Flying the Tardis
3 Oct 2012
|Copy and paste this link to see photos, included photos of our previous visit to Cardiff
Wednesday 3rd October
We took the bus to Cardiff Bay mid morning, the Doctor Who Experience took a bit of finding as it was much further around the bay than we expected. We had to go to the tourist information centre and ask them, so they showed us where it was marked on our tourist maps. Whoops, didn’t expect that as it was new, having only opened in July, and the map was an older one. We know we are getting close when we spot a Tardis on the pier. We find the exhibition in a huge building that looked like a misshapen aircraft hanger, or a segment of a giant worm perhaps.
We picked up our tickets and waited in the café area for our timed entry, we didn’t have too long a wait, and there is plenty to look at. We can upgrade our tickets to include a book, some “exclusive” postcards, a certificate to show you have helped fly the Tardis and an “exclusive” Tshirt. Both Tony and Cynthea think the Tshirts are awful, and are told they cannot exchange them for something different. The only thing we would probably be interested in is the souvenir book. There is a big red Dalek made out of Lego, and “Bessie”, the third Doctor’s car from the 1970’s.
During the first part of the tour we are not allowed to take photos. We travel in the Tardis, and Tony “helped” fly it, and there is a 3D show. The second part of the tour covers two floors. Downstairs we see prop exhibits from the older series, though not a lot survives from the times up to the eighth Doctor, those episodes finished screening in 1996. There are models of all of the Doctors’ costumes, a couple of different Tardis’s, a display of sonic screwdrivers and a couple of Tardis interiors. There is a photo booth where you can get your photo taken in four different scenes, but the equipment has broken down. Staff promise to come and get us from upstairs when it is up and running.
We head upstairs to see more exhibits, much of them from the more recent series since 2005, though there are a few Daleks and Cybermen from the 1960’s. Many old favourites are on display, some of these are reproductions.
We head back downstairs to the photo booth, it is just about fixed, and we are soon trying to work it. We feel it still needs a touch of the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, it is very difficult to line up ourselves up on the green screen. Several takes later we are happy enough with the result, and cough up £15. They take our email address and a digital copy is also sent to us at no extra charge.
We head back to town, though it takes us a bit of time finding the correct bus stop, we want the bus that goes past the car rental place. We double check with the driver, and head on our way. As we get near Tony tells the driver he wants the stop closest to the Caltex petrol station, and the driver looks blankly at him. Oh, we are not in NZ are we? He meant the Texaco station, the one that uses the same logo as Caltex.
They are not very organised at Avis when we call to pick up our rental, the car is not there yet, despite having booked it for 2.30, and they seem to be fluffing around a lot. We wait a good half hour before we get tiny wee red two door Fiat, there is not much room for passengers, or our luggage! Back at the hostel we manage to get one pack in the boot, and one in the back seat, and finally leave Cardiff around 4pm.
The wee car takes a bit of getting used to, Tony keeps thinking he is stalling it all the time, but it has a fuel saver system where the engine switches off while in neutral, and automatically comes back on when you slip it back into gear. The dashboard display has a light sensor and changes automatically as well.
We make a stop at Tescos in Tiverton before heading out to the farm, arriving at West Kidland around 7pm. It doesn’t seem like nine months since Tony left here. There are three help-xers living here, KaWing is still at the farm, and Louise and Thomas from the UK have been there a month. There is a message from Adam, her will be there early tomorrow. It is a bit late to take Cynthea on much of a tour, but we visit the goats, chickens, ducklings and pigs in the main barn, where Elsa has 12 little ones, they are so cute. The barn owls are still about and have the company of a rescued owl in the chicken coop next door. Catherine thinks he will be ready for release soon. The owls have already been fed, but Tony makes sure everyone knows it is his job tomorrow night.
Catherine arrives home and we have a late meal, it is a great night catching up. Catherine’s parents are away, so we are staying in their house with KaWing, and Reg and Copper’s five dogs and a tortoise. Cynthea thought it was just an empty shell for the dogs to play with, until it poked its head out.