Friday, 11 December 2009

Swindon Magic

My humans have been to Swindon - the newly announced "twin" of Walt Disney World. It was a long time ago - so long that I wasn't with them - so there's no pictures. This post is based on what they can remember.

It was December when my humans spent a weekend in Swindon. It was snowing. In England, this means it is cold. It is not like Blizzard Beach. It also means that the roads are iced up and all the public services grind to a halt. In southern England people act like snow is as much of a surprise as it would be in Florida even though Swindon is further north than Canadian cities like Toronto and Montreal. My humans went to Swindon to a conference but many of the people who were due to go couldn't get there.

I think there was a time when towns "twinned" with places that were similar. I don't think this is always the case now. I hope not. I plan to go to Walt Disney World in January and I do not want it to be frozen up.

My humans travelled to Swindon by train. Swindon is on the main line west from London into Wales. Swindon used to be the centre for engineering for the company that built the line, the Great Western.Railway. The original line was famous for how straight it was - not just going round and round in circles like the train at the Magic Kingdom. The open sided carriages are also great fun in Florida but my humans were jolly glad they are not used in British trains. A lot of the carriages have been replaced in the years since my humans' trip to Swindon. That's good because their memory is that it was a cold weekend and the heating was not very good.

Talking of things going round in circles brings me to one of Swindon's most famous current "attractions" - the Magic Roundabut. The television reported that part of Swindon's bid to "twin" with WDW was a poem comparing this traffic system to Fantasyland's teacups ride. If so, I guess Swindon's "Mad Hatter" must have been the road planner who invented it. Now, Americans are said to be famous for getting confused by any roundabout so welcome to one that confuses lots of British people when they arrive at it for the first time (and often for several times after that). There is one large roundabout with 5 small roundabouts connected to it. I think the "Magic Roundabout" is supposed to be like the teacups because different bits have traffic that goes round in different dirctions. I'm a toy and you all know toys don't drive cars (or pizza delivery trucks or airport baggage tractors).

Neither I nor my humans know what either the people of Swindon or the Disney company want or expect from their "twinning" but in all seriousness I wish them well. I think one of Swindon's competitors was Lincoln - our county town. Lincoln has a real castle that was the scene of battles over 800 years ago. I dare say the people of Swindon could have made fun of Lincooln's differences from WDW too.

Now I just looking forward to Chirstmas, the new year, and my next trip.


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