this created a suitably "aaahhhhhh" effect.
no-one knows who they were, or what they were doing, but their legacy remains.. hewn into the living stone.
The detour over with (yes that was quick, but we've both seen it LOADS of times) we headed to meet the pete over in Southampton.
Southampton - Car Parks, Hiding, and The Lair.
And I thought bath was a pain to drive around. Let me introduce Southampton. Maze of roads, concrete car park HELL. Here I also found that my parking is AWFUL. (tho since I haven't had to drive ppl aorund its got better.. odd) I simply couldn't park properly. *shiver* Ugly ugly ugly...
Anyhow met "His Divinity" Pete in the shopping center, with Erin bricking it and hiding from the Lycra clad rower that he is, behind a large marble pillar.. awwwww heh. After a quick bevvie in a local "aussie pub" in honour of the Erin we headed off to Pete's house. This was not the Tower OF Doom(tm) with lightning striking it, and posibly some Ring Wraiths flying about it, that we had expected. Not at all. It was a surburbian semi with Petes mum inside.
Petes mum is cool. Crazy, but cool. This is a good thing. However he does seem acutly embarassed by his mum, so we er.. helped him be embarresed.. hehe. After a lovely dinner, watching Oceans Eleven on his HUUUUUUUUGE (about 8 feet across) widescreen TV, and acting all multiple personality on the eve-online IRC channel, we had to go and find a place to camp.
Herein lies the power of the internet search...
Eventually called around a few, to be told that there was no space anywhere expect in ones caravan area. Feeling a bit biblical at this point we set off to another cool camping farm. Arrived in the dark and used the headlights to put u pthe tent. After some schemeing and drinking we got some sleep...
To be greeted by this view in the morning..
If it looks pretty here, imagine what is was like BEING there.
Also that morning we met a REALLY cute pair of dogs intent on barking us into stroking them, and a really cute yet inquizative cat.
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The day being somewhat nicer than before we set out in good spirits to find Pete's house again. Where we were fed sandwiches by his mum. Great.
Pete had agreed to come with us to see Richard and Nina in Newmarket (the fool! bwahahahahahaha) so he packed up about as much as Erin had for two weeks. The tart.
We made good time to Newmarket, so good I forgot to phone ahead to Richard. When I did I was greeted by a slight panic "you'll be here when??" Whooops.
So we stopped off in Cambridge briefly, and geeked out at the local bookshop finding this gem of geekdom in the process:
Romeo O' Romeo, Kapl'ck ga'k d'ur O' Romeo..
However not a lot is open on a sunday in Cambridge (drat) so after a while we moved on to Rich and Nina's...
Newmarket and Cambridge - Sun, Sophie, and Fantasy.
btw.. as I write this I realise its BLOODY long.. so erm.. at a guess we're..
AT LEAST HALFWAY THROUGH!
er.. yes.. where was I? Ah, Newmarket. Now I've met Richard and Nina before a couple of times. The first time when I was on tour in a play that came to Cambridge called "Chasing The Dutchess Of Malfi". Erin hasn't met them before, but she was a lot less nervous than when she met Pete.
Rich and Nina have two kids, Sam and Sophie, Sam was away in Germany with his grandparents so we didn't get to be tired out by the bundle of energy that he is.
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We spent a very relaxed 3 days with Richard and Nina, Pete sadly left for home after a day, but we relaxed and had a good time anyhow. Watched LOTR and ate yummy food. On the tuesday night we were to head home and during the day Richard had an interview in Cambridge, so myself and Erin did the tourist thing. During this jaunt Erin met the love of her life...
Mmmmm baby, you're so hairy...
Let me tell you this Cambridge is LOVELY. Very pretty, full of history and if you live out of the town not that expensive.
How can you argue with views like this?
After a while I got a call from Richard on my mobile, his interview was over. So we met up in the library. While waiting for him to walk into town in the cafeteria upstairs I got another call, from Nick. Nick is a proffesional photographer and he'd been trying to get v2002 festival tickets for us. He'd not heard anything and so, less than a week away, all of us had assumed they weren't coming. How wrong we were...
Nick had got them, but he wasn't going to be able to go, that meant that BOTH of us could get in as photographers! After a lot of gushing thanks I hung up and told the frankly confused Erin exactly what his end of the conversation had been.
Her reaction, to that and my taking a photo of her..
A bit like the Kelloggs tiger, this was GRRRRRRRREAT!! So we bounced around a bit with Erin gasping "omgigettoseesigurrosigettoseethemomg." The Richard made a show.. we bouced at him for a moment and proceded to wander around Cambridge a bit, sit in a pub, go back to his, have dinner, and eventually go home...
Alton Towers - Thrill Rides, Queues, and Screaming.
The next day was Alton Towers day. Erin hadn't really been looking forward to this as it meant getting up at 6am to be picked up in a coach, but as we'd been woken around 7am or earlier by Sophie the last few dayts this wasn't too much of a strain.
I'll scan in the photos from the rides eventually for you amusment, but not right now. This post is long enough. However let me say that even thought we both had very sore feet by the end of the day it was fabulous. the new ride "Air" was fabulous and the virtical drop coaster "Oblivion" was not the best place for a virtigo sufferer like Erin to go, but she seemed to enjoy it.
Anyway ,the next couple of days were spent back at Richard and Nina's and were very nice. A friend I haven't seen in ages called Alan Hungerford turned up, which was very cool. It was good to see him agian for the few minutes I did, and I also found out that he has a full page spread about him in this months Metal Hammer magazine.. which I laughed at. We swung by his on the way back home the friday night and had a drink or two, he's actaully not as dodgy as he was *gasp*. Thanks, mostly, to his girlfriend who he celebrated his one year aniversary with this weekend *awwwww*.
Then... the saturday, v2002..
v2002 - Bands, Photos, and lots of Sun.
OMG is all I can say to this.. it was positivly criminal how easy it was for us to get in with our pissy little digital cameras.
Being in a photographers pit is a wierd experience.. all the crowd behind you and these huge stars less than ten feet away. Still you can get shots like this.. which is nice. :D
On to the music..
I'll breakdown the main bands I saw with a brief description and photo.
- My Vitrol - Now I don't know how well these guys are known elsewhere but they are a quality rock-metal group here. Well worth seeing live, but their recorded stuff is.. ok.
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- Sigur Rós - God these guys are amazing, and shy too. We tried to get a couple of photos for their fansite over here but I think both of us grinning manically at Jonsi scared him. Their music is just soul changing. Like a tide of electronic whalesong that cuts into me, bass sounds so vivid that they vibrate my breath to the pulse of their music.
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- Nickleback - Rock Lives! These guys rock like most other bands WISH they could. Brilliant stage presence and stomping around to guitars that Metalica used to have. Check them out live before you dismiss these canadians...
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- The Beta Band - Kooky nutters really, fun music but not my style. Good fun tho, unfortunatly my battery was dying at this point and I didn't want to wast too many photo's on ppl who didn't do mch on stage!
- Alannis Morrisette - Now I've always liked Alannis' music, even if she's a bit of a pretensious media whore. But live she seemed to have caught a few lessons from Nickleback. Going back to her rockier sound from Jagged Little Pill, and looking quite good. Five words guys.. Alannis In Tight Leather Pants..
After this we went home. Tired, sore, perhaps a bit sun stroked... but god it was a good day.
The Aftermath - Videos, Snacks, and farewell.
Sunday was F1 day so we settled down with the snacks from last nights video fest, Amelie and Thirteen Ghosts, and got in Shumunter Abuse positions... he didn't win. Good. Later Moulin Rouge was watched as Erin hadn't seen it. What a good film.. I can drool over Nicole while Erin drools over Ewan. Great stuff.. and the music is good too :D
Monday was farewell. After much drama with the parents on how to get to Waterloo Station I eventually ignored them and everything worked out fine. Got there with loads of time to spare. At the station we saw Rolf Harris.. which was odd.
But yes.. so there ended my week and a bit with Erin.. its always fun, if sarcastic fun, in her company.
Missing her already, but then I'll see her soon for ECTS!
After a slightly more complex route home (three bridges crossed instead of one, about 15 miles over london crossed and negotiating a slew of roadworks) I got home and vegged..
A busy week I think you'll agree...
All the photos I took that were any good will be up in The Photo Gallery now re-homed and working to my knowledge. The pages aren't up quite yet, but the photo's are there.
ciao for now...