Planning for a Convention

I hadn’t really planned on attending a convention other than a couple of local Comic Cons this year, but then Cal Mah – a fan-run Stargate con – announced Cliff Simon as one of their guests. So this very happy fan is now planning for a weekend away, despite the fact that the convention is seven months and two days away (yes, I am counting!)

So how does one plan for a convention? (more…)

Ginger’s Easter Egg Run

Ginger’s Easter Egg Run, led by the Bike Marshals. Photo © Johnathan Coombes

Every year, the Ginger’s Easter Egg Run runs from Leigh to Manchester Children’s Hospital, taking eggs to the kids stuck in hospital over the Easter holidays. When it first started, the eggs were carried by the bikers, but as the event got bigger – and the donations increased – we had to use cars to carry them. This year was the 31st run and we needed a Transit van! (more…)

The Duck House at Vaudeville Theatre

Ben Miller in The Duck House
It was actually champagne on the last night!

It’s almost four years since H and I drove the 209 miles down to London to catch Ben Miller star in The Duck House; a comedy set in the political turmoil of the expenses crisis.

I’d bought the tickets as an anniversary present, choosing the very last showing on Saturday 29 March 2014 – if you’re going to a comedy play, you do the last night. Always. Because the script gets thrown out the window and everything that can go wrong tends to and it’s the best thing ever.

My sides hurt from laughing so much.

Not going to lie, my driving need to see The Duck House was Ben playing the leading role. I’ve been a huge fan of his since The Armstrong and Miller Show was on Channel 4.

Plus, he was fresh from his stint on Guadalupe Saint Marie as Richard Poole in Death In Paradise, which both H and I love to bits.

In The Duck House, he plays Robert Houston, an MP who changes political affiliation like a pair of underpants in an attempt to land a plum job in the cabinet.

He’s supposed to be having dinner with a Tory higher-upper in order to Make An Impression, but the expenses scandal is on the front of every paper and Houston has a list a mile long of stuff he really shouldn’t have claimed for. In short, he ends up making entirely the wrong impression, hilariously.

(If you’re curious about his character, if you’ve seen him as James Lester in Primeval,  it’s basically that but with more laughs and less dinosaurs.)

Ben Miller with the eponymous duck house
Ben with the eponymous duck house

The play was hysterically funny even before lines were forgotten and ad libs made. That just made everything that little bit better! Ben has impeccable comic timing and a wide naughty streak, and he ruled the stage like a king. And being the last night and them not needing the props any more, a fair few got tossed into the audience, which when you’re talking about hanging baskets is a little risky, even if they were unplanted!

One of them hangs beside my front door.

My biggest regret is not finding out before the fact where the stage door was. After the four hour drive and a two hour performance, I was too knackered to start hunting, even if that did mean not getting Ben’s autograph and a selfie.

Still, it was a great night that I remember fondly. And if Ben ever does a stage play again, I’ll have tickets before the ink’s finished drying!

Note: going to London at the weekend is the best time, if you get up early on Sunday morning. The streets are dead, meaning you can wander (or drive) around at your leisure and take in all the touristy sights.


Photos courtesy of The Telegraph and The Spectator.

Bolton Comic Con

Today, me and Mel meandered over to the Macron Stadium for Bolton Comic Con. I’ve done a few conventions now, so I know what I’m about – small bag for phone, purse and tissues, comfy footwear, and light clothing because con halls get hot.

The hall at Macron Stadium
The hall at Macron Stadium

Or not. OMG, it was so cold! I swear the air con was on. I’m not sure whether the heating was down to stadium staff or the con organisers, but either way, it’s not good to leave your GoH freezing. It was less Andrew Lee Potts and more Andrew Lee Popsicle.

He was very sweet, though, and eager to chat given the lack of morning rush. He asked Mel if she preferred Primeval or Alice. I couldn’t decide as they’re too different. Though the photo I chose for his autograph was from Primeval, so maybe it just edges Alice out. *shrug*

We didn’t chat about Wireless, which I kind of regret, but we did spend a good five minutes geeking out about Star Trek Discovery. However that wasn’t the most Con thing – that credit goes to the Black Elvis puppeteering a Kermit The Frog armed with a lightsaber. Yes, really.

The Tardis display
The Tardis display
One of the two radio-controlled R2-D2s scooting about
One of the two radio-controlled R2-D2s scooting about

Due to the cold, Mel and I didn’t stay long enough to watch the cosplay competition. However, my winner – aside from the 5-year-old boy dressed as Woody – was this person in an AT-ST “outfit”. Most of the con-goers were in cosplay, making me feel quite underdressed! Maybe I ought to look into a costume…

AT-ST cosplay
AT-ST cosplay

So what did I buy? I had to get a portrait with the Tardis and a signed photo from Andrew. There were lots of stalls with some tempting geekery, plus one selling some very tempting fudge. Lots of Fuko Pops, but the prices were a bit high. In the end, I succumbed to Itty Bittys of Han and Leia. These sweet little plushes will probably have their own blog post fairly soon.

Itty Bittys of Han Solo and Princess Leia
Itty Bittys of Han Solo and Princess Leia