Thursday 28 November 2013

Cake International

A stunning parade of cakes 
A couple of weeks ago, I joined my friend Georgie and some other cakey-bakey friends in Birmingham for Cake International.  We were looking forward to a day of cakes galore and plenty of shopping, too.  As it turned out, if you want to munch on cake you need to visit a wedding show and not a cake one, as the only sample I was offered was flavoured royal icing!  We did do plenty of shopping, though...

There'd been a lot of fuss in the media about the almost life-size Captain Jack Sparrow cake, so we headed down to the competition cake area first of all.  Now, what you have to keep in mind is that not all of the competition cakes are 100% cake.  Some of the competition classes do allow for the use of polystyrene dummies, however, some--like the novelty cakes and handbags--are 100% cake and no supports are allowed.  Even so, the level of skill displayed was astonishing!

Captain Jack was very impressive--you can look at progress photos in Tasty Cakes' Facebook photo album--but the Ratatouille cake just edged it for me.  It was more imaginative and playful.  Both cakes displayed a lot of skill, but Ratatouille was just more fun.

Who can resist a basket full of puppies?
I think everyone who saw this basket of puppies did a double-take.  They were incredibly life-like, especially the Labrador in the front.  Just gorgeous.

Clockwise Noah's Ark, Pumba from The Lion King, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Ice Age
I do love a good novelty cake, and there were some real crackers on display.  Pumba was incredibly detailed, and I loved his cross-eyed expression as he stared at the bugs.  And Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!  Now there's a film you don't see very often these days.  I liked the bravery in doing a stylished version of the car rather than trying to make it ultra-realistic.  Very brave in a cake show where realism is highly prized.

The wedding cakes were my favourite section of all.  There were so many amazing cakes on display, all showing off a dizzying array of techniques.

This gorgeous pink and green cake is possibly the prettiest cakes I've ever seen.  I came straight home and ordered a bead/pearl mould so that I can have a go at re-creating the middle tiers.  So. Much. Technique.  It was my personal best in show.

Nightmare Before Christmas wedding cake

This was such a cute cake design.  The cake, which looked absolutely normal at first glance, slowly revolved on a plate and then revealed a romantic proposal at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in a cut-away segment.  Beautifully done!

A woodland wedding
I watched part of Mitch Turner's demonstration but then decided that since I already knew how to make Swiss meringue buttercream, I could better spend my time shopping.  I came away with The Mat--yet to experiment with this--a turntable, a scalpel for super-neat edges, and a few other pieces of equipment.  I had really, really wanted to invest in some Cake Lace, but luckily the crowds were ten deep at their stand.  (I say "luckily" as it is an incredibly expensive product, and I'm not sure I could afford to fall in love with it!!)

I really wanted to watch Mary Berry's demonstration, but quickly came to the conclusion that I should have taken a step-ladder with me.  The cheer when she came on stage nearly lifted the roof.  Next time I'll grab a seat earlier...much earlier.

If I've whetted your appetite for cake and you want even more, Jenny, Alice and Bess also went to Cake International and have written lovely posts about the day.  I'm already looking forward to going back next year!

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Wednesday 20 November 2013

Party with The Doctor!

Lucas, dressed up as Eleven a couple of years ago
Unless you've been living under a rock, it can't have escaped your notice that Doctor Who turns 50 on Saturday the 23rd of November.  As a long-time Whovian I am ridiculously excited and may have mentioned it once or twice...

Before the BBC announced their official Celebration event in London, I'd been quietly plotting throwing a party of my own.  While I'm super-excited to be caught up in what is sure to be near-hysterical mass excitement in the 'Smoke', I'm still slightly sad that I won't be at home putting the finishing touches to some fish fingers and custard, or proudly displaying a TARDIS cake.  (On the other hand, I am thrilled that I don't need to turn the house upside down to make it party-ready!)

If you've been thinking somewhat hazily that it might be nice to have something a little more exciting than a crumpled bag of jelly babies to snack on during the 50th anniversary special--or are throwing a last minute viewing party--here are some awesome ideas for party food, fit to grace any Gallifreyan table!

via Mike Daws on deviantART
I loved this Cassandra Lasagne, an edible version of the "last human", when it was posted on the Doctor Who Facebook page a couple of weeks ago.  You could always have a bowl of warm cheese sauce on the side to moisturise each portion!

You could go Old Skool with a Dalek pepperoni pizza... EX.TER.MIN.ATE it with your teeth!

How about some fish fingers and custard?  If you're not brave enough to dunk real fish fingers into your custard, then Domestic Sluttery has you covered with their (very convincing) sponge fish fingers.

via Domestic Sluttery
If you're feeling a little bit brave--and you can hear your Mum's voice saying that you must eat something savoury--you could always add some yellow mustard to mayonnaise for dipping real fish fingers in!

via A Typical English Home
The Adipose are very Russell T Davis, but I'm quite fond of the cute little guys.  I wouldn't be too upset if some of my fat just walked away.  These marshmallows adipose are a tasty version of one of the Doctor's cutest foes and incredibly easy to make, too!  They'd make perfect nibbles...

It might be a good idea to have some Jammie Dodgers to hand, in case you need to help The Doctor #savetheday with a biscuit!  We Brits can just open a packet, but if you live in a part of the world which is sadly without Jammie Dodgers, then you can make an (almost) copy of them.

To help your party go with a swing--and perhaps help everyone to emulate Eleven's wedding dancing stylings--how about some Who-themed cocktails?

(L) Sonic screwdriver cocktail, 11th Doctor edition (R) TARDIS cocktail
There are cocktail recipes for all 11 Doctors (I particularly like the sound of the First and Second Doctor's cocktails) and I've also discovered a Facebook page devoted to making cocktails themed after the Doctors and Companions!

No Doctor Who party would be complete without a TARDIS!  Being me, I'd always opt for a cake version, but you could cover your front door in a vinyl decal (or fabric hanging if your other half or landlord nix that awesome idea).

via Artisan Cake Company
If I was making my own TARDIS cake--and I'm seriously considering doing one for my birthday--I'd use this tutorial from Artisan Cake Company.  The whole process is beautifully explained.  It's just stunning.

However you choose to celebrate, have a wonderful 50th!  We'll be watching in glorious 3D with one of our friends--he's come all the way from America for Celebration, now that's dedication--and then thoroughly rehashing it over dinner.  I can't wait!

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Tuesday 19 November 2013

Tales from our weekend

My boys ♥
After spending much of last weekend sneezing and sniffling, we decided that we wanted to have a Proper Weekend.  You know the sort...filled with fun, adventure, and lashings of food.

On Friday I'd spotted a tweet about some sort of dinosaur build down at the M Shed, and mentioned it in passing to Dave.  He didn't seem that bowled over by the idea--admittedly I was very vague--but since he couldn't think of anything better we decided to give it a whirl and see what adventures we could find along the way.  There's always something going on in Bristol after all.


A decent cup of coffee is the beginning of any good weekend, as far as I'm concerned.  We popped into Spicer + Cole just off Queen Square, which is rapidly becoming my ultimate coffee destination, for a round of drinks.
Spicer + Cole has the absolute best coffee in Bristol.  I'd take one of their velvety flat whites over a speciality pumpkin spice or eggnog latte any day.  I succumbed to a satisfyingly large pear and cinnamon muffin which had a lovely crunchy top--love, love pearl sugar--and big chunks of poached pear inside.  Lush.

After inhaling our drinks we happily crunched our way across Queen Square through the fallen leaves.  The square was looking gorgeous, despite the slightly grey weather...leaves gold and bronze with some still yet to turn.  Wasn't there something in the papers recently about how this would be a "Double Autumn"?  I think it was something to do with the late spring combined with the super-hot summer that was causing only half the leaves to turn and drop and a time... It was certainly odd to see half the leaves still clinging to their greenness (and branches) this late in the year.

When we reached the M Shed we found that the L Shed doors were open--it had never dawned on me that all the sheds by the waterfront were all identified by letters--and a dinosaur inside!
The Bristol Dinosaur, Thecodontosaurus antiquus
None of us knew that Bristol had its very own dinosaur, much less that it was one of the oldest known dinosaurs!  Thecodontosaurus antiquus, or ancient socket-toothed reptile, was the precursor to the large plant-eating dinosaurs; it lived 200 million years ago when Bristol was a group of tropical islands near the equator.  Looking out of the shed doors, onto grey skies and fine drizzle, it was hard to believe!

The aim of the Bristol Dinosaur Project (and build) is to let the people of Bristol know about their very own dinosaur.  The project team are working their way through four tonnes of rock from a quarry north of Bristol and recovering more bones and micro-fragments every day.
Fossils trapped in rock
It was fascinating to hear how they pieced the skeleton together and then extrapolated how the muscles should attach to the bones--some bones still had clear muscle attachment points, which is pretty cool--creating incredibly detailed drawings and plan.

The dinosaur we saw was life-size, built up from a metal frame with carved polystyrene on top, wrapped in chicken wire, and finally a layer of clay which Bob, the sculptor, was working on with incredible precision.  This isn't the end of the process...a resin cast will be made, allowing Theco to be displayed for years to come!

Once we'd had our fill of dinosaurs, we wandered down the harbourside towards the SS Great Britain.
The Matthew floats proudly outside the M Shed
There's always something interesting to see, on land or water.  There were lots of rowers out training, yellow Bristol packet boats chugging their cargo of commuters up and down the Floating Harbour, and quite a few boats in for refits.  We hopped on the ferry, crossed the harbour, and wandered down the other side until our tummies started rumbling again.

It was then that I had a brilliant idea.  "Why don't we go to Atomic Burger for lunch," said I.  And so we did.
Atomic Burger, a geek's delight!
Dave has been dying to go to Atomic Burger ever since he heard about it opening.  A burger joint, decorated with all the toys and comics of our childhood?  Perfect.
Cassette tapes as decoration? Well I never...
Lucas's reaction was hilarious.  It ranged from joy to blatant jealousy, with a detour through curiosity at the toys he didn't recognise.  I am contemplating hanging his toys from the ceiling to make the floor look tidier...

A Power Ranger hung from the wing of an X-Wing, a Ghostbusters proton pack fired a stream of proton particles at a ghost as Danger Mouse and Penfold looked on.  There were Barbies, Action Man, Teddy Ruxpin, Gordon the Gopher, name it, they had it!

I opted for the November Special: the WHO Burger.  A juicy beef burger, with Wood smoked bacon, Habanero onion relish, and Oak smoked cheddar.  It was gorgeous--just the right amount of heat in the onion relish and the level of smoke from both the bacon and cheese was just right.  I loved the sweet potato fries--it's so nice to see these springing up on restaurant menus!  I also had the slightly ominous sounding Baconator milkshake--caramelised bacon and maple syrup, topped off with cream--which was absolutely amazing.  It was more of a maple milkshake with a hint of bacon at the end, rather than a massive bacon-fest.  I'd totally have it again.

Dave had the Outlaw burger which looked pretty impressive, and apparently tasted great, too, judging from how quickly he ate it!  I might have it next time as I love pulled pork!  Or perhaps the Chuck Norris...with extra badass chilli.  Who doesn't love Chuck?

Lucas had a Rocket Dog hotdog, with huge onion rings, and a an incredibly thick and luscious peanut butter milkshake.  I am a total sucker for food and drink served in cute ways, and I love milk bottles.  (Incidentally, the M Shed has a lovely glass exhibit case filled with all sorts of elaborate milk bottles from local dairies.)

The only slight disappointment were the burger buns, which were a bit blah.  Some proper hamburger buns with sesame seeds on top would have been good.  The buns didn't detract from our enjoyment, but they didn't add any interest, if you see what I mean?

What a brilliant day!  Just the right amount of everything that we love: fun, adventure, geekiness, food, and family.  Hey, it was even educational!

Spicer + Cole
1 Queen Square Avenue, Bristol, BS1 4JA

M Shed
Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol, BS1 4RN

Atomic Burger
189 Gloucester Road, Bristol, BS7 8BG

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Friday 15 November 2013

Friday Favourites

Happy Friday, everyone!  It's been a busy old week as ever...

We're starting to get geared up for Christmas.  Lucas has just been cast as one of the narrators in his school play, and has started learning Christmas carols in the choir.  We drove home singing "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" last night which was lush!

Jack Frost drew lots of beautiful ice patterns in my car the other morning, and there are reports in the paper that snow is imminent next week.  Now, since I heard about this being in the Express I'm not putting a lot of stock in it, but I suppose now is a good time to stick a winter emergency kit in the car...

Making a Winter emergency kit for your car:

Once upon a time I broke down on the motorway, en-route to soft-play, without coats for either Lucas or myself, or any supplies, and to add insult to started to snow.  Luckily the AA came along pretty sharpish and rescued us, and the snow didn't really amount to anything...but still.  Not much fun, and really I should have been better prepared.

I now keep a first-aid kit, extra coats, hi-vis gear and a torch in the car.  I should add some little gel warming pads, a small shovel, and bottled water and (given the alleged weather forecast) a little shovel.  A couple of blankets wouldn't go amiss, either.

You can buy emergency kits at Halfords (and similar places) or put one together for yourself.  Maybe add a book or toy to keep little ones occupied?  Odds are that you won't need to use your kit, but better safe than sorry!

Favourite Recipe: Key Lime Pie

Image via Shelf5
My friend Sam made a Key Lime Pie last week--apparently Tesco's bottled lime juice is from Key Limes--and it was scrumptious.  I've eaten a ton of Key Lime Pies over the years on trips to the States, but never made my own.  I'm now thinking that I should get into the kitchen and bake one ASAP!

The Hairy Bikers have a respectable looking recipe here, but I would replace the whipped cream topping with meringue as that's how I know Key Lime Pie.  (I'm told that it is served both ways in the Florida Keys, but I've only ever had it with meringue.  I'm always wary of creamy topped pies in America after my first (and only) encounter with Cool Whip!)

Friday Funny:

Favouritest thing EVER!

This prequel for the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who special was a massive surprise yesterday!  I waited until Dave got home and then the three of us watched it together.  It is so nice to be right about the John Hurt Doctor!  And I loved seeing The Sisterhood of Karn, keepers of the Sacred Flame again, too.  Plus!  Eight!!

In one week we'll all be piled into the car, zooming towards London for the official Celebration event.  Dave managed to snag me an autograph with Sylvester McCoy (the Seventh Doctor) which I am still super-excited about, and we're having a family TARDIS photo taken.  I must start practising smiling nicely for the camera...

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

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Thursday 14 November 2013

My favourite advent calendars

Advent calendars 2013

It's impossible to deny it any longer...Christmas is coming.

There are twinkly lights and glitzy decorations springing up in all the shops and everywhere I look there are tins of chocolates and Advent calendars.  Oh, the Advent calendars...there's such a variety these days!  When I was little, we had a traditional cardboard one with Nativity figures behind each little door that we re-used year upon year until the doors started falling off!

I thought I'd do a round-up of the best Advent calendars I've come across so far this year.

1. 50s Style Advent Calendar House from Etsy.  I love this calendar for its simplicity and cute motifs on each door.  It comes ready-assembled, and all you need to do is fill each drawer with goodies.  Perfect for the kids.

2. Liberty Advent Calendar.  This just oozes tradition, from the snowy English scene, to the little cardboard doors that you open up and peek behind.  It's a definite step-up from the one I grew up with though--it's downright gorgeous.

3. This Villeroy & Boch Advent Calendar Set is way out of my price range, but I thought I'd include it just in case any of you have the cash to splash.  Each day you get a stunning porcelain decoration--click and look at the close-ups--which you hang upon the porcelain tree that's included with the set.  This is the sort of Advent calendar that goes with a roaring fireplace, real fir tree trimmed with red bows and golden bells, and mistletoe above every doorway.

4. If chocolates are a must in your Advent calendar, try this Truffles for Two sharing calendar from Hotel Chocolat.  Behind each door there are two delicious truffles--one for you, one for your sweetie.  (Or both for you!)

5.  This wooden Advent calendar is shaped like a pile of gifts, all beautifully painted in Christmassy colours and with plenty of space inside for little cracker-sized gifts to be hidden inside.  Maybe some chocolate coins, too?

6. A Ginvent Calendar.   Behind each door is a 3cl bottle of gin, ranging from the likes of Bombay Sapphire through to artisan brands.  Definitely one for the grown-ups and possibly just the thing to keep you sane through the run-up to Christmas!

So...what Advent calendar will the Little Apple Tree household be sporting this year?  Will there be gin?  Chocolates?

LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar 2013
LEGO Star Wars Calendar 2013
Lucas and Dave have set their little hearts on another LEGO Star Wars Advent calendar.  Last year they built each day's toy together before Dave went to work, and I'd wake up to Lucas happily re-enacting battles from the films in his bedroom.  They both love Star Wars so much that I'll happily buy it for them!

I might treat myself to a little calendar from Hotel Chocolat, though...

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Tuesday 12 November 2013

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile blogger award

The very lovely Danni from Gingerbread Smiles recently nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award.  Thank-you so much, Danni, I really appreciate it!

I did a little bit of Googling and discovered that the Versatile Blogger award is to spread blog love and also to highlight some of your favourite blogs, especially those that others may not have heard of.

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award are:
  • Display the Award Certificate on your blog
  • Announce your win with a post and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Present 15 deserving bloggers with the award.
  • Link your nominees in the post and let them know of their nomination with a comment.
  • Post 7 interesting things about yourself.
My Nominees for the Versatile Blogger award are:

Seven Interesting (your mileage may vary) Facts About Me:

1. I used to dance a lot.  I started with ballet when I was about five--there are some dire pictures of me in a purple leotard with a massive afro in my parents photo album--moved into Highland dancing.  I did a sideways move into Scottish country dancing for a few years--there was always a ceilidh to go to at Uni--and had a brief flirtation with ballroom and salsa before settling on belly dancing.

2. I was once the only black member of a gospel choir.  That was weird to say the least!

3. I am a bit OCD about my keys.  They always have to go into the same pocket and in the same place at home, and I triple check I've got them before I leave the house.  This probably stems from that one time I broke off a key in our front door lock...

4. Dave, Lucas and I have been immortalised in comic form.  We're in a crowd scene in an issue of The Uniques by our friends Comfort and Adam Withers.

5. I would love to have a cake decorating business.

6. Due to research I did in my last year at University, I am published in a couple of scientific journals.

7. I want to write a book someday.  A murder mystery, something along the lines of Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Schultz books with recipes included.  I just need a plot!

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Sunday 10 November 2013


via Pottery Barn
When you have kids they give you some wonderful things.  Other times, their gifts are rather less welcome... Lucas passed on his mild cold to me at the end of half-term and over the last week it has mutated into the cold to end all colds.  And now...Dave has it too.  We've both been welded to our own boxes of tissues--these monogrammed ones would at least make our new tissue-carrying habit pretty--and boxes of Lemsip.

If you're full of a cold just now, you totally have my sympathies; here are some ideas to help ease the pain.  (Alas, there's no way to cure a just have to roll with it until it goes away.)

♥ Drink lots of fluids
♥ Lemons, oranges, limes, any citrus you like.  Just get plenty of vitamin C into you!  Try starting off the day with lemon in warm water (which is a general good thing to do for your body anyway)
♥ If you have a sore throat, try eating a spoonful of honey to sooth it
♥ If you lose your appetite, soup is always a winner
♥Steam inhalation helps, or if you can't bear holding your head over a hot bowl, a long hot bath works, too!
♥Sleep.  Get into bed early so that your body can fight off the virus overnight.
♥Vaseline. Not just for cracked lips, but slick a little dab around your nostrils--mmm, sexy--to prevent sporting a Rudolph look
♥ Ultra-soft tissues.  They make a big difference, and've got a cold. Why not be nice to yourself?

Naturally the NHS has a few things to say about colds and flu.  And if you've ever wondered why scientists can't cure the common cold, or if alternative medicine can get rid of a cold faster, then the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University is a font of knowledge.

I'll leave you with a video of cute sneezing animals, who are far more adorable than I am right now!  I'd love to tell you all about the amazing day I had yesterday at Cake International but I am busy sniffling and sneezing, so that'll have to wait for another time!

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Tuesday 5 November 2013

Warmley Waiting Room

Warmley Waiting Room
Warmley Waiting Room Cafe
Remember when autumn was full of beautiful days, with crisp, golden leaves crunching underfoot?  Glorious, wasn't it?

It's such a shame that the British weather has taken a decided turn for the worse, with the recent storms dumping a ridiculous amount of rain on our heads; I was quite looking forward to a picturesque autumn for once.  Still, the weather was fantastic a few weeks ago when Dave, Lucas and I went for a walk down the Bristol-Bath cycle path with a stop off at the newly-renovated Warmly Waiting Room cafe afterwards.

It took about four years of Bristol-life before it dawned on me that the Bristol-Bath cycle path ran along the old railway line between Bristol and Bath.  And it was only recently that Dave mentioned that there were still old railway stations dotted along the line.

We started our walk at Warmley, where the old signal box was recently renovated.  It looked rather spiffing in the sunshine; I could imagine Miss Marple passing through little countryside stations like Warmley on her way to London.
The newly renovated Warmley Signal Box
Warmley Signal Box
The old platform was crowded with cyclists taking a break with a cuppa and slices of cake galore.  We dragged Lucas past, promising him cake when we got back to Warmley--"Of course we'll have cake!  Maybe even a cream tea!"--and set off along the cycle path.

Not sure what these berries are, but gorse bushes are unmistakable!
As we wandered along, we stumbled across a few pieces of artwork.  I loved the little robot, who had so much personality and such a cheerful wave to all the passersby!
The cycle path is the place to go if you fancy blackberrying.  We saw several people braving the thorns to fill Tupperware and wicker baskets from the bushes which were positively dripping with plump berries.  It's a shame that blackberries aren't my thing--I just can't get past the humungous pips--otherwise I might have sacrificed my handbag and gone hog wild in the bushes!
Hedgerow delights
Before long we arrived at Old Mangotsfield Station and walked up onto the platform which was lined with trees, planted where the old columns stood when the station was in use.
Old Mangotsfield Station
There were loads of gorgeously crispy leaves around and Lucas couldn't resist tossing them around.  (I need a much faster camera to capture shots like these properly!)

We wandered around inside the ruined station for a little while--you could play an epic game of hide and seek in there!  There are trees growing everywhere inside the walls, some deliberately planted, others by Mother Nature.  It seemed to be a popular picnic spot, too.
Talking of hide and the Lucas...
Sadly, by the time we'd walked all the way to Old Mangotsfield Station and back, the Waiting Room was totally sold out of cream teas and cakes.  Quelle horreur!  We wound up going to Sainsbury's and having a DIY cream tea to stave off Lucas's tears, but resolved to go back as soon as possible for the cake-y treat we'd intended to have!

A week later and we were back at Warmley Waiting Room having cake for breakfast.  Well, second breakfast in Lucas's case...I suspect he's part hobbit.
Coffee cake--lush!
Dave and I both had a slice of the coffee cake (epic) and Lucas had about half of his chocolate cake before saying that it was "too chocolatey", so I helpfully polished it off for him.  For the record, it was gorgeous!

We've been back a couple of times and I'm sure it will be one of our favourite places for coffee over the summer months.  I can't wait to see what iced coffee confections they come up with!

Warmley Waiting Room
Old Warmley Station
BS30 5JB


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Monday 4 November 2013

Dalek Invasion!

Dalek Winston: "Would You Like A Cup Of TEA?"
Did you hear about the Dalek Invasion of Yeovilton this summer?  Back in August--yes, this is long overdue--we went to the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton, Somerset, to help The Doctor repel his greatest foes and save the world.

When we got to Yeovilton, the situation was worse than we had feared.  The Daleks were consorting with The Silence and Cybermen.  There was even a Winder!  Yikes!

Lucas meets The Silence, Daleks conspire with a Cyberman, a Dalek terrifies the crowd
Luckily UNIT were on-site, in the form of Sgt. Benton aka John Levene.

Sgt. Benton of UNIT

I've loved Sgt. Benton for years; he was always my favourite during the UNIT years and it was an absolute honour to meet John Levene.  He was utterly charming and full of lovely little anecdotes about his time on Doctor Who.  He charmed the pants off Lucas who was in shy-mode, coaxing him out and teaching him how to salute and stand to attention.  Lucas was chattering away about all the UNIT stories he'd watched in no time!  He's now planning to dress up as a modern UNIT soldier for the Doctor Who Celebration at the end of November!

John Levene at Dalek Invasion 2013
Lucas clowning around with John Levene, aka Sgt. Benton
After I'd finished embarrassing everyone with my enthusiastic fangirling over poor John, we explored the rest of the Fleet Air Arm Museum.  I'd never been there before, but Lucas and Dave were old hands, so they happily dragged me around.

(L) A Winder (R) The TARDIS, it really was bigger on the inside!
We made our way into the largest hall and my breath was taken away by the sight of one of the first Concordes dominating the hall.

This is one of the earliest Concordes, used for testing
We poked around the hall and met several other Daleks before making our way underneath Concorde for the Audience with the Daleks show.  It was a magnificent location!

The Audience with the Daleks, including the Special Weapons Dalek! (far right)
We were all really looking forward to the Audience with the Daleks panel.  It was moderated by a rather perfect "Ten" cosplayer who had the whole manic running around down.  Lucas was thrilled when Ten dashed over after a lot of arm-waving and asked what his question was for the Daleks.

Lucas asked, "What happens if you go under water?  Do your circuits get fried?"

Dalek Winston said that he liked to go swimming because his pouched were like arm bands.  Dalek Goldie said that she liked to wear a bikini, and Dalek Helmann, the Special Weapons Dalek, said that he didn't go swimming.  "Look At Me. I Am A TANK.  I SinnnK."

You'd think that Daleks would be more direct when answering a question!  (For the curious, Dakek armour is watertight, as established early on in the First Doctor's tenure when we saw a Dalek trundling out of the River Thames and ambushing The Doctor and Ian.)

Rather than go to the Extermination Factor--once you've heard a Dalek sing once, you never need to hear it again--we decided to visit some of the planes in the museum.  The highlight for me was fulfilling one of my dreams of going on Concorde!  Okay, so it was just a walk through the cabin, but for five minutes I was on Concorde!  It's super-cramped, and not quite my idea of luxury or comfort.  However, the speed and cachet probably made up for that...

We did have a little listen to the Extermination Factor from the gantry above after clambering out of Concorde.  There was a pretty pink Dalek who was celebrating her first birthday.  Listening to the other Daleks drone sing 'Happy Birthday' to her was hilarious.

Oldest surviving Dalek prop from the 1960s
We wandered around upstairs in the museum, and Lucas spotted some tables covered in crayons and coloured pencils.  I couldn't resist doing some colouring in with him... I once won a prize at Sunday School for the Best Colouring In, there was a rosette and everything.
You can't beat a bit of colouring in!
We wandered downstairs and bumped into K-9.  I may have squeaked with excitement at this point.
A boy and his dog (he wishes!)
The day ended with a parade of the Daleks and monsters, followed by the various regenerations of The Doctor and his Companions.

I love how Ten and Seven are deep in conversation! And mini-Ace in the Seventh Doctor's fez!
We had a brilliant day out, and I am pleased to report that the Daleks left peacefully, thus saving Yeovilton (and the world) for another year.  Hooray!

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