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Where do I start....
First I could tell you of the journey I had up to Brumland, but my getting lost in North London and ending up in Camden is of no interest to you. Neither is the chicken bone in my burger at the service station at Toddington, nor the fact that when I actually reached Birmingham the M38 exit was closed and I had drive around not having a clue where I was! :oP
Secondly I could tell you of the lovely hotel I stayed in, the Holiday Inn Express on Lionel Street. But you don't care about that either do you? :oP
I could tell you of all the omens that should have told me not to attend the meet up, but seeing as I totally ignored every single one of them, so should you! :o)
I know what you want to know...... And you should be ashamed of yourselves! :oP
Yes, I won a motorbike chain and padlock in a quiz! Mo-tor-bike...... Not bondage! Weeellll I suppose technically it could be used as such a thing, if you are extremely strong and muscly as it weighs a tonne! Not that I have tried, of course.
It is now happily on display on the bit at the end of the banisters just opposite my front door for the world to see. How I won this in a quiz will all become clear! As to the reason why... I will never know! :oP
By the way, I could waffle for England, so be prepared for a long read!
I had planned to get to Brum in time to enjoy some of Fridays Festivities, but this wasn't to be. I arrived at the hotel at 11.30 pm, phoned Mr Zeeman, (Paula), my roomie, only to leave a message on a real complete strangers phone saying "It's me, Sarah, I have finally got to the hotel, where are you?".... Hopefully this hasn't caused a divorce proceeding somewhere!
I finally phoned the right phone, only to find they were on their way back to hotel. So I plonked myself down in the lobby and waited a while. Many people came in and out, but I hadn't a clue if they were anything to do with Ciao or not, so I just tried my best to look interested in absolutely nothing.
I soon spotted Paula though, when she walked in. She looked just like her picture! With some strange bloke walking next to her. After a chat I discovered this was Theediscerning (for the sake of not typing all that out again I shall now name him Theed). They had left the rest of them in the Hard Rock Cafe. A short while later Sean_Lawston (Andrew) ambled over, as the rest had left the Hard Rock and were off for a curry! After much more chatting Andrew went to his room, and Paula went to ours and Theed went to get a book. This is the point where I started chatting to the bloke behind the desk. I think I almost got him to join Ciao.. Shame I didn't get his e-mail address, I could do with 50p.lol
Theed came back with the book (one of the bookcrossing thingys) and we chatted some more. Then the rest of the revellers came back. People are so interesting to watch and listen to when they are drunk and you are sober :oP
I might be wrong, but I think they were Netstation (Steve), Shewhosmiles (Trish), Deano76 (Dean), Jo (Glorificus) and Cheekychicken (Mel). I had meet Steve before at the Chelmsford meet, but being introduced to so many at the same time was a bit like that first day at work when you are taken round to meet everyone, and all you can do is just nod and smile :oP
At about 3.30 people started disappearing to their rooms and I thought I better too (after another brief chat to me new mate Paul behind the desk) :oP
There you have it... My first day at Midmeet :o)
******* Saturday *******
Set my alarm to wake Paula and me up at 10, as neither of us are exactly morning people. After the normal morning type things I went down to breakfast and saw loads of strange people about and some of those from the night before, so I figured that must be the Ciao lot!
After Crunchy nut cornflakes and coffee I plunged into meeting them all. It was that first day at work thing again.. Names whooshing over my head! But somehow I managed :oP
After basically everyone that was going to be there was there, it was time for them to be somewhere else! Some went shopping, but I plumped for the going to Apres Bar! I had missed out on the booze the night before so there was no stopping me!
Netstation (now to be known as SuperSteve) had arranged for us to have the use of the upstairs of the bar and soon we all there chatting away and drinking :oP
As the day wore on, more people arrived, ones that hadn't been in the hotel earlier, so yet more names to whoosh about in the air over my head. But I soon got to work out who was who.
Basically, as I was drinking I can't remember the order they arrived in, so I'll just give you a list of everyone that was there on Saturday... Sorry in advance if I forget someone!
SuperSteve (netstation) organiser extraordinairre Paula (Mr Zeeman) Trish (Shewhosmiles) Iain (Soho Black) Andy (Andy.Mack) Mand (MandyMinx) Mark (MarkMinx) Jo (Jo1l) Phil (Mortimus) Jo (Glorificious) Sarah (Trampus) Nigel (Nigel Blue) Steve (Badger Boy) Ophelia (Offy) Dean (Deano76) Dave (Howieman) Miriam (Mizzame11) Steph (Criple) Daisy (Miss Daisy) Allie (Madamois_elle) Fiona (Kiera13) Andrew (Sean_Lawston) John (Theediscerning) Mel (Cheekychicken) Jojo (Madamejojo) Mike (Sonicmk) Paul (Marandina) Me (SarahP) :oP
That wasn't in any order apart from SuperSteve of course :oP
I had already meet Iain and Andy at the Chelmsford meet, but as for the rest, a few of them I hadn't even heard of before! But it was so nice to put faces and voices to some of my CoT. And even nicer to find out these new people were becoming my new friends.
Everyone got 2 free drinks vouchers from SuperSteve. So any tensions about meeting new people soon disappeared, well it did for me anyway! :oP
Whilst handing over one of the vouchers for a pint of Boddies to the lovely barmaid (Beth, thanks SuperSteve for reminding me!) I almost managed to get another convert to Ciao as I was chatting away to her. She liked the thought of writing about shoes! I knew I should have taken a note pad with me... Just think of all these e-mail address and 50ps I could have got :oP
Once most of the people had arrived at the bar and the chatting had been going on for a while, it was quiz time! Yes, the dreaded but much loved Ciao meet quizzes!
Film quiz ********
For the first quiz we got into teams, and made up a name for out team. I was in Bush Babies, with Mand, Mel and Paula (with an occasional bit of help from Deano). This is a great way of getting to know people and breaking the ice, as you tend to talk to your team mates :oP
SuperSteve handed out sheets of paper with cryptic clues to film titles on. Sounds easy! Yeah, right! You haven't seen the clues! After much laughter trying to work these out, we ended up just putting any old rubbish down for the ones we didn't have a clue on. It was such fun! And we came in 2nd!!!! I would really love to know what the answers were though, as some of them are still bugging me :oP
Prizes were handed out to the people in the winning team, that just happened to be sitting right next to us, hope they weren't cheating! lol. I can't remember what everyone in that team got, or who was in it, but I do remember Offy getting a complete Dinner service & Dave got some juggling balls!
Anagram time ***********
I stayed in the same team for this one (or two). This time SuperSteve handed us 2 sets of papers. One set for Perfume, one for cars. This was headache time! We had to match the numbers on the pictures of the cars/perfume to the anagrams of them. Complete with what the names of said cars/perfumes were! Mel, Mand and Paula got on with sorting out what the bottles of perfumes names were, while I tried to work out the anagrams! I wouldn't know one bottle from the next! Mind you it was the same with the cars :oP
We basically all gave up on this as it was too hard. I wandered off to the bar, to get food and more Boddingtons. They had run out! Not one drop of Boddies left in the building! I hadn't had that much, only two pints! I had to have some local brew, which was awful, instead!
I sat with Fiona, Jo (1l), Steve & Andy while waiting for my food to show up. This was when I discovered my team had won the perfume bit of the anagrams! Yippeeeee! As I drew my ticket out of the ice bucket and handed it to SuperSteve to find out which prize I had won, he promptly burst into what can only be described as a fit of the giggles! What on earth had I won?
He went off to the treasure corner, laughing all the way and came back with a large carrier bag. Still laughing he dropped it on the floor. A loud clanging noise was heard, and I cautiously picked up the heavy bag and peeked inside. Yep, it was the biggest motorbike chain and padlock I had ever seen. SuperSteve said I could swap it for a different prize, but I didn't want to. It is great. Mand won a gold ingot necklace, so I tried to wear my chain round my neck but it was so heavy I couldn't. After much more general laughing and giggling I tucked my wonderful prize away by the fireplace, but I couldn't forget it was there. I am still laughing about it now :oP
And I don't suppose I will ever be able to forget about it, or stop laughing about it. It is the best prize I could have won. Thank you SuperSteve :o)
Music Quiz *********
I finally got my food, a melted cheese and ham panini, and stopped giggling in time for the next quiz. Back to Mand, to make a team of 3 with Steph. This time our team was called Ciao's Angels :o)
This time it was guess the ringtone! Another carefully laid out, brilliantly designed sheet was handed to all, for the answers by SuperSteve. And it was on with music. It played, we guessed! With a lot of "Oh I know this one"s we finally finished, 2nd again I think. Andy & Iains' team won. I seem to recall some one getting a plate with the Queen on for this one and there were some CD players too.
The prizes were marvellous. I am sure everyone got something they would never forget!
The next quiz had melted! So Phil stepped in and did our final quiz of the evening.
Mortimus Quiz ************
We were allowed more in our team for this one, so our team was Mand, Mike, Jojo, Paula, Steph and myself. We called ourselves the C team.... Was going to be A but C seemed more fitting.
Phil has written about this quiz: http://www.ciao.co.uk/Everything_that_starts_with_D__Review_5356546 .......So I won't bother telling you too much apart from the fact that I am now known to be a Trekkie and I didn't have the chain anywhere near me at the time! :oP
We won! I got a Cocktail Blender! :o) I can't wait until Friday to see what the answers actually were though! :oP
Well done to Phil, not for us winning, but for doing the quiz at short notice and for having to shout over us noisy lot to get us to hear the questions, bearing in mind this was later in the day and the booze had been flowing for quite a time! :oP
As all the quizzes were over, it was time to have a raffle. Throughout the day SuperSteve and his glamorous assistant Offy had been selling tickets for someone to win a super dooper monitor.
Andrew won the first prize and I thought that was it, but noooooo! There were more prizes! Seemed to be an endless supply of things in SuperSteve's treasure corner!
I threw my tickets away only to find I had suddenly won a CD & Hi-fi Cleaning kit! Then a bottle of wine! :o)
SuperSteve surpassed himself. It was so well organised and fun. I would highly recommend him to anyone :o)
Once all the raffle prizes had been won, it was back to the chatting and drinking. Some people had to leave at this point as they were only staying for the day and had drives home. So farewells were said :o(
As you may or may not know the weekend was also Daisy's 7th birthday, so there were balloons being blown up and crepe paper being strewn across the place. Unfortunately no sooner had Iain and me finished putting some paper over the exit sign, it all had to come down, as the upstairs was only booked as private function room until 7 :o(
They could have told us before!
This didn't seem to phase Daisy at all, as she had her fairy wings and wand, and was thoroughly enjoying herself. She is a delightful little person and I am so glad she was there. Next time I see her I will have to have a wand duel with her, as I have a similar one sitting in front of my monitor!
The rest of the evening was spent drinking and chatting, with more drinking and chatting to follow, until it was finally time for us too leave as they were shutting.
So it was back to the hotel. Once people had started clearing out, the small group of us left noticed that some prizes had been left behind by mistake, so gathered them up and once everything was cleared staggered back to the hotel round the corner. Don't ask what the time was, as I haven't a clue!
After depositing prizes in rooms, we wandered the corridors to find Trish, only to see men in their underpants running about! This was hilarious! And what makes it even more funny is Trish was sitting down in the lobby the whole time! :oP
There were just a few left standing by now, as most were to tired to carry on. So for us left there was only one thing to do. Have a kebab of course! :o)
Dean and Phil went off to find food, while the rest of us stayed in the hotel lobby chatting some more! They came back, we ate food. By then it was time to sleep as Paul, yep, the nice man on the desk, chucked us out of the lobby as it needed cleaning for when breakfast started being served. My God he cleans too! Why didn't I get his e-mail? ;o)
There you have my second day at Midmeet! :o)
****** Sunday ******
Sunday morning, awake at 9ish! Downstairs after normal morning stuff again. Crunchy nut cornflakes and coffee again. Lots of people sitting about, again! Only this time they were a little quieter. I think many were suffering the effects of the day before, but luckily I am blessed by not having Hangovers so I was feeling way to bouncy! I even managed to break the leg of one of the chairs in the lobby as I was rearranging the furniture!
Allie liberated a couple of books for the bookcrossing thing, so I now have Billy by Pamela Stephenson to read :o)
A few more goodbyes were said as people checked out of the hotel and made their way back home. For the rest that remained it was time to go to the pub!
The Briar Rose was our next venue. Most of the remaining people went in the family area at the back, for Daisys' sake. But being a smoker, I stayed in the main bar with Iain, Andy, Steve, Fiona and Jo (1l). No drink for me as I was driving back, but a cheese and pickle sandwich and a large coffee was just what I needed.
Soon it was time to leave. After many goodbyes and keep in touches, I left Brum and drove back to Essex.
It was a great weekend, everyone was great, SuperSteve was marvellous to have arranged it all and I would highly recommend going to anyone. You can actually read peoples ops in their accents when you come back! :oP
Now I just need to recover from it all!
See, I told you I could waffle :oP
Thank you yet again SuperSteve :o)
Take care and see you all at the next one SarahP :o)
Hi - great to hear what a good time you all had. It was a bit too far for me to travel, but if the next one is nearer to Norfolk - or I happen to be visiting relatives in the West Mids then I may just attend!! Tina xx
kimking 20.09.2003 16:25
you really can waffle cant you. good op though. kim.x