Good Morning, it’s raining but Happy Birthday Mary! 🎂🎉🍾


So, if it had a hole in it for a water spout it would be called a gargoyle but as it hasn’t it’s called a grotesque. There you go, educational as well as entertaining! After breakfast we went off to find the quickest route to the cathedral. The dude who was on the wall in the hotel, was outside for real.


And the lovely hotel Mary had stayed in on previous occasions, The Royal Clarence Hotel, which had the dreadful fire, was in the slow process of restoration. The photograph on the left shows it in its former glory but the sad view of it now is on the right.


Inside the cathedral, windows and grotesques abound.


I left Mary to her rehearsals and services various and I headed off for the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, which nestles somewhere on the Exeter University campus. It wasn’t exactly clearly signposted and I kinda got the feeling I had to throw a six before I could find it. I saw a footpath signpost but where to park? Everywhere was ticket or pass, but where were the tickets machines? I found a space a long way from where I wanted to be and asked a lady who was also parking what the form was. “I’ve no idea,” she replied, very pleasantly, “the website says it’s free at the weekend, so I’m relying on that.” Oh, well I thought, that’ll do for me. “I don’t suppose you know where the restaurant is?” she enquired. “Sorry, haven’t a clue. I’m looking for the Cinema Museum.” She came back, “Oh, sorry I can’t help you there; looks like we are both not much help to either of us.” Pause, “Oh well, good luck!” And off she wandered and I headed for a big building unaware of the surreal experience that was about to engulf me.

I enquired of three young students if they knew the direction to take for the museum and they pointed me towards the old library. Down a hill, across a forecourt and eureka I found the entrance. No one about at all, but some directions to go through some glass swinging doors and down some steps. There was absolutely no one about. ‘If you need more light to see the exhibits,’ said a notice, ‘please turn the larger lights on here but do turn them off when you leave.’ Malcolm turns lights on.

A slow wander round looking at interesting artefacts, in absolute silence. Malcolm turns lights off. I headed for the lift and pushed what I thought was the right floor, to exit. Doors open, Malcolm steps out, doors close as realisation dawns this is not where I came in and I’ve gone up too high. Ah well back to the lift, but it was not to be. To re enter the lift you needed to put a code into a key pad on the wall! I know, I know, this is beginning to get freaky; think how I felt? OK, no panic stairs to go down; ah door at the bottom to re enter the entrance I recognise. “This door is an emergency exit only and is alarmed.” Correct it does not open; oh bugger, now what the hell do I do? If I had to throw a six to get in, my stomach is telling me I may have to throw a double six to get out because I am now well and truly scuppered.

Gotesques are haunting my over active brain and the rooks constantly cawing in a nearby tree just aren’t helping me relax. I run, yes run back up the stairs. There are no stairs going further up, so I wander down a corridor and come out in an open sort of area, with a balcony, and once more tantalising below me is the entrance I recognise. “Throw myself over?” instant reply, “Don’t be bloody stupid! Pull yourself together Treen, keep hunting.” Another corridor another meeting room, I even pass room 101; laugh, unfortunately a complete sense of humour failure prevents this!

I continue along the corridor, past many, many empty sort of small briefing rooms and come to a dead end. A u turn and back past the coded lift, and try the other way. More rooms and at last some stairs that I haven’t seen before; down two flights and suddenly relief, ‘push button to exit.’ I push expecting an alarm to go off but to my delight the door opens and I step out into the fresh air. I realise I haven’t seen a living soul for over forty minutes. I make it back to the big building where I first met the students and buy a sandwich in a cafe, thankful to be back in civilisation. I take the sandwich back to the hotel and settle down to watch the F1 qualifying.

I certainly have no intention of going out again and we have booked a table in the hotel restaurant to celebrate Mary’s birthday tonight. What is beginning to worry me is how to fill the time up tomorrow between 0900 and 1600, when I shall go back to the Cathedral and hear the choir singing. I figure, if the weather permits, I shall stay in the open and enjoy a bit more of the architecture of this beautiful city because I think my internal building exploring instincts have been well and truly crushed for a while!

Thanks for reading! M & M 😱🙏👻🙄🙄🙄

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Malcolm and Mary

Malcolm worked for LWT. Mary worked for TRL. They live near Camberley in Surrey and did achieve their life long ambition to visit New Zealand. They have two daughters Laura and Hannah and two grandchildren Zach & Safi. Having done the big trip they then went to Canada, which was amazing. Scroll down it’s all here. They have visited Venice that they both so fell in love with in 2009 again. And recently returned to Lefkada for one week in glorious sunshine. Where next? Well, Canada is calling again in 2019; this time including Alaska. So stay tuned if you enjoy the ups and downs of travelling.

15 thoughts on “Good Morning, it’s raining but Happy Birthday Mary! 🎂🎉🍾”

  1. So sorry about your university experience. It’s very concerning that it could have happened. Hope Mary had a good sing and a lovely day. If the weather is good tomorrow the a strolll along the Quay is ok….. don’t know if the museum is open, but worth a visit if it is… underground passages … ( guided tour so no chance of repeating today’s wandering!!!)
    Enjoy x

    1. Thanks (Jos?) I may just stay put and hear Mary 🎵 Sing! But thanks for the thought. Laugh! You couldn’t write it could you? I have a funny feeling someone at the University should know about my experience, with the odd folk knocking about these days, I could have caused complete mayhem. 🤭

  2. I would have had a massive panic attack under those circs! Well done for finding your way out, Malcolm, and both relax and enjoy Mary’s birthday dinner tonight! XX

  3. What an exciting day Malcolm! I’d love to have seen the CCTV film of your movements – speeded up! How strange to leave a building so unattended – you could have got up to all sorts in there . . . Better luck tomorrow.
    Happy Birthday Mary – enjoy your meal tonight. Hope the singing’s going well, I’ll miss you during the big blast tomorrow.

  4. The present Mrs F and I have both read this, and have concluded that perhaps you should not be allowed out on your own…..

      1. If it makes you feel better, Mrs F decided to use the stairs between floors at our Sydney hotel, only to find that because the fire stairs exit into street level, for security reasons the doors only open outwards, so once through a door you had to exit the building. And we were on the fourth floor…..

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