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Cambridge invasion: Report

From: Miq <>
Subject: [F] The Cloggie invasion of Cambridge - 24/3/01
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 19:09:31 +0100
Message-ID: <>

Hey, what's going on here?  There were more than 40 people at the
Cambridge afpmeet last weekend, and over a week later there's not been a
sniff of a hint of a mention of it on afp.  Have reports gone out of
fashion now?

Prompted, prodded and goaded by Well-Meaning Friends, I went.  After
some deliberation, I decided to go by train, which meant walking to the
station through the gentle but cold drizzle.

Sat on the platform waiting, watching the ever-changing digital display
of When The Next Train Is Going To Get Here - the expected time seemed
to be retreating at about one minute every two minutes.  It took some
careful mental arithmetic to work out that the train that was supposed
to be there at 6:45 should turn up before the one timetabled for 6:55.
Then there was more diversion trying to work out whether the two clocks
I could see were more or less than two seconds out of sync.

Who says public transport can't be fun?

On arriving in Cambridge, I walked down the road from the station, past
the taxi rank and the bus stop, past the statue of the soldier with the
bowling ball, down the main road into town.  One of the churches I
passed was hosting a crowd of campanologists, with deafening effect.  I
passed shops and colleges and churches and shops and libraries and
restaurants and shops, through town, across the river and out the other
side.  (Memo to self: *could* they find a pub that was further from the
station?  Exercise is good for me.)

On entering the pub, I looked around for a bunch of afpers.  There was a
small but suspicious crowd sitting in a corner, and I was just peering t
see if I recognised any of them when my glasses steamed up.  In some
confusion, and to save myself from embarrassment, I retreated to the
gents to clear my vision.  When I came out, there were afpers by the

This was just as well, 'cos it turned out that the main mob was
upstairs.  Without that hint, I could have been thoroughly embarrassed
and wasted a long time peering at strangers downstairs...

As it was, instead I spent that long time getting served.  The bar
wasn't even crowded, and there were three people behind it, but it was
still an agonising process trying to get a pint out of them.  It had
never really struck me before how much there is to be said for employing
fully trained bar staff, rather than a few students.  I could have mixed
a whole round of Slow Comfortable Double-Entendres in the time it took
me to get a simple pint.  I had time to read the menu, watch the CCTV of
the afpers upstairs and admire the variety of beers on offer.

When I finally got the drink, however, things improved.  Upstairs there
were a phenomenal number of afpers, some of whom I recognised.  Even
more encouragingly, some of them recognised me and started to berate me.
This is always a good sign.  It shows that they care.

Various people told me to sign up for the Convention.  (There seemed to
be a general assumption that I *would* go to the convention.  Nobody
*asked* me this; they *told* me.)  Even the normally-easygoing "& Co."
gave me a hard time about this, and about being a Gentleman of Leisure.

I don't really know who was there - though someone, somewhere has a list
- so I'll just mention those I remember speaking to.  They included
Brett and Kincaid, who kindly told me where to find the others; & and
Co., though Ponder was tied up by his girlfriend; Megamole, Melusine
(who showed off her geek toys, in a doomed attempt to make me jealous),
Vic (who most definitely *wasn't* passing through Embankment Gardens ten
days earlier), Tamara, Martin, Susan, Patrick and Kimberley.  I
introduced my new tiger (tiger!) and offered imported chocolate-covered
coffee beans, which were received with varying degrees of suspicion.

Martin gave me an *enormous* pile of books, which is undoubtedly one of
the most wonderful gifts I've ever received at a meet.  I gave him a

I left fairly early, mostly because I'd run out of money.  It's an
occupational hazard of being poor.  The return trip was notable mainly
for its coldness; to pass the time, I read an essay on euthanasia.


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