Friday, June 04, 2010

The third and fourth days of summer (and cadbury world)...

Yeah folks, they don't run consecutively. Until tuesday, the weather has been absolutely rubbish.

Well, with the changing weather, another trip to Twin Lakes was on the cards, and again and as usual, lots of fun was had. The dangly bungee rope trap thing is still roped off, but there were a few new attractions including a load of very loud lambs in the petting zoo, as well as a cute little simples (1 2) in the don't-pet-unless-you-want-to-lose-a-finger-zoo. As usual, lots of fun was had.

My nephew spent plenty of the journey there trying to guess what the various trucks on the motorway were carrying, as well as telling me that truck stops that you can use to get some sleep and to refill with diesel don't actually exist in real life, because "it's only a game" which was quite cute of him. He hasn't been on the truck game for a while, instead he's spent a lot of time zooming around in various cars that I made for him on Need For Speed: Most Wanted. Still, a fun day out for all. Again, plenty of time was spent running round, swinging, hiding, bouncing, siding, all sorts of interesting things. A quick meal and off we went again with the whole having fun thing.

A couple of days later, I got dragged along rather unwillingly (after having had no sleep whatsoever), to Cadbury World, what I originally took to be a dull and uninteresting visitors center at a grimy factory.

A fairly lengthy drive, and we drove in one side of Birmingham, and out the other. First impressions: Grimy, big, not very pleasant. But look closer and some bits of it are actually really nice, so I suppose it's like any major city in that it's got its nice bits and its crappy bits.

And as for Cadbury World itself, in reality, I'm pleased to say, it was a fantastic day out. The price of the ticket included plenty of chocolate which was handed out by nice staff, we got to see various bits of the factory with boxes of chocolate whizzing around on conveyor belts, and huge robots picking up the boxes and stacking them up and whatnot. Not only were there also little video presentations telling you about the history of the chocolate, but at one point there were practical demonstrations as well. As I said at the time, I'll certainly never look at a bar of chocolate the same way again, and Cadbury World seems to be a major PR winner for Cadbury's :-). There was a shop where you could buy souvenirs and stuff, including some of the biggest chocolate bars I'd ever seen, and some of the weirdest chocolate products I'd never seen.

Since we were in the area, we had a nice little drive to Stratford-on-Avon, a town which may be famous for being the birthplace and lifelong home (more or less, I think) of a certain Bill Shakespeare. We parked up, and like a pair of foreign tourists, got on one of those open-topped tour buses so we could take photos of various interesting parts of the town. Informative and amusing. Why amusing? Because the audio commentary kept skipping bits and replaying bits it had already played, so you had to listen carefully in order to not go home believing that William Shakespeare was in fact born in a local hotel.

At one point, through the beautiful and sunny Warwickshire countryside, wind (and tree pollen liberated by the numerous collisions with low-hanging branches - ouch my eyes!!!) blowing over us, and only the audio commentary and birdsong to listen to, I looked up to notice that there were not one but three gliders floating over the bus, which gave the whole thing a very surreal atmosphere. They glid (glide? glided? glidded? thanks eddie) silently over us for quite a while, before disappearing off behind the trees.

We got back and had a wander through the town itself, seeing street theater (some people in a small garden outside Shakespeare's house passionately performing the "Get thee to a nunnery" scene from Hamlet, some Living Statue people, and lots of very very old buildings, including one pub which had been "selling ale since 1594"(!).

Finally stopping off for something to eat, we went to a very pleasant pub (The Red Lion, Stratford (opposite a shop where they sell one of the biggest remote control planes I've ever seen)), where I had an awesome meal (chips and burger with bacon and BBQ sauce - very very good) and a nice beer.
At one point, my mum accidentally knocked what was left of the beer over, so the lovely staff kindly gave me a brand new one. Great result - 50% extra free :-).

A nice trip back, and getting home, I exchanged exhausted pleasantries with people before going to bed and having the first sleep I'd had in 28 hours.

In other news, I did eventually plump for a G19 keyboard, and to celebrate getting it, I also bought an awesome mousemat for £3.04 (RRP £18.99 apparently). The keyboard's awesome, changes colours (it's quite entertaining) and has a screen that I use (with some downloaded software) to display important system information, so while I'm sitting around on my computer, I can see what it's doing behind the scenes :-).

And that's about it. The weather's nice, I'm in a good mood, and now I'm off to have some more chocolate. Yay. I might go cycling tomorrow.

Here are some sparkly pictures (the first one is a composite).