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PlyMoth: Report


From: Miq <Mike@kew1.demon.co.uk>
Newsgroups: alt.fan.pratchett
Subject: [F] Who's going to do the Plymouth Meet Report then?
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 20:08:21 +0100
Message-ID: <yPmvDXAlECp5EwzV@kew1.demon.co.uk>
References: <39a18d49.9067036@news.freeserve.net>

On Mon, 21 Aug 2000, Sandrianna, masquerading for some reason as Johnno
<bigjohnno84@hotmail.com>, wrote
>So, who is? Not me, I've never done one. Over to you Moth (Eric, Ben,
>Kincaid, Rachel, Corinne, Pia, Mike)?

Meet report?  I can't do no meet report, I was only there less'n half
the time.  I can serpently describe the whole proceeding as I saw it,
though.

******

It's a fsck of a long way from Civilisation to Plymouth.  I warned Pia
about this.  "Five hours", I said, "six or more if we're really lucky
and we get to see the Exciting bits."  And behold, I was right.

On a bright and cheerful Saturday, sometime before 12, we were finally
ready to embark on the Great Western Journey.  I phoned Moth to tell him
when to expect us, and got no answer.  Never mind, I thought, I'll mail
him.  What could possibly go wrong?[1]

We loaded the car with all the odds and sods that you absolutely *have*
to take with you everywhere when you've got a car (as well as sleeping
bags, half a dozen books, Discman and huge pile of CDs, several bottles
of soft drinks, chocolate, food, umbrella, water, coats, bags, tent,
small kitchen, barber shop quartet)[2] and struck off onto the glorious
roads of southern England.

After a little while we encountered the M25.  Pia was most impressed.
"*The* M25?" she asked, incredulous, clearly deeply stricken with the
sheer honour that was being visited upon her.  The road was living up to
its reputation.  Traffic was moving at the pace of a snail on a
marijuana leaf, but with that grim purposeful determination that you
associate with people bound to Ikea for the weekend.  My trenchant
comments on the virtues of congestion seemed about to come back and
haunt me.  Every so often the whole logjam would speed up to a good
storming 50 mph for a few minutes, just to tease.

I'd resolved on taking Pia along the more scenic route, which also has
the virtue of being close to a straight line from London to Exeter.
Highlight of the route was Stonehenge.  Of course the traffic here was
also monumental, and we had plenty of time to admire the microlights
frolicking gleefully in the sky overhead.  As we crested the hill that
brings one within sight of the great standing stones, we were moving
rather slower than a footsore bronze-age pilgrim.  We stopped briefly to
admire the sky (and take it from me, if you ever find yourself on
Salisbury Plain, the sky is by far the most interesting thing you will
see).

Thereafter traffic improved, and we made brisk progress past Exeter and
on to Plymouth, where I paused to buy a street map.  Using same, Moth's
nest proved remarkably easy to find, despite his near-total ignorance of
the area he lives in.  I was impressed to learn that there actually
still *is* such a thing as the Plymouth Hoe, and it's not just a
gardening implement, or even a seamstress, in that city.  We parked in
the 'Permit Holders Only' area, and tried to phone Moth again.  Still no
response.  I finally managed to explain to Pia what a pager is, and we
tried that instead.  A few minutes later, an ethereal voice advised us
to 'Look up at the roof!' - and lo! the skyline was suddenly alive with
afpers, and Moth was waiting in the doorway below.  We had arrived.

The third thing that struck me about Moth's flat was that it has a
beautiful view.  From the balcony one can see the harbour, Mt Edgecumbe,
the Royal Marines barracks dating back to Napoleon's day, and a large
ferocious looking edifice that looks as if it was the inspiration for a
particularly sinister bit of scenery in 'HoMM 3'.

The second thing that struck me was that it was full of geeks.  As if
printed volumes of 'The Onion' weren't clue enough, there were at least
three games consoles around, and two of them were being used to play
'Near Dark'.  The widescreen TV was also a bit of a giveaway, and the
complete collection of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' tapes was another
hint.  The real clincher, though, came when Moth tried to order pizza
online *and* *nobody* *laughed* at the idea.  Truly, I thought, I am at
an afpmeet.

But the *first* thing that struck me was how bleedin' high up it was. No
wonder Moth is so fit, I thought.  No-one would want to lug more fat
than absolutely necessary up those stairs several times a day.

Undoubtedly the highlight of that evening came when Moth produced his
prized possession, the Star Wars(TM) Exclusive Collectors' Special
Limited Edition of Monopoly(TM) ("Only 100,000 ever printed!!!!"), and
we all settled down to fighting over who was to be Luke Skywalker.  I
don't remember who lost, but I got to be A Stormtrooper.  Underdogs, I
reasoned, always have more fun.

The game went on a little while, with sundry people dropping out and
giving all their worldly goods to Corinne at apparently random
intervals.  Monopoly(TM) was also apparently a novelty to Pia.  What she
made of the rules we played by, I dare not think.

The evening wore on well: we took Sandra home, we geeked, games were
played, Onions were read, evil plots were hatched (mentioning no names,
but take it from me, Eric is a devious ba*d).  Eventually the subject
turned to sleeping arrangements; those who knew what they were doing
promptly disappeared to private rooms, leaving the rest of us to fight
over floor and furniture space.  Kincaid provided a welcome diversion
with his much applauded 'lovestruck sheep' impression on the foot-pump,
courtesy of his 'inflatable bed' (as we agreed to call it).  I found
myself sleeping on the floor, and as a connoisseur of floors, I'd rate
it highly.  Warm, not too hard, nor noticeably smelly or dusty.  Thank
you, Thom; I slept well.

The following morning dawned gradually; I blinked in and out of
consciousness for an hour or so, and noticed others intermittently
getting up and lying down again.  By about 9:30, however, consensus had
definitely swung in the direction of 'Awake', and some kind soul made
tea.  Conversation turned to the day's programme of events, and for some
reason 'breakfast' loomed large in some people's consciousness.  We
resolved to seek out the cafe, less than 100 yards from the front door,
and stoke up on artery-clogging goodness for the day.

There was no sign of our host at this point, so after some discussion -
the time now edging into 'late morning' - we decided he would be able to
work out where we'd gone, and resolved to make our own way.  Breakfast
was substantial and nourishing, in the sense that it kills one's
appetite for the rest of the day.  After a while, Thom and Corrine
joined us, and much to my relief the geek quotient decreased.

We returned to the flat, waited for Sandra and discussed tactics for
waking Rachel.  Dynamite was disqualified as ecologically unacceptable
and probably illegal.  Hooks were seen as much more sound.  Still, the
operation had not yet moved into phase 3 (Emergence) when Sandra arrived
and it was time to begin our day trip to Mt Edgecumbe.

The ferry ride has been documented elsewhere.  The mount itself is a
picturesque site, with gardens, excitingly shaped trees and a Dodgy
Geyser, which Eric successfully dodged by falling flat on his back.
Much trespassing was done, and pictures will provide incriminating
evidence against most of the party In Due Course.  Eventually we settled
on a low ridge overlooking the sea, and enjoyed watching a nearby family
trying not to get soaked by their enthusiastic black labrador.  Some
consternation ensued when the dog, still dripping wet, came to greet us,
but on the whole there were no major injuries.  However, the water was
determined to get us, and as the stormclouds boiled overhead, we
scurried back to the ferry.  By the time we got back to the flat, it was
gone 5 and time for us to make our way homewards.

I must take a moment here to thank Sandra, who proved an enthusiastic
and eloquent guide to the attractions of a very attractive town; Moth,
for arranging the whole thing and providing the floor space, and trying
to order the pizza; and Corinne, for actually ordering the damn' pizza
when that failed.  Thanks also to Eric, Kincaid, Ben and Rachel for
several forms of entertainment, and especially to Pia for coming all the
way from Sweden to make the whole weekend so memorable.

I won't bore you with the homeward journey.  Suffice it to say that it
took fully 24 hours, and I was hardly drunk for any of that time.
Still, it was fun.

-- 
Miq
Deadlines looming?  Teachers to impress?  No time to read?  Never fear!
The Discworld Homework Files: http://www.kew1.demon.co.uk/homework.html

[1] Well, not much did go wrong in practice.  But I thought the rest would
    be more interesting if you all thought something was going to.[3]
[2] Not all of these items were actually in the car.  But you get the idea.
[3] So it's a cheap trick.  Sue me.


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