Since leaving Glasgow on Friday morning, the Wah and I have been tearing around the south of Scotland into England, making mincemeat of castles, churches and fine houses.
Some notable mentions: the surprise of Haddon Hall, a Tudor mansion featured in many a film including The Other Boleyn Girl and the recent BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre; its opulent neighbour Chatsworth, reputedly the inspiration for Mr Darcy's home Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice, with parts of the Keira Knightley version filmed there; the Cavalier charm of Bolsover Castle, with its "Little Castle" full of mysteriously empty rooms and erotic paintings; and the majestic Hardwick New Hall (near the ruinous yet equally impressive Hardwick Old Hall), built by one of the most powerful of Elizabethan noblewomen, Bess of Hardwick.
(I have been admiring these great buildings for their architecture, interior decoration and illustrious history. The Wah has being doing all of this, as well as giving them a rating from zero to 5 on their potential effectiveness against zombie hordes. In his opinion, castles with strong walls, sturdy doors, spy holes to fire weapons through and internal green spaces for planting crops to weather the forthcoming zombie apocalypse are the best.)
This afternoon we rocked up at Warwick Castle, expecting the usual castle-going experience of near-silent admiration of former great halls, banqueting chambers, long galleries and medieval fortifications. But we were in for a surprise. Warwick Castle, as seen in the video below, has really caught the medieval jousting lance and run with it:
We are now firmly ensconced in beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon, which has been rather quiet for a Sunday night. We expect it to be a bit crazier on Monday night, when we carry out possibly our most geeky mission of this trip: watching David Tennant play Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company. If the Doctor Who geek points weren't enough, we've discovered Patrick Stewart is playing Claudius, so that should hopefully get the Star Trek fans all a-quiver as well!
We've discovered the RSC has banned the actors from signing non-RSC merchandise, after audience members turned up at the stage door with bucketloads of talking Cybermen heads and models of the Enterprise demanding the stars sign them, probably with "To eBay" or something. So I shall be buying a program, and then working out how I could possibly ask for an autograph without looking like too much of a tragically unhip loser. The Wah is already working on his air of detached non-commitment, which he shall implement like a shield to cover his inner "squee!"s of excitement. But you didn't hear that from me.