And so, as promised, some thoughts on Alton Towers.
Thoughtlessly, Calke Abbey is closed on Fridays so although we had a nice meander around their extensive parkland our attempt at mature culture was thwarted. Likewise at Alton Towers my best intentions to explore the ruined towers and the really rather attractive gardens fell by the wayside in favour of more adrenalin highs (and an unreasonably long wait for lunch).
I have a confession to make. I will ride on (almost) any rollercoaster, but I don't really like the newer ones. They go so fast that my tendency is just to close my eyes, grit my teeth and hope that it ends without my neck compressing itself entirely into my spine. I did manage to keep my eyes open for the beginning of Nemesis this time but failed miserably on Rita Queen of Speed (no idea why they called it Rita but I like it). My favourite rollercoaster is the Runaway Mine Train - it's got sufficient thrills to be interesting but at a speed where you can see them coming; it doesn't cause physical pain; and you get to go round it twice! What could be better.
I am also a big fan of Hex, which makes you feel gently nauseous without moving you much at all - also very funny to watch people who haven't been on it before and don't understand that the room is moving round them not the opposite. And I love the spinning teacups - albeit they have now become piratical rum barrels - which are basically waltzers where you control the speed and direction.
The doughnuts are dangerous in conjunction with rollercoasters, but not to be missed in their soft warm fresh-baked state. Water rides are also incompatible with doughnuts, but very good fun - except that the water really doesn't smell too good... I advise mouth shut and waterproof jacket on. Oh, and the sudden appearance of a giant rubber duck out of the darkness on the flume can be nightmare-inducing if you're of a nervous disposition...
On a more serious note, this week sees the next vote on 42 day detention, which despite government 'concessions' still flies in the face of international human rights and undermines the values it purports to defend. You can see Amnesty's reasons why it's a bad idea here, and sign the 'not a day longer' petition here.