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 DWDiscworld Updated: 01/05/17

A Great Time

Friday Saturday Maskerade Sunday Gala Dinner and T&J Monday Dead Monkey Tuesday

I think this DWCon is the first time I've been packed and ready the day before the start. I had an early train, and expected to be at the hotel no more than twenty minutes after it arrived at Birmingham International. Silly me, expecting clear signposting in Birmingham - it took me nearly forty minutes to get to the hotel. Still, there wasn't much of a check-in queue, so that didn't take long, although getting to my room did, it being right on the far side of the hotel to all the function rooms. I dropped off some stuff, had lunch, checked in my sword with Ops, registered, scribbled on the voodoo board, and found the bar, where I spent the remainder of my time before Teach Yourself Tech sitting around a table with some AFPers, including Mole, Rand, and SaintMaryUK. Eric appeared, and I gave him the books he'd ordered months ago when I left London.

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Teach Yourself Tech was mostly about how the sound boards worked, then we all hung around trying to make ourselves useful. We laid cables, failed to solve the problems of the induction loop and the overhead stage mics, signed up to tech tasks we wanted, and then I went to do some further errands of my own. First up was to check the voodoo boards to see if anyone had replied about where they wanted their books. No. So then I went to register for the Maskerade, done, then went to meet Essy (aka Clare), the Volunteer. I had known for some time that my costume for this Con would be Nijel the Destroyer - I'd conceived the script just after CCDE - and I thought it would do well. Not long before the Con, however, I had an idea for a bit of fun for the Maskerade photoshoot. However, it required the assistance of a slim female person not in the Maskerade, but it also would not work well if it wasn't a surprise. So, I drafted an advertisment, that unless you knew the context of, souned quite dodgy, and posted it to AFP and LJ. Essy was the sole respondant, and she seemed ideal (and also rather attractive). So, we met, I showed her the voodoo board, and we went back to my room to rehearse. A slight change of plan was necessary, but it would probably work out as even funnier.

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I had dinner then (Pot Noodle - there was no spoon in the room, so I had to improvise using a corkscrew), and returned to the Dysk for the final set up and dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony. It was running late, with various things not working, or only doing so intermittently. I was on camera one, and got a good view of everything when it finally did happen. I'd forgotten how much my legs and back had ached after doing a stint on camera at Orbital, but I'd signed myself up for two slots, so it was my own silly fault. Opening Ceremony over, I found Lisa and sold her the books she'd ordered, and she made some very encouraging noises about them when I handed them over. Then it was more set-up for Terry's Bedtime Stories, which mainly involved sitting on the stage checking that a monitor speaker was working properly, then back to camera one. Terry read from Nation, the upcoming YA book about a pair of young survivors of a catastrophic volcanic eruption in the pacific in the 1860s, one a native boy, one an English nobleman's daughter. He seemed to enjoy reading it, even though his head was casting a shadow on the book and causing him difficulty. When the initial hour was up, he gave people the opportunity to leave if they wanted, then carried on. He did the same again twenty minutes later. Finally, after an hour and forty minutes of reading, he really did finish, and told us, "that's it, you can all go away now!". After we'd closed down, I did - my back and legs were killing me, so I turned in.

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Got up early, had a very large breakfast in the hotel restaurant (the scrambled egg tasted like boiled polystyrene), then went to the maskerade tech rehearsal. Waited around for a few minutes, went through my entry - very simple, general wash lighting, no sound effects, voice overs or music, but I did ask for a hands-free mic, just in case. Just the sort of entry they like. They sent me on my way, which meant finding the Reduced DW rehearsal to report in for my ASMing duties. I was given a playscript and SM script, told to keep one, and learn then return the other, but in the meantime, bugger off. So I did, and spent most of the time in the Bunch of Grapes, drawing BeerMonster and selling books. I also officially joined the Guild of Conjurers, Thespians and Associated Trades. Just short of 2pm, I went back to the Dysk and reported in for duty on the lights for PTerry's GoH interview.

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It took the form of a mock-"This is Your Life" thing, with guests from the past of DW, what with it being the 25th anniversary of DW and PTerry's 60th year. Needless to say, there were problems - they needed a screen on stage to show PTerry videos, that also linked to the main projection screen. Unfortunately, it didn't want to work with any laptops, so we used a monitor, and routed control through the tower. So we started 20 minutes late. Never mind. I watched and listened as Colin Smythe, Rob (PTerry's PA), Bernard Pearson, Steven Briggs, and Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen reminisced about their contributions to DW, and how it was all so fantastic, and the whole greater the sum of its parts. When they got to the bit about the silver statue of the DW used for the Best In Show prize, I was almost convinced they were going to mention the occassion when it wasn't returned on time, but he didn't. so I breathed a quiet sigh of relief. At the end, I hung around for a bit, seeing if there was anything in particular to do, but there wasn't, so I went back to the Bunch of Grapes, where I relaxed for a bit, before I began running around like a headless chicken.

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I had to try and find rgemini to give him my camera, and also have time to eat, and get changed, and have one last run-through of words. I couldn't find him, so I gave my camera to Hunter, asking him to give it to Roy, then I went to my room. Fortunately, I had been able to palm a spoon at breakfast, and my dinner was much easier to eat. I got changed, and headed down to Ops. On the way, I met Roy, and told him where my camera was. Ops said I'd get my sword when I was in the green room, so that's where I went. I met Andrew and BriD (and completely missed Daibhid, because I thought he was thinner), we nattered, we hung around looking at the other entries, and so on. At one point, a techie came in and fitted me for a hands-free mic. I was entry number four, so I was in the first group to be taken across. The others went straight across to the far wing, while I hung around, having the mic fitted again. It was turned on as late as possible, then they sent me over. I waited through the CoM extra and Cheery Littlebottom CSI, then it was my turn. I was the first Master-class entry. I hate going on early. Never mind. I ran on, drawing my sword and yelling, and nearly falling over, as the script called for. What the script didn't call for, was the mic coming unclipped from my cross-belt as it slipped after drawing the sword, and hanging between my feet for the duration. However, it appeared the overhead stage mics were working, and I was audible. I did a flawless performance, the only dodgy bit being the "Grabthar's Hammer" line. It got a laugh, but a bit later than I expected, so I carried on without waiting, then they laughed. I carried on, and increased my volume. My final line before sidling off turned into a bit of a, "THIS. IS. SPARTA!" moment, but that just seemed to make it funnier - especially when I keeled over backwards due to the weight of my sword. I sidled off, and returned to the green room, and began freezing my arse off for over an hour. At some point, someone loaned me a pink fluffy bodywarmer, then a tablecloth, and finally a long leather coat was draped over my shoulders.

Finally, we were called back to the Dysk. As we filed in, Terry was reading out the winners. Unfortunately, he got a bit confused, as the names of the entrants were not matched up properly to what their entry was. Apparently, I won the masterclass (I am now three for three when it comes to winning a prize for Maskerade entries). Then he went through the special awards, and I started getting apprehensive - I had imaged a scenario where I'd won the Best in Show, and I'd worked out a reply upon being presented with the statue. "I will take this treasure ... [Look in book] I will take this treasure and set it to be guarded by demons, so that you shall never retrieve it, not even if you send the best tiny blue thieves in the world to get it!" (heh heh, in-joke that probably only two people would get). When Terry mentioned that Best in Show had been won by unanimous vote, I began to think, "Surely not," and then he announced the winner was Tiffany Aching singing "Defying Gravity", complete with a broomstick with trainer brooms attached. Well-deserved, I thought, as I'd heard her singing when I left the Green Room briefly to borrow some tissues from Ops.

Then we all trailed out to Morpork for the photo shoot. I started out by posing with the book I'd made as a prop - a copy of "Inne Juste 7 Dayes I Will Make You a Babearian Hero" (cardboard cover over an old dictionary) - looking things up. After a few minutes, I put it away and drew my sword. I did a few poses, for a couple of minutes, swung the sword around for a minute, posed, and then I started getting cold again, so I put my sword away and put my final plan into action. I found Clare in the crowd next to Roy. I pointed at her, and shouted, "Wench!" to gain attention, then I strode over to her, bent down, and tried to hoist her over my shoulder. I couldn't manage it, so I straightened up, resting a hand on her shoulder as I got my breath back. She then swore in what I can only assume was Überwaldean, scooped me up in her arms, and carried me out. Yaay! A few cheers, a few laughs (the photo crowd was thinning by then), but it worked! Then I got changed and wet to the Hedgehog party, where I met Roy and found that, unfortunately, he'd not been able to find Hunter, and my camera had spent the Maskerade in Ops - so no photos (if anyone has any, I'd really like to see them!)
WANTED: Photos of any and all Maskerade contestants, 'cos I don't have any. Ta!

Anyway, at the Hedgehog party, I balloon-fenced Marco for a bit, then retrieved my camera. On the way back, I bought Roy and Clare drinks as a thank you, then hung around for a bit, before starting to dance occasionally, and I participated in a quick game of twister. Heather found time to quickly congratulate me on my performance in the Maskerade - so at least we're vaguely back on speaking terms, then. Highlights of the evening include a dance-off between me and Jester (he won, at least partly due to the fact that he wasn't wearing huge boots), joining a chorus line for Bohemian Rhapsody, jumping into the middle to take up the air guitar alongside Andrew Nevill for the mosh bit, more air guitar, more dancing, a bit of drinking. Eventually, at about 2am, as the party was winding down, I decided I really needed to get to bed, so I headed out. My route took me past the Bunch of Grapes, where I spotted the usual singing group. I joined in on the outskirts, singing in The Monster Mash, Basket Case, and a couple of others. At both 3am and 4am, I again decided I really needed to get to bed, I still didn't go. By the time we got around to American Pie, I was in the kind of mood to insert the chorus from The Saga Begins. Finally, by 5am, I really decided I had to go to bed. So I did.

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Sunday was another early start, due to a rehearsal for the play starting at 8am. I made it on time, unlike some of the cast. It went on so long that I missed most of the Writers Workshop, that I'd really wanted to get to. In the end, I missed it completely, and spent the time until the next rehearsal in the Bunch of Grapes. I got back to the Pit for the rehearsal, and there were a pair of gophers there taking orders for lunch, free, paid for by the Convention. So I ordered a pizza and an apple (must remain healthy, you know!) before going in. The rehearsal was the first time I'd seen them do the ending of the play, and it was very ropey compared to the material I'd seen that morning.

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Afterwards, I wandered around a bit again, and yet again wound up in the Bunch of Grapes. Eric talked me into taking part in his Guild Entertainment, Moving in Mysterious Ways. Basically, all you had to do was make it from one side of the room to the other, in a mysterious way. It was one volunteer from each Guild - I volunteered for the Conjurers', Essy volunteered for the Seamstresses', Marco volunteered for the Alchemists', and Lemming volunteered for the Witches'. The final entrant was young Linnea Collier for the Small Gods'. Despite Lemming tiptoeing, Essy ballerina-ing, Marco silly walk-ing, and me dancing (finishing with a couple of cartwheels) across the room, it was the Small Gods' entrant who won. Next was the Witches' Guild Entertainment, which was basically an animal-noises drinking game done up as a Borrowing competition (but without the drinking), which was a lot of fun. Finally, the Seamstresses' did a Troll dress-tease, which involved putting clothes on Butcher (and someone else I can't remember).

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I went back to the Bunch of Grapes after that, and listened in on Countertony leading some singing, of things like Glorious Mud, the Anti-Vegetarian Song, and the Laws of Thermodynamics Song. Then I peeled off to get changed for the Gala Dinner. Normally, I wouldn't have forked out the ticket price for it, but as my 30th birthday just a few days before, I had decided to treat myself. So, to the Gala Dinner I went.


I looked very smart in my suit. I know this, because several people told me. Just before 7pm, I wandered over to the Dysk, where I found Vincent in the queue. He was wearing a sock for a tie (he'd forgotten to pack one, apparently), and not long afterwards His Grace, Duke Mortimer of Sto Helit arrived (Andrew). We talked as we waited, about the possibilities inherent with the combination of high-mounted CCTV cameras and the excessive amounts of corsetry moving around.

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We eventually moved in, and joined the refined mass sprint for the bar. I spotted the vouchers for the free drinks everyone else had, and that I hadn't found in my goody bag. Bugger. I hung around with Andrew and Vincent for a bit - Andrew had mentioned that he was going to try and get Vetinari to call him "Your Grace", and I wanted to hear it happen. So, Vincent and I hovered at Andrew's shoulders as bodyguards (he'd guard the bottom half, I'd guard the top half) while he greeted Vetinari (who was accompanied by a uniformed Watchman and a miscellaneous woman). Lord Vetinari did not call Duke Sto Helit by the proper honourific. I went up to my room and found the drinks voucher. I came back and got my hands on a Spitfire, then wandered round. I found Roy again, in character as Captain Roy the Truthful, an explorer. We nattered a bit, then I went on another wander, then came back to sit down and save my feet.

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We were called to the front of the Dysk in groups of whatever dragon we were patron of, then filed down the corridor to the actual Dinner. I made a complete circle of my table looking for my placecard. I'd looked at the place settings notices earlier in the day, and only recognised MartynC as someone I knew at my table. When others had sat down, I realised I knew more - apart from MartynC(lapham), going anti-clockwise there was Naomi (Ladylark), Barry R (the Barrier), and Karen (Sessifet). This meant that I only just missed the criteria for not being a newbie - there were ten at the table. We liked the cute little dragons perched on the sculpted placecard holders. There was also a "Whinny if you (heart) dragons" bumper sicker, and a pamphlet on "Diseases of the Dragon". I'd noticed earlier that Andrew and Vincent were supposed to be on either side of Stacie, but now there was an empty space, so I went over to enquire - apparently, she had had to go already, as term started for her tomorrow.

The food started arriving. My card read,
Brian Wakeling
    Melon
   Chicken
    Cheese

and other people's were similarly comical. I got my slices of melon, with a selection of summer fruits nestling in the middle, and two halves of a very nice strawberry. That finished, the main course arrived. My chicken was rather dry, but someone on the other side of the table found it very rather moist. Then, after a bit of a wait, came the pudding. A selection of cheeses for me, a creme brulee for the ladies on either side of me. The creme brulees were total sugar rush, apparently, but my cheeses were not so nice. The Brie had been left out too long, the other strong one was a bit horible, and the cheddar was rubbery. The grapes were quite nice, though, as were the crackers, and there was good coffee as well. While waiting for the speeches to start, we wibbled amiably and commented on the shapes the candles had melted into.

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Then the speeches started. I had at one point considered leaving for the Toast & Jam before they did, but I was enjoying the atmosphere so much, I stayed. Bruce gave a short speech about the charity auction and the dragon racing, then Terry stood up and began to talk about how happy he was that there was so much corsetry around, and how so many of its' wearers were new to DWCons. He raised a laugh practically every other line. He handed over to Stephen Briggs Lord Vetinari, who talked at short length about being the ruler of a highly-successful fictional city, and how glad he was, "the only one with the vote." At this, Terry leaned back and said in a sing-song voice, "That's what you think," which got a huge laugh. Long silence from Vetinari.

It wasn't long after that that we all left for other parts of the Con. I made a brief stop at the Dragon Racing, showed a couple of people the cute dragon I'd got from the Gala Dinner. Hung around for a few minutes more, nothing really very interesting going on, so I headed for the Toast & Jam. It was quite lively in the Lancre Forge, a good crowd, a lively number going, that sort of thing. I had barely arrived when Edmund mentioned the sign-up sheet for numbers, so I went over and put myself down for Hero of Canton and The Saga Begins. It wasn't long before I was called up for Hero of Canton - the only person who had the chords was ill and wasn't there though, so I had to attempt it acapella. Edmund: What key do you want it in? Me: I dunno. I don't know about keys and technical stuff like that, I just sing. So I sang. A room-full of con-goers has nothing on a bar-full of Mudders, though, when it comes to singing along with the chorus. As I made my way back to my seat, there were many cries of, "Shiny!", which meant it was good enough, I suppose.

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The T&J went on. I went up for a couple of more songs - songs I liked, and knew well, but didn't manage to do them justice really. We had foreign folk songs from Menno (I think), some good jazz numbers, lots of different singers, lots of different songs. But it was going the wrong way. People were drifting away, and the songs were getting slower and more melancholy, exactly the sort of songs that kill an event when it's quiet. Graham Higgins came on for a quick set with his ukelele near the end, but the very end was provided by a group of singers singing The Saga Begins. I was not among them, so I just sat and sung. I'm sure I wasn't the only one perturbed by the arrival, mid-song, of a scary-looking drunk guy with red hair, a pack of cigs in one hand and an open beer can in the other. It was, by now, somewhere on the wrong side of 2am, and I had to get up for an item at 8am again, so I slipped away to bed.


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Up early again, breakfast, straight to the Dysk for rehearsal, start by going to the Pit to move all the props over. The rehearsal goes better than yesterday's, but still a few slip-ups and mistakes. We have the full might of Tech working with us to give us all the sound and lighting effects we need, which requires a certain amount of re-rigging as we rehearse. Off-putting to say the least. We got to the end of our allotted time before Meet the Mob, and we had to clear out, unfinished. Lunch and an hour later, we were back in the dead time, to complete our rehearsal, which we did. Then came the scramble in the remaining time to reset, prepare, and panic. Outside the stage door, in the queue, I came across Vincent, and told him I already had an idea for next Con's Maskerade, which would require his and Andrew's assistance. He agreed to become an accomplice.

The play started a few minutes late, but we managed to catch up on the projected running time - and then lose it again. A few people still seemed to be having trouble with their lines, and many resorted to the tried and tested trick of writing them on their props. Silverfish, Gaffer, even Victor - but not Dibbler, he didn't have any props that could be written on, and waffled tremendously to cover his lapses. At one point, he said, "What I'm saying is, I'm saying, what I'm saying, you see, is that I'm saying I want a line please?" Okay, it got a laugh (and a prompt from Andrew), but it couldn't really be called subtle, could it? Except perhaps by Dibbler himself. We seemed to finish more-or-less on time, and then something unscheduled happened. We found out why David hadn't learnt all his lines - he'd been too busy learning some more important ones. He found a mic from somewhere, and straight after the lineup, proposed to Tal.

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Poor thing (awwww!). Apparently, David had done a magnificent job of keeping it a secret from her, but not from anyone else at the Con. She had a grin more dazed than her usual one on her face for the rest of the day. I caught up with them during the reset for the closing ceremony (which I was ostensibly helping with) and showed them the picture. "Did you know?" Tal asked. "He's always known, the bastard!" was David's grinned reply. Frankly, from the time I first saw them together at the T&J in 2006, I'd known it would take heavy machinery to keep them apart.

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Anyway, I got back to helping clear up after the play, and set up for the closing ceremony. I spotted Andrew in the audience and asked him about the 2010 Maskerade, and he also said yes. I lurked at the back during the ceremony - I knew I couldn't actually do anything, as I'd have to stop doing it to get my prize. As I collected it from Shand, I dropped the zen water garden part of it (still in character, you see). Martyn congratulated me as I went past to the back again. And not long after, it was all over. I escaped, bagged my prizes, went out to the lobby to make sure I caught people I wanted to catch, and possibly take photos of them. I congratulated Tal and David again, properly this time, and led them back to where PTerry was, so they could thank him - if it hadn't been for his books, they never would have met. David passed me his camera and asked me to take the picture. I used mine at the same time. No sooner had I returned David's camera, someone gave me theirs. Okay. I took the photo, and handed it back before anyone else mistook me for a photographer, then I went to Ops to claim my sword. I put it in my room, re-arranged my bag, and went back to the Dysk to help out with the tear down.

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I didn't last long before my knees started to complain, and I got tired of being stuck to things with gaffer tape I was trying to remove from other things, so I repaired to the Bunch of Grapes. I saw more people I wanted to talk to, so I talked to them. I ended up in a group with Torak, Essy, BriD and rgemini, which evolved to include Worbleook, Alex Holden, and the Feegle/Glingleglingleglinge fairy whose name I've completely forgotten, but no longer BriD or rgemini. We decided on food, so we went and got it (a bowl of chips for Torak, a bowl of chips and plate of nachos between self, Essy and Feegle/Glingle), whilst looking at the photos I'd taken on my laptop. It didn't take us long to start singing about gold - tunes used included We Will Rock You, Rule Britannia, The Star Spangled Banner, Spam, and others. That was when Martyn came up to us and asked for our assistance with the music at the Dead Monkey Party, which had just started.

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We were just leaving the Bunch of Grapes when I spotted a convention balloon, that had had a hedgehog's face drawn on it. I, naturally, picked it up. We began singing about gold again, this time to the tune of Colonel Bogey. Torak marched us down the corridor, us matching his step, still singing about gold. As we neared, he began calling the step. I was directly behind him, the others were in single file behind us. Our voices carried. Torak broke ranks and barked the order to right wheel. "Riiiiight wheeeel!" he ordered, and I led the way through the open door to the Lancre Forge. "Squaaaad - Halt!" I was the only one inside the door. The whole room, including the bar staff, were looking at me with stunned expressions. After all, a squad of singers, one of them painted blue, and one of them carrying a balloon with a hedgehog face on it, has just marched up to the doors singing about gold to the tune of Colonel Bogey - what else can you do? "Squaaad - Diiiisss-miss!" I executed a left turn, stamped out, and broke ranks, in the approved manner (according to Torak, everyone copied me exactly). Noise began to return to the room, and after I dropped my bag, I approached the bar. One drink acquired, we played balloon keepie-uppie around the sweetie table, with as many as fourteen balloons at once, I counted. It was most hectic, and very silly. I approached Martyn about Walking the Walk - he said he daredn't, as he was officialy in charge, but I could run the Walk until someone more senior turned up. Fairy nuff. I gathered the lunatics who had followed me in, and explained matters to them. Five minutes later: "My lords, ladies and gentlemen - and I apologise if I left anyone out!" I screamed in my best Sergeant-Major's voice. "The league of evil gold singers is proud to present the Postman's Walk! Could we please have some volunteers, to test your bravery, skill and luck, against The Walk!" Among the first volunteers were Nicola and Mary-Ellen, two Irish girls who were at their first DWCon. Torak's evil grin over my shoulder hadn't appeared to put them off, nor had the course he, Essy and Alex had put together under my vague direction. They stayed with us the rest of the night, and were instrumental in advancing Torak's plans for Party Domination (bwahahahahahahaaaa!)

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We did get more assistants, who usually Walked the Walk, then hung around pretending to be mad dogs or snipers, or planks of wood. One of them, Cat, had face paints. She began by writing words on people's foreheads. At one point, we had a dog, a maniac, a plank, and later a cat. The Walk got very silly, and very evil. One of the courses had some of the assistants moving the obstacles back-and-forth across the course while the Walker was Walking. When Martyn saw that, he good-naturedly blew his top: "Wakeling! What have you done to my game!?" and so on...

Lots of us now had face paint on in silly patterns. I prompted Mary-Ellen to draw very thick lipstick on Nicola, with nothing more than the intention of making her look like a tart. She ended up with Joker-esque clown lips. It wasn't long after that that Mary-Ellen swung me round in a dance sort-of-thing. I got my own back by attempting to hoist her over my shoulder - and whaddya know? It worked!

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After a while, we got no more volunteers for the Walk (it was probably Torak's talk of landmines that did it). But we did have one more trick up our sleeves. We found a volunteer, Richard (Dibbler in the play), who had Walked before. We set up a fiendish course. We blindfolded him. Then we removed all the obstacles. We got Mary-Ellen to Drive him, making him avoid lots of non-existant and improbable obstacles. And we videoed it on at least three different camera phones. But that was it for the Walk after that, so we cleared away and set up the dragon racing. After maybe a dozen races, people got bored of that too, so we set up a couple of flip-charts as a net and played balloon volleyball (my request for teams of three, preferably of bikini-clad women, met with no response). That killed maybe twenty minutes, before we gave up and played twister. And that finished us off.

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We sat aroud doing very little, except maybe playing hangman, and trying not to get tickled. Then the bar closed, and the whole thing started shutting down. We drifted away to the Bunch of Grapes, where rgemini rejoined us (the group now consisted of Cat, Torak, Nicola, Mary-Ellen, Alex Holden, rgemini, and myself) for a game of Mornington Crescent. Unfortunately, none of the girls knew how to play. To make it easier for them, we expanded it to European cities and landmarks, with the 2003 Standardised ruleset, and applying the April Fools' Day 1954 Starting Procedures revision. We started in Dublin, the target was Den Haag (the Hague). Mary-Ellen made an inspired move when she said Dubrovnik, and Torak's attempt to stall me in St Petersburg forced my tactical withdrawal to Athens. Cat went to Belfast, which I thought was clever, but Torak, obviously a more experienced player than I, used it as a stepping stone to The Hague. We took pity on them then, and Roy explained the reality of it. Various bits of food was ordered, and with Nicola taking the role of the Lovely Samantha, we played the words with no connections game. This went on for a while. Eventually, we moved into sudden death mode. I can't remember what Roy said, but I said, "Plaice - as in the fish,", and I can't remember what Cat said after me, but I immediately objected on the grounds that cats ate fish. That was after Cat had said, "Giraffe,", followed by, "Bodine non-constantates," (or something) from Torak, and (once it had been explained what they were) I obected on the grounds that Giraffes were made of matter, and with enough processing would be able to achive the state of bodine non-constantantic-ness. I got points for both. I was, surprisingly, in the lead, and eventually it boiled down to me and versus Nicola across the table. She said, "The Moon." I said, "Fellatio." She said, "The British Flag." I said, "Cirrhosis of the liver,"and Roy put his glass of Talisker down. I eventually came unstuck when I said, "Salt," which I'd forgotten had been said before. We finished off the night with a few rounds of Just a Minute, on the subects of "Bad Losing" (which I won after interrupting with 0.4 seconds remaining), "Broomsticks" (I forget who won that), and "Face Painting" (which I also won). By this time, the face paints had rematerialised, and I had a rather Snidely-Whiplash moustache adorning my face. We ended up discussing oddities of Irish (and other language's) spelling vs pronunciation.

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I will be brief. Rose the latest I had all weekend. Breakfasted with Roy. Packed. Checked out. Started trying to catch up on writing this report. (I should have been helping with the get-out, by my higher brain functions just weren't.) Played Tsuro. Spotted PTerry going past, and showed him "Inne Juste seven Dayes I Wille Make You a Barbearian Hero!", as I thought it might amuse him. It did. He congratulated me on my comedy technique in the Maskerade, and signed the book! Now I can never take the cover off, or I will be forever wondering how and why I persuaded Terry Pratchett to sign a dog-eared pocket dictionary.

Great fun!