Saturday, 2 April 2016

The Ѭ-Dimensional Car Park

17th century fireplace tiles guildford museumToday saw a rare alignment of the planets in which all 3 of us had a Saturday off together. Thus we decided to tackle a new and potentially interesting town called Guildford. We have been through it, past it or over it many times but its actual centre has remained opaque to us, and possibly didn't exist at all.
One of the People On My Side, Dear Follower Fiona, mentioned it has a castle, and a lady at Jof's work said visit the museum first, because they have a potted-history thing half way up the stairs and that'll tell you all you need to know.
So we took the 12 boxes of stationary down to Jof's branch office and got glared at by buses for stopping in the bus stop and escaped onto the main road and went straight past Guildford. It didn't have a particular signposted turn-off for 'City Centre' or anything else helpful like that so we drove on to the next junction and tried again from the other direction, now Bud has got lost on a motorway like Jof.
guildford museum railway exhibitsFighting the lack of road signs (they were all removed during the war so that Hitler's armies wouldn't know where they were) and followed a bus to the middle bit and found a car park and discovered the river in the middle by going downhill.
Eventually we found the museum and we all dutifully sat and watched the scratchy noisy video about how it was a prehistoric crossroads on the downs and then it was a staging-post from London to Portsmouth and some authors lived there, and the people that made fire engines.
The castle was made by the Norman invaders and some kings stayed there on their tours around the country fencing-off areas of woodland for their private hunting grounds but they abandoned it after a while and it became a derelict garden ornament, that'd have looked funny on the Estate Agent's handout - buy one house, get one castle free.
guildford castle spiral staircase chapel But having seen the gold coins and the spearheads and bicycles and linens and model trains and spurious connections and the locally-made glassware and grandfather clocks and prison doors and firebacks and tiles and farm implements, we headed off for lunch.
The House of Fraser is a posh department store found exclusively in posh towns like London and Bath. So Guildford was an obvious location as it's full of designer shops with their designer shop assistants and little medieval alleyways with little medieval craft shops.
But this one has a roof garden appended to its Ye Olde Expensive Tea Shoppe where you can buy the chairs (£180) and the crockery (too fancy) and some Hungarians served us a very nice lunch with tea and cake for only £51. The view is great as are the numerous escalators and it's begging to have frogs or newts introduced although they'd fall over the edge of the building and probably all get eaten by storks anyway.
ruined medieval castle remains guildfordOn the way up the many many escalators (one of them was non-functional, and you had to walk up it. That was a bizarre experience that makes your head go inside out) Jof had seen towels and ornaments and candles and cushions and shoes all at high high prices so she stayed there while I sought out the castle.
It is not a big castle. Because of the time it spent empty and derelict, you can only go in some of it and they've put a cage on the top to keep the teenagers out and it wasn't exactly well-built in the first place and the 'Shop' is just a guy with 2 open briefcases of replica coins and novelty pencils but the spiral staircase was good and the gardens were nice.
But the entry cost was only £4.80 for both of us so we investigated all the nooks and most of the crannies and rejoined the plummy-voiced throng in the town to find Jof, which we did 3rd time lucky. She'd found a toyshop so I conned her into getting me a late birthday present (10 and 1/4, that's a real birthday, right?) which was a giant Nerf gun at only £65 where the bag it came in was well worth the 5p recycling charge, you could house 3 Scouts in it.
guildford castle tower tourist attraction
That's when the car park came back and bit us in the bum. The whole town is on slopes so the backs of buildings may have 3 floors whereas the fronts have 6. Ground level may not be where you left it and it certainly wasn't with the Leapale Road Hallucinogenic Car Parking Facility which has been cunningly built to look the same from all 6 points of the compass, in 7 dimensions and in both matter and anti-matter. We toured the many floors (east more than west, north fewer than south, all 94 the same but no 2 alike) and finally found the car exactly where we'd left it but in the 3rd universe to the left, easy mistake to make.
At home I discovered that even though the Nerf gun is 17 feet long, it still shoots little foam darts so isn't capable of killing an armoured soldier at 75 paces. So I made myself feel better by watching "Harry Potter, the Stoned Philosopher" for the 173rd time.

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