Thursday, 31 May 2012

Chemistry Apparatus Cartoon: Measuring Cylinder

After all the recent Chemistry Apparatus Cartoons about tubes, I thought it was only fair on the rest of the chemistry lab to include a cartoon about a different type of glassware.  And so I've moved this one up the list, and I present:  the measuring cylinder.

The measuring cylinder
Next time, I'll present the final tube in my collection... and then it'll be another non-tube!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Chemistry Apparatus Cartoons: The Delivery Tube

Continuing the saga of chemistry apparatus cartoons, here's the fourth in the series.  This was one of the easiest to design, and most of the people who've seen it get it straight away.

Here it is:

The delivery tube.... what do you think? Following on from the other tubes, this is the penultimate tube I could think off.  But don't worry, the Chemistry lab is a large place, and there are plenty more pieces of chemistry and science apparatus that lend themselves well to cartoons!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Chemistry Apparatus Cartoons: The Side-Arm Test Tube

Continuing the series of chemistry apparatus humour, and developing the theme of tubes in particular, here is my latest cartoon:  the side-arm test tube.

This one occurred to me almost as soon as I'd finished work on the original test tube cartoon, which in turn came after the first idea, the beaker.  Next time - another tube in the chemistry equipment collection.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Legoland Windsor Resort Hotel

My family and I recently spent two nights at Legoland Windsor Resort's new hotel - it opened on Friday 16 March and we visited it from 19-21 March, just a few days after it had opened.  We enjoyed it so much that I decided to write a full review of our stay, including the good bits (and some of the less-good bits, although there weren't that many).

The hotel is ideal for young children.  Our two children, Lizzie (nearly 3) and Ben (nine months) both enjoyed it, even though Ben is still quite young for Lego.  The whole Legoland hotel and park has been designed to make it family friendly - for example:

The drive off the main road onto the park complex goes straight to the front door of the hotel.  There's no joining a queue of cars heading for the park - you are fast-tracked to the hotel's front door, with the hotel car park directly opposite.  The front of the hotel gives you an indication of what to expect from the rest of your stay. 

The dragon which sits in the tower above the main covered area outside the front door of the Legoland Windsor Resort Hotel also breathes smoke from time to time (I didn't work out how frequently, or if it was regularly).  It happens with loads of rumbling and growling sounds, so when you see and hear it, you know the rest of your stay at Legoland is going to be a fun time.

The Legoland hotel has four themes - adventurer, kingdom, pirate and the other one.  Each floor has its own dedicated theme, with the corridors, rooms and decor all in keeping with the theme.  Lizzie chose the Pirate theme, and thoroughy enjoyed it.

The hotel's foyer is almost wall-to-wall Lego, and this is another aspect of the child-friendly design.  There's a pit of Lego 2x4 bricks to play in (similar to the one seen at the Legoland Discovery Centre in Manchester), and a large display of over-size Lego-built minifigures, along with a large, rotating mobile containing hints as to all the rides in the Legoland theme park.  This is ideally placed in the foyer area, and is ideal for occupying the children while you go through the check-in and check-out processes.  Lizzie really enjoyed getting involved with the bricks, Ben was happy to sit in his pushchair and look at all the displays on the walls and ceiling.

One feature that deserves special comment is the whoopee cushion in the carpet...  Lizzie loved it, as you can see!

The hotel rooms are amazing; there are three floors of rooms, and each one is Legoland-themed:  Pirates, Kingdom or Adventurer.  The wall coverings, carpets, decor and even the bed linen all correspond with the theme, and you feel immersed in it.  It's very clever branding by Lego too, as there are minifigure pictures everywhere - models in the corridor areas, pictures in the lift interior.  It's not quite overwhelming, but it can feel like it occasionally!

Lizzie and I went on our own tour of the Legoland Windsor Hotel one evening, and tried out two of the different floors; as you can see, the Lego themes cover all parts of the decor, and Lizzie loved travelling around the different zones.

There are two main dining/eating areas, and they're situated on the ground floor (from the Legoland Park perspective) or on the second floor (of the hotel) since the hotel is built into the side of a hill.  There's a more adult-based bar area - with a conventional bar and more typical pub/bar type seating - although children are obviously still welcome, along with a family-centred dining area, where breakfast and evening meals are served.  The Lego decor is toned down in the bar area, but well and truly scaled up in the restaurant area, with large-scale models of minifigures cooking, baking, serving, mixing and so on.

Between the bar and restaurant areas, is an open space containing a play tree and a play castle, with its own Lego monster, which Lizzie and Ben both enjoyed.  In fact, only at Legoland would you hear the following conversation:

"Excuse me, can you tell me where the toilets are please?"
"Certainly sir, just behind the castle."

A word of warning on the restaurant - it's not cheap.  At £20 a head, it's a little on the pricey side, but it is all-you-can-eat for evenings.  However, breakfast (included in our room rate) was also all-you-can-eat, and is very well stocked with a wide range of food.  And the bonus of this being Legoland, is the costumed entertainers who call round from time to time to say hello - this was a real bonus for us!

Captain Birdseye (?), left, and Johnny Thunder (above) call in for breakfast on two of the days we were at the restaurant - as you can see, Lizzie was very pleased with both of them!

The hotel rooms themselves are well designed and spacious as hotel rooms go.  We had a basic room, which  meant it didn't overlook the park.  Instead, we overlooked (in the distance) Heathrow airport, and during the evenings we could see the distant lights of aircraft approaching and landing.  A word of note - the hotel is directly on the flightline.  You don't get much noise from the aircraft, but you will get to see the aircraft taking off or landing - and when they're landing, they come in lower than they take off.

As I mentioned earlier, we visited the hotel only a few days after it had opened, and the staff were working through one or two teething issues.  For example:

*  the swimming pool and wet play area were not available throughout our stay.  Another visitor told us that they'd been offered a £20 voucher to spend in the shop (not a huge shop, but it had a range of Lego models and other items), and when we asked, we were told it would be taken off our bill.  In the end, we had a separate refund a few days later.

*  Check-in and check-out took ages - I think the staff were getting used to the system!

*  The entrance from the hotel to the theme park is conveniently located just outside the restaurant/bar area.  However, the intended access is through a full-height turnstile, which is a complete no-no if you have a pushchair.  There is a gate, locked, next to the turnstile; on the first morning we had to go and find somebody to let us into the park, on the first afternoon he was closer at hand, but by the second morning there was a new member of staff fully kitted out with ticket scanner and so on, to help us through.  Overall, this wasn't an issue, and it stands out as poor planning in an otherwise very well thought out design.

Overall, I would strongly recommend the Legoland Windsor Resort Hotel for a family.  I know I haven't discussed the theme park - that'll come as a separate review later!

Chemistry Apparatus Cartoons: The Test Tube

This follows on from yesterday's post, the beaker.  There isn't much more to say, really, except that you'll start to see the overall cartoon/pun theme develop from here onwards.  I've always enjoyed chemistry and always had a liking for puns and cartoons... the rest is obvious!  The next post will be a development from the test tube.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Chemistry Apparatus Cartoons: The Beaker

This post is very short; in fact it'll be one of the shortest I ever produce.  However, it will also be the first in a series, and the series is 'chemistry cartoons'.  I first drew these around 10 years ago, and I've redrawn them and improved them a little since then, but they're very similar to the originals.

The first is the beaker.

More to follow shortly.