From Bath, it’s a short train ride to Cardiff, Wales. And from the Cardiff train station, it’s a short walk to Cardiff Castle.
Cardiff Castle is, hands down, the most ornate place I have been ever inside. It’s mind-blowingly beautiful.
Literally every inch of the place is decorated. Look at these ceilings!
And the walls and floors are equally splendid.
Some of the details were so whimsical. Like this fish.
Cute little animals were sculpted in everywhere.
Stained glass, too.
I think you could live in this castle for years and not notice all the details.
The library was beautiful.
They have a small collection of birds of prey, too. I was especially taken with the owls. As I always am.
During WWII, the exterior castle walls was used as bomb shelter. They have a fantastic walkthrough, with it set up just like it was.
and metal bunkbeds.
Plus, they had sound piped in, of bombs falling, and sirens, and period music, and other things. I spent a long time in here, it was so deeply evocative for me.
Afterward, I walked along the Animal Wall. The story goes, that the owner wanted to put in a zoo, but the townsfolk refused to allow it, because of fears of the animals escaping. So he built a wall with stone animals perpetually in the act of escape. Some of them have glass eyes, and they are pretty creepy…in a completely awesome way.
This wall and its animals are definitely making it into the next book series I’m going to write.
Cardiff has several Victorian-era shopping arcades, with lovely little shops under a glass roof. This one, Castle Arcade, was my favorite. Largely because of the button shop. I bought a bunch of cool hobbit-y buttons there.
When I finished shopping, it was time to grab a cab to Cardiff Bay, and the Doctor Who Experience! After you travel with the Doctor through an interactive experience, you get turned loose in an immense warehouse filled with costumes, props, and sets. Nothing is behind glass – although they do have the occasional guard to make sure you don’t actually manhandle the treasures.
The TARDIS set was particularly cool, because you could walk around inside it.
There was creepy stuff.
And you always need to remain on your guard…
But I was thisclose to Ten. His suit, anyway. Guys, you don’t know the struggle it was not to reach out and touch…
It was awesome being able to get so close to all the costumes.
I took a billion pictures, including closeups of most of the costumes. You can find them here, if you’re so inclined.
I really liked Cardiff. It’s definitely on my list of places I’d love to visit again.
A friend lent me her pressure canner, so I was able to give canning green beans a go! Once I realized I was not actually going to blow the kitchen up, it was just as easy (or easier) than the water bath method. Definitely slower, though – the annoying bit is waiting for the pressure canner to cool down before you can open it up and start another batch.
This jar *just* came out of the canner – so it’s still boiling and bubbling inside. I liked doing it well enough, that I went onto Amazon, and bought my own pressure canner. It was cheap enough, since I can’t get one of the really nice ones because of my glass top stove. The Presto one I bought is really the only one that will work with my kind of stove. I hate that stove, btw. It’s been nothing but an annoyance since the day it came. Glass top stoves definitely suck.
I think I’ll can some greens, corn, and beets when my new canner comes…plus more beans. I planted some bush beans a few weeks ago, planning for a fall crop.
Speaking of corn, my teeny little corn patch is doing wonderfully. I have actual ears now!
And the plants themselves are so cool and ornamental, growing just beside the back door as they are. I love looking at them through the kitchen window!
The biggest Blacktail Watermelon is full-size, I think, and nearly ready to pick. The underside is starting to yellow. I’m so excited about this.
I’m harvesting several kinds of dry beans. This is a test year, to see what grows well, and which ones we prefer the taste of. Next year, I’ll put in a whole bunch of whichever variety turns out to be our favorite. These are called “Bumblebee”. They are so pretty!
And the last bit of gardening news is that the Tromboncino squash is ready to harvest. Look at this crazy shape! My vegetable garden is in the front yard, so yes, it was slightly embarrassing to carry this past the neighbors…. 😉
It’s supposed to be one of the best tasting summer squash around, but I still prefer my Englischer Custard Squash. I thought the tromboncino tasted a little bit like a spaghetti squash…only without the spaghetti. It was good, though, and the vine appears to be very resistant to mildew, and well as being a great climber. It has earned a place in my garden next year.
When I was a work, one of my patron/friends heard I was planning a trip to Egypt next year, so he brought me in some Egyptian money left over from his trip!
I love foreign money. And it’s cool to think that Steve brought this money from Egypt years ago, and now I’ll be taking it back.
Lastly, what do you all think of the new Doctor?
I was not a fan of Matt Smith (although he got a lot more bearable once The Terrible Amy left) so pretty much anyone would have been an improvement in my mind.
But as it turns out, I’m pretty thrilled with Capaldi. He’s interesting, and so far, he’s shaping up to be my second-favorite Doctor. Capaldi is just a terrific actor, and this role is so perfect for him.
A few of my friends took a trip to Los Angeles for Gallifrey One (a Doctor Who convention) and also to shop the fabric district.
The fabric district is jaw-dropping AMAZING. And over three days, we almost literally shopping until we dropped. I came home with one suitcase completely packed with fabric and trim! Really, it was so great that I could have come home directly after the shopping and been satisfied. We stayed at the Hotel Figueroa which was the perfect choice. It’s so gorgeous, just like staying in Morocco.
And it’s an easy walk to the fabric district (although the walk didn’t feel quite so easy when we were walking home with massive heavy bags of wonderful things!
The hotel also had gorgeous curtains, which we coveted….
One of my friends, Arte, was running just a little bit behind in her costuming, so we actually sewed an entire 18th century gown in the evening after we shopping. I say ‘evenings’ but we were actually up until around 2am.
It was actually really fun, though, and I was able to learn from our draping expert, Laura, exactly how those francaise gowns are put together! And the dress turned out beautifully.
In case you can’t tell, Arte is an 18th century version of River Song!
After we bought all the fabric we could stuff into our luggage, we left the Figueroa for the Marriot LAX, and joined our other friend Glynnis at Gallifrey One. The first day we all wore different versions of River Song, and tormented our ‘mother’ Amy Pond (Grace).
That evening, was the Masquerade, and we entered as a group: The Doctor Presents His Fall Collection.
The idea was that Doctor had created a fashion line was available ‘anywhere and anytime’. From left to right, we had: Arte as an Elizabethan Dalek, me as a German Saxon TARDIS, Glynnis as an 18th century Fifth Doctor, Laura as a 1800s River Song, and Grace as a 1920s Weeping Angel.
I love the cape Laura made from a trench coat!
Much hijinks ensued in the green room. Angel met angel…
Angel had a chat with angel…
And then Jack entered the room, and everything just went slightly insane…
Despite his many admirers, our Dalek queen soon captured him and brought him over to our corner. Who said Daleks were evil? Not me!
And a totally gratuitous shoe shot happened…
And we won two Master class awards in the Masquerade! The Project Gallifrey Award for Workmanship, and Best Interpretation.
Afterward, Arte met a kindred soul in the hallway…
The daleks roaming the halls are almost my favorite part of Gally. They are so cool.
I just got home from my first ever (it won’t be the last!) trip to Gallifrey One. It was a completely fabulous trip! I flew into LAX on a Thurs morning – a very early Thurs morning. I had to get up at 1:20am in order to catch my shuttle!
Once at the hotel, I met up with Wench Posse friends Glynnis, Suzette, and Nell. I hadn’t met any of them before, so it was great to finally meet face to face – and they are just as fun and amazing in person as they are online. They made excellent room-mates!
After settling into the hotel, we took a bus to the Santa Monica pier. It was lovely to see the beach and the sunshine!
Above is the view from the Santa Monica pier’s Ferris Wheel. We also rode a carousel. Nell claimed the rabbit.
Santa Monica is the end of the Route 66. After filming the fake version in Revelation video I did the costumes for, it was kind of cool to be at the real thing!
Friday, we skipped the morning/afternoon events at Gallifrey and went to LA’s fashion district instead. We are all costumers, after all! Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable amounts of fabric and trim! Good thing I saved room in my luggage, because I filled one of my suitcases mostly with stuff I bought.
Fabric…fabric…everywhere! I’m thinking next time I go, I’m spending a lot more time here. To get to the district, we had the hotel call us a cab…but our ‘cab’ turned out to be a limo! Hurrah for awesome concierges!
Besides the district, we visited the FIDM museum, and saw an exhibit of the costumes from Oscar-nominated films. My favorite dress was from The War Horse:
In the photograph it doesn’t look like much, but it has the most lovely embroidery around the neck. I completely adored it. Also on exhibit was pieces of famous movie costumes – Fred Astaire’s tap shoes was one especially cool item. There was a small room of extant historical gowns as well. They have one of Queen Victoria’s mourning dresses, and wow. I knew she was short, but I was not at all prepared for how short! Teeny-tiny!
Saturday was the first day to spend all day at Gallifrey. I wore my Idris costume, Nell and Glynnis wore their Clockwork Droid costumes, and Suzette (who didn’t bring costumes this year) was our minion, offering everything from corset-lacing, to bag-holding, to foot massages! Minions are excellent things to have. 🙂
There were many, many excellent costumes there. Torchwood:
Lots of Elevens, large and small:
Lifesize Daleks wandering the halls and interacting with people:
Vampires from Venice:
Girl in the Fireplace costumes:
A giant adipose:
A weeping angel:
The panels I went to were fabulous. Mainly, I went to anything with the actors I liked in them, so there were lots of Mark Sheppard ones! 😉 Daphne Ashbrook (Eight’s companion performed “I Don’t Need No Doctor” with backups by Eight (Paul McGann) and the film’s director!
One thing that was very cool about these celebrity panels, was how much they were enjoyed by the celebrities themselves. All of them had grown up fans of Doctor Who, and most had been dying for a chance to act on the show. When the call finally came, they didn’t even care what the part was! The genuine love they all have for Doctor Who just shone out from them, and that was truly amazing. It wasn’t just actors doing their jobs, it was us and them, united equally as fans. I’ve never experienced that before, and it was awesome.
My favorite guest was, of course, Mark Sheppard, because I have loved every single role of his I’ve seen. His dad, W. Morgan Sheppard is also wonderful, and the interaction between the two of them was heartwarming and quite funny at times. They obviously have a terrific relationship.
I had my picture taken with Mark Sheppard and Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler).
Sunday, I wore my steampunk Tenth Doctor costume, Nell wore her female Fifth Doctor, and Glynnis wore her Vampires of Venice outfit.
Nell and I had our picture taken together at the actual Eighth Doctor TARDIS console.
The console is very cool:
Check out my ribbons! By the end of the con, I had 25, far more than I’ve ever managed to collect at any other con…which is a testament to how truly welcoming and friendly Gallifrey is. My favorite ribbon is the one (collected while I was wearing Idris) that says “Bitey Mad Lady”. 🙂
One of my very favorite costume I saw there was this Flesh outfit. She was spot-on perfect – the makeup was film quality!
The other favorite was the Cassandra team. There were two ‘moisturizers’, and when one of them saw me in the crowd of photo-takers, he called me over to get a pic with them – he especially wanted me to help moisturize! That was fun.
Amber Benson (Tara on Buffy) was there signing copies of her new book, so I got one and chatted with her for a bit. She’s super nice, funny, and very down to earth. And gorgeous! So very gorgeous, even when she’s just in normal clothes and makeup!
Altogether, it was the best con I’ve ever been to, and I really, really want to go back. Next year is the big 50th anniversary, and they are promising MAJOR guests from recent years of the show. Dare I hope for Tennant? I’d be happy with Alex Kingston!
For more info on my costumes, and making-of photos, see my costuming blog:
This makes me so happy – it quite honestly is the coolest thing I’ve seen/heard in some time.
And just an fyi on Matt Smith’s Doctor…okay….okay….I’m liking him now. David Tennant was still better, but I’m coming to the conclusion that mostly why I *thought* I disliked Matt’s version was because of my VAST hatred for Amy. I hate her. I hate her interactions with the Doctor, I hate who the Doctor is when he’s around her, and I in opinion the only thing good to come of Amy Pond was River Song. I can’t wait for Amy to leave the show.
That said, Moffat has totally redeemed himself by his writing on this season, and love River Song so much I’d totally forgive him even if the writing did suck.
And, I’m putting this in writing: the Doctor who was killed in The Impossible Astronaut? That was a ganger…specifically, ganger #3. Hence that Doctor calling himself “1103”. There’s a reason you never saw that Doctor with the TARDIS – and it’s not because station wagons are….cool? 😉
…I’m going to give you a glut of goodness. (Well, it’s a glut if you’re a fan-geek oddball like me! 🙂 )
Yay for Easter and the new Doctor Who episode “Planet of the Dead”. I seriously did not want to go out or celebrate Easter in any other way, I just wanted to curl up with my computer and watch my Doctor. As with the last episode, though, it was a bittersweet pleasure. I’m still devastated that David Tennant is leaving.
Rammstein. I found this group because I’m researching the Columbine School Shooting. While I was reading the shooters’ journals and writing, I also checked into their favorite films and music. I was surprised to discover what excellent taste they had – they and I are pretty much liking the same groups and films. Does this mean they’re more normal than I imagined, or that I’m more weird? Not sure, but now I’m obsessing over Rammstein’s music.