I just returned from what I’ll call a ‘literary’ tour of Wales and parts of England.
Wales, for those of you who have no clue, is a small country to the west of England, part of the United Kingdom, with a rich history and language of its own. For some reason, I had never been there. Discovering it was like finding a hidden wing in a grand old mansion or a completely unused extra floor on top of one’s house.
As we arrived in the dark, one of the first things I noticed about it was its incomprehensible (to me) language because Welsh appears on all the traffic signs alongside English (see above). It seemed like an indecipherable gathering of consonants. Little did I know that Brythonic, an early form of Welsh, was once spoken throughout most of Britain. As a result, many place names in England, along with the names of most major rivers, have strong Celtic connections.
Chief among the highlights of the first part of our visit, though, was a boat trip around Cardiff Bay, during which the captain pointed out the various locations used in Cardiff relating to the BBC TV series Doctor Who, including:
The house in which Amy and Rory were supposed to have lived (in the show this was in London) pictured below with a blue door
The street down which the Doctor runs towards Rose Tyler and is then wounded by a Dalek
...as well as the flats used by actors David Tennant, John Barrowman, Freema Agyeman and show producer Russell T. Davies and many more spots.
We had already stood on the exact point occupied by the TARDIS in the episode ‘Boom Town’, just outside the Cardiff Opera House, and later we had lunch in the café in which the Doctor (Matt Smith) meets companions Amy, Rory and River Song soon after they have supposedly seen him killed - and which was later used as the replica of an American diner in which the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) meets waitress Clara even though he cannot recollect who she is, having had his memory specifically wiped. Clara then opens a back door to reveal that the diner is the exterior to her own TARDIS.
From there we journeyed north through some of the most beautiful countryside anyone has the right to be able to see - green, rolling valleys dotted with sheep, tall, brooding mountains, distant seascapes and tiny, peaceful villages - before the next part of the tour, about which you will hear more in a day or two.