Alex’s Weekend Review

In reply to Vanna’s demand at the end of her weekend blog post for me to tell you (and more importantly her) what I was up to this weekend, I am now going to…well, tell you (and more importantly her) what I got up to this weekend. That was an easy introduction wasn’t it?

And because I’m equally lazy, I’m also going to break it up into days. You can see we’re meant to be together can’t you?

So let’s start with….

Friday

Work lasted forever. It dragged so badly. Not because I was excited for my weekend (although that obviously did have some influence) but because I was sitting in the filing room alone for hours on end. I know. I feel your sympathy but don’t worry, I got through it. Just about.

The train ride was fairly uneventful. I listened to my music and read my book (Duma Key by Stephen King). I didn’t have to wait too long in York either, so I was at Gary’s in just less than two hours. Not too bad.

What did we do?

Drink, have a Chinese takeaway and watch a few films. Gary chose Punisher 2 (I don’t know its official name and I don’t care to know either) which was awful on so many levels, then after that we watched Tucker & Dale vs Evil which he’s been raving about for months. Despite my reluctance to see it, I did find it rather enjoyable (it was surprisingly clever) even if Gary’s snoring did distract me from the final twenty minutes. I also found out that LOST is on Netflix now so I’m quite happy in the knowledge that there is something for me once I’ve watched all the Breaking Bad episodes (more on that later). It was a good evening.

After a few late night snacks it was time for bed. We had an early start after all, as we’d need to be at Alton Towers early as possible to avoid the worst of the queues (hah!) and it would take at least two hours driving to get us there. Damn. No lie in for me then.

Saturday

Ben, Gary and I met up with Hughes in Stoke (2 hours from Harrogate) and headed from there to Alton Towers. A long walk from the car park to the front entrance next and then we were there!

Unfortunately Forge was unable to make it, and with him were our coupons for discounted tickets. So we paid full price instead. £45.

£45! Are you joking? I was raging quite badly at this point. How could it be so damn pricey? No wonder I never went to these kind of places when I was a child. They had ‘disabled adult’ and ‘disabled child’ tickets too…but they were the same price as normal tickets! What was the point in including them on your signs then?

My anger did lose some of its energy however when we entered the place and my excitement took over, but unfortunately it didn’t take long to return once when I realized the rip off merchants at Alton Towers didn’t stop their over charging ways at the tickets to get into their theme park. You should probably prepare yourselves now…things are going to get ugly.

I’m going to break this down into bullet points because I’m trying to keep my rant as concise as possible. Without them I’ll probably go on for hours. You’re welcome.

  • No Go Karts or Dodgems

What kind of theme park doesn’t have either karts or dodgems?! Within minutes of studying the map I was already annoyed. It was bad enough trying to read the damn thing, what with all these drawings covering the paths, but for there to be no little picture of a car or kart hidden somewhere was even more shocking. That was my plan if I didn’t enjoy the rides! What would I do now? Well I shouldn’t worry, ’cause Alton Towers has a better way for us to spend our time. And more importantly, our money.

  • Overpriced food

This was inevitable really but £9 for a meal at Burger King? This is Burger King for Pete’s sake. We know how much the food is worth. It isn’t a cafe with homemade food. It’s a fast food chain that supplies cheap unhealthy food to the masses. Thankfully I wasn’t hungry enough to shell out this stupid amount of money but the idea of everybody else paying that much just annoyed me. Because it meant they could keep doing it. Ridiculous.

  • Pay  us more or queue for hours

Another inevitable feature of theme parks is the queuing. It’s bound to happen. All of the main roller coasters had at least an hour queue which was just depressing. But don’t worry there is a solution! Give Alton Towers more money! For a mere £10 you can get in the fast track queue to three rides; Nemesis, Oblivion and Air. But what if you want to go on Rita (don’t ask why it’s called that) or 13? Ah, that’ll be another £10. What, the same price even though there is only two rides instead of three? Yep. Any discount if you buy both? Of course not, that’d mean they’d be cutting down on their profit!

Ben and Gary bought the fast track ticket and went on Nemesis, while I cursed the owners of Alton Towers to Hughes (sorry about that!). And when they were finished we went to see what they looked like from the ride camera…only to find out another rip-off scheme…

  • £10 for a digital copy photograph?!

Yeah. There were some great pictures of us too; on Sonic, I looked like teen wolf; Oblivion I had a thoughtful, faraway look and on Air Hughes had his tongue sticking out while Gary looked on the verges of wetting himself. But they will only be seen in our memories because that is way too much for a copy that could be sent out via email. What a load of rubbish.

So what did we do at Alton Towers?

Beyond getting ripped off that is? Well in the six hours we were there I went on 5 rides. Air was probably my favourite, as it gave you the impression that you were flying. And more importantly it was longer than thirty seconds. Sonic, despite being a kids ride, was pretty good too. Oblivion was the scariest as you went down at a 90 degree angle, but considering it was over in seconds I was a little bit disappointed. Hex was clever, as you were swinging back and forth in a room where the walls were also moving, making you think you were upside down BUT the whole background story beforehand was just a waste of time. You stood around listening to a story about a log for ten minutes. What part of that is fun? Then finally there was a gun shooting ride, which involved you firing a laser gun at lots of lights. It was an enjoyable start to the day.

Unfortunately Rita, which actually did look both good and (relatively) long-lasting, was closed because of a fireworks display so we didn’t get to go on it. Damn.

To conclude, although it was an experience I’m glad I did, it isn’t something I’d do again. The long queues, the stupid prices, the shortness of the rides and the fact there was no signs pointing to the exit so we had to wander around in the dark for ages just ruined it for me. Again, five rides. Six hours. Enough said.

Saturday Evening

Once we’d go to our Hotel we chilled out for a short while and headed out again to spend a night in the local town of Han(ham?)ley. Unfortunately I felt sick before we even left so drinking wasn’t the easiest thing for me to do. Then we couldn’t hear each other talk because all the pubs had loud music playing. And I was really tired so keeping my eyes open was a real struggle.

But the drinks were cheap. So all in all it was a good time.

Sunday

After a lovely night’s sleep I was rudely awoken by a knock on the door. Turns out we had to check out by 11am so we had to get up and get out in the next half hour. Oh. I see how it is.

We had breakfast, dropped off Hughes at the train station (poor guy had to wait two hours or so in the freezing cold for his train) and headed back up north. Ben left us to go shopping while me and Gary watched television for most of the afternoon. After all the standing about in queues we were both pretty shattered so sitting down in his living room was all we could really manage. Had some food and watched Doomsday Preppers. Boy, you get some real strange ones on that show. Ignoring the fact they were, more often than not, preparing for something that was so ridiculously unlikely you may as well prepare for an alien invasion instead, their plans had so many flaws that it deemed every minute spent on it a waste of time. One woman’s plan was to hike out of town, get in a car and drive to Mexico in the scenario that there was a fuel crisis. The car didn’t have enough fuel, there was no plan when she got into Mexico and she was relying on nobody finding her car in the meantime and trashing it.

Hmm. Good luck with that.

Quick question: Would you prepare for a future apocalypse? Or are you, as we speak, buying tonnes of food and drink to last you for the next ten years? I’m quite curious to see how widespread this idea is. Personally I think a lot of them are just using it as an excuse to hoard things.

My main concern at that point, however, was getting the train home. I was reluctant to move but I dragged myself out into the freezing cold fifteen minutes early in case the train was early. Was it? Of course not. Forty minutes later it turned up. Thanks for that.

The plus side to it being later than expected would mean I wouldn’t have to spend too long in York waiting for my second train. I figured there would be about ten minutes between them; plenty of time to get to the right platform and position myself accordingly. Good plan.

Ah. No. Because it was delayed for twenty minutes thank to some signalling issues. And my phone was dead so I had to call my dad off some stranger’s phone to let him know I’d be later home than we’d planned. Unfortunately I couldn’t hear him whatsoever so I just said I’d be at Durham Station after half past several times then hung up. Hopefully he’d get the message.

Ah. No. He didn’t. The sound of the station announcer was deafening so he left even earlier as a precaution. Consequently my call did the exact opposite of what I wanted to do. Super.

Then the road home was closed due to a car accident. By the time I got home it was time for bed, which wasn’t my bed as I knew it. Since I’ve been away my dad and Sue have cleared through our belongings in preparation for our house move. To make space in the spare bedroom they got rid of my bed and put the sofa bed, which was in the spare bedroom, in my room. Thanks for consulting me guys!

It was pretty comfy though. They were forgiven.

Monday

You may have noticed that this blog has been uploaded on Tuesday (if not you should probably sort out your calenders). That is because I was actually off work yesterday (and today for that matter) as I picked up some flu bug this weekend. Sore throat, blocked nose, itchy teeth (this is probably the worst, surprisingly), headaches, loss of appetite, nausea and lethargy were some of the fun symptoms I’ve experienced since Saturday evening. Understandably I wasn’t really in the right frame of mind to write about my weekend (I’m better now).

But don’t worry, I still managed to spend this time productively. How? Well I watched Breaking Bad and The Big Bang Theory for hours. Ah yeah. But yeah, more on that later.

Finally I should mention that, unlike Vanna, I actually did take some pictures this weekend…but they are pretty rubbish quality wise so I’ll not be uploading them. Ah well. You’ve still got your imaginations. That’s enough right?

It’s not? Well here is a video of the Oblivion ride at Alton Towers. This is what I went through on Saturday. And don’t forget I did it with an expression of complete boredom, as if this was nothing more than a casual walk in the countryside.

Could you do that?

 

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