Feelin' East Anglia

(a Cambridge Mini-Meet)
(or.... something like that. I dunno. Don't ask me...)

Juliana Hatfield's gorgeous song of small-town blues has rung truer than ever with me recently. It may have been written about Juliana's experience of Cambridge, MA, but it's a song that closely reflects my own experiences of Cambridge, England.

"I just want to be entertained; I want to feel alive again."

Faced with the prospect of yet another soul destroying weekend of alternately wandering round town trying not to laugh at random strangers and making everyone's head bleed in the chatterbox, somehow a little 'social activity' (which I normally avoid like the plague) didn't seem like such a bad idea -- the idea of a miniature noder meet in Cambridge? This I had to see...

wertperch ('Kevin')
Hitching down from Nottingham for the weekend; chief instigator of activities and maker of decisions. Almost sociopathically charming, apparently capable of charming the pants (literally) of anybody, and entirely unapologetic for it.
(darsi) ('Lila')
To borrow wertperch's words, an "absolute sweetie", hyperanimated and all too eager to make threats of physical violence, but in the nicest possible way.
call ('Colin')
Me. I'm dull. The quiet one, though you'd probably never think it from the chatterbox archives.Who would've thunk it?

Friday night GTKY at The Regal, and some challenges. Trying to find people you don't know by sight in Britain's largest pub, and avoiding real life huggles (only mostly successfully). (Issues). Connecting faces and voices with nodes is an interesting experience. (darsi) was in many ways almost exactly as I'd imagined. wertperch, however... I think on some level I'd assumed he should be old enough to know better. There's no repressing the teenager in some people, I guess :) Virtual attendance by text message was observed by dwardu and BlueDragon too.

By virtue of stowing wertperch safely at my place for the night (via a trip back on the 'School Bus'), and seeing the world through the eyes of an editor for a short while (and also deputizing for the fingers of Klaproth on dvorak keyboard) it was nice to have a few of my own opinions validated, but also cast a whole new light on the amount of mess there is in here. Suddenly I've gained a whole other respect for dannye.


Living in the place for over 2 years, doing "the tourist thing" always seemed somehow inappropriate. Having the excuse of a genuine tourist in tow, though, provided more than enough justification to wander round staring impolitely at the spectacles and curios of the strange little town (after coffee at the Corn Exchange and coming to an agreeable contract of mutually assured destruction. Burning Down The House being the chief threat subscribed to by all parties.)

Punting, for instance, involves a level of skill and experience that can only be appreciated when observed practiced by a complete novice. Pushing a boat along with a stick might sound easy, but in reality it seems a lot more like playing Defender with an articulated truck. Of the atrocities we saw, there were at least 2 collisions, one well veiled attempt to knock down Mathematical Bridge, several novices punting backwards and at least one committing the local heresy of punting Oxford style.

The one advantage we could find in the form of transport, however, is that it does get the tourists within easy paddle whack range of the ducks. Suppertime treats for all, if you have the will. Most tourists seem to make do with simply taunting the ducks with bread, snatching it away from them when they attempt to take it. Cruelty.

Then on to the Fitzwilliam Museum for a spot of the old 'cult-chyir'. And because they don't charge an admittance fee. Points were scored all round:

Yay for us! No XP or upvotes were garnered for the experience, however. And I can't quite remember the name of the artist who painted the snowy French landscape with the inexplicably dynamic trees which stuck in my mind because it made no sense whatsoever.

Random points throughout the day were devoted to avoiding wertperch's newly acquired disposable camera. I'm... not photogenic at the best of times, and with 3 or 4 days of face-fuzz, Saturday was definitely not one of the best times. (darsi) having her own issues with photography, this lead to several suggestions that the disposable camera should, indeed, be disposed of ahead of schedule.

Then, naturally, on to another pub, The Mitre in this instance, for coffee. And then beer (or, in my wussy-ass case, Coke). Notable quotables:

"Oh, I had an excellent cocktail there once. What was in it now? Uh, there was absinthe, and ... uh ........."

-- wertperch

"G4/500...? Good machine!"

-- (darsi)

...along with the inevitable discussions of topics such as Linux distros and device drivers and switching hubs, editorial policy and writer's block.

And there's so much more that I want to write down, to remember, but it's already slipping; soon enough all I'll remember is how much I enjoyed it all... and besides, you've all stopped reading by now, haven't you?

Now I just have that nagging feeling that another of those 'decision' things will be expected of me regarding the 17th. Decisions, decisions...!