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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Black Country to Black Sea

Tuesday 26 July

It's about 10.30pm local time here in Sveti Vlas. I'm typing these words as I sit on the balcony of our room at the Premier Fort hotel. There have just been a flock of sea gulls flying over head toward the sea. There snow white wings gliding through the air, look for a minute like ghostly spectre's who are seeking out a place of rest. It is only their familiar cry that identifies them differently.

They are not the only wildlife that use the facilities of the hotel. When we attend breakfast in the morning in the outdoor quadrangle, we are not the only ones dining. In the rafters of the roof, a family of swallows have made a nest and as we eat our fill of sausage egg and bacon, the parents intermittently fly in with tit bits for the babies, who wait patiently with open mouths. Not at all spooked by the hundreds of diners below them with their own children.

This hotel is family friendly then, even to a family of birds it appears. There is entertainment of sorts throughout the day, morning gymn and yoga. Pool side darts. Quizzes and disco's for kids and adults. Art, football and other sports. There is an air hockey game that is ver popular with the kids. So popular it seems that today it broke down completely. Tokens for it are issued from reception strictly one at a time. And usually by the end of the day they are like gold dust.

Breakfast is usually pretty busy as everyone gets it included with there stay. It's pretty good, plenty of choice (as with all the meals actually). But I just wish the sausages were a bit bigger, they are literally the size my little finger. There has been a good menu that has changed daily which is really good. Although small t who is not one to experiment with food has been relying heavily on pizza and ice cream to see him through. I think we are all going to miss the food when we leave next week, and may encounter withdraw symptoms.

My sun burn has calmed down a bit today and I'm glad to say it's a lot less angrier. In the morning we took a thirty minute bus ride to the historic old town, Nessebar. It's situated on a small peninsular accessed by only one road. There are several ancient 10-12th century churches in various states of decay from ruin to fully built. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars and memento shops selling Bulgarian pottery, weaving, clothes and Rose Jam, something of a speciality around these parts so I'm told.

This afternoon we had more time for sea swimming, of course I was the entertainment for small t, so we engaged in a the usual fun and games of the seaside. We had already buried each other, and made sandcastles on previous days so now we have resorted to having sea fights that invariably involve slinging large bits of sea weed at each other. As you can imagine we are getting all kinds of looks off the other guests.

"Look de White Englash Man is making a wig of seaweed for his child again!! Come away Alexander do not look at the silly non EU persons."

Ira is eager to make the most of her time here, she knows that the days will soon pass and normality will return. At any opportunity (while we are having rest time) she is taking walks down to the beach to inplant the warm sweet aroma of the sea breeze into her memory, so that it can be recalled on those cold rainy English summer days. I don't blame her. This time is precious and for small t most of all these are the holiday memories that will live with him for the rest of his life. At least he has better ones than me. I have memories of cold rain swept days in Ryhl and Weymouth, he will have the warm clear Black Sea running through his head, and the image of his grandfathers cheeky zestful smile to recall on when he is my age.

- your intrepid reporter big T.

Location:Sveti Vlas Bulgaria

Friday, July 22, 2016

From Black Country to Black Sea

Friday 22 July

In a few short hours my family and I will be swapping the warm sunny climes of the West Midlands, and armed with bucket loads of sun cream, shades and light fitting clothes, we will be boarding a plane for warm sunny Burgas in Bulgaria. From there we will be travelling to the new 18-30 holiday of choice, Sunny Beach.

When my wife first suggested this as a kind of middle ground alternative to going to Russia, I had no idea of the legendary reputation of the place as magnet for youngsters looking to drink, get brown, drink some more, and well, do it all over again.

I'm assured by my wife that we will be staying in a few miles away from the main area of binge drinking and projectile vomiting and the pictures of the resort we are booked into look very nice, spacious golden sandy beaches etc, but I'm reserving judgement until I actually see it. After all, Bognor Regis can be made to look nice with the right kind of lighting and lenses and a few clicks of Photoshop.

We will be meeting my wife's father there and will spending a week living it up on cheap booze, sun and sea. I'm sure there will be loads of things to do and see, I think my father in law wants to visit a healing natural mud bog or something At some point, which sounds right up my street. Plus if we get too bored we can order a couple of cheap prostitutes!!

I have to admit that I'm not a fan of beach holidays, I like to go exploring, ultimately get lost and have to call the authorities to come and rescue me. I'm hoping though that the next week will be relaxing, with little stress (by that I mean no losing small t or my phone, or getting a healthy dose of food poisoning or sun stroke.

I'll be recording my daily movements (not the ones your thinking off) in this blog journal thing and hope that it provides some light relief for those friends who stumble across it during the days ahead.

Your intrepid reporter big T.

Location:Black Country

Thursday, July 21, 2016

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Homegrown Presents The Life And Death Of Nic Treadwell

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where Is Treadwell

#Where Is Nic Treadwell
An appeal by Nigel Rooke

Nic Treadwell has been missing from his black country home
since October 1st 2014. In this urgent emotional plee for information,
I, Nigel Rooke (his friend) appeal for the help of his loyal podcast audience.

Contact me @rooke_nigel
Sign the Melvyn Bragg peitition

Mistys Big Adventure- He Never Felt Anything

Check out this episode!

Monday, October 06, 2014

Nic Treadwell is Missing!

Hi, my name is Nigel Rooke. I am a long Tim friend of Nic Treadwell. Three days ago Nic went missing from his home in Rowley Regis. I took the attached photo of Nic last week when we had a beer together. He seemed ok but his last words to me, "I've really had enough Nige..." Have left a chill in my bones. Admittedly he spoke these words in answer to me offering him a pork scratching but there you go.

I kno Nic was making plans to re-start his podcasting career, which makes his disappearance all the more tragic.

Please help me find my friend. Share this photo on Twitter and Facebook by using the #whereistreadwell 

And above all keep him in your prayers.

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Doctor Who Rewind - Planet Of The Spiders

With six months of solid Pertwee in the can, myself and my small trusty companion donned our capes and frilly shirts one last time in order to bid farewell to the third Doctor with mixed emotions.

This last story manages to tie up a few lose ends from earlier in the 11th series very nicely and with long time producer Barry Letts writing under the name of Robert Sloman, a theme heavily influenced by Buddhism (one of his passions) gives us a very thoughtful affair about what it means to live a good life.

Being someone who had a real fear of Spiders as a child (and still do) I have vague memories of watching this back in 1974 as a five year old and being scared to death. In fact this story may well have been the source of my phobia.

Captain Mike Yates's story arc from Invasion Of The Dinosaurs is firstly addressed in episode one. Having allowed himself to be compromised by nasty baddies previously, he was discharged from UNIT. Here we see him attending a Buddhist meditation centre in order to find new meaning in his life. What he finds though is some odd goings on in the basement by a group of middle aged men chanting incantations in order to invoke some kind of higher power. They are led by power crazed ego maniac Lupton.

The Doctor, experimenting with psychic ability, is trying to tap into the mind of Professor Clegg at Unit HQ, this backfires when his subject has a heart attack after having a vision of giant spiders (yes, the Doctor indirectly causes his death! Shock horror). This happens when the Prof comes into contact with the blue Metebelis Three crystal from a few stories back, and which he lovingly gave to Joe Grant when she left on her trip to the amazon after getting married. She sends it back with a note that it is causing her a spot of trouble.

At the same time Yates and Sarah Jane witness Lupton's group making contact with a rather large eight legged creature with materialises in the basement. The spider leaps onto Lupton's back and takes control of his mind, issuing commands to him through a voice in his head.

Sarah Jane relates these events to the Doctor and he connects the death of the professor with them.

Most of episode two of the story is taken up with a tour de force Pertwee / Lupton multi vehicle chase. This being his last fling as the flamboyant action thrill seeking Doctor, Pertwee had probably requested they give him a big send off. So we get Lupton trying to steal the crystal and the Doctor giving chase. First it's the Who mobile verses Bessy then we swap to a one man helicopter and plane before finally, a speedboat and hovercraft. It just keeps on coming at you, improbable as it seems. And best of all, Pertwee being the speed freak that he was, is mostly in control of the said vehicles on screen.

There are some fantastic ideas in this story around transformation. One of them involving a character called Tommy, a handyman from the retreat with learning difficulties. In the first half of the story we see him in his child like persona collecting trinkets in a box under the stairs. Nobody really thinks anymore of him than a harmless spare part, but after he comes into contact with the crystal he gains the ability to read and articulate himself. It's a wonderful alternative to seeing the traits the crystal has magnified in others, such as the greed of Lupton. Poor Tommy wants nothing more than to be understood and excepted and that's what he gets.

Of course we also have the Planet of the Spiders itself, Metebelis Three, looking slightly less menacing than when we saw it at the start if The Green Death. And the spiders themselves? Despite this being the 1970's, the actual design and FX to bring them to life are more than effective enough to instil fear into any arachnophobe. Even Pertwee himself looks scared to death when he faces the giant queen.

But in the end, what we have here is a story of the consequences of the Doctor trying to redeem himself. At the retreat, the Doctor encounters an old friend, a fellow time lord and his old teacher from Galifrey, now occupying the body of a Tibetan lama called K'canpo.

K'canpo tells the Doctor that he must return what he has taken, the Crystal. When he took it, he himself started the chain of events that would eventually lead to his downfall and regeneration (and it's in this story that the process of change the Doctor undertakes is referred to as regeneration for the first time).

When the crystal is returned to the queen, it generates a force so strong it kills both her and the other spiders, and leaves the Doctor so weak he can barely make it back to the TARDIS.

After three weeks he returns to unit HQ and staggers out. With a little help from the spirit of his old mentor (who had transmuted at the retreat) the regeneration process kicks in and we see the face of Tom Baker appear.

What Pertwee was given in this story was a chance to throw everything he could at the role he had defined for four years. Of a all the classic Doctors, he was the only one who could mix suave and debonair with die hard thrills and action. There was less of the unpredictability and alien like qualities of other incarnations. But with his Doctor, you felt safe and protected. He was cool and calculated, and never got himself into a flap, despite being in life threatening scrapes.

Initially I was not looking forward to this era of the Rewind. I had gotten it into my head that many of the stories would be tiresome, boring and would plod along at a snails pace. And while there are some bad ones among Pertwee's tenure, the majority hold there own, and benefit highly from his bravado, well scripted stories and wonderful casting.

Having very limited memories of this era of DW, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, and I feel sure that my childhood self would have loved it too had I been slightly older at the time it went out.

When Sarah Jane pleads through tears, "Don't die doctor", it's hard not to get choked up. And if it wasn't for the fact that I knew what was coming next, I might've been as distraught. As it is, I have been looking forward to the next stage in this journey since the start.

Yes, Tom is coming!

Next time on Doctor Who Rewind, a Robot with a conscience.