Jun 25, 2014

Electronic Tourist Guides FTW

I challenged Mum to find something interesting for us to do and with Eloise keen as mustard on castles off we went to a castle - this one at Orford, some King or other's pride and joy, costing vast amounts of money back when money was real money, men were real men, and castles were real castles.

Of course I took a wrong turn on the way which necessitated a slightly around-the-houses detour because I will never turn around, but that aside we made it there in five pieces (six if you count the car). It must have been cramped in the back, but what would I know - I had all the sumptuous space that the driver's suite of a Ford Focus can offer and I'm just the sort of selfish bastard that doesn't give a shit about anybody else's riding comfort.

Anyway, we happened upon Orford, a tiny village that's frankly the last place you'd expect to find a bastion of the ancient Norman state, but back in the day it must have been something because the Keep is all that remains and that's reasonably impressive.

We entered through the front entrance, as is usual, to find a nicely appointed little shop with a very nice man who introduced us to our Electronic Tour Guides. Electronic Tour Guides have been previously seen in such classics as the Roman Baths in Bath, in which I'm told they turned in a hammy if informative performance popular with the children, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, in which their performance was bizarrely forgettable though being Amsterdam that may be through no fault of their own.

Anyway the Orford Electronic Tour Guides played their parts in a little-known English Dialect called Ancient Suffolk Cliché and, though informative, tended to be leading all the visitor zombie-like around the castle. You know when you're on a train these days, in these sad times, and nobody is trying to count the dust motes on the ceiling in an effort to avoid eye contact because they're all engrossed in their mobile phones? Well the tourist experience is that everyone shuffles around with this phone thing attached to their ear looking into the middle distance listening to someone channeling their inner ancient monk, in Ancient Suffolk Cliché.

Orford Castle was actually one of those gems that we'd lived round the corner from for years and years but never actually visited and which was really very good, steeped in beautifully restored history and all that jazz and terribly interesting.

We went for a bite to eat afterwards but the BBC had commandeered the pub for some dodgy thingy about metal detectors so we ended up at some little cafe bistry thingy where Lyra antagonised other poeple's dogs and stole crabbing equipment from the next-door shop.

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