Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dickens' World.

The photos above are of my visit with Shirley and the children to Dickens World in Chatham, Kent on Friday. I must admit that I was quite skeptical about the place, but it was actually really good and an enjoyable day out - the kids seemed to like it too, which is a bonus. The place is situated in the middle of Chatham Maritime Retail Park, and to be honest is not too prepossessing from the outside; the entrance is sandwiched (sorry for the pun) between a Subway store on one side, and a Nandos restaurant on the other. Once you enter though, it is a whole different ball game. The place must have cost millions to construct and run. Being half term it was extremely busy; I did notice that the visitors were not it should be said, your average Chatham residents - there was little in the way of tracksuit and hoodie wearing going on. Most visitors and their offspring looked far more likely to frequent Waitrose than Farm Foods - the children seemd to be named Tristram or Jocasta, rather than Wayne or Keeley - Ann.

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The place is a mixture of educational, with museum like exhibits, such as the costumes from the recent BBC production of Little Dorrit, and also theme park rides like the boat trip pictured above; there are also actors playing various roles and a 3D cinema (surprisingly effective, and very informative), plus the usual animatronics. Worth a day out, but not cheap. Entrance for two adults and two children came to £44.

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I was at Erith railway station last week; whilst waiting for my train as normal, I thought that I would have a look at the scaffolding that currently covers much of the building whilst the place is undergoing a welcome and somewhat overdue redecoration. I noticed that the permits for the scaffolding installation were close by, and being the inquisitive type that I am, I proceeded to read them. It was at this point I realised that something was fishy. The permit was for a building in Bermondsey, not Erith, and the permit had anyway run out in November of last year. I went into the ticket office and told the guy in the office. He then told the station manager, who came out and talked to me. I said that it looked like the scaffolding contractor had probably counted on no - one looking at the documentation too closely, and had just re-used an old permit in order to save money and effort. I said I was not an expert, but I was pretty sure this broached Health & Safety rules, and might well invalidate the rail companies' third party liability insurance. She took this all in, and I got onto my train in good time. When I returned that evening, all the paperwork that had previously been displayed had vanished. I will report back with further developments later this week. Another case opens for Captain Tweed.

I believe that there are something like four American style baseball clubs in the whole of Greater London; certainly not a large number in any case. This begs the question as to why pretty much every sports shop sells baseball bats. If they are not being used for sport, then what exactly are they being used for? Answers in the comments box below please.

I have hit a new personal record this week; I now have exactly 3,000 of my photos on Flickr. This is nothing compared with some people, but not bad all round.

It is now being widely reported in the news that despite the recession and grim financial outlook, some businesses are doing better than ever; these mainly seem to be supermarket chains and fast food outlets. As previously mentioned, I am a fan of both Subway and Nandos, as they both offer relatively healthy, and yet tasty food at a reasonable cost. Although I live on a road with both a drive through KFC and a McDonald's I cannot recall when I visited either, other than as an emergency toilet stop, as previously blogged.

This weeks' video is a recently shot demonstration of the rebuilt Colossus mark 2 computer, in Hut 9 in Bletchley Park, where I visited last year. An amazing place, and somewhere I would strongly recommend that you visit. Check out the video and leave a comment below.

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