So early Christmas Eve morning we gathered the things for the shrine together:
And we headed down the Ianto Jones Memorial Shrine at Mermaid Quay. We were going to take the bus, but it being a semi-holiday, there were very few busses headed that way. We’d walked halfway there before giving up and getting a taxi. I’d like to think that was some kind of fate, karma, or Ianto based luck that had delayed us getting there until that particular moment. Between putting off the trip down to the Bay (in the hopes of the lost luggage resurfacing) and the bus schedule, we arrived at the Shrine at the same time as Kevin.
Kevin is the Maintenance Department of Mermaid Quay. (As he said, “I'm the Head of Maintenance, but as it’s just me in the whole department anyway…”) Kevin is a great supporter of the Shrine and has made it his personal mission to care for and protect it for us and all Ianto fans (despite the fact that Kevin has never even watched Torchwood. Really Kevin? Give it a try... Well, series 1 and 2 anyway.)
Kevin was there that morning to fix the supports that hold the security grates up in front of the Tourist Information Office. To do this, he had to take the grates down temporarily.
As such, we had the rare opportunity to go INSIDE Ianto's Tourist Information Office (SQUEE!!!!!):
I will say, it has so gone downhill since Ianto has been away. He is not going to be pleased when he gets back and sees the mess in there.
But anyway, true to his word, after fixing the brackets Kevin restored The Shrine. So this is how it looked Christmas Eve morning:
...And some close-ups of the new additions and a few deatil shots:
So anyway, Jess and I stayed and chatted with Kevin for a good 90 minutes about everything from The Shrine, to Gareth, to JB, to the property values in Barry. He told us about the history of the Information Office, of JB’s visits to The Shrine, as well as his own personal plans to restore the tourist office’s mailbox slot and doorknob. Apparently in a couple of months they will be replacing the metal reinforcements on The Shrine area to match the others nearby and he let me flake off sections of the old metal for souvenirs. Yes, I now have pieces of Ianto’s Tourist Information Office. (Squee again!!)
As Kevin started rolling his third cigarette I thought that maybe we should let him get on to other work and bid him farewell. (He seemed sad to see us go, however. So if you visit the Shrine and happen to find Kevin, stop and say hi.)
After some obligatory photo shots at the water tower, we headed over to the Doctor Who exhibit with the intention of just looking in the shop on this trip, but a sign promising new exhibits tempted us back inside. This time I had Action Ianto:
He was not impressed by the Daleks,
But seemed rather ill at ease around the Cybermen.
He was also glad to see that Jack’s original coat was being well looked after.
As Christmas Day would be in the hotel room, after we left the exhibit we stopped and shopped some more (including food as there was no way I was paying ₤75 each for Christmas dinner in the hotel.)
The next morning Jess opened the presents I’d brought for her (which had also been in the luggage when it went missing) and we had the Christmas crackers they’d given us at breakfast. I spent 5 minutes re-making the paper hats over for Action Ianto and Jack:
…And working up a story in which Ianto gave Jack a lovely antique silver picture frame and photo for Christmas
and for some reason Jack reciprocated by giving Ianto an enormous wheel of cheese. (Something to do with the evolution of holidays in the 51st century...)
Hey! Give me a break. There was nothing on the telly, my daughter was busy with her book and video games, and my husband was 5000 miles away, how else should I spend the day?
So in fact, the rest of the day was spent wasting time and then watching the Doctor Who Christmas special (which many would consider much the same thing) before falling asleep in preparation for an early morning coach trip to Preston.
So on to Preston, Part III will be (here.)