Wednesday, 12 August 2009

What I Did On My Holidays

Had a little mini-break over the weekend. Went up to Cirencester to visit friends of the ladyfriend. We went to the Cotswold Wildlife Park, it was rather ace. For some reason I was thinking it’d be a bit small-scale, but it’s actually huge. Good ‘spread’ of animals. I saw monkeys and penguins and meercats and wolves and bats and those giant guinea pigs and zebras and rhinos and the worst display of falconry ever. No bears, but you can’t win ‘em all. Actually I did see a sign for Red Pandas somewhere, but they’re not proper bears anyway so I’m not fussed about missing them.

In the evening we had food in a nice bistro place attached to a butchers. I had rabbit for starts and steaks for mains and sticky toffee pud for afters.

On the Sunday I went on to that London to stay with various friends. BONUS PIZZA SLICE ACTION: We had pizza for tea on Sunday. Can’t remember the name of the place, just a small pizza place in Crouch End. Reasonably priced. I had a spicy italian sausage with tomatoes and extra mushrooms. Thought it was very enjoyable. After that we had a pint in a nice pub. Their menu said that they had beer-battered cod, and the named the beer as Bombardier. Which is weird, because what with Bombardier being an ale, you don’t really get many bubbles. The whole point of beer-battering is that you get lots of bubbles so that the batter is crispier. You need a lager or something.

Anyway, after that we went home and watched a DVD of Gone Baby Gone – the Ben Affleck directed picture that had its release pushed back because of the ‘similar’ real-life vanishing of Madeline McCann. The film was okay, 6ish/10. It started well enough but descended into a fairly standard thriller. Ending was nice and ambiguous mind; it left you to decide on some moral issues.

On Monday I sat around in my friend’s flat for a bit, reading The Escapist comics that spun off from the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay novel. Personally I thought they should have been drawn in a more ‘traditional’ 1930s style as opposed to the more modern look they had. After that I used public transport to go over to the Roundhouse to see David Byrne’s Playing The Building. Essentially a piano wired up to various devices around the Roundhouse which created various noises. I liked that you couldn’t really tell at any point if the room was being played by a bunch of toddlers or a concert pianist. I had a little tinkle of the ivories myself, but felt a bit self-conscious. There’s a real glee to the whole thing though. Worth seeing.

Spent the afternoon wondering around, lunch in Wagamamas, met friends for teas and coffees, visited the gift shop of the Transport Museum (didn’t have the £9 to actually visit properly), and then went to a nice pub called The Harp to meet another friend. The pubs are the best thing about London really. Cardiff centre lost a lot of its old proper pubs back in the 60s – all in the name of developments which have now been knocked down to make way for new developments…

Then it was the main reason of my visit. The National were playing the Royal Festival Hall. Our seats weren’t great, right near the back in row U, but it was still a brilliant concert. They played an amazing set and it wasn’t until the following day that I realised they’d missed out some of my favourite songs of theirs. I really want to see them again and again and again. Easily one of my favourite bands.

The next day I caught a slow commuter bus to Victoria, saw a man get told off for being too loud on his phone, and took a megabus back home.


  1. The giant guinea pig... was it a capybara? One of my favourite animals! And my other favourite animal is THE PANDA BEAR, see? BEAR? It's in the name! x

  2. Yeh them's the ones.

    Pandas are rubbish. Actually rubbish. And anyway, you seem to be confusing my mention of the Red Panda with your rubbish Giant Panda. The Red Panda isn't a member of the bear family.

    Best bears are Polars and Grizzlies. Obvs.

  3. amazing mental image of you walking into the wildlife park, nodding your head and saying "yeah. good spread of animals here".

    i have learned something today (the beer-batter bubbles).

    my favourite animal is the duck.