The main reason for our trip to the UK was the combination of 2 big tournaments within a week of each other, with only about 70 miles between the two. The first tournament was the EPC 2009 www.ukpinballshow.co.uk/
which attracted a large number of visitors (for the UK Pinball show) but mainly saw over 150 competitors (including BF and myself) battle in various tournaments. The boy ran the tournament scoring system (a fancy display using PDAs and projectors, the envy of many countries) and I was at the tournament desk, registering the competitors for the 4 different tournaments, and occasionally taking scores. Having been doing the same for the past 3 years, most of the regular players knew me and there was no major problems. What you can not see in the photos available at the moment is the size of the venue...150 machines on free-play being played from 9AM to anywhere between 6 and 11 PM, needless to say, I had emergency ear-plugs and was glad to go hide in my hotel room.
The show started Friday night and Saturday, having started the day with a long awaited swim (fish-bowl style, as the Marriott's pool is very oddly shaped), and after a long day of tournaments to run it was time for the Pinball dinner, complete with especially flown in guest speaker Steve Ritchie (Pinball designer extraordinaire).
I was a little worried that the dress I had bought 3 months ago before discovering SP would turn out too big, but it fitted fine, so I went with that.
Paired with turquoise jewellery to match the shoes, it looked all together something like that (although I did feel a lot slimmer than the photo suggests, but BF is pretty useless with a camera...)
On the menu, Tomato and basil soup (tasty, I skipped the roll), chicken with potato and spinach (swapped my potato for BF's unwanted spinach and broccoli) and fresh cream profiterole (I had one and did not think much of it, so offered the rest to the boys at the table).
After that and the presentation I went to bed as the next morning required us to be ready by 9 (and I had every intention of getting a gym session in).
So I survived the 3 days, despite the funny looks at my carrot stick and hummus snacking and iron ability to refuse sweets and biscuit MOST of the time.
I even managed to escape on the Friday at lunch to get a little bit of shopping in (Northampton rocks bargain shopping!!) and provided me with the funniest encounter.
Picture the scene: Northampton on a very rainy day, I am a little drenched from walking into town so I decide to get the bus back because 'surely the machines have arrived and we are ready to get the tournament going' (fear not...it was not the case just yet...LOL). Spotting a young mum with a pram and 2 little 18-20 year old 'chavettes' (female CHAV's, think Vicky Pollard, but really sweet girls!). After enquiring about what bus I should get on, one of the little chavettes decidely feels chatty, so I share my lack of willingness to get drenched...again!
girl: me too, just look at my spray tan.
me (fully taking in the picture: her skin on hands, feet, arms, neck and face looks like a serious skin condition): ohhhhhh
girl: yeay, I just had it done.
(doh, next time, allow it to dry before stepping out OR invest in large umbrella?)
girl: did you have yours (tan) done too, 'cause you look well brown. (all in the best Little Britain worthy accent of course)
me: no, I just have been outside, I live in Switzerland, and we've had fab weather last month.
girl: oh, I've always wanted to go, Is that where Swedish people live?
me (struggling to not burst out laughing): nope, that would be Sweden...Swiss people live in Switzerland...(then the bus was there and I got on it before the conversation took a weirder turn)
BUT...just prior to the whole tan conversation...
same girl to 12-year old girl next to mum with pram, pointing at baby: is that yours or is that hers (pointing at mum)?
mum (frowning) no, she is mine...that's my niece, she's only 12...
Turns out teenage mums are plentiful in that area, not to say the norm!!!
On the bus I was giggling to myself...ah, the innocence of the young ones ;-)
Next stop: Shopping and boys with big shiny balls!