Londinium By Shanks’s Pony

October 31, 2016

That’s it.



The Harley Quinns and Disney Princesses are behind us. We won’t find ourselves on a train with Mario or Deadpool for a while. Comic Con is over. Our trip to London is over. It’s 7.25 in the evening and we’re in bed.

How did we spend the last day in London, though.

More fricking walking.

We started off with a plan to walk from Tower Hill to Kings Cross. Estimated time was 1 and a half hours. All good in the hood. And it took in the Gherkin and an art show Carole wanted to show her face at and St Pauls.

We didn’t, however, factor in stopping every five minutes to take pictures like fricking dweebs. But that’s what we did. So many shots of the Gherkin with different things in the foreground, a building that’s all pipes and metal (no idea but guessing expensive) and countless other things.

It was so stop-start that it took us probably an hour to do the 30 mins to St Pauls. I especially liked the part where I sat  down for a minute on what Pokemon Go informed me was an award winning student art project.

It was a wall. We really will award prizes to students for ANYTHING nowadays so as not to hurt their feelings.

Oh then we got sidetracked by Postman’s Park and the 60-odd tiled tributes to heroic self-sacrifice in the Victorian era. A lot of them contain drowning, spoiler alert. The Victorians, it seems, we not big fans of learning to swim but, judging by some of the other memorials, enjoyed poisonous gas.

And even when we got to Kings Cross we tromped off to Old Pancras church to look at the Hardy tree and hope we didn’t subside into the old drains that are threatening to destroy the church.

It was like a tour of hidden nuggets of London that we’d seen in books or, in the case of the Hardy tree, an episode of New Tricks.

But that’s it.

No more walking.


The Comic Con One III

October 30, 2016

We went to a very enjoyable Hooten & The Lady panel, saw half an hour of – in my opinion – a fricking awful Indie horror sci-fi film thing and met Ophelia Lovibond.

All of which was awesome. Apart from the film thing, which was not. But here’s the thing – we were there for like six hours today. What the hell did we do for the rest of the time? My feet tell me that we walked around a lot, and the blisters definitely tell me that but we can’t account for our time.

Terry Pratchett used to write that libraries could bend time. I think the same is true of Comic Cons. Time within a Comic Con moves at a different rate to time without. It’s like dog years, but dog years dressed as Deadpool or an anime character you have no idea about.

We want to come back next year. And we definitely want to dress up. As what, we don’t know. Carole wants super-girlie of kick-ass for her costume. I am basically thinking of the kid out of Up. Because why fight nature?

And because the dressing up seems like so much fun. Where else are you going to see Disney princesses fussing over a drugs dog, or someone pushing around a pram made to look like a minecraft chest that had an actual baby human inside? Or Deadpool and Pikachu hugging? Or countless other wonderful interactions that took place over the weekend. And while we were part of that whole experience we weren’t PART of it because we were just being ourselves and not a scout trying to sell biscuits to a house covered in balloons.

Next year, baby. Next year.


The Comic Con One II

October 29, 2016

Cable cars, TV Stars and DLRs.

Day 2 of Comic Con was busy. B to the U to the SY busy. So we played it a little but differently to yesterday, after all we’d seen most of the stalls yesterday and are going again tomorrow so it’s all good.

So we were pretty clean and clinical. In, Hooten and out, pretty much.

Yeah Hooten, from Hooten and The Lady – it’s the Lady tomorrow – was there doing a signing and Carole’s ovaries were popping at the sight of him across a room. So it made sense to get a ticket for a signing because, you know, Carole loves a dishy treasure hunter.

I was assigned photo duty, and tasked with snapping shots while Carole flirted shamelessly with him. And then they started talking about the choice of photo available for signing – Carole really wanted the Hooten only, but reasoned I would want the “and the Lady” one.

And somewhere in all that, entirely in context – Carole was telling me off at the time – I flipped him the bird. Now, I should stress this was taken very much in the spirit it was intended, to much merriment. I should also point out that Michael Landes is a genuinely lovely man undeserving of a rude gesture. But hey, I’ve flipped off Hooten.

After Hooten came a cable car across the Thames to sort of near the O2 but essentially there’s fuck all to do once you get to the other side. Except unclench your buttocks. Because I do not know a single film in which a ride on a cable car has ended well. As it happened, the one across the Thames was good. The return journey from the O2 was fucking terrifying if I’m honest – it might have been because we were sitting on the end but it was wobbly as a wobbly thing and not in the least but enjoyable.

Once we’d done that, and I’d relaxed my arse muscles again, we went back to Excel and split up to take in two events – Cosplay for Carole and the Class (Doctor Who spin off on iPlayer – fricking awesome) panel and screening for me.

And then the DLR home. The DLR from Excel is where you can go, as a grown adult, and be shouted at by a tiny jobsworth in a flourescent jacket who is clearly happy in her work.

I get it, there are fricking hundreds of people catching the train but each one of them is capable of boarding the train without being yelled at by the rudest woman in existence. Essentially what she did was force everyone to board the train so they’d have to change at a later station thus making the crowd someone else’s problem.

She asked if people were dense, she nearly f’d and jeffed at others. She was a thoroughly awful person.

I think next year I might cosplay as her.

The Comic Con One

October 28, 2016

Chuff me, my feet hurt.

I think it’s fair to say we walked a fair bit today. And even then there are portionsof the halls we haven’t seen because we were too busy being distracted by costumes and things of that nature.

And buying things within the first hour,  as well. Because restraint is not in our dictionary. Although after the initial flurry of purchases, we didn’t really buy anything else merely forming a mental list of things to buy tomorrow or Sunday. Because that makes it look as if we didn’t just go mental on the first day. It’s an approach that’s fooling no-one but it makes us feel better. And means Carole can keep an eye on whether she has enough money left for a picture of her and Hooten off of Hooten and The Lady.

We haven’t attended in costume, sadly. Otherwise we could have been amongst the gaggle of cosplayers on the DLR service to Excel including one stupidly beautiful Wonder Woman and someone in a TARDIS onesie. The dream of bringing Jedward Scissorhands into being rolls over to next year where hopefully the branches of the idea tree will bear fruit.

But while we’re at it, have I missed a memo about dressing as Vea from Scooby Doo because there were a bloody lot of them.

See what tomorrow brings…


To Flea Or Not To Flea

October 27, 2016

Is it wrong to creep up on an unsuspecting adorable black and white cat while she’s sleeping and apply flea treatment when she least expects it?

If so, then today I have done wrong.

The flea treatment was two-fold really. I mean, first and foremost she needed treating. I think I was about a week late in the application this month, but I didn’t want her thinking she could just become flea-ridden.

And secondly, I wanted to change the bed and Peppa was snuggled up at the bottom of the bed like lady muck. It’s hard enough making a bed on your own – fighting with fitted sheets and inside-out duvet covers – without bringing cat wrangling into it. Peppa has a habit of hopping up onto the freshly applied sheet and just standing there, looking at you.

By applying flea treatment, though, not only is she protected against itchy insects, she’s also got a major league strop on with the person or persons responsible for squirting the back of her neck with smelly chemicals. Which, on the whole, means she will go away and sulk for an undetermined length of time (how long does it take to crap in a shoe) before returning to you for loving (probably in the hope you’ll rub the flea stuff off with an exuberant stroke.

I was still trapped in a duvet cover…

The Final Bake Off One

October 26, 2016

Of all time. Probably. Because sod it when it goes to Channel 4.

Anyway, it’s over.

And it was one of those really tense finals where it could have gone to anyone in that tent. But it didn’t. It went to my secret favourite. Which was amazing. And she was amazing. And her bakes were amazing. And her pug was amazing. And, yeah, I was pretty happy with the result.

But holy moly it was tense. From the first round the standard was ridiculously high, with a double handshake in the first round and one contestant left wondering why they hadn’t been invited to the club. That must be demoralising, though, when there’s only three of you and you’re the only one that doesn’t get the goods. The technical was equally tense. And the showstopper was a) bloody ridiculous and b) tense. So tense.Like 49 individual items of cookery tense. “We want you to bake a picnic…” they say.

If Tom had been there he’d have just made a load of fougasse because, you know, it’s the go-to snack food of our time.

But the most important thing about the final wasn’t who won. Nor was it the revelation that Val is going to Aiya Napa. It was the fact that Candice and Jane are planning a baking road trip.

I need to see that baking road trip.

Because I reckon it will be all kinds of wonderful. Jane and Candice have struck up a brilliant friendship in that tent. They’ve spent the weeks trying to out-do each other but, at the same time, looking out for each other in the face of Paul’s stares and wotnot. And the thought of a show featuring those two and baking is just brilliant. It’s must see TV, I’m excited about seeing it and it doesn’t even exist.

And probably won’t exist, except it a few Instagram posts on Candice’s feed, or the odd online blog somewhere in cyberspace.

But, really, it needs to exist. It has to.

Trump Film Club

October 25, 2016

I worry, sometimes, that Donald Trump has fallen asleep during too many movies, and that their plot lines have seeped into his brain through some sort of subconscious osmosis. Like when you’re a student and you always hear someone suggesting you record what you’re trying to learn on tape and play it back to yourself while you’re asleep.

For starters, there’s The Siege. A film which I found to be amazingly dull but which centred around some sort of terrorist act and then a knee-jerk reaction in which every citizen of a certain nationality or religion – I forget which, but one of them was Mr Monk off of the telebox)  was rounded up and held captive inside cages erected in sports stadiums. Which, you know, sounds like the sort of terrible thing which would never happen in the United States.

Unless you’re Donald Trump and you put the film on and then fell asleep. Then you wake up thinking it’s an amazing idea and come up with a million and one ways to keep Muslims out of the country and, indeed, chase away the ones that are already there.

And then there’s The Butterfly Effect, a film based on the concept that a butterfly flaps its wings somewhere and this leads to a hurricane somewhere else. This time, however, when Trump napped through it, he woke up convinced that everything that is currently being done on US soil, or by US citizens in other parts of the world is to in some way distracty people from the Presidential Election.

Because obviously. Trump has, this week, accused Obama of organising some sort of military offensive (which the US has very little to do with, as it turns out) as a way of showing how powerful he is as President and to take something away from Trump.

Not the limelight, obviously. But something. Something about distracting people from the campaign Trump is currently running.

You get the impression that Mr Trump is somewhat of a spoilt brat, or as much as you can be when you’re as old as he is. And that for the last 70 years he has been used to getting exactly what he wants every time, either by buying it or just annoying the living bejesus out of whoever it is that has the thing he wants. Or, in some a lot of cases, just snatching at it without asking. Repeatedly.

A bit like, say, Sid from Toy Story. Presumably another film Trump has slept through and woken up thinking it’s alright to be a complete arse. To take things and do with them what he wished until, eventually, spurred on by one person, they all rose up against him and made him run away screaming.

Here’s hoping…