I've really got to start going to these things the night before.
As it was, I won a pub quiz (not single-handedly, unless you'd prefer to believe that) the night before, then had to catch the 7.52 train on Friday morning. 7.52am is not a time that usually exists for me. It is a mythical time, half-remembered from schooldays and that twilight year when I worked shifts at the airport. But anyway, 10th July 2009 saw it roll around for the first of many appearances over the next few days. I got on my train to London, then a direct train to Penrith.
Somehow, I seemed to be one of very few people on the train without an allocated seat, which meant I ended up on an emergency pull-down seat in the corridor, opposite a broken toilet. On the return, I learned there is a carriage for unreserved tickets, but somehow at Euston they failed to mention this. As a result, yours truly who suffers dreadfully from labyrinthitis, which resembles and is exacerbated by motion sickness, spent a very unpleasant three hours on that train. A very nice man from Wigan kept me company for most of the journey, having also failed to reserve himself a seat. Must have wondered who on earth he'd got himself stuck with. I reckon I was a shade of green, although I never dared to check.
Arriving at Penrith, I said hello to Jan and self-medicated with tea and biscuits. Tea always makes everything better, doesn't it? The accomodation was basic but perfectly servicable, and featured a joint kitchen kept very well stocked with tea, coffee, and thanks to our flatmates, wine. I had the room opposite Imogen Howson and above Naomi Clark, who I'd met at last year's conference (and somehow Jan had remembered we'd got on and put us in accomodation together. How does she do it?).
We drank wine in the flat before dinner, and then I met up with Biddy Coady and Anna Louise Lucia at dinner and we drank more wine after that. A lot more.
It gets a bit fuzzy after that...