I arrived about 2:58pm and checked in, apparently 2 minutes early was okay. Travelodge is basic but hey, it's a cheap hotel.
I spent some time dealing with a problem at work, they apologised for contacting me but as I'm the only one who knows how the core code works I can't really be upset. (I spent some time last week getting someone studying what I'd done, hopefully he can make the changes.)
I was too tired to do any serious writing, I'd spent a couple of hours on the train working on my changes to Monsters, so instead I did some programming. I know, sounds pathetic and sad, the thing is, I like it. For me, programming is relaxation. And I get paid for it. How cool is that?
So come 6:00pm I was hungry and the informal Scribomeet was due to start. So I prevaricated. Of course I did. I'm not a natural mingler, in the terribly misunderstood words of Chase from "Being There": I like to watch. But networking is a necessity in this biz.
So I scrunched up my courage, and my hunger, and headed down.
There's a lot I don't know about this event. Some of it I got sorted this evening. My biggest issue was food. Well, there's the Harvester Inn right next door to the Travelodge (who don't really do food). Which is good. There's also a Kentucky Fried Rat.
And apparently there's an on-site caterer, who does breakfasts. This is important.
(Once upon a time I used to assist in the organisation of events of all sorts, including massive outdoor events for 5000+ people lasting several days. Food and toilets.)
What's also important, and awkward, is that there is no cashpoint nearby. A quick trip to multimap shows that the nearest one is as far away as the station (a trip will probably be required tomorrow). Maybe there's a supermarket closer that does cash-back. Interrogation of the locals is required.
So, this picture is early on, probably about 7:00pm. Far left side-on is Stuart Perry then comes Piers Beckley then, with their backs to us from the left Tony Keetch (who's a Pitch in Time finalist, with an advantage over the common writing folk ... he's also an actor). The one in red is Jason Arnopp.
As for everyone else in the picture, and those who arrived later, sorry I have a poor memory for names and faces. (And the camera was unable to shoot the future - now there's an idea.)
And much merriment was had by all, alcohol consumed (though not by me) and many were the secrets revealed. Fear not, my lips are sealed, and will remain so until I am offered the right price.
Suffering from extreme tiredness I excused myself early and trekked with leaden feet back to my domicile. Where I wasted time dealing with e-mails (more excellent responses to the enquiries I sent out), researching parkour on YouTube and reading other people's blogs until I decided to do this. And then I did. And now I've finished.
What's on the turntable? "Pluto" by Bjork from "Homogenic"