Category Archives: Dr Who

Saving the world one fathers day at a time

I don’t think I’ve ever saved the world before.

Well, technically it wasn’t just me, it was a group of visitors to a historical exhibition in town and the kids in the group did most of the work, but it was nice to be a part of such an Earth shattering event. Well the Earth wasn’t shattered, so actually it wasn’t an Earth shattering event but you get what I mean. No? Ok, I’ll try to explain.

It was fathers day yesterday and the daughter and I went to have a look round an exhibition called “Crash of the Elysium” which has information and artifacts from the Victorian steamer Elysium which ran aground in 1888. The daughter wasn’t too happy at being dragged into some boring old museum tour but, as it was fathers day, she put on a brave face. It didn’t help that it started with us waiting in a holding area for about 10 minutes where it was hot and a bit crowded. Due to the size of the exhibition they could only let us through in small groups and there seemed to be a lot of children around so I suppose they all had the same idea as us about fathers day. When our group was shepherded through to the first section there was a set of display cases with bits recovered from the Elysium which, despite the signs saying “do not touch”, some of the children started to poke and prod. A curator wandered out and began to give a presentation of the history of the Elysium along with photos taken while she was in production. During the presentation an alarm started to sound and a group of four army soliders burst through one of the side doors and started yelling orders, the curator was dragged out and the rest of us had to line up to be moved out to a different area which I had assumed would be due to safety reasons, but it actually turned out we had been drafted! They didn’t look like normal army types so I did wonder if they are part of UNIT and the ranking officer (who was a wee bit chummy with his corporal, much fist bumping and hugging went on) was yelling loudly about an alien spaceship crashing (I wonder if they had anything to do with that UFO over London on Christmas day back in 2005) and we had to help them out with checking the wreckage. I know there are budget cuts in the army but blimey…

Anyway, we then had to run (yes run) up stairs to a section nearby, don rather natty white paper coveralls, dust masks (it was like being back in woodworking class at college) and line up to be issued a number. The daughter got 9 and (un)lucky old me got 13. We got shouted at a fair bit by the ranking officer (I didn’t catch his rank properly) and the other three (one was called Ripley but was a man, maybe Ellen’s great great grandfather?) a lot. I did bite back the urge to ask if this was going to be a stand up fight, or another bug hunt.

We then got quickly hustled out of the mustering area and what happened next was a bit of a blur so I won’t try to give too much detail as most of it could be wrong, we were led to the crash site of the spaceship that had been mentioned. Yup, a real, live, alien spaceship. Well, the spaceship wasn’t alive but you get my drift and I don’t know which is harder to believe, a crashed spaceship or that it crashed in Ipswich.

The military team had recovered a black box from the crashed ship with a recording from what the corporal claimed was the ships doctor and, when they to played fragments of the recording, he really did look exactly like a normal doctor (bowtie, floppy hair, tweed jacket, slightly eccentric way of talking) but he didn’t look like anything I expected from an alien spaceship.

We then had to get inside the ship and for the next hour we ran through the rather dark and scary corridors (as I was number 13 and found myself at the back a few times I’m actually shocked I survived), we carried out experiments to check for signs of an object called a TARDIS and even ended up travelling back to a fairground in 1888. It was all very frantic and the kids seemed to know a lot more than the adults which just shows how well educated they are. Most of the time the adults got shunted to the back while the kids scrambled around fixing things and searching for information, they even knew something about not blinking but I think I was too scared and traumatised by that point to take it all in.

After being pursued by a shape lurking in the darkness, we got back home by all holding hands to focus some kind of energy and the daughter held onto a TARDIS key that we had discovered, there was a bright blue light and then we had to run (we did a lot of running) to a time portal where we managed to escape back to the outside and sunny Ipswich. (Ipswich? Sunny? Must have been the wrong place).

A massive thanks to the team behind the day for getting “Alpha squad” out safely in one piece and it looks like they shut down the Elysium exhibition as it was all closed up as we went by on our way home. Probably due to security fears or other kind of military mumbo jumbo.

I know all of this is pretty hard to believe (time travel, alien spaceships, shadowy army types) and I wouldn’t believe it myself if it wasn’t for the letter we each received at the end from this Doctor (Who? I didn’t get his name) chap. I’d post a photo of it but everytime I take a picture the words don’t appear on the paper so I think the camera’s broken. As we couldn’t have our phones on during the exhibition I didn’t have the chance to take any during our escapade. As well as the letter we did have our wristbands (aqua I believe) and our amazing memories of the event. It was also pretty hard to tell who was grinning more when we got home safely.

Oh and we went out for a meal that evening at Arlingtons which is a brasserie in the middle of town we hadn’t been to before and there was one strange moment when a lounge/jazz version of Soundgarden’s “Blackhole Sun” came on.

I’ve also given up pretty much on counting the days I’ve cycled into work. Lets just say I’ve not used the car yet ok?