I'm back from Greenwich. It was a very hot weekend. I was totally convinced in the small hours of our first night there that I was going to die. Our rooms were so unbearably hot and sticky. I had so many showers I'm sure I've shed at least five layers of skin. The setting was stunning, totally fab and there is a real buzz about Greenwich itself, loved the market. This year the gala dinner was at the Trafalgar tavern on the Friday night. Gorgeous inn - olde worlde, very lovely views across the river. Unfortunately Olde Worlde meant no air con or even fans so we were as cooked as the chicken we got for the main course. What bit of food there was was quite nice but it took forever to be served. We sat down at 7.30 and it took till 10.30 before pudding reached us, in the heat. Alcohol however flowed freely so we all felt very merry but starving. So starving that our table went to Mc Donalds on the way home to sit in the air conditioning and scarf french fries. (There seemed to be a potato famine at the Trafalgar - never had a main course that was just chicken and peas before. I did however have a bean on my plate so the rest of the table were jealous)A few of us went on to the Comedy club which turned out to be an olde school type disco where several M&B authors who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent danced around there handbags till the small hours. The rest of us collapsed in the upstairs room where it was cool and there were comfy sofas.
Thankfully my workshop seemed to go okay the next day and we had some lively discussions as we dissected the character arcs of secondary and minor characters in Pride and Prejudice and looked at how they worked within the main story.
After lunch a few of us went for a wander around Greenwich market and along the river cooling down, acquiring cute dresses and tops and generally recovering from the day before. Dinner that evening was a barbecue in the courtyard. There was a lovely breeze and the barbecued food was quite pleasant but was hopeless for some of my friends who had dietary restrictions. Sadly also for me the jugs of Pimms had been contaminated with apple so after my first sip when my tongue started to swell up I decided to pass on the drinks. By now with the walking involved around the campus which was very spread out my hip had begun to rebel so a group of us retired to the stickiness of our kitchen for tea, coffee, biscuits and cake. There wasn't any pudding at the barbeque although there was a rumour that some people had found profiteroles.
We had a lovely and lively discussion on all kinds of things before finally getting some sleep.
Sunday arrived all too soon and after two fab workshops (which I'll tell you all about tomorrow)we were graced by an address by Joanna Trollope (Who was scarily and painfully thin to the point of looking seriously ill)She gave a thoughtful and intelligent speech with some provocative statements. We then had the best meal of the conference before returning home via a complicated route involving many escalators, and trains.
Jan Jones and Roger Sanderson do a fantastic job organising the conferences and this was a wonderful setting which I'm sure we'll all remember for a long time. Their hard work was much appreciated by all of us and we're looking forward to Wales in 2011