After the surreal experience of Swindon last year, I have to report a disappointingly un-weird Unconvention. The extreme end of the Bookcrosser oddity spectrum was almost* non-existent, so weirdo-dodging was minimal and it was therefore safe to settle down to the main business of the weekend: rum. A lot of rum.
Friday night kicked off with what turned out to be a 4 hour literary pub-quiz. In a well meaning attempt at forcing social interactions amongst our little group of misfits, teams were allocated blindly. I shall take this opportunity to publicly apologise to my team for the rapid dwindling of my interest in question answering. After about round 4 of 10, having realised that we were definitely not going to win and so competitive streak dead (and a considerable about of rum consumed) I rather gave up attempting to remember the genealogy of Dostoyevsky characters, taking instead to making paper fortune tellers and giving them to friends on other teams. Sorry guys. Though, even if I'd been sober, I'd have been of little use.
Having lost spectacularly, we returned to the bar so I could continue the destruction of my liver undistracted. The Irish contingency were on fine form as always, along with a couple of Kiwi's and the not-too-weird Belgian (who does not like jazz. I checked). I am reliably informed that, finding my smuggled in booze supply depleted, I was very eloquent on the subject of 'Why Is All The Rum Gone?' (my flask must have had a leak in it) before retiring to bed.
Saturday Morning started with an exceptionally thoughtful coffee delivery to my hotel room (Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you) - between which and several pints of water I managed to re-hydrate my brain. Not being particularly interested in any of the author talks (not having read any of their books), I opted instead to go to Nottingham Castle, having not visited since childhood. It seems that on all previous trips I managed to miss the fact that Nottingham Castle is NOT a Castle. It's an art gallery on a site where a castle used to be, and a gatehouse. Disappointed at a lack of opportunity to play English K-niggits, I decided to do I tour of the underlying caves, which proved well worth it if just for learning one juvenile but genius fact: Nottingham used to be called Snottingham, named after Viking Lord Snot.
Back to the hotel to engage in some standard fare raffle-and-announmenting, but more importantly to work out how much walking would be involved in getting to the restaurant for dinner and thus make an informed shoe decision.
I made the mistake of joining the largest group for dinner, which meant that service was a bit slow, though the wait staff were friendly enough (in a slightly manic way) and happy to hand out kiddie colouring in sheets with crayons to bored children (Kiwi & I). We continued my paper folding theme by making origami cats. Then an origami garden for them to play in, complete with origami birds to eat and origami flowers to play with... and then we made the staff put our picture in the children's gallery (I snuck back later and moved all the children's pictures away from ours, they were very inferior). The other mistake I made at dinner was sitting with the whole of Team Wolf (from the game of BC Mnopoly I'm hosting at the mo), giving them ample time to crack 'jokes' about biased bonus pointing and to attempt to bribe me**. After dinner (and a quick photo call in the art gallery) we headed back to the hotel bar, where we completely failed to play any board games, so just continued drinking instead... opps.
Sunday morning dawned a little brighter and a lot earlier than I am used to, but I managed to make it to the release walk in a timely and vertical manner. However my cognitive skills were clearly somewhat lacking given that we came joint-second in the treasure hunt by one point - that point being lost due to my inability to count to eight. Oh dear.
The walk ended in a pub, which apparently did nice local ales, though I was rather distracted by the Sunday Dinner offered with UNLIMITED Roast potatoes.
I am still there now, poor fools had no idea what would happen when tehy offered a Hurst an uncapped supplies of roasties...
*Almost, but not entirely. We still had the lady who, when her joke-slash-factoid fails to receive rapturous applause (due to being unfunny/irrelevant/not even vaguely interesting) repeats said joke-slash-factoid again, louder. And again, louder... (please note, it was not quiet on it's first airing). The advantage of this habit is that she is easy to spot and avoid.
**All attempts were successful - I am completely open to bribery - preferred forms are alcohol and gratuitous compliments