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It effectively started on Tuesday, when [livejournal.com profile] bardling and I picked up [livejournal.com profile] vixyish and [livejournal.com profile] tfabris from Heathrow terminal 5 around lunchtime - we did a late lunch, introduced them to the wonders of Forbidden Planet, had supper in a pub off Cambridge Circus and then dragged them kicking and screaming to an amazing Show of Hands gig at the 100 Club on Oxford Street before driving them home to [livejournal.com profile] bardling's :D

As cures for jetlag go, I'm told that being made to stay up till 2am (when that's 10am your time) works pretty well. :D

Didn't see much more of our guests till Thursday evening, when we successfully rendezvoused at Kings Cross and decamped to the Mill House for Chinese with [livejournal.com profile] lastalda, [livejournal.com profile] rinioth and [livejournal.com profile] bardling.

Friday dawned somewhat crisp, and we headed up to Grantham after a quick visit (while V+T were still asleep) to Jon Haire's to retrieve my two guitars. The afternoon was spent chasing the hotel for this and that (including a time when they'd be out of the man room, since their Friday 'ladies wot lunch' gathering didn't finish till 3), and moving a pile of songs from text files to Apple's Keynote...

We also discovered the mystical summoning chair in the Ramada - if you sit on the right hand end of the green sofa facing the stairs near reception, and people talk to you about a person, that person will be summoned. WItness - speculation about GK's arrival time, given Sam is now at school, and lo, my phone rings and its GK. Some while later, we start guessing [livejournal.com profile] keristor's arrival time, and my reponse is to say 'I reckon some time in the next... *pause, look across to where doors from carpark are just opening* erm.. now."

Supper was a hotel burger, followed by the opening ceremony: I then disappeared to our room to wait for Anne's arrival and practice for my set. Caught the end of [livejournal.com profile] 36's set before mine, which latter went quite well: yes, for that set of songs all the guitars were necessary, unless you enjoy listening to me retune! For the curious, they were:

  • Gazuki (GDAD 8 string/4 course guitar bodied bouzouki) on Waiting in the Deep, Théoden King
  • LAG parlour (EADGBE, capo 5) on When Darkness Falls, Jack
  • LAG baby jumbo (DADGAD capo 7) on Lisa Lân
  • Rika's LAG dreadnought (EADGBE) on Desolation, The Miller's Tale, (I Married A) Mutant Zombie Flesh-eating Chicken From Mars
  • Fender 12 string (DGCFAD) on Nantucket Sleigh Ride

    The idea of using the MacBook as autocue (with a USB footswitch that sends page up and down) worked really well, though with hindsight I could have read it from considerably further away, which would have stopped me looking down quite so much.

    Flattered to be nominated for a Sam for Desolation, and not at all surprised or disappointed to be roundly beaten by a song I fully intend to cover!

    The really bad news? I've discovered two new tunings over the course of the con (DADF#AD and EBDGAE) I really want to try out!

    Missed the Friday night filk, due to being worn out.

    Saturday - breakfast with (among others) [livejournal.com profile] vixyish and [livejournal.com profile] tfabris, followed by the tape rescuing discussion. By way of explanation for those who weren't aware, Richard the Rampant has handed over all the reel-to-reel multitrack and master tapes that he and Gytha recorded to fandom, as well as a pile of songbooks and cassettes. Depending on how well these have been stored, it may be variously easy or hard to rescue the audio off the tapes. As they include the masters of every UK filk cassette, a couple of unreleased albums and HOURS of stuff from various cons, we'd quite like to try! I'll produce a separate and more detailed report on that later.

    Saturday was mostly spent between being hotel liaison and DCM, and rehearsing, since I'd let myself get roped in to help on both [livejournal.com profile] telynor and [livejournal.com profile] lastalda's sets. Caught a chunk of [livejournal.com profile] azakir's set, which was excellent. Somewhere in there I grabbed a sandwich, and presented the bid for Cre2c3ndo - choice of guests seemed to go down OK! I also missed Talis and the nMC, which was a shame. Miffed to miss [livejournal.com profile] tarkrai's filk of Paper Worlds and his take on Roots.

    Did one song in [livejournal.com profile] lastalda's set with [livejournal.com profile] bardling - got accused by [livejournal.com profile] vixyish and [livejournal.com profile] tfabris of sneaking bits of The Chain into it: if so? Entirely subconsciously! The fact that [livejournal.com profile] bardling's intro guitar chord voicings were stolen from Gold Dust Woman was, however, both my doing and entirely deliberate :D

    [livejournal.com profile] telynor's set was fun too - my bandmate [livejournal.com profile] nw1 on guitar meant that I got to spend the entire set on bouzouki, which has done wonders for my GDAD chord knowledge in keys OTHER than G and D. As ever, I think we'd have liked one more rehearsal.

    Post [livejournal.com profile] telynor's set I chilled/unwound, managed to catch the last half of V+T and bits of Cosmic Trifle, then actually filked (wow) till 3am. In which time I did precisely two, count 'em two, songs (Poppa's Blues and Honour and Praise and had a blast. [livejournal.com profile] micktim and [livejournal.com profile] unclechristo's whistle/recorder battle was briliant. Beat [livejournal.com profile] talis_kimberley in the 'how many of my song titles did [livejournal.com profile] demoneyes and [livejournal.com profile] little_cinnamon mention in Afraid of the Shark' battle. Smug :D )

    Sunday: crawled into breakfast (caffiene! give me caffiene!), arranged for the lounge TV to show the Shuttle launch, told everyone, only to have NASA cancel at about T-6 for weather. Poot.

    That was followed by V+T's panel discussion on CD recording with GK, [livejournal.com profile] vaurien and [livejournal.com profile] unclechristo. Excellent fun, lots of useful stuff. On from there to a watching brief over reception in case of Sunday checkout confusion (explaining to receptionist that X needed to pay 1/2 of two nights in a twin and the rest would be settled on Monday, for example!), followed by a planning session with [livejournal.com profile] pbristow over lunch for the quiz. Caught some of [livejournal.com profile] telynor's second set, the Sams ceremony and a bit of V+T's second set, before The Most Dangerous Band In Filk (no, it's a Late Show or Tonight Show reference, IIRC) helped out on [livejournal.com profile] pbristow's somewhat warped quiz.

    After that? Sams concert (deserved wins all round from [livejournal.com profile] talis_kimberley, [livejournal.com profile] demoneyes, the Crooklets and [livejournal.com profile] valydiarosada) and the closing ceremony. We fed the guests, and had some great conversation, before I decamped to the lounge, fully intending to attend the Dead Mouse filk, and got engrossed in a long chat with [livejournal.com profile] deborah_c, [livejournal.com profile] bedlamhouse and [livejournal.com profile] keristor on the subject of PA systems. [livejournal.com profile] were_gopher, Pete Tyers and I then cleared the Gytha tape collection into his and my car, found a long lost song of Lawrence's... and then got waylaid by a passing Superbowl till bed at 3am. I did catch [livejournal.com profile] 36 doing an acapella Paper Worlds in the Dead Mouse, which was very very nice - amused that somehow they'd acquired the extra lyrics in the Mill House Band version :D

    Monday: breakfast with [livejournal.com profile] telynor, [livejournal.com profile] filceolaire, [livejournal.com profile] pdcawley, [livejournal.com profile] were_gopher et al. [livejournal.com profile] pdcawley teases that he can tell I'm a committee member because I'm doing meerkat head-bobbing while checking to see that [livejournal.com profile] vixyish and [livejournal.com profile] tfabris are going to be on time to get to the station for 9am. He does offer that if they miss it he can drive them to Heathrow. I note this.

    They arrive, grab a quick cup of tea and toast, and we're off. Pack [livejournal.com profile] vixyish and [livejournal.com profile] tfabris into the car, head for Grantham station. The traffic is a little heavier than I like for my peace of mind, and the GPS forgets where it is amid the buildings once or twice. However, we get there and unload. [livejournal.com profile] vixyish goes "where's my rucksack?" [livejournal.com profile] tfabris and I look at each other, mentally retrace our steps and realise the backpack, containing their passports, is on the pavement by where I parked the car in the hotel car park.

    It's 0848.

    Their train, the only one their tickets are valid on, departs at 0902.

    Do the math. It's an 8 or 9 min drive, so I don't have time for the round trip. Ok. Calm. Phone [livejournal.com profile] pdcawley. Phone rings out to voicemail.

    [livejournal.com profile] vixyish is wibbling, [livejournal.com profile] tfabris apologetic.

    Calm. Flick through 'favourited' contacts. Realise they're all family or bandmates, and thus except for [livejournal.com profile] bardling, who doesn't have a car, not at con. [livejournal.com profile] vixyish, meanwhile, phones [livejournal.com profile] bardling. Flick through recent contacts. At the top? [livejournal.com profile] telynor, the lovely [livejournal.com profile] telynor, who'd no sooner be parted from her iPhone than her left arm. Phone. Answered on the third ring. "Hi, Gwen. Vixy's left her rucksack on the pavement where my car was parked. We need it here NOW."

    Message delivered. Tell V+T to unpack the car while I saunter as casually as I can to the station entrance and check the departures board. Poo. East Coast pick today of all days to be on time. Stroll back, relay this information, cheerfully as I can. [livejournal.com profile] tfabris asks, "Are you sure Gwen knows how urgent it is?" Reassure him she knows what time their train is...

    Meanwhile (as best as I can gather) back at the hotel....

    [livejournal.com profile] telynor relays the information (at the same time as [livejournal.com profile] bardling gets the same info from [livejournal.com profile] vixyish). [livejournal.com profile] were_gopher knows where my car was. [livejournal.com profile] hrrunka has a car parked close to reception, but doesn't know where the station is. [livejournal.com profile] filceolaire, who's been the parental taxi service several times over the weekend, does. Exeunt omnes, through reception, like the proverbial doppler-shifted bats out of hell...

    Meanwhile...

    Calm. Usher V+T into ticket area, which opens onto platform 1, which thank you God is the London-bound side. Nab likely looking ticket inspector, cheerily introduce him to V+T, explain the problem, drop a heavy "if you can hold the train for a minute it might make a big difference...." hint.

    Phone rings, it's [livejournal.com profile] telynor, lovely [livejournal.com profile] telynor, to report the bag is on its way (with no details). I relay this to V+T and go stand on the pavement outside. Glance at watch. 0856. Train leaves at 0902, so will be arriving inside 5 mins.

    0858, I hear the faint sound of wheels on rails and an electric locomotive. Which V+T probably can't yet, inside the ticketing area. And, hallelujah, a yellow car flashes its headlights at me as it comes bowling up the slope to the station entrance. Out hops [livejournal.com profile] filceolaire with a rucksack. I glance back over my shoulder to see the nose end of the 0902 225 unit arriving into the platform, forestall [livejournal.com profile] vixyish and [livejournal.com profile] tfabris from excessive hugs (aided by the lady in the ticket booth who is having kittens that they've left their bags unattended) and bundle them through the barrier onto the platform.

    Drive back to hotel. Note that adrenalin is a massive legal high, flop in chair and go wibble for 5 mins. Notice in a detached way how completely calm I managed to be for the 10 mins the bag was missing....

    After that? Not a lot. Ran Roger and [livejournal.com profile] were_gopher to the station, sorted out one last hotel query, and headed back to the Mill House with [livejournal.com profile] bedlamhouse and [livejournal.com profile] ladyat for epic amounts of duck. Email from [livejournal.com profile] tfabris confirms they're on the plane waiting for takeoff.

    All in all? I had a blast.
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