Monday, 18 February 2013

A visit to Graystark Hall Orphanage

 Valentines weekend had been planned months in advance with a cheap and cheerful £12 hotel sale. However, the whole stay was pretty much weather-dependent and after the amount of snow, wind and rain the UK had been getting over the previous weeks, we really weren't sure whether we would ever make it down to Cardiff. 

 Thankfully, Saturday arrived alongside the sun beaming high in the sky so off I drove with Luke down to Wales, location stops in hand. 

Bottom Image: Courtesy of BBC
 Our first location was Troy House, Monmouth. We by-pass the town on the way to Cardiff so how we have missed the stop in the past is beyond belief. A cheeky 5 minute detour off the beaten-track later we arrived. 

Bottom Image: Courtesy of BBC
 Cast your minds back to Doctor Who Series 6, and the second of the two-parter Day of the Moon. Canton Delaware and Amy Pond head off to the children's orphanage in search for a missing girl. Here, Amy is later taken by the Silents once she finds the little girls room.  

 I would recommend that those who wish to stop at this location in the future take extra care, unless you have a flashy 4x4 car or are prepared to walk from the main road. My baby Clio unfortunately got battered and bruised through the dirt track leading to the mansion, which is surrounded by farmland and a fully operational working farm. Therefore, the route was full of potholes, pools of water and all sorts of gravel, stones and mud. My bad. I don't think I will be venturing along there again! 

 Anyway, following me totally mastering the slightly off-road driving experience we finally reached the gothic gates, hopped out of the car and landed right into the horrifying squelch of... mud - A lot of it -And in my best shoes. Yes, a top tip if you fancy heading to the spot: PACK THOSE WELLIES! A quick jump out of the car and a few snapshots later then amounted to two dogs hurtling towards the gates from the inside barking like crazy. I suppose it made a change from the eerie silence. We did consider ringing the bell and asking if we could have access to the inside of the grounds for some pictures, but the dogs really startled us so we headed off. 

Note - the amount of mud covering the ground behind me!
 We stopped at two further Doctor Who locations during our little weekend getaway. The next was Fields House from Blink and the final spot, a filming location from Fathers Day. I will try my best to put together posts on both of these as soon as possible! In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful week and are starting to get over them horrid Monday Blues!

If you fancy heading to Troy House, Monmouth:
  • Drive carefully and watch out for uneven surfaces/potholes which could seriously damage your car.
  • Park close to the main road and walk down to the house (takes approx 5-10 minutes).
  • Wear wellies/boots.
  • Be aware of the guard dogs. 

Note: The Clio is now all well and good, and since our trip has been cleaned inside and out. Sustained minor scratches to the front of the car - it was all worth it!

To find more about this historic building, you can head to the wikipedia site  *slaps her University Higher-Educated wrists*

Thanks for reading

Monday, 11 February 2013

Followed by a mad man and his blue box... The Mailbox, BBC Birmingham

...And I am certainly not complaining! (Sadly, yet to find that mysterious mad man!)

 On Friday 8th February me and my partner headed to the Britain's Got Talent live auditions in Birmingham (blog post to follow), when we decided to stop off and check out Birmingham's very own BBC headquarters, located in the Mailbox.

 We were both first-time visitors to the building, and after perusing around some of the shops we located the BBC entrance. At this moment I acted like a squealing, excitable little child after spotting the TARDIS behind the glass window and, failing to compose myself, sprinted towards the door. 

 Unfortunately, the TARDIS doors were bolted shut - (obviously the doctor knew I would be making a visit and took extra precautions!) Nevertheless, there was a photo opportunity to be had, and a supply of Doctor Who character masks begging to be worn! However, resisting temptation of becoming an Ood, the Empty Child or even Amy Pond for the day, I sported the au naturel PluckyKelly look, see below :-)
Is that my mad man running up the stairs I see...?
 After a quick browse in the BBC store - where you can find all your BBC favourites, and a whole section on Doctor Who/Torchwood goodies (see more HERE) we headed up the stairs. BAD IDEA. Because located at the top of the steps and guarding the first floor, was a menacing Dalek.

 After checking defences and ensuring the Dalek was restrained, I braved a photo, had a quick nose around the multiple studios through the glass windows, grabbed a tours leaflet and made a hasty run for it with Luke. We had survived.
Me looking exceptionally short next to the Dalek
 So after a rather restless afternoon running away from Daleks, searching for that mad man and trying to find our way into the city centre, me and Luke finally made it to the ICC, ready for the Britain's Got Talent Auditions. I will include all the details and lots of pictures of my evening with Mr Cowell in my next blog post :-) 

 In the meantime I was wondering whether any of you had been on the BBC Midlands Today Tour at the Mailbox? If so, would you recommend a visit? Drop me a Tweet or Email  - details of these HERE.

 Overall, my trip to the Mailbox was not the first time I had come across a lonely Time Machine. Back in November when I attended the Dirty Dancing Tour at Cardiff's Millennium Centre with mum, I was astonished to find the TARDIS sat in the foyer, being ignored by the surrounding crowds...
So do I believe someone out there is following me? No, of course not! But if the Doctor was to open them ancient blue doors, I'd travel the stars alongside him any day. 

*The Doctor. In the TARDIS. Next stop: Everywhere*