Combining my roles as token sober person and weird-internet-stalker-with-photographic-memory, it falls upon me to offer the aftermath writeup for this, my eighth nodermeet proper. But first, some backstory.
Twice this year I've tried and failed to attend international nodermeets- Ohio was scuppered after I got re-assessed for tuition fees; whilst Dublin required far more organisational skills than I could muster. However, for someone who neither drinks nor lives in London, I've made a reasonable effort with gatherings of the London Boozemonkeys. So when a nodermeet was announced to be held practically on my doorstep, I had no excuse not to go. Besides, my very first nodermeet was also organised in Bristol by the debutante, and I didn't live anywhere near at the time. Figuring that my own odd issues with food could be covered by the kosher/vegetarian/other special dietary requirements already being planned for, I signed up for what I imagined would be a couple of hours in the pub, some more drinks at the flat, a pleasant fry-up then home for a late Sunday lunch.
Well, it went something like that, only make it 8+ hours of pub, simply amazing food and home just in time for bed! In the absence of tiefling, I was called upon to fulfil geek with cards duties and so I happily abandoned my mathematical biology coursework to head over on Saturday afternoon with decks of Fluxx and Chrononauts. The usual rail chaos (1hr+ delays) failed to ruin my plans since I didn't have any, so I arrived at Temple Meads at a sufficiently similar time to Albert Herring to get a lift from the debutante.
Numerous rounds of fluxx with La petite mort and StrawberryFrog whilst snacking on party food saw us through to the evening, where, accompanied by TheLady, we ventured to the Arnolfini in accordance with our published plans. ascorbic joined us either just before we left or once we arrived (I forget which), and we nearly absorbed a complete stranger into the group after he made the error of sitting next to us, allowing us to mistake him for either OberonDarksoul or redalien, neither of whom any of us had previously met. redalien, when he arrived, turned out to be 19 and thus took over my status as youngest of the group, sparing some of the affection from Ninjagirls I usually have to 'endure'! OberonDarksoul we never found; it later transpired that he felt unable to attend after burning himself cooking. Since SharQ has set himself on fire at Bristol meets, this excuse will simply not do!
In traditional Britnoder style we then proceeded to consume vast amounts of alcohol and hold spirited discussions, often in multiples with confusing overlap and at volume, until we realised all the other patrons of the Arnolfini had left. We shall attribute that to its new decor rather than spontaneous outbursts of node titles from our group, but taking the hint we moved onto another drinking establishment, The Shakespeare, to see us through to the traditional closing time of 11ish (a phenomenon that may become less common with Britain's new 24 hour drinking laws).
Of course, 11pm closing is for lightweights, so at that point we relocated to a late-license venue, namely one of the Renato's (there are two on opposite sides of the road, a situation that was almost too confusing by this point). Adopting the subtle 'befriend and drive away' approach, TheLady was able to secure us a table in the extremely busy pub in a little over 10 minutes and so we settled in for more talking and drinking until, oh, about half two in the morning. By that point the staff resorted to strobing the lights and blasting terrible Italian music to force their remaining customers out onto the streets, and so we attempted the wander back to the flat.
It was rapidly established that several noders needed the support of the rest to manage this, not least of all our lovely host, who delegated little details like remaining upright and facing in the right direction to myself and ascorbic. Once we reached the Princestreet Bridge redalien made some feeble protest about wanting to go to his own home, but was easily coerced into joining us at the flat. This we reached after a fairly slow walk and a brief exhange about sex with umbrellas that could only arise from drunken noders at 3am.
Since, after 24 hours of being awake, the debutante had basically fallen asleep on me, we figured out sleeping arrangements; the Bristol locals returning to their own residences and the rest claiming beds or cushions. Once everyone had turned in at about 4am, I sorted a couple of minor things like locking the front door.
Four hours later and my smug sober self woke up and beat the shower queue by about a day. An impressively un-hungover LPM was next up, and we delighted in mocking the somewhat more delicate StrawberryFrog and Albert Herring, who resorted to various chemical remedies, dark glasses and naps in an attempt to recover.
One of the debutante's normal friends turned up but it didn't take too long for us to scare him away, and then an accidentally übergoth delegation (3 people, 2 non-black items of clothing?) was sent to the cornershop for eggs. Once these were secured and all noders present had awoken (around lunchtime), attention could be turned to the main event- an absolutely wonderful breakfast. TheLady joins the short list of noders who have succeeded in feeding me, and hopefully hangovers were beaten into submission through the healing powers of the Fry-up.
LPM and the frog had to return to London on an early afternoon train, after which the rest of us moved to a coffee shop for an enthusiastic discussion on the state of education. By around 5 TheLady also had to leave, and redalien claims this is when he managed to wake up. After some time at the flat, a brief visit to the local to rejoin ascorbic and welcome SharQ to town turned into a few more hours of fascinating discussion and maybe some drinking...
But all things must eventually come to an end, and so just before 10PM I relunctantly left Bristol to return home to Bath and bed. Britnoders who want in on the madness should consider the next meet, which is in London just before Christmas. Thanks again to the hosts for a wonderful weekend!
OberonDarksoul says re The fully-hyphenated noder-meet: Bristol, December, 2005: Heh, I'm letting the side down... next nodermeet I attend, flaming hands or not! :-)