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Cambridge invasion: Report


From: Patrick Dersjant <patrick@lspace.org>
Newsgroups: alt.fan.pratchett
Subject: [F] Cambridge invasion report
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 23:03:02 +0200
Message-ID: <MPG.153458d0b72f2b0d98971c@news.lspace.org>

Hi afpeople,

so here's the long awaited for report on the dutch invasion of Cambridge, 
a bit more than a week ago.

First off all, a list of all the attendees at the meet:
I. Invasion Crowd
Patrick, Menno, Martin, Eelco, Kimberley, Uwe, Jos

II. Home side:
Nikki, Jay, Mole, Vickie, Ccooke, Sandriana, Rand, Thomas, Ben, Rachel, 
Colette, Eponine, Alan, Gideon, Jennifer, Tony, Brett, Paul, Liz, Keith, 
Elaine, Hippo, Jonathan, Barry, Helen, Tim, Karen (the vodka vixen), Kat, 
Simes, Kincaid, Miq, Susan, Livia, Allen with their babies zoŽ and the 
one only referred to as 'the quiet baby'.

III. Local Furriners:
Mike (ok, furrin local), Arwen, Tamarra, Tom  

That makes it an astonishing 47 people.

Anyways, let me start at the beginning, and that was Friday morning. Due 
to the recent outbreak of FMD[1], border controls with Belgium were in 
force again, so travellers were advised to leave early. We did, picked up 
Eelco along the way and arrived at the border, only to find - no border 
control at all. Ah well, better safe than sorry. So we continued onwards 
to Oostende, where our ferry was already waiting for us. We had some 
stuff that was almost but not entirely unlike food (don't ask Kimberley 
about the baguette with scrambled eggs), then continued onwards onto the 
ferry. The journey into Dover was pretty eventless, though we were able 
to entertain ourselves with the coffee served on board. The bar served 
the coffee in three different sort of cups, and was inconsistent in the 
number of cookies you got with a cup as well - this ranged from a single 
cookie up to eight <g>.
When we finally arrived in Dover, we continued towards Cambridge with 
just one wrong left-turn that would have sent us westwards. Two full 
rounds on the roundabout remedied that, and we went off into the right 
direction. About two and a half hours later we arrived at Rachels house, 
in time to order some chinese. As Martin had arranged a stay in the youth 
hostel, Rachel and I quickly dropped him off in the city center. I must 
get that sticker for the car - 'I drove in Cambridge city center and 
survived'.
Shortly after we returned, the food arrived, and was devoured hungrily. 
Some more talking was done, but reasonably early we called it a day.
The next morning saw us showering and then enjoying breakfast - crumpets, 
muffins and coffee. Some time was spent geeking, and I remember a crowd 
gathering around Ben playing Delta Force Land Warrior. Not too much later 
however, we started the walk into town, where we would meet a colleague 
of Rachel, who would take four of us (Flexor, Jos, Eelco & me) to see the 
most famous of Cambridge landmarks - the coffee pot. In the meantime, the 
rest of the crowd amused themselves in the local Waterstones, a book shop 
with section titles like, amongst others, 'Horror', 'Science Fiction', 
and 'Terry Pratchett'.
The geek tour however went fine - not only were we able to see the coffee 
pot and determine that it was empty, we also got a look around at the 
NOC, having a peek at the more modern Suns and the most important machine 
(as determined by the number of spares present) - an old^Wvintage BBC 
microcomputer used to display status information all through the 
building.
Anyways, back at the bookstore we went for the next part of the afternoon 
programme: a chem lecture - it was, after all, National Science week, and 
what else would a geek want - on how to blow up things. Yes, this was 
about gases - both the explosive and the non explosive things. One of the 
quotes I still remember was 'Now, let's see, what else can we burn?'. The 
cunning plan to get some Helium to the meet for general merryment was 
abandoned for some reason however.
By the time we got out of the lecture, it had started to rain, and we 
walked briskly towards the meet pub, which was still closed. So we took 
the one across the street, where Tom, Mike, Martin, Sandriana and some 
more people where already waiting. Some darts was played, and the first 
bad puns were made. When the real pub opened about half an hour later, we 
went over, to occupy the first floor, where Rachel had optimistically 
reserved space for 'about twenty to twenty five' people. Quickly it 
became clear that the UK contingent wouldn't let us cloggies invade 
without heavy restistance, though. More and more people turned up, making 
this a densely populated meet. From this point onwards my memories blur, 
so I really hope people chip in with their own stories and memories - I 
for my part talked to loads of people, did a round with Martin at one 
point to get a list of all attendees, didn't get to talk to everybody I 
wanted to talk to, organized the Hannover meet three days later with Uwe, 
Jenny and Kimberley (see other post), had loads of great ales (why don't 
they have any of them over here?), and a great stilton burger. Ah yes, 
the stilton burger. It seems, that from the people who ate this, at least 
seven have confirmed food poisoning. Two definitely had the burger 
without any consequences - Eelco and me. Could that be because of the 
bottle of Irn Bru-Vodka Arwen so kindly provided us with, and which was 
finished by the two of us later that night whilst filking 'AFP ga ga'?
Anyways, the meet was great, but due to the UK pub regulations (luckily 
they don't have *them* over here...) finished too early. A lot of 
goodbyes, and after a brisk walk we returned to Ben and Rachels place, to 
do a bit more talking, and in Eelco and my case, filking (yes, that one 
will be posted, but requires a finishing touch). Finally, all became 
quiet as sleep set in.
The next morning (sunday) saw the people who crashed at Tom's place 
(Mike, Jos and Kimberley) return for breakfast. As both Flexor and me 
wanted to take some Irn Bru with us to the Netherlands, we ventured down 
to the local supermarket - which didn't stock it. So we did a quick trip 
with Menno's car to the local Tesco, and took Martin with us, who 
sprinted out of the showing of 'The X-Men' to get his own shot as well. 
Unfortunately, there were only two bottles left on the shelf, but a 
helpful assistent came back with a sixpack of 2l bottles, which we 
requested he put directly into our cart. He looked at us a bit funny, 
then.
Anyways, the shopping done, we returned home, to unpack the bottles and 
put them in my car boot. Though, on reflection, it was a mistake to put 
the car keys temporarily into the boot as well. Of course, I only noticed 
*after* I closed it, and stood there without the keys, in front of a 
locked car. Bugger. And only two hours before we'd have to leave to catch 
the ferry.
Luckily I'm a dutch AA member, and the AA arrived quite quickly - within 
twenty minutes if I remember it correctly. The guy unpacked his stuff, 
then the first thing he did was look into the manual. Mmm, good thing. 
The first approach (the coathanger one, I'm sure you know it - else 
there's probably a web page describing it - try googling) failed, but the 
second approach, featuring some pieces of plastic and some good old yarn 
did the trick. Of course, in the meantime the service man asked us what 
we do for a living - and sure enough, the moment you mention computers...
Anyways, we got back into the appartment again, and were able to watch 
the last fifteen minutes of the X-Men. Then it was time to pack up, 
exchange hugs, say goodbye, and leave.
The trip back was not as uneventful as Fridays trip to Cambridge. All 
went well until we hit the M25, where a large transport blocked the way 
for three exits. When we were finally allowed to pass, my car had to 
catch up with Menno's as he was in a different lane and got past the 
obstacle much faster. It wasn't until far beyond the Dartford tunnel that 
we caught up.
However, time wasn't an issue, as it appeared the ferry had a half hour 
delay. It was about an hour when we left, in high seas - boarding was 
really difficult; I've not yet had to drive onto a ship that's going up 
and down at least a meter.
Anyways, with that delay, and a pretty stormy crossing ('free roller 
coaster ride with every second crossing'), we arrived in Oostende pretty 
late, and back in Leiderdorp even later - at about 3am local time. 
Dropped off Jos and Kimberley at their place, and left Martin, Uwe and 
Eelco to sort themselves out, as they didn't have anywhere else to go 
anymore <g>.
All in all, a very good weekend, definitely worth the effort. A pity the 
meet wasn't longer, but then CCDE is also coming up - I'm looking forward 
to it.

Patrick,
patting the sig monster for an appropriate quote.
[1] Foot and Mouth Disease, for those unfamiliar with the abbreviation.
-- 
'If Jack Straw wants to limit immigration he'd make a good start by
closing down afp...'            --   Orjan Westin, on same channel.


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