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As a lot of you probably already know, Lizzie (LIZKEMPO) had been busy arranging the London meet since July. A lot of hard work and organisation went into it.
I hadn't been around on ciao for about 8 months, due to lots going on in my life, but had been getting lots of alerts in my emails. One day in Sept I decided to make time to log in and check out my GB for messages, and how glad I am that I did. One particular message was from Lizzie, saying about the London meet, I went and read her review then left her a message to add me to the long list of people who wanted to go to the meet. As the days passed, I was getting more and more excited and more nervous the closer it got, I was just hoping my mum didn't get any worse in the meantime, luckily she never. I was worried as to what to wear, couldn't afford a new outfit. So the night before I just decided to wear my next jeans and a pink top I had bought about 7 years previously, but felt comfortable in.
SAT 28th OCT TRAVELING TO LONDON
Well the day of the meet came around quite quickly, and before I knew it, the 28th Oct was here. I was very nervous, as it was the first time I had been to a meet; also I had been away from ciao for so long I didn't think anyone would even remember me.
The planned venue was for 12pm at the Picture and Piano somewhere between Covent Garden and Leicester sq tube stations. As my partner Mikey and I only live in Buckinghamshire the journey wasn't too bad, some members were coming from quite a bit further away, and some were making a weekend of it. We left home about 10am hoping to be almost the first at the venue, because I don't like crowds and I hate walking in a room full of people. I did however find the journey very tiring especially the underground, which was bustling with people and lots of escalators, we managed to get lost at Piccadilly circus, in a maze of tunnels and stairways. By now it was 20 past 12 already, so I was feeling even more nervous. We eventually made it to Covent Garden and I asked a traffic warden for directions, he pointed and said about 5 mins down that way......... Well his 5 mins took us 20 mins, I have bad legs and can't walk far or fast even with my stick.
ARRIVING AT THE VENUE
The Picture and Piano was soon in sight, we walked in and nervously looked around, we spotted a group of people up a couple of stairs in a little separate part of the bar, which was really nice. Lizzie and Tricia had made a great job of decorating it with gold balloons ciao signs, and lollipops on the tables. Lizzie came to great us and introduced us to some of the others. There were already quite a few there when we arrived, Lizzie (LIZKEMPO) Tricia (Tricia24) Lisa (spoilt_little_br) and her Fiancée Jason (Wormthatturned) Simon (Ailran) Richard (beaker66) Jo (The_nursey) Sarah (Duskmaiden) Barbara (Koshkha) Ian (Ianm73) Andy (Olly_Plimsoll and his girlfriend Anna (Filthy neon)
I didn't know where to go or what to do I was in utter shock. I had been given strict instructions before the meet, to give out hugs to everyone. These instructions were from a few people who couldn't make the
meet…. For the first time I felt mortified and wondered how I was ever going to manage this. I went and found the toilets, while Mikey my other half went and got us a drink, pint of bitter for him and a fresh orange for me, when we got back we saw Lisa and Jason sitting in the smoking part having a ciggy, we joined them for a nice chat, and then we all went back up to join the others who seemed to be getting on really well and chatting away. I managed to squeeze on a seat at the back next to the lovely Barbara (Koshkha) and we had a little chat, she is really lovely and I found her easy to talk to. I really look forward to meeting her again sometime. I got my camera out and took a few photo's, I hate having mine taken, but love taking photo's of others. I managed to get a few people in, I noticed Richard (beaker66) tucked right up in the corner so didn't get much chance to chat to him, but he seemed very friendly,
We joined Lisa and Jason again in the smokers corner, and chatted about all sorts to them, they were a nice couple, I had read a couple of Lisa's reviews but hadn't come across Jason on ciao, Lizzie came and joined us for a little chat she is really sweet and very bubbly, I had been looking forward to meeting Lizzie for some time and I certainly wasn't disappointed. The lovely Sarah (Duskmaiden) also came to join us for a chat, we did get to have a little conversation, but I think all the smoke was blowing her way, Sarah has the most gorgeous hair, also I loved her accent and found her so full of life. Not long after that Gwen (Orlando) arrived I was expecting (Olgarth) to be with her but he wasn't, Gwen and I had a nice chat and she said he had to work, I found Gwen really lovely Much younger than I had expected and even prettier than her in photo.
Next to arrive was Andrew (Coleecip) I didn't recognise him but we gave him a wave as he went up to join the others in the non-smoking bit. The lovely Tricia joined us and we were discussing how she only has a ciggy when she has a drink, and she always ends up with burns in her clothes or handbag the next day.
LATER ON IN THE DAY (the bit I missed)
By now 2 40 a few people were hungry and had ordered food, Mikey and I decided to have a little walk around the immediate area, to stretch my legs and pop in to a particular shop, we waved a quick goodbye to everyone and told Lizzie we would be back in about an hour. We had a little walk around, but didn't get to the shop I wanted to go to, as it was too far away, we went back to the Picture and Piano just before 4pm. We missed some of the fun as I think they had passed around pen and paper to put down "What ciao actually meant to them". Luckily we also missed Ian's camera doing the rounds and I think I managed to escape being in any of his photos!!! I hope so. . ARRIVING BACK AFTER OUR WALK
By the time we got back, Chrissy (Promotion_lass) and Steve (Reposter78) had arrived. We went and sat with the others and I took a few more photos. The lovely Kate (Mattygroves) and her just as lovely daughter also arrived, I never got much chance to talk to Kate until a quick chat at the end, Mikey did however have a chat, because it turned our Kate lives right near where Mikey used to lives and work years ago, so they discussed some of the places they both knew. I was sitting in the smokers bit, when all of a sudden a familiar face appeared, although I had never met Duncan (Torr) I knew who it was at once, he looked just how I thought he would, he was tall, charming, debonair and just as friendly and lovely as I had expected. I managed to have a little talk with Chrissy and Steve, I had read a couple of Chrissy's reviews but none of Steve's yet, I will make a point of doing so as soon as I finish this review, I thought they were both really sweet and look forward to meeting them again. I got so engrossed in conversation with them that I missed Lisa and Jason when they went, so I never got to say goodbye properly, but I'm sure there will be plenty of other opportunities, I hope so.
A FEW PEOPLE LEAVING.
A few people were getting ready to leave. Ian went and I hadn't really said anything to him apart from "Hi" I was hoping to have a chat as he lives not to far from us, hopefully we will get chance to catch up with Ian again at another meet. Simon, Richard and Jo also went, and I found I hadn't even said more than a couple of words to them all day, we have been over to each others GB's since the meet and I look forward to meeting them all again, I will recognise them all next time. I did get some nice photos of them all, yes Jo I even got you in!!! You thought you had escaped my camera didn't you? By now Lizzie and Tricia were saying goodbye and were heading off to a friends Birthday, each holding a couple of gold balloons, I did get a last photo of them and remembered to pass on the hugs that I was asked to.
TIME FOR A BIT MORE CHATTING
I found Duncan (torr) and had a chat to him and we had a picture taken together, Gwen Orlando) came over to talk with us, and Duncan got up and gave Gwen his chair, Gwen and I had another nice little chat, Gwen sipping her beck's out the bottle and I by now was on the water, there is only so much fresh orange one can drink in a day, and I had drunk 6 that day already. Just then Andy (Olly_Plimsoll) came past, Gwen and I were saying how nice his shirt was, Gwen said "I would like to feel it, but better not" I said "I would like to and I'm going to" So we did……. I don't think Andy minded too much, because when I went over to sit with him and his lovely girlfriend Anna he said it had made him feel like Jesus, I didn't speak to Anna much, apart from to ask her some silly questions, like "Are you Mrs Olly_Plimsoll? To which Anna giggled and told me she wasn't Mrs, but that she was Andy's girlfriend (Filthy neon) I have never come across Anna on ciao either, but I'm certainly going to take a look at her reviews, when I have posted this review.
There were a little group of us talking, when all of a sudden I turned around and saw two more people arrive, Lucy (Elkidee) and Mr Ekidee I am so sorry I didn't catch his name. I have read some of elkidee's reviews a while ago, and knew she had been to other meets, I did go over and
Pictures of London Ciao Meet
say hello, but as I hadn't been on ciao for some time and I didn't have my face paints on, I'm not really sure she recognised me, they both leant over and shook my hand though which was nice. Lovely to meet you both and I look forward to seeing you at other meets in the future, I did manage to get elkidee in a couple of group photos.I eventually caught up and had a chat with Andrew (coleecip) it turns out he lives in the next town to us, not very far away at all, a place where I often go shopping. We did have a chat about all the building and road works that are going on there at present, I told him I was over there a week ago and couldn't find how to get into the car park I usually park in, because of all the building work, Andy said its probably because the car park is no longer there they have built on it………. Well that figures, I ended up going 3 times around the roundabout, until I was dizzy.
LOTS OF HUGS
Well a lovely day was drawing to and end for some of us, Mikey and I decided it was time to make a move at 7.30 for our train journey home, we said our goodbyes and I did actually get to give out a few more (((HUGS))) I think Duncan ended up getting about 6 in the end, I managed to give Gwen, Sarah, Lizzie, Tricia, Barbara and Andrew and a few others hugs. By the time I had decided to take a photo of Kate and her daughter my film had finished…. I am so sorry Kate I never got a photo of the two of you, I promise I will catch you both first next time, we waved goodbye to the few we had left there and were off.
TIME TO GO HOME
Our journey home was not bad, I did nearly get decked on the London to Buckinghamshire mainline train, there were lots of not too happy looking football fans on there, Mikey got talking to a couple, who were asking him the scores for other matches. I could see a bit of red shirt under this particular guys jacket, and asked if he was a Man U supporter. Well he pulled open his jacket and said "Does this look like a BL**DY Man U shirt, I said well its red and I can't really tell the difference.
Mikey quickly came to my defence and said, "She doesn't really know much about football" then he quietly said to me "he's a Arsenal fan". To which to guy settled back in his seat and just stared at me until he got off a couple of stops later. He said, "Cheers mate" to Mikey as he went, but never even looked at me!!!! We arrived home at 9pm, very tired but happy that we made it to our first ever meet, hopefully it won't be our last.
There were other people that were on the list, and that I was looking forward to meeting but who sadly never made it.
Including badcompany77 Badge_boy Kappaslappa Sexysos Baby_uk Oldgoth Morning_Becomes_Electra
To name but a few.
There are also many others I would love to meet one day, too many to name but I'm sure you all know who you are, as I am often in and out of your GB's
Just leaves one thing to say.
A big thank you to Lizzie for making it all possible and to all the lovely people we met there. And hugs to everyone I missed out at the meet, also to all who never made this meet.
Please take a look at the photo's, I have a few more but can only put 7 on, so I will be swapping them around from time to time, anyone that is missing off of these are on the others. let me know if you would like me to email you any of them I already have a couple of people waiting for some.