L-R Rob, Terry, and Philippa at the London book launch
I was going to take a break from typing, but oh what the hell, I'll just keep writing, shall I?
Tuesday I got up at 9:30 and it took me until THREE PM to get all of my stuff packed and the box I needed to ship FedExed home (this took most of my time but I am happy to report it arrived safely). I finally took the train off to Salisbury, getting there at 6pm (about 5 hours later than planned!). Had time for a nice Indian dinner and then was GOING to walk around the Cathedral grounds but it had gotten cold after the sun set and I was SO. TIRED. so I went and had a full 8 hours of sleep (for the first time in about 2 weeks) instead. Ahhhhhhh.
Hilariously, not long after getting to Salisbury I had to leave - but it was to go to the London book launch of I Shall Wear Midnight, so I didn't mind. I left most of my things in Salisbury because I was coming back, and off I went to London! Got there in time to walk around Piccadilly Circus for a bit and do some shopping (shock! surprise! I found a couple of really cute skirts) before heading off to the signing. I wore a dress! Because I don't get to go to book launches every day, you know. It's an occasion. I then hung out with these two miscreants (kidding!) until everyone else was let in. The signing was a lot of fun - Tony Robinson interviewed Terry at 11pm, and then Terry (in nightshirt and cap) started signing books for the lucky 350 people there at exactly 12:01. Hee. (And they stamped the books saying they were "signed at midnight". Aw.) After my book was signed, Transworld asked if I would be on a video, so I did that (oh, heck, anything for Discworld and Terry, right?), and...now it's on the front page of their website. Um. (*flails* I HATE THE WAY I LOOK AND SOUND ON VIDEOS AND ALSO OVER 2,100 PEOPLE HAVE WATCHED THIS THING IN 2 DAYS? OMG. *hides*) Hilariously, towards the end of the bit, this mad woman (in both senses of the word) came up behind me in the video and said, to the camera "This woman cut the line!" Which I thought was great on so many levels, because a) she actually went to the trouble of pushing her way onto a recording to say this; and b) I was in the store *before* the line, but was standing around so long talking to Pat and Andrew that it went ahead of me. I only walked up a bit with Andrew to take photos! Anyway. People. People are so ridiculous sometimes.
Despite that hilarity, the signing was fantastic fun, and I got to visit a bit more with Erica, and with Ian Sharples, and with Colin and Leslie, and everyone. Also I got to ring the GIANT Golem Trust bell from the movie, hee.
Thursday I went back to Salisbury, and took the local bus out to Old Sarum, which was really, *really* nice just to walk around and look at and kind of take some time to unwind (conventions can be intense!). I walked all around inside, then out to the foundations of the cathedral. I'd also spotted that there was a high narrow path all the way around the earthworks that one could walk on, which sloped WAY down on either side to the dry moat and the outside land, and, since I have an incurable weakness for climbing on and up and down things and walking around high places and caves and the like, I searched around until I found a likely-looking way to get to it, and then walked allllll the way around. It was lovely. I even found a steep path down into the dry moat, and walked around a bit down there (it was spooooky! A mournful-sounding owl kept hooting at me. Ooooooh.) Also there were sheep, which were both fun to watch and a hazard to my shoes, as walking the sheep-frequented areas of the path was like playing a losing game of Barnyard Poo Obstacle Course. But, as a farmer's granddaughter, I weathered that well. Heh. I then took the bus back and went to The Cloisters for a delicious dinner, including deep fried brie with cranberry compote, which I intend to marry as soon as possible. For realzzzz.
Friday I went to Wincanton! Which is just adorable. It features The Discworld Emporium, which is Bernard and Isobel's shop, along with other wonderful locals such as Dave and Chris Ward and Ian and Reb. The Wards took me first to see the Ankh-Morpork street signs in the local housing development, then to get settled at The Bear and visit the shop. We all hung around and had tea before lunch at The Dolphin. I spent much of the afternoon poking around the shop and chatting with the folks therein and writing postcards, which were affixed with special Discworld stamps and sent off post-haste (and met with much hilarity, according to alliancesjr. Glad you liked it, Kev!) Apologies if you weren't one of the folks who got a card - I love you all, but I didn't have everyone's addresses on me!!
After a lazy but lovely afternoon we went over to Uncle Tom's Cabin (yes, it's really called that!) for a pint of very strong cider (the original scumble? Hee). I of course sent a photo of it off to cleolinda. (Cleo, this stuff is WAY more awesome than Woodchuck. We need to go back together so you can try some.) We had a really big crowd at Uncle Tom's, and then went over with about a third of the folks to The Bear for dinner, which by that point I was very glad of! (Lunch was great but for some reason - probably all the walking I'd been doing - I was dying for food by dinnertime!) Of note at dinner - Dave Ward treated us all to the dessert special, which was deep fried Mars Bars with ice cream, and...it was glorious. Seriously bad for one, I'm sure, but GLORIOUS. I then turned in comparatively early after dinner because I think things had caught up with me.
Saturday the Wards came and drove me to Glastonbury (bless their abundantly kind hearts). We wandered around the shops a bit (I tried to resist spending anything, but DID walk off with a moon-faced prism to match the sun-faced one I got a long time ago in Bloomington, which is my all-time favorite of the...12? prisms I have hanging on my windows. Yay!). Then we went to lunch at The Blue Note, which was very good, and then walked around a bit more before the Wards left. I headed over to the Abbey then, and on entering was asked, "Do you like harp music?" I said, "I don't dislike it," and was then told that there was a concert going on right then. So I went. Hey, you don't get free harp concerts in ancient buildings with good acoustics every day, you know? It was very nice, and I especially liked some of the Celtic things he played. The grounds were neat, and I liked Becket's chapel, and of course King Arthur's (supposed) grave. My favorite part of the Abbey was actually the replica herb garden a local group had done in 2007, though. The herbs were divided into four categories (medicinal, seasoning, dyeing, and...strewing? Maybe) and it was fascinating reading the many names for each one, what they would have been (and sometimes still were) used for, etc. Great stuff. I wish I'd thought to see if they had a pamphlet with the information.
After the Abbey closed I walked along and up to the Tor, which was quite a walk, and very cold and windy at the top - but neat nevertheless. I got there at least an hour and a half before sunset and then realized that really, there was nothing else I could see that day in the time I had, so I just stayed up there "in quiet contemplation" as they say (except for, well, occasionally saying hello to folks on Twitter and friends via text, hah. Oh, modern technology!) until the sun set. It was gorgeous. And only slightly marred by the fact that I could no longer feel two of the fingers on my right hand (seriously, I was getting rather worried about it - I tried warming them and walking around and they were still numb. Stupid bad circulation!) When the sun was very nearly gone I walked back down, and through the High Street to see what there might be to eat. I ended up at a restaurant at the same time as one of the other women who'd been on the Tor, and who I'd spoken to briefly, so we ended up having dinner at the local tapas place. (Hello, if you're out there, random dinner friend/London massage therapist!) The food was pretty good, and afterwards, I was surely ready to sleep. :)
Sunday (My last full day. TEARS.)
It was rainy, but I was still determined to see the Chalice Well, so I hurried over there for a brief visit (had to get back to the B&B in time to get my things before the owners went out!), did, indeed, drink the rust-colored water from the Well (mmmm, tastes like metal), wished I'd thought to bring a tiny vial for some of said water, and rushed off back to the B&B to grab my bags and locate the proper bus for London. Which I did arrive at, after two buses and a train! In London I took the Tube to Renta's, where she and Pam Gower met me half-way and walked back with me to drop my things. Then I ran off again, to visit a couple of stores and then visit Jo (aka krazycat at her place for dinner. That was a lot of fun: Jo made dinner while we listened to Legally Blonde: The Musical; we watched LOST while eating; we played with Jo and Grant's new guinea pigs (so. soft); and Jo played piano and sang for me (and I attempted to sing along for Les Mis's "On My Own". Wow, it's been awhile since I've sung that!). And then there was nothing for it but to head back to Renta's, re-pack a bunch of stuff, and leave early the next morning for Heathrow and home, which I arrived safely at the next evening.
And thus ended my British adventures. England (and British people) I MISS YOU!!
And now, apropos of nothing except that I am very proud of this collaboration (hee), a new Ask Deadpool entry.