Warwick Castle ticket prices

I’m not normally one to complain about ticket prices – it’s a free market and things will always be more expensive than you expect, and it’s not something I can be bothered getting worked up about. That said, Abi and I went to Warwick Castle today, where a single adult ticket costs £17.95. £17.95!! That’s plus £3 for parking, £2.95 for a guide to the castle (you get a leaflet map for ‘free’), and an unknown extra charge for the non-permanent exhibitions. And then the weather was so bad they cancelled the jousting and trebuchet demonstrations. That’s just crazy money. A theme park, sure, but a castle? Thankfully we had a buy-one-get-one-free offer; I think we’d have balked otherwise. As it was, the rain was so heavy that we left after a couple of hours.

Happy about flood photos

I’ve had some luck with my floods pictures from the weekend. BBC Coventry used a few of them this morning, and Yahoo News contacted me to express an interest. A shot of the dancing couple1 hit #23 in the daily Flickr Interestingness, which I’m very happy about – I’ve never broken the top 200 before! It’s turning up in Explore and everything 🙂 . I wish I’d been a bit faster with the geotagging, though – they were clearly looking for shots for the Flickr Blog today…

  1. who’ve contacted me and are very nice people indeed []

Stratford-in-Avon

So yesterday’s plan to stay in all day reading Harry Potter didn’t go as planned. Stratford had a little rain overnight:

Isolated lock gates Overflow parking Pedestrians please user other footpath

Presumably business isn't brisk A sewer urchin attempts to escape Wading away from home

Sheep Street from the other side Bancroft Fountain Rose Garden and Clopton bridge

Here’s a before/after of the basin:

Busy busy Flooded gardens

which is pretty bad, but further downstream it was crazy:

Pre-flood Lucy's Mill bridge Lucy's Mill bridge - 2

Not being one of the people who has to clear up, I found it very interesting. Plenty of kids, and some families, were having a great time splashing through the water on the main street, and the residents walking from their houses in wellies seemed in good spirits. These lads asked if I’d take their picture:

Kids in the river - 1

I emailed them a copy, although the initial address bounced back and I guessed at a correction, so hopefully they received it…I was also impressed by and jealous of this couple:

Flood dancing couple - 4

A passing child asked its mother why this was happening. The mother replied that it’s the kind of thing that happens after people have had too much to drink. Which might be true, although I prefer to think they were just having fun, but nevertheless they could actually dance. The cha-cha, unless I was mistaken. A salsa, I’m told. Isn’t that lovely? It was the best thing I saw all day 🙂

Flood dancing couple - 12 Flood dancing couple - 7 Flood dancing couple - 15

The BBC and various other organisations were filming, and there were crowds everywhere. I saw a canoeist set sail from the bandstand in the centre of town and finish a mile or so downriver.

Today the waters had receded from the main street, but parts of the basin and most of the far side of the river was still pretty bad:

Swimming in the evening sunlight My Gosh The RSC is open

and they were pumping out the Swan Theatre. My uncle lived here for ten(?) years and said he’d never seen the theatre flooded. I bet nobody thought it’d happen in July. Thankfully the waters didn’t quite make it to the Courtyard Theatre, so the RSC hasn’t had to close down completely1. It hasn’t rained in the past 36hours that I’ve noticed, so hopefully the worst is over. The entire set of pics is here.

  1. the main RST is closed until 2010; the Swan Theatre is in the same building, hence the flooding []

Made it home

After realising I had no contact lens fluid at my parents’, and being warned never ever to sleep in them by my optician, I risked the journey home. A kind RAC man turned me around before I hit the 0.7m of water at Henley-in-Arden, but the motorway was clear, albeit with a large number of breakdowns. The A46 into Stratford was a worry but turned out to be clear for the most part. It never fails to amaze me that, despite truly appalling weather conditions, people are still prepared to roar past me in the last metres before a blind corner. It’s mind-numbingly stupid on a clear day, but with that much water on the roads it’s pretty much criminal.

I didn’t get a good look at the Avon, but it was peeking over the edge of the manual river-boat crossing, which is certainly as high as I’ve seen it. Yikes. I also took a pass around the local Waterstone’s, just to see what was happening. Despite the rain there were plenty of people, some in costume, milling around and it all looked like good fun. I was jealous and half-considering joining them just for the atmosphere, when somebody shouted ‘HARRY POTTER’ from one end of the street. They could so easily have followed it with ‘lives’ or ‘dies’, and it’s not worth the risk.

Friday Limericks

I’m over in Solihull and, according to the radio, all roads into Stratford are flooded. I doubt I’ll get home this evening. I’m on a Potter-induced media blackout, so most of my regular websites are out-of-bounds. So, there is only one thing for it: dirty limericks! Most as recited by limerick connoisseur Christopher Hitchens on the Skeptics’ Guide Premium Content #2. And they are really quite dirty, so be warned…

(The entire old testament in 5 lines)
God’s plan made a sporting beginning,
till Eve spoilt his chances by sinning;
we trust that the story
will end with God’s glory
but at present the other side’s winning.

A vice both obscene and unsavory
holds the Bishop of London in slavery;
with lascivious howls
he deflowers young owls
that he lures to an underground aviary.

The Anglican Dean of Hong Kong
has a thing that is twelve inches long;
And he thinks that the waiters
are admiring his gaiters
when he goes to the loo. But he’s wrong.

The Bishop of central Japan
used to bugger himself with a fan.
And when taxed with these acts
he replied ‘it contracts
and expands rather more than a man’.

There was a young hooker from Crewe
who filled her vagina with glue;
Said she with a grin
“since they’ll pay to get in,
they can pay to get out of it too.” 

Charming, yes? He apparently knows more than 500.

2 days until Harry Potter

I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on Monday. It was great. I am now very, very excited about the book’s release this weekend.

I don’t know how Bloomsbury are threatening retailers, but I doubt they have the leverage to keep the book locked up until Saturday. It seems likely that the Daily Mail or some other cretinous organisation will decide it’s clever to run spoilers before release day, and that’ll be tough to avoid. It amazes me how many people find this funny – a couple of years ago BoingBoing ran video of ‘drive-by-spoilers’ of people standing in a bookshop queue, and seemed to think it was entertaining. There must be some interesting psychology behind the desire to spoil things for others, but it can probably be summed up with ‘being a jealous dick’.

The only way to hopefully avoid spoilers will be to go into full media blackout mode from Thursday onwards, then read very quickly as soon as it arrives on Saturday morning. Which sucks, because I don’t like to read that fast, but given that it’ll take two words to spoil the ending it seems necessary. Hopefully it’ll be possible…

C&P link to wonderful alternative dust-jackets, for people who ‘love Harry Potter’ but think they’re ‘too old and awesome to be seen reading the books’. Lots and lots and lots of bad language, if that kind of thing bothers you.