In Seine

River SeineIt’s a sour end to the trip when you end up naked by the Seine in an area that stinks of piss.

The others went to get breakfast while we finished packing. We were supposed to check out by 12 so they left their bags with us in case they weren’t back in time. So we just hung about the apartment catching up on our blog posts ‘til 12. We then wandered around the main street until we got to a gluten free place in an arcade. The others wanted to wander different shops picking up food as we were going to picnic by the Seine like the locals do. We couldn’t be arsed to traipse from shop to shop dragging our heavy case and carrying the heavy rucksack, so we made our own way to the Seine. There was a metro stop near us but we weren’t prepared to lug our case down all the steps so we walked instead, using Google maps and sticking to the shaded side of the road. We got there no problem.River Seine

River Seine

Don’t leave Goths in hot places

We originally sat under the bridge but it stank of river and piss so we moved to another shaded part near a decent looking guy while we waited for the others. The view was lovely and the Seine’s pretty too. By the time they came, we’d already drunk both Red Bulls and eaten, so while they guarded our stuff, we went looking for drinks and sorbet. We wanted another birthday present for our mum and spied an artist selling oil paintings on Pont Neuf. They were stunning so we bought a small canvas of the Eiffel Tower in grey and red. He’d been sheltering under an umbrella when we stopped so shaded us with it while we looked at his paintings.River Seine

River Seine

Lynx is in Seine

Then the day turned to shit. Lynx has no idea how it happened but one minute Dragonstone (her new phone) and her wallet were on the bag, the next, they were sliding down the concrete bank into the Seine. Dragonstone sank but the wallet floated. And floated away. Lynx slithered down, tossed her boots up to Cat and hurried along the small ledge after her wallet. She managed to scoop it out and returned to Cat and Neen. She got Cat to pass her the walking stick and used it to test the depth of the water. Waist deep. She prodded the rocks and found a large stable one. Against Neen and Cat’s wishes, she passed up her jewellery and carefully waded into the Seine in her lovely dress because she didn’t want to strip in public. She couldn’t see her phone and soon attracted a small audience on Pont Neuf, who thought she was crazy going into the river where people used to dump dead bodies. Not sure how they knew to shout in English – probably because the Parisians know better than to go in the Seine. But she’d had Dragonstone for less than a month and even though he would probably never work again, she could at least reuse the case. If you remember our American adventures, she left Stormborn, our other smartphone on the plane. We knew we’d be coming home without Dragonstone.

River Seine

the Seine at twilight

There was no way she was putting her face in the water so she carefully felt around the area with one foot, keeping hold of the ledge. After several minutes, Neen and Cat persuaded her to give up, as they were convinced she’d catch a disease. She hopped out onto the ledge and they grabbed an arm each, hauling her onto the bank with such force, her feet didn’t touch the bank. She discarded her fishnets and socks and used the last of our shower gel to have a quick wash. Cat got her a change of clothes and she went to hide under Pont Neuf between a van and a car to change, after making sure nobody was in the vehicles. Being kidnapped whilst half naked would put a real damper on things. The area reeked of piss so she made sure not to put her clothes in anything remotely wet. Ending up naked by the Seine was not how she wanted the holiday to end.

Conciergerie

in the women’s prison yard at the Conciergerie

It was time to go home. Our suitcase was almost half our body weight and the rucksack weighed at least a quarter of our weight so while the others went on ahead, we limped after them, not bothering to try to keep up. We went to go down into one train station and a guy offered to carry the case down. The others asked if it was the right station. He said we wanted the one across the street. So the poor guy ended up lugging the case back up. We then went to another metro station. This time, Neen carried the case down. Only for it to be another wasted journey. They eventually found the right station and we waited for the train to take us to the airport. The ticket entrances don’t hold the doors open long enough for you to struggle through with your case, so it shut on Lynx’s rucksack, jamming her. The doors only opened when a guy put his ticket in and helpfully pushed her free.

Paris Metro

riding the metro

The train was hot, sweaty and smelled of hot, sweaty people. And it was the same price as a taxi. So we could have saved ourselves a lot of walking. Disheartened at Dragonstone’s untimely death, and in pain, we made it to the airport without trouble. This time, baggage allowance was 23kg and they didn’t even weigh our hand luggage, making the fiasco of flying out even more unnecessary.

EIffel Tower lift

in the lift of the Eiffel Tower

But Paris was beautiful and we’d love to go back and see the sights we didn’t see, plus return to the catacombs. People often say the French are rude, but every person we spoke to was lovely.

flying home

flying home

They didn’t mind our terrible French and were all very helpful. If a waiter didn’t speak English, they found one who did. Almost every person we spoke to complimented us on our outfits and if they didn’t speak English, they’d gesture to us, smile and give us the thumbs up. Two people asked what our style was. They’d never heard of Goth and were pleased to learn something new. Security guards, instead of being annoyed at all our metal setting off their bleepers at tourist attractions, laughed and told us we looked amazing, while shaking their heads in despair. Paris obviously didn’t have many twins, as we’d get a lot of people pointing and saying “the same?” People would openly stare at us but not in a rude way, they’d obviously not encountered Goths before. We didn’t see anyone even remotely gothic during our stay. Paris certainly wasn’t expecting us but it embraced us.Conciergerie

Dead Famous

Pere Lachaise cemeteryToday was to be the day of the dead. First on the agenda: Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Jules and Alex didn’t want to come so us and Neen headed out on the metro. There’s not many people we could convince that spending a hot, sunny day in a cemetery is the best thing ever. Give us a city of the dead over a beach any day. We can get a tan, see beautiful mausoleums and leave without getting sand in places where sand has no right to be.

Pere Lachaise cemeteryThe metro stopped right outside, so we walked across the road, bought a map of the cemetery (without one, we’d probably still be there until the council is forced to bury our well dressed skeletons) and marked off the people we wanted to see: Oscar Wilde was top of our list, along with Jim Morrison for our friend, Rodney, and some people who either haunted it, or their graves we’d seen in our book about haunted places in France. Neen wanted to see Gertrude Stein for Zoe. And then we spotted a name we had to visit – Sex Toy. No idea who this person is. And no, we’re not Googling it. We’ve fallen for that ploy many times.

Pere Lachaise cemetery

Raspail family tomb

Pere Lachaise is rumoured to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in the world. Visitors report intense eerie feelings, a deep sense of unnatural calm, shivers down the spine, ghostly apparitions and orbs. Jim Morrison is apparently seen near his grave and Chopin likes photobombing people. Some say Oscar Wilde haunts it, as well as lovers Marcel Proust and Maurice Ravel, who apparently rise from their graves searching for each other. This will be us when we’re dead – rising from our graves, searching for Red Bull. Pere Lachaise opened in 1804 on Napoleon’s orders to cope with the overflow of bodies from the Revolution. There are over 300,000 people buried here. It’s the place to be seen dead in.
Pere Lachaise cemeteryWe wandered the graveyard, taking photos and getting ideas for our tomb. So far, it’s going to have steps, skeletal hand sconces, gargoyles and castle towers. And a plaque that reads: ‘this is the story of C L Raven (they die at the end).’ But unless we start selling more books, we’ll probably end up in a pauper’s grave. Or eaten by our cats.

Pere Lachaise cemetery

Etienne Gaspard Robertson’s grave

We made our way to the closest grave on our list: Etienne Gaspard Robertson – a magician who liked to terrify people. He invented the phantasmagoria, using lantern slides to create horror shows. His grave had featured in the book and had an incredible carving of the living on one side, the dead on the other and a flying skeleton between them, playing a trumpet. We stopped by a tree and consulted our map, certain we were in the right area. Then we turned around. It was right beside us. The carving was fantastic. He also had skulls on the top of his monument. A French couple asked us where Chopin’s grave was, so we directed them.

 

Pere Lachaise cemetery

Jim Morrison’s grave

Despite our poor map reading skills, we managed to navigate the cemetery easily. Neen said it was because it was something we’re interested in. This is true. If we’re not interested, we won’t put effort in. Hence constantly failing school exams. There were quite a few people around Jim Morrison’s grave, but we managed to squeeze in and take photos. There are railings up around the whole section where he is to stop people going to his grave.

Pere Lachaise cemetery

Marie Elizabeth Demidoff’s grave.

The next grave on our list belonged to Russian princess Marie Elizabeth Demidoff, who apparently stated in her will that she would leave part of her inheritance to anyone who spent a year beside her corpse. Her monument was impressive, with columns and wolves’ heads. We stood at the bottom, trying to figure out how to get up to the other side. We eventually walked all the way around and up. Only to discover that had we gone the other way, a flight of steps would’ve taken us right to it. We were not shining today.

Pere Lachaise cemetery

Sex Toy’s grave

Our next mission was to find Sex Toy. That grave was off the path, so we had to explore amongst other graves. After fifteen minutes of failing to find it, nearly falling over and being attacked by brambles, we realised we were in the wrong area. We crossed a path to another section and continued the hunt. Cat slipped and her hand landed on some brambles. We hunted for another fifteen minutes then Lynx stopped to change her camera battery. And happened to stop by Sex Toy’s grave. Neen had walked right past it. We were expecting something phallic shaped, or with chains. Maybe even something that vibrated. Nope. A simple slab with SEX TOY written in old English font. So like men who can’t find the g spot, we were poking around, trying to look like we knew what we were doing, only to find it rather anti climatic.

Pere Lachaise cemetery, Oscar Wilde's grave

Oscar Wilde’s grave

We stopped for a picnic on a bench before finding Oscar Wilde’s grave with no difficulty. He wrote our favourite poem, the Ballard of Reading Gaol, so we had to find him. We expected it to be crowded like Jim Morrison’s was, but there were only two guys there. Oscar’s grave had a glass case around it, because there was a tradition of people kissing it and leaving lipstick marks all over it, inspired by his quote ‘a kiss may ruin a human life.’ And graves, it seems. The oils in the lipstick were damaging the stone, so the family paid to have them cleaned off and put a glass barrier around it to protect it.

 

Pere Lachaise cemetery

Auschwitz memorial

We headed to the eastern wall where 140 communards were shot at dawn on 28th May 1871 after fighting their way across the cemetery. They were buried where they fell but apparently visitors have seen them. We didn’t see them. There were some incredible memorials to the victims of the holocaust and those that died in the resistance. They showed skeletal figures, reminding people of the horror they suffered. We much preferred them to regular plaques. We found Gertrude Stein’s grave easily. She was a lesbian American novelist, playwright, poet and art collector. We also saw Edith Piaf’s grave as it was near the exit. A French woman asked us where Oscar Wilde’s grave was, so we pointed it out to her then gave her our map.

Pere Lachaise cemetery

Auschwitz memorial

We stopped at a café across the road to rest our painful feet before limping our way to the metro stop to go to the Musee Fragonard. We got off and walked down the really long Avenue de General de Gaulle. We couldn’t find it so went into a shop to buy a drink and ask where it was. They didn’t have any squash so we bought a big bottle of lemon water. The cashier didn’t know of the museum. We kept going until Neen checked the number. It was back near the metro stop. We turned around and hobbled back the way we’d come, only to find a solicitor’s at number 7. Neen got out her map. We were at the wrong end of the street. We got back on the metro and went another couple of stops. We had not come this far and put up with this much pain to quit now. We were going to the museum and it had better be damn well impressive. It also closed in an hour.

Musee Fragonard

Musee Fragonard

The museum is inside a university and was well worth a visit and the pain. We did the audio guide but there was so much information, we didn’t have time to listen to it all. There weren’t as many flayed people as were hoping – it was mostly animal skeletons and organs, as it was a veterinary university, but it was still fascinating. And cows don’t have four stomachs – their stomach is divided into four, with each section doing a different job.
Eiffel TowerWe got back on the metro to meet Alex and Jules at the Eiffel Tower. For some reason, we expected it to be silver, not brown. We got pictures as we walked past it then had to walk a long way to find the café they were in. By now, Cat’s bad knee had given up too, but luckily she’d brought her walking stick and had bought ice patches on our first day in Paris. A helpful American translated to the waiter what we meant by vegan then we sat and had chips. Our boots came off the minute we sat down. One waiter said “cook fries in with the meat? Who would be crazy enough to do that?” We replied “The UK.” He was impressed with our French when we asked for the bill.

Seine

Seine at sunset

The queue for the tower was still long so we did a cruise along the river Seine at sunset. It was the best time to do it. The boat was quiet, whereas in the day, the boats are always packed. We’d seen the Seine plenty of times in the day. It was beautiful as the sun went down and the lights came on. There was this annoying couple by us at the back of the boat. All the woman was did was take constant selfies without smiling in a single one, but doing those partial smiles with closed lips, ‘cos heaven forbid your smile should crinkle your face. The typical ‘identical facial expression in every photo so I always look beautiful’. Us and Neen had posted many unflattering photos of ourselves. We were glad when they left the boat, otherwise we were going to push her in. Let’s see her look picture-perfect after a dunking in the Seine.

SeineWe gave each other dares during the evening. Lynx had to ask a guy where the River Seine was, as we cruised along it. She even asked in French but he couldn’t understand her. Jules and Cat had to twerk picnickers as we sailed past. Having never twerked before, Jules had to teach Cat. They did it and got cheered by the picnickers.

River Seine

twerking it

Neen’s dare had been to ask someone where the Eiffel Tower was, as we stood across the road from it. He helpfully pointed it out then a man stopped his car and got out to have his photo taken with us. Alex had to lick her ice cream bowl. Us and Neen claimed it wasn’t a dare, as we’d do it anyway, so Neen dared Alex and Jules to tie their plaits together and walk around. They did it on the boat, but told the captain it was a dare so it didn’t count.

SeineIt was getting dark by the time we got back so the Eiffel Tower was lit up red white and blue. It looked beautiful, so we video called our mum and sister by it so they could see it lit up. Sarah asked if we could ring her when we were up there. We didn’t have to queue long – advantage of going up at 11 p.m. Security check through your bags at every major tourist attraction and the woman confiscated our big bottle of lemon water we’d just bought. Neen tried arguing it was just water, but the woman binned it. Not just confiscated. Binned. We spent €1.65 on that! Luckily, Neen had instructed us to pour some into the bottles we’d used for our squash, so some was saved. That wasn’t taken off us. Either the woman didn’t believe it was water, or she thought Neen looked the type to lob it at unsuspecting tourists. The top of the tower was closed unfortunately. We got the lift to the second floor then video called our mum and sister.
Eiffel TowerIt was so beautiful up there. It didn’t matter that we didn’t make it to the top. To be honest, we would’ve been terrified up there. A man behind us proposed to his girlfriend and we’re guessing by the applause that she said yes. Neen did a fake proposal to Lynx and people thought it was real. We had to explain it was just for photos and Neen is married. Quite frankly, we’re surprised nobody thought the others were real. The Eiffel Tower is seen as a romantic place to propose, even though it’s a popular suicide spot. Over 400 people have plunged to their deaths from it and most of them were distraught lovers. A famous story is about a couple who met at the tower. At the top, he proposed. She said no so he pushed her off. Apparently, you can hear her laugh then scream. Not so romantic now.

Eiffel TowerWe decided to get the full Eiffel Tower experience and walked down to the next floor. Big mistake. There were so many steps that by the time we reached the first floor, our feet were in agony. So we queued to take the lift down but had to wait ages with our feet feeling as though we were standing in lava. It was gone midnight by the time we got down but there was a sorbet place open so us and Neen had sorbet as we ambled to the metro. We had strawberry and raspberry. It was the best sorbet we’ve ever had and was the perfect way to end our last night in Paris. Then on the Metro was a hot guy. He looked like Ed Skrein from Deadpool. The views in Paris were just getting better. And he kept looking at us. So we played it cool. By ‘played it cool’, we mean we avoided eye contact and turned around. Winning.Eiffel Tower

Empire of the Dead

Conciergerie

Conciergerie

Going to jail, hanging out with the dead and again exposing ourselves to Paris. Day three went well.

P1170459We got an “ooh la la” from a guy as we headed for the bike stop. An actual ooh la la. Neen told him to be more original. The guy was actually good looking but his cliched line put an immediate black mark against him. Be original or be gone with you, good sir! We hired bikes again and cycled our way down to the Conciergerie. We went the wrong way down one way streets, cycled on pavements, nearly mowed down pedestrians and got applause from a guy as we cycled past a cafe. Basically, we fitted in with other road users. When in Rome…Conciergerie

Conciergerie

inside the conciergerie

We figured this was the perfect time to use our action cam as it was intended. It was going well until Lynx went over a bump and the action cam sailed out of her bike’s basket. We have a chest strap for it but left it at home. We earned our second “ooh la la” from a Japanese tourist. Our plan to ride the bikes for free was foiled when there was police presence at the Notre Dame, so they sealed the roads and wouldn’t let us take our bikes to the stands. Then every other stand was full. We were following a French guy who had the same problem. Neen commented on the craziness of it. Man “It’s France.” We were 9 minutes over our time when we managed to park. Neen had a crepe then we went to the Conciergerie.

ConciergerieIt used to be palace for the Capetian dynasty but Charles V stopped using it as a palace in the 14th century and used it to house his law courts. At the end of the 18th century, it was the prison for the prisoners of the Revolution before they were tried and executed. Marie Antoinette was held there for two months. It was a lovely place and it was good to see somewhere historical that wasn’t on our list. Cells depicted how rich or poor prisoners were treated and there was loads of information. Marie Antoinette’s cell has a mannequin of her with guards as she tried to escape.

Conciergerie

Marie Antoinette’s cell

We cycled to the Place de la Bastille monument, where the fort was, then walked down to the ruins of the Bastille prison, where the Revolution started when they stormed it and freed the prisoners. Construction began in 1357 and it increased until the 1600s. It started as a battle fortress but then became a prison. Famous prisoners included the Man in the Iron Mask and the Marquis de Sade. The ruins are right beside a children’s playground. Both locations are rumoured to be haunted by strange smells and sightings. But we’re guessing this might be the kids.

Bastille

Place de la Bastille

As we passed a row of shops, there were huge air vents. Neen was disappointed Cat hadn’t been photographed with the vent from the Louvre so made her stand on them. Cat held most of her skirt down, managing to retain her dignity. The shop assistant applauded her. P1170461Then as she ran across the road to photograph a fountain, Neen said “you showed your arse again when you went down. And your boobs do jiggle when you run. You’ve made Paris very happy today.” It’s a good job we always wear our Ann Summers finest. Poor Paris. It needs therapy now.

Bastille

Bastille ruins

As we were close to Ile St Louis and hadn’t gone there the other day, we walked across and had sorbet before crossing back over the haunted Pont Marie. Two lovers used to meet there, but the man was a spy and one day, he never returned, so the woman wanders the bridge, still waiting for him. You never find male ghosts pining for their lost loves. We’d put off using the metro all holiday but it was time to be brave and we caught the metro to the catacombs. Except we got off at the wrong stop and had to hobble a mile to the catacombs. We suffer from callouses and heel spurs caused by plantar faciitis. Walking long distances is excruciating.

Paris Catacombs

Catacombs

It turned out that we’d paid for the audio tour. We weren’t given the option of not having it. The queue to get in was incredibly long. People can queue for about three hours. If you go, book in advance. We only had to wait fifteen minutes. The catacombs were fantastic. We could’ve spent hours in there. Hell, we could’ve lived there. We’ve wanted to visit the catacombs for years. It’s the whole reason we went to Paris. Unfortunately, once we were in the Empire of Bones, we didn’t get to listen to the audio tour because we didn’t have enough hands to hold it. Lynx was videoing and using one phone as a torch, the other as a camera while Cat was using the Panasonic camera and as flash photography and tripods were forbidden, the dim light made photography hard.

Paris CatacombsNeen said it was very interesting and well worth a listen. She said we could’ve taken photos then listened to it, but we were so conscious of keeping the others waiting, that we didn’t want to hang around too long. Though we did manage to have sections of the catacombs to ourselves for a lot of time, proving once again, our superpower is losing people on tours. Next time, we’re doing the audio tour, even if we have to stay there all night.

Paris CatacombsAnd this time Neen proposed to Cat in front of a heart from made skulls. Now we’re not romantic people but if guys should propose in that spot, we would likely say yes. There is nothing more romantic than a heart made from skulls. You can keep your love lock bridge and sunset meal proposals. Give us the dead any day.
Paris CatacombsAcross the road was a gift shop. In a repeat of the Alcatraz gift shop, we spent a lot of money in there. If we hadn’t been conscious of luggage weight limit, we would’ve bought the entire shop. Except it’s expensive and as we tell Neen – you don’t get rich by spending. Our feet hadn’t hurt the whole time we were in the catacombs, so either we were too distracted to notice, or the dead have healing powers.
Paris CatacombsWe wandered the streets for a while before getting back on the metro and heading to the main street near ours. We stopped in a bar for cocktails before deciding to find somewhere to eat. We walked all the way to one end of the street, but the places we stopped at weren’t gluten free, so we turned around and walked all the way back, only to go to the first place Neen spotted – right across the road from the bar we were in. The whole time it felt like walking on hot coals and knives. By this point, we’d decided that if the chips weren’t vegan, we were going to sit outside and eat shortbread. There was no way we were walking any further. We always feel sorry for the waiting staff when they say they can speak English, because not only do they have to contend with us trying to explain what makes chips vegan (cooked separately from the meat) but also with Jules being gluten free. Our poor waiter earned his tip. But we got to practise the French we’d learned. “L’addition si’l vous plait.” Bill please.
Paris CatacombsWe can only stay out drinking for so long before we get bored so we headed back to our apartment at 11 while the others stayed out. It was our first time of navigating Paris alone and our SatNav froze, only piping up when we reached the road by ours. Thanks, Helen, good to see you’re as helpful in France as you are in Britain. But at least we got to see streets we hadn’t seen before.

We were looking forward to the next day – it was going to be a day of the dead.sorbet

Culture Shock

LouvreDoing fake proposals in romantic spots, exposing ourselves to tourists and cycling while drunk. Day two in Paris was certainly memorable.

LouvreWe’d booked a ghost walk for the evening, which started at the Notre Dame, so we decided to spend the day in that area. After breakfast in a café, (not for us – we brought cereals) us and Neen headed to the Louvre while Alex and Jules went shopping. The Louvre apparently has a 13th century dungeon, which is haunted and some locals believe some paintings were made with ink harvested from people’s hearts. The beginning of the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre began at the Louvre. It was the worst religious massacre in history. There have been sightings of old guards and the Red Man of Tuileries – a 16th century murderer whose ghost wanders the museum.

LouvreThe Louvre is enormous! You could spend several days there. Before going to Paris, Neen came up with a plan: as Paris is the city of love, we should do mock proposal photos. Well, people do say you should marry your best friend. Cat and Neen did the first proposal photo at the pyramid in the Louvre, with Cat offering Neen a heart shaped shortbread biscuit. It was magical.

LouvreIt didn’t take that long to get in to the Louvre and was only 15 Euros, which, considering the size of the place, is very reasonable. We wandered for a bit before heading to the Venus di Milo first. We don’t know why she’s famous, only that she is. We then amused ourselves by posing as the statues did. LouvreThis is how we culture. We admired the perfectly peachy arse of a naked male statue then Cat walked over a grate in the floor. Which turned out to be air vent. Cue a Marilyn Monroe impression as she battled to save her dignity but it was too late. Her flowy pinstripe skirt and pinstripe stockings were a bad combination as the people of Paris were treated to a rare sight of her sparkly Ann Summers finest and stark white arse cheeks. Cat “Well if that statue can get his arse out and call it art, so can I.” This wasn’t the last time a vent exposed her posterior to Paris.

LouvreWe made our way through the Egyptian bit to see the sarcophagi, which were brilliant. You can guarantee in any museum, we will hunt out the death section. We then worked our way through the Louvre to find the Mona Lisa. She and the Venus di Milo are the only pieces we know so we just looked at the other stuff as we passed through. We noticed a trend – all the female statues and paintings had really high, small nipples and all the male statues had tiny penises and large testicles. They must have all used the same model and changed the faces.

Louvre

Venus di Milo

You couldn’t get to the Mona Lisa. There were so many people crowding it and taking photos, we had to wait then push our way through. And so you were under pressure to just take a photo and leave, rather than take the time to actually look at the painting. We couldn’t even see it until we were at the front – people in Paris are tall! Still can’t believe we’ve seen two of the most famous pieces of art.

LouvreWe met up with Alex and Jules in a café and had a very expensive vodka and lemonade – 12 Euros! For that price, we want our ice cubes carved into famous statues and served by a Wentworth Miller lookalike. But it was strong vodka, so we stumbled our way towards the Notre Dame, stopping to look in gift shops. We found the love lock bridge on Pont Neuf where Lynx did a proposal photo to Neen. Neen had only been engaged to Cat for a few hours and was already marrying someone else! We couldn’t help thinking that the majority of couples who’d put locks on the bridge had probably split. Cynical? Maybe. But you know we’re right. The city actually discourages putting locks on because the weight of them damaged the original bridge so they were moved.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Female ghosts have been seen among the Notre Dame’s gargoyles and powerful French figures have been spotted inside. Legend states the gargoyles come to life to chase away evil spirits. But none of them came for us. The Notre Dame took over two hundred years to build and is stunning, but the queue to get in was stupidly long and it was hot, so we went to look for somewhere to eat and drink. Ours and Neen’s feet were killing us so we didn’t want to stray too far from the Notre Dame because that’s where the ghost walk was meeting at 7 p.m. We got to the Notre Dame just in time. LouvreBut the ghost walk guide didn’t show. Concerned, Neen checked her email. It wasn’t at 7 at the Notre Dame, it was at 9 on Pont Neuf. Lynx had booked the wrong ghost walk. We shuffled our way over and spent time in a café/diner/bar. Lynx needed the toilet, but a woman who’d tried to go in earlier when it was used, was blocking the door on her phone. The toilet became free, but the woman didn’t go in. Lynx waited a while before going to the woman and saying excuse moi. The woman went into the toilet. Bitch.

Love Lock bridgeJules is a coeliac and the food she ate must’ve had had gluten in so it made her ill. She and Alex went back to the apartment so us and Neen found another bar. We didn’t feel like drinking, so Neen drank and we asked the barman about the city bikes we’d seen around. They’re free for the first half hour then you pay a Euro for the first hour. But if you get to a parking spot within the half hour and wait two minutes, you can take another bike for free. They’d save our feet. Even if our clothing wasn’t suitable for cycling.

the vampire of Paris's apartment

the vampire of Paris’s apartment

We made our way to Pont Neuf for the ghost walk, but again, didn’t see a guide. We spotted a guy with a clipboard but he was in a bright yellow t-shirt, not the usual black attire of ghost walk guides. But it turned out, he was part of the ghost walk. The guide was an American woman. It was less a ghost walk and more about French’s bloody history, which was interesting, because we don’t know a great deal about France’s past. So she pointed out where the gallows was, the church that was linked the St Bartholomew’s massacre, the spot where Henri IV was murdered, which is outside what is now the Heart and Crown cafe, and where the site of the public executions was. She also pointed out the Concierge building we passed on our way to the Notre Dame. It was where they held the prisoners of the Revolution before they were guillotined. We now had another place to add to our list. We stopped beneath the apartment of the vampire of Paris. He was in a documentary we watched on cannibals. He only killed one person, but had decorated his apartment with skin and body parts he’d stolen from the morgue he’d worked in. He’s now out of prison and apparently spends a lot of time in the catacombs.

love lock bridge

love lock bridge

We went to find somewhere for a drink and ended up in the gay district. We shared a sex on the beach because we wouldn’t manage one each. As our feet were hurting, it was gone midnight and we were tipsy, we decided it was the perfect time to try the city bikes. We found a bike spot and took a while reading the instructions, trying to figure it out. You needed 150 Euros in your bank to cover the deposit. We eventually figured out how to use the bikes and get them off their stands. You get a ticket with a subscriber number on and you have to enter a 4 digit passcode. You then put in the number of bike you want and have 60 seconds to get to it and get it off the stand.

city bikes

city bikes

We soon had our bikes and were on our wobbly way. We haven’t really ridden a bike since we were 17 and Lynx came off it, and cut her knee so badly, it’s still scarred. So we weren’t exactly confident on them. Neen rides regularly so she was fine. She also has a better sense of direction so was volunteered to be the leader. Lynx’s tight PVC skirt really wasn’t suitable for biking adventures and she’s pretty sure she flashed half of Paris. We made it back to our apartment and dropped our bikes off nearby. It was quicker and it saved our tortured feet. Though our shoulders did ache like bitches with the weight of our rucksacks. We’d tried putting them in the basket but that just unbalanced the bikes so we wore them. We accidentally rode on the left side of the road, but luckily there were no cars. Never mind the metro, we found a new mode of transport.Notre Dame

Bon Voyage!

planeYou know your first trip to Paris isn’t going to go well when two hours before you leave, you still haven’t got your Euros. (That stupid referendum weakening the pound is still a sore point). The panic stations were armed and ready for warfare. Cat had to make an emergency appointment to the doctors for her enormous tongue ulcers which sprung up on Wednesday, so Lynx and Neen walked Meg and Bandit. They returned to find Cat on the verge of a meltdown as our suitcase was too heavy. We were forced to switch our medium Red Bulls for smalls to save weight, and two cartons of soya milk were sacrificed. We’ll just have to eat chips instead and hope the Parisians don’t do what the Brits do and cook their chips in with the meat.

Cat and Neen went to the post office at midday. We’d gone the day before, but they didn’t have any Euros. We were promised them today. They hadn’t arrived. And the rate had dropped. They went to a different post office. They had the Euros, but Cat didn’t have her ID on her – it was already packed. After another near swearing meltdown in the post office, saved only by a note in a box saying “do you have a big one at home?” they returned, Cat fetched her ID and made another trip to the post office.

P1170146We made it to Cardiff airport on time, convinced after our mishaps, it could only go right from here on. How wrong we were. At home, our case weighed just under the 20KG limit. In the airport it was 20.9. We needed to get it down to 20.3. So we stuffed items in hand luggage. Then the lady uttered the fateful words: “you all need to weigh your hand luggage.” She’d obviously seen our clever ploy of moving stuff into our hand luggage and decided to stop it. We’ve never had to do this. Cat’s rucksack was under but Lynx, Neen, Alex and Jules’s hand luggage was over. We shifted a kilo from Lynx’s into Cat’s rucksack. But we couldn’t disperse anything else and there was no way we were leaving stuff behind. Lady “You could pay £40 and check one of the bags in.” Neen “Fuck that. I’m wearing everything.”

P1170148So we opened our cases and in the middle of check in, the three us started donning our heaviest clothes. Metal belt? That went on too. Hoodies went round the waist and jackets were donned. Neen stuffed her pockets with as much as she could. Neen’s hand luggage also contained a box of shortbread, so as we pulled skirts and tops over our dresses, we also shovelled the largest pieces of shortbread into our mouths to help reduce the weight. This is one of those comedy moments writers put in sitcoms. We personally don’t see the difference to our hand luggage being in the bags or us wearing it. We’ll be in the same place on the plane. And if anything, this was now dangerous, as should the plane land in the water, the extra weight on us would force us to drown. Is that what you want, Flybe? For us to drown by obeying your petty rules?

glasses 1Alex and Jules’s bags were weighed down by their makeup so Jules phoned her husband to come back and take some home. The bags then weighed 11 kilos and the lady allowed them through. Think she realised we were serious about wearing all our clothes and decided we’d made enough of a scene. And then Cat accidentally insulted the lady by saying as we’re only 7 and a half stone, we should be allowed two lots of hand luggage.  Us and our hand luggage combined weigh far less than an average man. Therefore, we should get away with heavier hand luggage. The lady uttered the words “so cos I’m fat, I don’t get hand luggage?” She wasn’t fat in the slightest and we’re pretty sure she was joking but Neen was silently willing Cat to stop talking. At this rate, we wouldn’t be getting on the plane.

glasses 2And from next month, Flybe are reducing the size of their hand luggage allowance, meaning our hand luggage will no longer be allowed. So this is the last time we’ll be flying with them. We’re not forking out buying on tiny bags just to abide by their rules. It’s probably to force people into paying for check-in luggage (which is more costly than other airlines’ check-in luggage). You have underestimated our stinginess, Flybe.

going to get our case

going to get our case

The moment we got upstairs, we whipped off our extra clothes and put them back in the bags before getting to security. We have enough trouble getting through there without the metal we were now wearing. The bags already had the approved label put on them. We could’ve loaded several bottles of duty free vodka in and no-one would’ve known. Our bags returned to being over the weight limit and guess what? The plane didn’t fall into the Channel with our cases bursting open and our clothes floating away on the waves. But at least now we’d stopped looking ridiculous. Well, until we all took selfies wearing comedy sunglasses. We weren’t sure which was funnier – the terrible styles or the prices. Some cost as much as our plane tickets!

P1170156But the flight went smoothly and Cat stopped accidentally insulting the staff. When we landed in Charles de Gaulle, we had to get on a train to be taken to baggage. This was the longest trip ever to get to baggage reclaim. We summoned a taxi and headed to our apartment. Except our street wasn’t coming up on the taxi driver’s SatNav. Uh oh. Neen found it on maps on her phone and had to direct our driver there. Paris seems to be a system of one way streets with a complete free for all on the roads and scooters riding on pavements. We got through the doorway of the building to find ourselves in some sort of narrow courtyard. We didn’t know which mailbox was ours for the key. Cat texted the apartment owner. He told us the number. None of the doors were numbered. We started trying random doors, until one guy appeared convinced we were trying to break in to his apartment. After assuring him we were tourists and not inept criminals, he relaxed a bit, though we were convinced he had the police on speed dial. Cat texted Allan again. The one with the brown door. We eventually got in.

P1170171We had about half an hour before we had to leave for food before the Moulin Rouge. We whipped off our flight clothes, yanked on our fancy dresses, touched up our makeup and were ready to go in ten minutes. Alex and Jules took a lot longer because of re-doing hair and makeup. We’re a bit lazy when it comes to makeup. If it takes longer than 15 minutes, it’s not worth our time. The Hard Rock Café was a ten minute walk from our apartment so we headed there for chips and Red Berry Press, dressed in our Moulin Rouge finery. We had half an hour to eat before we had to leave. After stuffing our faces as quickly as possible, we got a taxi to the Moulin Rouge. We had enough time to take two photos and to make a quick video call to Tom to taunt him that we were there and he wasn’t. The dress code for the Moulin Rouge was ‘elegant’, hence us forking out for new dresses, something we never do. As we queued, we scanned the crowds, expecting to see hundreds of beautifully dressed people. There were none. Everyone else was in jeans or shorts. Our corset dresses with the lace skirts really stood out. Since when has ‘elegant’ and ‘stonewash denim’ ever been used in the same sentence?

Moulin RougeWeirdly, there was a building beside the theatre for us to queue in, which kept the queue off the street. We eventually got in and were shown to our table. We were on a slight balcony so we had a great view. The show was phenomenal. The costumes were incredible, despite nothing being left to the imagination. First night in Paris and we were bombarded with perky naked boobs with high, tiny nipples. This would become a theme for our trip. As would one dance move that we repeatedly performed for the rest of our stay. Though whilst the women were all bare breasted and showing arses, the men remained fully clothed. Neen was very happy about this. There was one male dancer who was trying so hard to come across as manly and straight that he just ended up looking stiff and awkward. Dude, you’re in the Moulin Rouge in a pink outfit. Puffing your chest out like a toad isn’t going to help.

Moulin RougeOne dance involved a man and woman on rollerskates on a small platform. Theirs was by far the best dance. At one point, a strap attached her head to his neck and she corkscrewed while he spun. And then she landed smoothly and carried on dancing. Another time she held on simply with one skate hooked around his neck. When we went on the roundabout in the children’s park in Temple Newsam, the three of us couldn’t walk afterwards, yet she was able to dance. Another amazing dance had a man and woman dancing with a large hula hoop, at some points standing inside it and dancing. As people who have never master the art of hula hooping, we were mesmerised. Our least favourite bit were definitely the clowns. Nobody warned us there’d be clowns! There was also a strange part where a guy had puppets. Moulin RougeAlex and Jules later said he was from Britain’s Got Talent. It seemed odd to have that part in the middle but the crowd seemed to love him. We were just perplexed and not overly impressed. One thing we couldn’t understand was how the women’s boobs just did not jiggle. They were definitely real boobs. Yes, some were small, but we’re also small in the boob department and we still need sports bras for Zumba because of the shimmying and shaking your boobs like maracas. Yet theirs didn’t move. Witchcraft! We pondered the mystery of the anti-jiggle many times.

We’d had no idea what to expect from the Moulin Rouge. We hated the film but the show was absolutely incredible. But €17 for a vodka and lemonade? No thanks. We’d rather spend that on going up the Eiffel Tower. Afterwards, we headed for the eroticism museum. It was apparently open til 2 a.m but we got there at 1:30 and it was closed. So we went into a sex shop instead. Well the Pigalle is the red light district. They had really nice clothes in there! We were tempted, but not at that price. We returned to our apartment around 2 a.m and for the first time in a long while, actually had a good night’s sleep. Paris was definitely agreeing with us.Moulin Rouge

Con Artists

We spent our weekend watching serial killers roam free, taking photos of zombies  and strangling Jason Voorhees. No, we weren’t living the horror movie dream, we were selling our books at Horror Con UK in Rotherham.

Horror Con UKThis was the con’s second year of running and our first of attending. We picked up our mate, Dave, who was trading under his prop/SFX company, From The Shadows, at midday on Friday. Satnav said it would take three and half hours, leaving us plenty of time to get there by 5 p.m. The hall was open until then for people to set up the night before. We were so confident we’d be there on time that we actually stuck to the speed limit. So Fate decided to punish our good behaviour (as she always does. Bitch) by providing plenty of traffic jams and 40 mph zones. We pulled in to the Magna Science Centre at 4:52 p.m. Some speed limits may have been…ignored.

Horror Con UKWishing all sorts of unholy hell on the god of traffic jams, we hurried in and tried to find our tables. The woman at reception directed us to the big hall, as we didn’t even know which hall we were in. After wandering for a bit, trying to spot our names or someone in charge, Dave asked a trader who pointed us in the direction of Gill, who was running it. She led us to our tables and let us bring our stuff in.

Horror Con UKWe’d originally planned to just dump our stuff and find a pub, but decided we’d rather have longer in bed in the morning, so set up our tables. Everyone else had covered their merchandise with cloths. As this was only our second con and our first two day one, we didn’t think to bring cloths. Safe in the knowledge nobody would ever want to nick our books, we left to check into our Welcome Inn. It turned out, a lot of people from Horror Con were at the Welcome Inn. After such a stressful drive, the only way to save the evening was to find a nice pub. Lynx found one called The Droppingwell three minutes down the road. It became our local for the weekend. Dave’s friend, Sam, joined us.

Horror Con UKFor once, we decided to behave like adults and left the pub at 10:40 to get an early night. Then ended up watching horror films until gone midnight. Best intentions and all that jazz. We stumbled into the Magna Science Centre at 8:45 a.m. and were bored by 9. The doors didn’t open ’til 10. Another author came over to chat to us to see if we had the traders passes we were supposed to. We didn’t. We then spotted a guy with a bunch of them and plotted to mug him. Several hours later, we realised we actually knew this author on Twitter – Mark Cassell, who wrote The Shadow Fabric. Plotting to mug a man for lanyards is probably one of the milder things we’ve done when first meeting someone.

Horror Con UK

Jack and James

Jack and James, who are two thirds of our favourite ghost hunting team, had a table in the Red Hall. Jack was selling his first book, Winter Smith: London’s Burning, a zombie novel, which is excellent. The guys from Hellbound Media were also there. We first met them in Bristol Horror Con in October and lured one half of them, Mark, into friendship with Love Hearts.

Horror Con UK

with Mark Cassell

Things were slow at first, but the crowds soon arrived. There were so many fantastic costumes, which made us realise how lazy we are. They put all that effort into it and we admire them for it. We can’t be arsed. We barely bother putting makeup on, let alone all the makeup effects they went to. Some days, for us, making an effort means lint rollering the pet hair off our clothes. At the end of our row of tables was a bar, so we were hoping for drunk purchases the customer would regret in the morning. Sadly it didn’t happen. We also had a bowl of sweets to tempt people to our table. Most declined and it felt creepy offering them to kids. We almost felt like we should have had the Child Catcher van behind us and adopt witchy voices: “want some caaanndy little child?”

Horror Con UK

with Roger

Our Twitter friend, Roger came all the way from Liverpool to meet us, which was brilliant. He bought us a drink, so thanks Roger! We met a guy called Steven from ASSAP (Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena). We probably should’ve tried to impress him with our ghost hunting expertise. Instead we told him all about Calamityville Horror and uttered the words “Worst. Ghost hunters. Ever.” But he bought a copy of Deadly Reflections so he obviously wasn’t put off.

Horror Con UK

Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. Aka Phil and Steve

Two photographers came to our table while Lynx was absent and they asked if they could photograph Cat. She agreed and after quite a few photos were taken, one of the photographers showed her a photo. Cat “That’s a rare decent photo of me!” Then she noticed her corset had slipped down a bit and some cleavage had made a bid for freedom. A red leopard print bra is not the best thing to wear under a black corset. She also got yoghurt in her eye in front of a customer. It seems our Calamityville level of professionalism stalked us to the con.

Horror Con UK

Jigsaw

We’d hoped to spot Kane Hodder walking around, but sadly didn’t. At 6 p.m., we went to snag him for a photo, only to see him disappear out the back. There was only one way to end a day of selling – in the pub. This time, Jack, James and Mark Cassell joined us. It’s surprisingly exhausting standing behind a table all day being sociable when you’re used to sitting in a shed not speaking to anybody. The six of us were all knackered in the pub and called it a night at 10:30 p.m. We then watched another horror film.

Horror Con UK

con artists

After another bad night’s sleep, we shuffled into the hall at 9 and were ready for a nap at 9:30. Sunday was much quieter. We didn’t sell anything for the first two hours and trade barely picked up. It wasn’t just us who weren’t selling anything. A lot of traders seemed to have the same problem. We kept ourselves amused by minding Dave and Mark’s tables and drawing penises on guitar plectrums for Dave to sell – dick picks. One guy wanted a pick with shaved testicles on it. Cat happened to draw manscaped testicles on her picks. It was a proud moment when he bought her pick. The Red Hall was in the main entrance, so while on the Saturday it got the crowds coming through, on Sunday, the crowds were let in through a different door, so the Red Hall was dead all day. We would’ve moved all the traders into the one hall for that day, or at least into the corridor outside the big hall.

Horror Con UK

from The Conjuring 2

We’d spotted Kane Hodder walking back to his table so scuttled after him, only to see him disappear out the back. Cursing the fates, we returned to our table. At 4ish, we hadn’t sold anything for a couple of hours, so went to queue at Kane’s table, taking our Friday the 13th box set for him to sign. We were so nervous – our hearts were pounding, our mouths were dry. We’d already met Freddy Krueger and now we were finally about to meet the longest running Jason Voorhees. Luckily, the couple in front of us eased the tension with dick jokes with Kane, so we joined in. Yes, we made dick jokes with Kane Hodder. We are absolutely not sorry about this.

Horror Con UKWhen we got to the front, Kane asked if we were underage, what with all the dick jokes. He didn’t believe us when we said we were 33. He was wearing his Hollywood Ghost Hunters T-shirt so we told him about Calamityville and said we’d seen the episode of Ghost Adventures where they teamed up, and mentioned the time we met the Ghost Adventures Crew in Vegas. Kane “Did Zak hit on you?” Us “No.” Kane “You’re kidding? Really? He didn’t hit on you?” Us “Billy chatted to us for ages.” He seemed shocked. As Cat lined up the camera, Kane had the back of Lynx’s neck in his trademark grip. He usually strangles people in photos, or does the Jason head squeeze. So we pretended to strangle him while he hugged us. After the photo, he squeezed us tight and wouldn’t let us go. The people queuing laughed the longer it went on. Bear hugged by Kane Hodder – what a way to end the weekend.

Horror Con UK

Sam from Trick R Treat

And then Cat nearly got locked in the toilets with 70s/80s B Horror movie icon Linnea Quigley. Security were locking up and Cat and Linnea happened to be in neighbouring toilet cubicles. They commented on how fun it would be to get locked in the centre all night and Linnea was all for it. Then she said how much she loved Cat’s outfit. Cat repaid the compliment. Her dress was gorgeous and she has such an amazing figure. And she’s the same height as us! We always think of Hollywood sex icons as being tall but nope. She was lovely. She asked what Cat was selling at the Con so she said we were horror writers and Linnea thought that was really cool. Not as cool as being a horror icon! We just sit in a shed all day making things up between bouts of napping and feeding the cats.

Horror Con UKWe had a fantastic weekend and met loads of great people. Our only criticism is that we had to pay £35 extra to have two traders at our table, whereas at every other con, you get a table and two chairs automatically. We’d argued this when booking and were told we were paying for the extra trader’s pass. Pretty sure the lanyards and laminated passes don’t cost £35. When you factor in two nights’ accommodation and petrol, it makes it much harder to make a profit. And as traffic wasn’t going through the Red Hall on the second day, those traders should’ve been moved. Thanks to everyone who bought a book/pen/jewellery, or who took the time to speak to us. Thanks Roger for the drinks and coming all that way to meet us, and thanks Peter for keeping us company at the end of the event and for helping us load our car. And to Dave for being our awesome travelling companion and con buddy. We get to do it all over again in two weeks time for Sanitarium Horror Con. We’ve only just finished unpacking and now we have to pack again as we leave for Paris on Thursday. The catacombs are calling us.P1170143

 

Hang ‘Em High

We’ve done some random things when researching for our books, (you can read our previous post about it here) but attending a hanging has to be the strangest.

Bodmin JailThis week has been filled with rejections – 7 in total. And considering our professional life is going much better than our personal lives, this is…let’s just say we’ve had better moments. Then Bodmin Jail announced they were holding a hanging exhibition on Friday and our week suddenly started to look up. We texted our mum to see if she could take the day off work to look after the animal army. She readily agreed and didn’t even question us wanting to do a road trip to see a hanging exhibition. Thanks, Mum! You’re the best. We then needed a partner in crime to join us on the adventure because adventures are more fun with accomplices. Sadly, Neen wasn’t available, but our mate, Dave, was. Our message of “Fancy a random road trip to Bodmil Jail to see a hanging exhibition?” was met with “Hell yes!” We also took our cuddly executioner, Ketch, who we bought from Edinburgh Dungeons.

Bodmin JailAs much as tortures and executions were our favourite parts of history in primary school, this wasn’t just for morbid curiosity. This was work. This was research. We promise. In our body snatchers book, Empty Graves, our main character, Lachlan, is a hangman. So what better way to experience his role than to see an actual hanging in Bodmin Jail? It still has a working execution shed and every time we visit, we’ve wanted to get inside there.

After an ungodly start of 5:45 a.m., we picked Dave up and headed to Bodmin, bitching about how we’d dressed for sunshine and the sun had buggered off. Fortunately, as we neared Cornwall, the sun decided to make an appearance – obviously as excited about the hanging as we were.

Bodmin Jail

Chris with the film crew

We reached the jail without getting lost and bought tickets to tour the jail afterwards. And after three years, we finally got to visit the gift shop. It’s always been closed when we go. We explored the naval wing while we waited for the hanging demonstration but didn’t stay long, as we wanted a good view of the hanging. We were prepared to kick small children out of the way if needs be. They wouldn’t be as excited about it as we were and there was no way we would let their tiny heads spoil our view. There was a film crew there so we positioned our camera on its tripod so people would think we were part of them and not block it. We got used to faking professionalism with Calamityville. If you show up with cameras and act like you know what you’re doing, very few people question you.

Bodmin Jail

Ketch enjoying the hanging

While we loitered, a man in the execution shed said he recognised us instantly from across the car park – it was Mark, Bodmin Jail’s medium, who we’d been speaking to in emails when we hired the jail overnight last July. (Read about our investigation.) He wasn’t able to make it on the night so it was nice to finally meet him. His first impression of us was seeing us interview sheep about the beast of Bodmin moor, yet still let us have the jail. Weirdly, we showed up wearing the same dresses we’d worn in that video. We introduced him to Dave and talked paranormal stuff until he was called to be interviewed by a member of the film crew who was doing something on Facebook Live. We’re probably lurking in the background looking suspiciously excited about seeing a dummy hanged.

Bodmin Jail

the condemned

Bodmin Jail’s owner, Chris, then did his pieces for the camera, explaining about why people were hanged. Then in true Calamityville form, Cat’s phone blasted Alice Cooper’s ‘Poison’ right behind their camera. Even when we’re not there as Calamityville we manage to embarrass ourselves. It was the HMRC . Thanks, tax man, make us look like jackasses. Bodmin JailOne of the workers was dressed as a condemned prisoner so they took him to the condemned cell to film him being escorted from the cell. We stayed by the execution shed so we wouldn’t lose our places. As soon as the condemned was led from the jail, Lynx started filming. It was a good job she did, because there was no announcement that the hanging was about to take place. We thought it would be a proper hanging exhibition where they’d talk to the public and tell us tales of executions and explain what they were doing and explain the hanging techniques. But it was just for the cameras and the public was invited to watch.

Bodmin Jail

Bob plunging into eternity

They took the condemned into the shed, bound his feet with a leather strap, placed the white hood over his head and the noose around his neck. No, they didn’t hang him. Health and safety don’t permit such shenanigans.  They swapped him out for a dummy named Bob. As the dummy stood on the trapdoor, they moved the planks aside, pulled the pin out of the lever then Bob fainted through sheer terror. He was stood upright again then Chris pulled the lever, plunging Bob into eternity. It was quite a surreal thing to see Bob swinging gently in the pit. With his hood and clothes on, he almost looked like a real person. The crowd were silent too, like they’d just witnessed a man being sent to his death. Seeing hangings on TV is totally different to seeing a re-enactment in person.

Bodmin JailMark then allowed us in to take close up photos and shots. And he let us go into the execution pit! Hardly anyone is allowed to go down there, so it was a real privilege. We can’t thank Mark enough. Not many people can say they’ve been in a genuine execution pit. The last person hanged in Bodmin was in 1909. The steps were quite steep but we managed to descend without embarrassing ourselves. It was amazing standing where the doctor would’ve stood, seeing the condemned dangling above us. Shame we’d left our ghost hunting equipment behind. It would’ve been the perfect place to do some EVPs. You can watch the video here.

Bodmin JailWe reluctantly climbed out and ventured inside the jail. One disadvantage of going during half term – kids. These particularly noisy kids seemed to be stalking us, no matter how much we tried to lose them. One kid was on a strap and was accompanied by the family dog. We weren’t sure whether it was the kid or the dog making the weird noises. Though we’re confident it wasn’t the kid peeing everywhere. And when we finally did shake them off, more screechy/screaming/crying  kids appeared. It was like fighting a friggin’ Hydra – chop its head off and two more grow in its place. We were tempted to recreate some of the mannequin scenes, (seeing as most of them seemed to be there for child murder) but parents object to you tossing their kids down wells.

Bodmin Jail

execution pit

After the jail, we did what we do best – wing it. We had no other plans for the day but weren’t ready to head home. Lynx got out the map and looked for places near Bodmin. She found Restormel castle, which was stunning. Again it was besieged by screechy children. These two made matters worse by having terrible haircuts. Some of us want to enjoy pretending to take castles over without kids ruining our peaceful plotting. We walked around the top of the castle, where we were in the perfect position to launch stuff at these noisy peasants. Stones, empty Red Bull cans, hot tar…There happened to be a well built in 1100 that we were tempted to throw them down but again we were faced with the problem of parents not seeing that us throwing their obnoxious offspring into wells was for the greater good. Things will be VERY different when we take over the world. *Eyes children. Eyes wells. Cackles.*Restormel Castle

After Restormel castle, we took the Mini’s roof down and toured round in topless style. Well, we sat in traffic jams in topless style. We returned to the place we visit every time to go to Cornwall: Jamaica Inn. Dave had never been. Chips and drinks were gratefully consumed. Then we made a fatal error – leaving at 4:40 p.m. If we’d known we wouldn’t get home til 10 p.m., we would’ve stayed in Cornwall until the evening and missed all the traffic. We got to witness a man peeing on the side of the road, not even attempting to hide himself behind his car. Sorry sir, but if we have to wait til the services, so should you!Jamaica Inn

 

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