Wednesday, 30 September 2009

baring all...

I've changed my name! 'Liverpool Poet' was a bit... meh...! Jamie Oliver's 'naked' sobriquet never did him any harm and going bare (allbeit footwise) worked for the Contessa and Sandie Shaw! Scousers are well known for their 'cheek' so, despite me having my back to the camera, I am now 'The Barefaced Poet'!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Never mind the bollocks...

I'm currently reading 'Bollocks To Alton Towers' which is a humorous compilation of all the 'off the beaten track' quirkier places to spend a British day out. I also have the sequel lined up, unsurprisingly entitled 'More Bollocks to Alton Towers'.
Having visited a few quirky places in my time, I eagerly scanned the index for any familiar names and was surprised to see that a couple of the more memorable places we've been to didn't even get a mention! (Although I am extremely tempted to visit the Southport 'Lawnmower Museum' to see Joe Pasquale's strimmer, rock and roll!)

And so, on to my contribution to 'Bollocks'! :0)

The first one that springs to mind has to be the 'Cars of the Stars' museum in Keswick. It must have been around 1991 that we visited as it was our (my boyfriend, now husband, and myself) first weekend away together and we chose to spend it in The Lake District. We did also visit The Pencil Museum during that same weekend which DOES get a mention in the book!
Yes, there is a museum dedicated to the (his)story of the pencil. Where would we 2b or not 2b without the humble pencil?
Anyway, back to the stars and their cars. It was a rather unremarkable place from the outside and I think we were the only ones there at the time. I was quite excited, having been a fan of the TV series 'Knight Rider', to see that they had one of the actual cars from the show. A real KITT car, complete with a Michael Knight waxwork dummy in the driving seat!
They had a pretty comprehensive selection of cars but there was something odd going on... All the vehicles that had a driver had the exact same dummy as the KITT car. In actual fact, David Hasselhoff's visage peered out at you from all of them! Extremely amusing to see him with a sheepskin coat and a flat cap, sitting in the driving seat of Del Boy's yellow 3 wheeler!
I wonder if they got a discount from the mannequin manfacturer? "Just give us 20 models of The Hoff, no-one will ever notice!".

Another odd place which I'll never forget was 'The Dracula Experience' in Whitby. Whitby is infamous as the place where Count Dracula landed when he arrived in Britian in Bram Stoker's novel. We were actually quite surprised when we arrived in the lovely little seaside town to see that everything wasn't named after the infamous vampire. There was no 'Dracula Inn' or 'Vlad's B&B'.
In fact, the gothic connection was very much understated and we were hard pressed to find anything to do with Dracula! That is, until we stumbled on the gem that is (or was) The Dracula Experience! It may have morphed into something more sophisticated these days but back then it was just one room with a few exhibits of not much note. The sign at the ticket booth said "No Refunds" which kind of forewarned us that it would be a bit rubbish, but we were game for a laugh!
The only exhibit I can actually remember was a cloak used by Christopher Lee in the film. It was a very dark room and you had to go back on yourself, guided by ropes, to see everything. I didn't realise, probably because of the gloom, that we were actually retracing our steps. Then we came upon what I thought was a waxwork of the man himself. I was just remarking to my other half how life-like this model was and was about to give it a poke just to check if it was warm blooded or not, when the thing leapt out at me, both of us uttering a blood curdling scream! I think I frightened him more than he frightened me!
I have never been so scared in my life and the last my boyfriend saw of me was my back, silhouetted by the daylight streaming through the emergency exit!