The last time I wrote a full proper convention report was way way back in 2008 for the very first ConFuzzled. Since then, for various reasons, I didn’t write one for 2009 or 2010 and money hasn’t allowed for me to visit another event beyond this one for which I am staff. So apologies if I’m a bit rusty at this sort of thing.
Likewise, while others have been tweeting up a storm and recording tons of photographs and video footage to post, the lack of a smart or even a feature phone currently means I’ll have to make do with words.
The build up for 2011 had been huge. For me especially given my work started around mid-summer last year as I began building the new Registration System which we used this year. Weeks of PHP coding that didn’t finally finish till the day we closed Resident registration followed.
That on top of my other duties as head of Inventory meant I had a good idea as to what to expect this year in terms of our scope given everything that everyone was working on generally required buying something via me. I knew this year was going to be huge.
Getting everything ready the weekend before had been a slog too, the new badge printer failing with four days left on the clock and Tungro, Fairlight and Bear stripping it down to its circuit boards to get it going again. Meanwhile I had to go through and produce a complete accessible inventory for everything that would be packed in the big green equipment Pods. Lots of work but time well spent as I would find out later.
Having finally gotten home on Tuesday, I had barely a day to prepare myself before the first day of convention for me began. An early start and a walk up a cold hill to vote was quiet effective at waking me back up after only two or three hours sleep. Democracy stated, myself and Nanaki caught ourselves a taxi down to the station where a shiny pre-booked set of tickets were waiting for collection.
By chance then, we arrived on our platform and ran in to Furble, who along with Blue, was also taking this train to Manchester. In the latter’s case for the con but in Furble’s case, work. Chat and cups of tea were had but as the train pulled up it was clearly too small and standing room only so we parted ways after Blue passed to me the awesome badge he’d done for me this year and made use of our booked seats. Annoyingly, one women we kicked out was trying to claim that seat bookings were cancelled on this train. Yeah, right. Even so, I felt bad for making the others move, but I guess I shouldn’t begrudge getting to be the kicker-outer rather than the kickie for once.
Arriving at Manchester Airport train station, we were picked up by the ever-so-kind Wolfie Fox who eventually found us, despite attempts by his GPS to claim one of the roundabouts was the station.
Arriving at the venue, we could already see the signs of furry as we pulled in to the car park and spotted plushies in the parcel-shelves of the other cars. A final drag of bags to a temporary drop in the soon to be Operations and a brief J2O was all I could afford before the Stage van arrived which I helped unload. Eventually rooms were ready enough that we could check in and unpack which I this time bothered to do. Something far nicer about taking clean things from a cabinet and wardrobe rather than living out of a bag for the long weekend.
What happened in the remaining hours I can’t honestly say I remember but evening time came and one of many CF traditions came around again. This one being the staff meal for which my first of three costume moments of the weekend occurred as I slipped in some rather nice fancy pin-striped trousers and waistcoat that matched well with black tie, braces and red hankie. Sadly what I didn’t match was my shoes which had been the one thing omitted from my packing list so as long as you didn’t look at my trainers, I looked pretty good! :D Sadly, everyone took it upon themselves to point out the trainers. :|
Either way, many of us looked dapper, doubly so given the Italian restaurant we were revisiting for a second year; Nall in particular looking wonderfully insane with his top-top complete with ferret ears and at the same time, being the guy with the company card. Tasty wine flowed, awesome lasagne followed, and friendly service by the waitress kept us laughing right up to the pudding which was to die for vanilla ice cream with both a small cup of espresso and shot of hazelnut liqueur to pour over as we wished. All mixed together, it was a heavenly thing to finish on.
After a brief speech by Matt Lion of both thanks for work done and encouragement for work to follow, we returned back to the hotel to what by this point I wanted to be an early night until I was dragged off to Nall, Ferret and Rab’s room for further chittering which continued until I noticed suddenly it was 2am and that definitely had been a strong espresso.
To be continued
Given that I am just passing 900 words right now, it seems I will need to break this one up! Shall continue tomorrow with Friday and the start of con proper.