Summary: much fun and edification.
Drove up from London to spend the night near Lockerbie with tanais and elinor. After bouncing up the dirt track, we decided not to risk the increasingly rickety bridge, and left the car on the track side of the burn... Jago turned out to be excessively cute, and reminded me a lot of my old dog Bruno. A hefty drive tends to leave me wiped, and I crashed out on the sofa with a pot-boiler while everyone else cooked.
An early start for the final run to Glasgow. I was moderating a panel at 14:00 and we made it with time to spare. Unfortunately two of the panellists didn't, so the folks from X-Cor pulled out the stops to help with an enjoyable discussion on Mojave Spaceport and the future of private space flight. marypcb and I then wandered about, meeting many old friends (including a rather frazzled looking autopope), LJ folk, and new people, while seeing what was what, before getting caught up in the Glasgow one-way system while trying to find a route to our very visible hotel - and then to a car park. Dinner at a very pleasant Japanese was followed by a relatively early night.
We started the day with breakfast in a Rennie-Mackintosh designed tearooms, before catching a train the to the SECC for a stint at the BSFA tombola, before exploring the dealers room and the art show. I caught up with Jim Burns and he walked us through his pictures. We attended a few panels, and met up with Bryan Talbot. I was one of daveon's
A fairly quiet day, spent wandering around the convention centre meeting folk and drinking beer in the real ale bar. Oh, and attending a bunch of panels from many different streams. We met up with a bunch of comics folk, including Bryan - and headed off to dinner. As we'd been chatting with ala_too (who'd turned out to have been in a foodie APA with marypcb) she came along with Chris, a friend of hers who'd recently moved to the UK. A Glaswegian friend of Bryan's was our native guide, and helped us track down a rather excellent Indian restaurant: The Dappa. Lovely North Indian food with an enormous vegetarian menu. Excellent.
More panels, more people! I was on the rather fun "When I Was A Lad I Dreamed Of 64K", which ended up as a mutual geekfest as the panel reminisced over the days when you could build your own PC out of components from the Maplin catalogue... Francis Spufford was a font of excellent anecdotes, and Terry Pratchett revealed how we got more out of the Sinclair ZX81 than anyone could imagine. The sun had come out, so we sat outside the Armadillo for a while, before my final panel "Alternate Technological Histories". This one could have been more successful - but Sean McMullen provided interesting historical tidbits and the audience put up with me being unable to see half the room when taking questions... We had a quick dinner with ladymoonray and tamaranth before the Hugos, where many friends and acquaintances won the coveted silver rockets. Special congratulations must go to chilperic and fjm, autopope, and Susanna Clarke (who told us about the novel she'd just started writing over dinner at the 1996 Eastercon...).
A final visit to the SECC to make our goodbyes, before heading off into the glorious sun. As we were planning on staging back via Lockerbie again, we spent the day driving around Loch Lomond, the Trossachs, and some of the western sea lochs. A lovely day, with much sun and mountains. It's good to get in touch with the wild open spaces after spending so much time in the enclosed halls of the SECC.
Back to London, via Lytham St Anne, where marypcb's father is sadly in a hospice. 2005 is not being a good year at all for family.
Of course, the whole thing leaves us challenged and ready for another 10 years...
Post con resolutions:
I intend to submit two stories by the end of September. I'm thinking of sending "Virtual Mists" to Sci Fiction and "Tygers" to Interzone. I need to give the first a new title. Anyone got any suggestions for what to call a story about a bunch of uplifted gorillas rebuilding bridges in a post-singularity Bristol?
I'd also appreciate any final readthroughs by folk.
I'm then planning on finishing "A Small Dose of The Flu" and "Lock-in" by the end of October, before giving "Breaking The Wheel" a serious reworking.