Today I was fortunate enough to finally find a use that interested me for my amassing amounts of Spice Time Credits. Castle Coch: somewhere I haven’t been for, I’m relatively sure, at least ten years? Either way, last I recall of the circularly patterned cobblestones and the cubbyholes and tiny doors was when I was definitely more of a child than I am now. I remember loving it there, and I know I loved it this time, too. Seeing it when driving along the motorway had always been one thing – on your way to somewhere else and gazing up at is wondering how it fit there and why it was always such a friendly presence – but going there again was a nice change, and it felt good to traipse up and down and around the staircases and all along its little balconies, finding tiny doors to go through and seeing all the different rooms.
My favourite one was the kitchen. Roped off, of course, but still full of things I wanted to put my hands on: tiny appliances, teeny kettles, the smallest and thinnest baby highchair I’ve certainly ever seen. I think mostly, though, that I enjoy the way the rooms look: round, with small dewy windows, occasionally a lovely arc that I would find immense pleasure in cuddling down into with a book or a mug or something to watch. I wish that was something I could’ve done in that castle the most: find myself a nook to nestle in and stay there from then on.
Also, the cafe was great. Cute little tables arranged in one of the more dim castle rooms; my one slightly elevated and under a window. The cafe was full of ladybugs – which in all honesty, I thought was lovely. I was having tea and enjoying having one or two scuttle over my hand and on to the little flowers on the tables.
Visiting the castle was good, honest fun; and had me in a lot of feelings by the time I was done. Like largely appreciative, hugely valuing aestheticism (I know the castle had a purpose whatever time that may have been – but now I just think it’s so lovely to look at and wander through and if that’s the most fun I have and I’m not hurting anyone, I can’t see much bad in that).
Overall a really nice day out! Definitely a good time for any age
When I joined the ‘Get the Chance’ team (reviewing live theatre and performance as a network of ‘community critics’), I wasn’t fully aware I’d be getting Spice Time Credits in return and quite surprised to receive them! I had some previous awareness that Time Credits were something people got ‘out there in the community’ – perhaps for doing voluntary work at a local community project or initiative. I had no idea you could actually receive time credits for writing and reviewing live theatre. I hadn’t thought of myself as ‘volunteering my time’ as I already kind of felt like I had won the lottery doing something I loved doing anyway. If you are part of a wider conversation, helping to increase accessibility and creating more knowledge and awareness of the arts for all – you too are a volunteer, an ambassador and a cheerleader. You’re using your skills and strengths to break down barriers and act as a bridge between theatres and non-traditional or possibly first time theatre goers and I’m really glad that Spice recognises this.
The great thing about Spice is that they are a form of currency: a way of trading your time to get a sort of ‘passport’ to do the things you love. If money is an issue, this doesn’t matter, you can use time credits for anything from local leisure services to high-brow theatre. They can travel with you – I’m off to London on the Megabus next week. I may decide to spend the time credits I earned writing about Welsh theatre to take in a show at the Barbican with my hubby. I’m on a budget weekend, but I won’t let that stop me! Time Credits makes this possible and they’re recognised all over the UK, which is great! So far I have used my time credits to spend an afternoon with my daughter jumping and running wild at ‘Jump’ play centre in Llanishen and I’ve spent several lovely afternoons watching family movies in Chapter Arts Centre with my husband and little girl Lili. Writing about theatre may be ‘my thing’, but I love sharing the time credits with my family for fun (cheap!) afternoons out. They were really handy in the holidays when money was getting tight! Chapter Arts Centre is wonderful when it comes to booking tickets, very family friendly and relaxed. I also like the fact that there’s no in-your face aggressive marketing of overpriced snacks (Which can push your average cinema outings up to £50 or more for some families). Chapter even has a ‘no munching’ rule. You’re there for the movies and good vibes anyway, not stuffing your face full of crisps and chocolate (plus if you really need a feed: use the lovely Chapter cafe!). Quite a few times over the last few months, my family and I have driven to Chapter, parked for free, used our time credits to pay for a family movie then taken a walk in the park afterwards. You don’t need to spend big money to make memories, but it helps if you have a few time credits in your pocket!
Thanks to Spice Time Credits, I recently had a wonderful trip to the Tower of London.
My parents were visiting from Devon and I wanted to treat them. Since their last visit to the Tower 35 years ago, the history and memory was a bit vague and I, was a complete newbie.
We had no issues with accessing the Tower with our tickets- joining the free tour that happens every 30 mins which was full of comedy and excitement by our animated Beefeater guide and on such a gorgeous sunny day, the compound shone as bright as the Crown Jewels.
Without the use of these Credits, I doubt we would have accessed such a brilliant historical and cultural day out in the rare British sunshine. Thanks Time Credits!