In fact, everything we planned went as well as it possibly could, and it added up to an absolutely perfect weekend. There was loads of the best kind of socializing, and a good but not excessive amount of coupliness. *bounce*
Travelling to England went almost exactly according to plan, and I was safe in my childhood bed by 1 am, thanks to Dad giving me a lift for the last awkward couple of miles of the journey. So I was able to get up at an acceptable time Saturday morning, and caught up with the parents over breakfast. Mum is coping very well with her enforced silence; she is awesomely good at lipreading, and she's almost more at ease not having to worry about trying to hear anything, or indeed about background noise. We then went to shul which was as always lovely; it just feels so nice to be in a service that works exactly the way I want my Judaism to work, and full of people who like me and make a fuss over me when they haven't seen me for months.
I met up with cartesiandaemon and a friend of his for lunch in the Carlton. That was very cool because we just fell into completely comfortable conversation as if I'd known the friend for as long as he has. Back to cartesiandaemon's place so we could actually have a couple of hours alone together before going out for dinner.
cartesiandaemon had told me to dress up, but had forgotten to tell all the other guests, so I was somewhat embarrassingly overdressed, but that was ok, it's nice to have an occasion for the kind of clothes which I have hardly put on since leaving Oxford. (I wore the "prom" dress with the black velvet bodice and shiny electric blue foofy skirt, which I'm very fond of.) We went to a place called The Depot on Trinity Street, which I hadn't known about. They do a sort of tapas thing where you combine several small dishes from a very extensive menu to make a meal, but not with particularly Spanish style cuisine. The food was nice, not the cheapest but reasonable, and there are just so few places in Cambridge I get enthusiastic about, so The Depot has a lot going for it just based on that. They coped particularly well with both coeliacs and veggies (good labelling and knowledgeable staff), and also had some rather good non-alcoholic cocktails. And it was a very nice group, 7 people including pseudomonas, doseybat (yay for Bat coming up to Cam to see us), simont and a couple of very lovely friends of cartesiandaemon's I hadn't previously met at all. My only complaint was that it was a bit echoey, so even with a smallish group, it was a little awkward for conversation. But generally very fun.
We went back to cartesiandaemon's afterwards for a lovely convivial little party. I was impressed with the guests who struggled through the most atrocious rainstorm to join us. And cartesiandaemon knows lots and lots of cool people, and it was just a great party, with the focus being very much on interesting conversation. I was introduced to forestofglory and bugshaw, both people I'd sort of come across online but not actually met in person. And there were several people I know slightly, and several completely new to me, so just about the perfect mix for me to have a fun party. One person kept us entertained for much of the evening by making us guess which country she came from, the answer turning out to be both completely obvious and completely unexpected!
Part of the heroism of joining me for Screwy's birthday was that it involved getting up fairly early on Sunday morning to meet up with the parents and get a lift down to Brighton. We ended up eating at Seven dials, because it's a reliably nice restaurant in a convenient location. There was a bit of miscommunication about getting Thuggish Poet there, but he eventually made it and we had all seven us in one place, plus Jack. So we heard about Thuggish Poet's teaching in Liverpool, and P'tite Soeur's new job at a more upscale restaurant that has just opened, and Screwy discussed philosophy, and we ate tasty food, and it was great. We had a cup of tea back at Screwy's flat briefly, before P'tite Soeur had to get to work and cartesiandaemon and I headed to London so we could attend the Pembury games evening.
This latter was thoroughly delightful. I'd been looking forward to it loads, but it surpassed my expectations! It was slightly awkward at first because I inadvertently split the party, since when we turned up there were a few people present I knew by sight or not at all, and nobody I knew well, so I didn't quite feel ready to plonk myself down at their table. But the two groups spontaneously re-merged, so it was all good. Again, a lovely mix of people I know and was happy to see, with new or almost new people who were generally great. If I name check I'll leave people out, but suffice it to say I was getting increasingly bouncy every time new people entered the pub. And I had a great game of Carcassonne with a whole crowd of people whom I really ought to have met by now but hadn't.
Then doseybat capped off an already wonderful evening by inviting cartesiandaemon to come back to her place along with me (and pplfichi), as long as we didn't mind cramped quarters. I murmured about
when we were young and love was new, we made our bed on a sword's blade; it was perfectly obvious that the opportunity of an extra bonus night together was more than worth it. But that also meant we got to spend the bus journey chatting (mainly about psych0naut's superpowers survey), and had more chat over tea before finally retiring. I had to get up just after 6 to catch my flight back to Sweden, but that turned out to be rather less painful than I might have thought.
Flight back was slightly delayed but otherwise pleasantly uneventful. I slept lots, and I had good books borrowed from cartesiandaemon for the bits where I needed to be awake. I ended up going straight to my BM class, and managed to keep going on pure extrovert joy, though I was physically pretty exhausted by then.
Now I fall over. But yay for lots and lots of geography-defying fun with lots of cool people. By the way, apologies to the people to whom I failed to make it clear that I had decided to make the trip this weekend instead of going to Eastercon next weekend. I think the decision was right, but I still regret that it meant missing out on another potentially fun thing. And I'm particularly sorry that I don't get to see lethargic_man, friend_of_tofu and other Eastercon people.