The Lotus Festival at Brands Hatch, Kent

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Yesterday we went to the Lotus Festival at Brands Hatch in Kent. We’ve been a couple of times before and enjoyed it, but this time it was really good. We bumped into lots of people we know from the Speed Championships, and even saw the couple we met at Willington Hall with their Lotus Esprit. They were there for the ‘Show and Shine’, it was the first time they’d entered a concourse and they came second!

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The weather was a bit changeable, slightly sunny with sudden downpours. The rain came on so suddenly at one point that we were quite surprised – I squatted down in the same way that the chickens do, and Adam ran straight into the ladies loos – neither of those were appropriate reactions!

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We were very lucky that, as members of Lotus on Track Racing Drivers Club, we received hospitality up in the Media Suite where we could stay dry, drink tea and keep an eye on everything.

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We also got to wander down to the garages and see some of our friends who were preparing and racing cars in the Elise Trophy and Lotus Cup UK. It was all very exciting and I was only slightly envious!

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There were hundreds of cars to see, lots of beautifully designed classics, lots of super powered beasts. I really like the graphics and fonts used, and I really like the Lotus Esprit.

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If you like nice cars and friendly enthusiastic people you should go along to the Lotus Festival next year. Take an umbrella.

Oooo look, it’s Mark and Russell’s cars from the Speed Championships!

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Cats at Home

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Sometimes Winnie likes MoJo, mostly she doesn’t. On rare occasions I find them snuggled up together, generally when it’s cold and Winnie wants MoJo’s warmth, sometimes just because she wants company. Her deafness makes her needy (and shouty). I think she was secretly pleased to have MoJo back from the vets, so she used him as a foot rest!

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The Mannequins of Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker

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I couldn’t resist sharing these marvellous mannequins I met at the Secret Bunker. The chap above looks like he may have climbed Everest in a previous life. I think the chap below is a baseball fan, and that lady (yes, it’s a lady) with the big eye in the weird faded red hazmat suit wants to be in FACE magazine.

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That nurse is a bad dancer and I don’t know how fake Dr Davis sneaked a guinea pig in with him, but he blatantly did!

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See the rest of Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker here.

The (Not so Secret) Secret Bunker at Hack Green

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We went to Chester to have a look around. Everything seemed very brown and a bit green. I wasn’t struck on the juxtaposition of historic Roman and Medieval architecture against the obvious developments of the 1960s. There were a lot of tourists, some smart black and white buildings and a really nice clock. I think we missed something.

We hopped back into the car and headed for the countryside. That’s when we saw the sign for the Secret Bunker and just had to follow it.

Eventually after many turns and brown signs we arrived at the Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker. Wow!

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As a child I was rather interested in anything nuclear. I had reference books on the Chernobyl disaster and my own Geiger counter. You know, that sort of thing!

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(This Geiger counter is very similar to the one I owned. I liked to test cucumbers with it. I have no idea why they made the counter go!)

Imagine my excitement when we arrived at the bunker. And then imagine my excitement when I saw this atom bomb snow globe in the gift shop! Best souvenir ever.

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(Special Queen phone)

What an amazing and thought provoking place! The site had been in use (as a ROTOR bunker) since the 1950s but was rebuilt in the early 80s as a Regional Government Head Quarters, a blast proof concrete bunker capable of housing 135 Civil Servants for 12 weeks and designed to enable government to continue in the aftermath of a nuclear attack on the UK.

Following the end of the Cold War the site was decommissioned and declassified in 1993. Then some jolly chaps bought it and turned it into a museum!

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Interesting fact – Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker includes one of the largest collections of decommissioned nuclear weapons in the world. How delightful!

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Having wandered the surprisingly spacious corridors and explored the communications centre, warning room, decontamination and sick bay, I’m still not sure I’d fancy spending 3 months in a bunker waiting for the nuclear nastiness to clear. Still, I wouldn’t have been offered the chance.

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Rather than making a shelter at home out of tables and doors, and then coming out to find an atomic wasteland, I think I might prefer to be melted immediately.

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Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker is well worth the visit, even if you aren’t interested in the threat of a nuclear attack, don’t have a Geiger counter to compare to those on display, or don’t feel the need to see one of the largest collections of decommissioned nuclear weapons in the world. There are many other reasons to visit and to learn. Another good reason to visit, in my opinion, is for the marvellous mannequins  – who will be getting their own feature here!

Entry for adults is £8.25 each, you can find the full price list and opening times here.

I’m off to compile a list of other Secret Bunkers to visit. Do you think they all have snow globes?

Evening Sun & Cocktails on the Terrace

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I promise I will stop telling you how lovely Willington Hall is, really I will, but check out these cocktails first! If you can’t pop along and enjoy the sunset on the terrace, at least you could try recreating some of these beauties at home! Deborah shook up a storm and sent  us off into the garden with a tray of delights!

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Classic Mojito

10 fresh mint leaves
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
5 or 6 ice cubes
1 shot of rum
120ml soda water

Place mint leaves and 1 of the lime wedges into a tall glass. Smash or crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice. Add 2 more lime wedges and the sugar, and crush again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with soda water. Stir, taste and add more sugar if desired. Garnish with the remaining lime wedge.

(recipe source)

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Cosmopolitan

35ml vodka
15ml orange liqueur
squeeze fresh lime juice
25ml/1fl oz cranberry juice
twist of orange, to garnish

Place the vodka, orange liqueur, lime juice and cranberry juice into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake hard and then strain into a coupe glass or small Martini glass.

(recipe source)

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Apricot Mojito

The drink pictured is Willington Hall’s own creation but you can find some tasty similar recipes here, and here.

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Pimms Ginger Cocktail

¼ cup Pimm’s No. 1
¾ cup ginger ale
Sliced strawberry and apple
Ice cubes

Place ice cubes in a tall glass, add sliced fruit. Pour in Pimms and ginger ale. Garnish prettily!

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We had the most wonderful break at Willington Hall and I can’t recommend it enough! 

Follow Willington Hall on Facebook for more delicious delights and a chance to win cocktails on the terrace!