Hobbit uk (hobbituk) wrote in writerconuk,
Hobbit uk

Another writerconuk weekend has been and gone...

Each year the writerconuk weekend simply whizzes by!  It's so nice to see folks who you only ever interact with online in person - I've only been going for 3 years, but it feels like I've known everyone forever.  And this year there were newbies too, which was really nice.   What's special is the way we all pick up from last year like it's been days, not months.  It's a really friendly group and everyone is made welcome.  Better still, it's not just for people who create art or write - people who just read or comment are also drawn into the fold and made to feel like they belong.

So, on with the details.  Behind the cut to save scrolling...

I'd got everything ready on Thursday really, so my weekend started by putting the last bits in the case and loading the car first thing Friday morning.  I had my breakfast (usual SW weetabix and fruit with yogurt) and then set off. I'm not good driving on motorways - no matter how fresh I am when I get onto it, within 10 minutes I am feeling drowsy - so I programmed the satnav on my phone to avoid them.  Last year Waze took me right through Milton Keynes, so this year I went back to Google Maps.  I like driving on the A and B roads - you get to see the countryside you are driving through, and it only adds an extra 20 to 30 minutes max onto the journey time.   This year it was nearer 45 minutes owing to the need for a loo break.  No services on the small roads!  I ended up stopping at a pub near Woburn safari park which was very nice...

When I arrived at the hotel, others were already there so  I took my stuff up to my room (situated very handily on the 2nd floor) and joined them in our very own section of the bar.  So posh... I decided to make sensible choices where possible but otherwise was "off plan" for the weekend - and thoroughly enjoyed my bruschetta with ricotta cheese which I had as a late lunch.

We always start Friday nights with a quiz, and kazzy_cee did her usual brilliant job.  My team didn't do too badly, considering they were carrying me as deadwood (I know very little about fandoms other than Buffy and Lucifer!)  but of course, hils team won as usual.  I think if they didn't, an apocalypse would be on its way, LOL....

After the quiz, most of us went to the Aqua Lebanese restaurant for dinner, which has become a tradition.  The food is great, it's really reasonably priced and the staff are brilliant.  And they cope with all of us paying individual bills...

For starter, I had grilled halloumi cheese with pepper (which is my latest obsession)

Then for main course, I had a mixed grill of chicken, lamb and a kafta kebab with salad and rice.  Unlike the magic refilling plate of last year, this DID go down, but I still couldn't eat all the rice...

The food really was lovely - and as I said, really reasonably priced.  I think my bill was around £20.

After dinner we finished off the evening with a cocktail - ok, mine was a virgin one without the alcohol (which I now view as empty calories) but it was really nice nevertheless, and looked just the same as the ones with alcohol in them!

Around 11 ish I took myself off to bed.  End of Day 1!

I slept really well Friday night - the bed was super comfortable and I was asleep pretty much as soon as my head hit the pillow!

After a shower and a cup of tea from the complimentary supplies provided, I went down to breakfast.  I love the breakfast at the Ramada - you can have anything you like. Pastries, toast, cereal or my favourite, the cooked English breakfast.  I didn't  have the fried eggs, because they are fried in oil not my usual fri light or spray of oil, but the scrambled eggs were well cooked and with the fat cut off of the bacon I was pretty much on plan!

The first talk was from kazzy_cee (who always comes up with interesting topics) and after a refreshment break, ningloreth talked to us about dialogue and encouraged several of us, including me, to read the books she used as examples (the one about the sheep will be with me from Amazon by the end of this week...)

We use the hotel restaurant for lunch, and as I'd had a big breakfast I just had the tomato and red pepper soup served with garlic bread.  It was delicious and served in a cute little bowl with a lid (but I forgot to take a pic, soz!)

The afternoon session began with another session with kazzy_cee, who was talking about fandom and why we love them... It was very interesting, because some people have multiple fandoms and others only have the one so there was discussion about what makes you tip over from being a viewer to being an actual fan, and what that meant.

After the tea break it was time for the craft session.  Last year we ran out of time, so I did a bit more preparatory work with the kits, so sods law, we finished a bit early... but everyone finished (or had it ready to be finished off when they got home) and they all seemed to enjoy themselves (*relieved*).  One lesson learnt was that I need to make sure whatever we make is collapsible, as the tissue boxes were a bit bulky for those travelling on trains/planes!

I was really proud of all the wonderful finished products though - I felt like a proud mama looking at them all lined up...

After the craft session  there was more cocktail having, and then we all had the last session of the day, which was hils and signe_chan talking about sporting fandoms.  I was a bit surprised at the interaction between the hockey clubs and the fans - I'm pretty sure that doesn't much happen outside hockey, to be honest.  All very illuminating, though!

Then it was time to change for dinner, at 8pm.  The hotel really pulled the stops out this time - I could have eaten absolutely anything on the menu - and I had sweet potato soup with some bread, followed by a taster of the fish I'd never heard of (but was really tasty) and then chicken with the mediterranean roasted veggies, small roast new potatoes and a bit of the cauliflower risotto.  I was very restrained with dessert - just fruit salad with a small spoonful of the eton mess to be sinful...

By then I was absolutely stuffed, so we retreated to the break out area and just chatted until time for bed.  And again, I was out like a light...

I'm always a bit sad on the Sunday of the writerconuk weekend - it's all nearly over!  I like to pack everything up before I go to breakfast on the last day anywhere, so I did that and then took the craft bags and stuff out to the car before heading back for breakfast.  I had another big cooked breakfast, except this time they poached me 2 eggs beautifully, as I wouldn't be eating again until I got home later in the afternoon.

After breakfast, I checked out of my room and paid my bill and it was time for the final session.

This was a fun time with Charadary or Picharades, where we had to guess what fandom/character/film/book etc.  I'm not normally a fan of actually doing the charades but couldn't seem to keep my mouth shut so ended up doing 3!!!    It was a good laugh though, but sadly, had to come to an end and it was time for the AGM meeting.

The business part doesn't take very long - the Committee report on the year and hab318princess stood down as Treasurer after 3 years, passing on the baton to bogwitch, and ningloreth and tlanti and kazzy_cee agreed to stay on in their current roles.  We all agreed to come back again next year, so 2019 is a go!

Then it was time for the raffle - everyone got around 3 prizes.  Small confession.  Remember my clock, that I didn't want to part with?  I left it for the first round, but picked it when my number came up the second time!  So everyone had a chance, but it is currently sitting in my craft room ticking away in an Elvish style...

After the AGM we all started to drift off - some to their cars, other to the bar to await the departure time to catch their trains.  It was lovely to see everyone again, and sad that it was all over.

I went home on the A and B roads again, and got home just before 4pm, as they say, tired but happy.

Seriously, if anyone thinks it sounds like fun, IT IS!  If you can come along you really should - we get a good rate for the hotel (including parking) and the fee to attend isn't huge.  So, so worth it.  Go on, you know you want to...
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