I arrived in Torquay around 5pm and took a taxi from the train station to my B&B. I could have walked but I was tired after the train-bus-train-taxi-train excursion. I stayed at the Lawnswood B&B on Scarborough Road. George, originally from Scotland, was the proprietor. Extremely nice gentleman, full of helpful information about Torquay. The Lawnswood wasn’t as spiffy as White Waves, but the accomodations and full English breakfast were just fine! Three other delegates to the conference were staying there, so it was wonderful to have a chance to talk with them during breakfast and then run into them over at the conference center.
I had a lovely dinner Sunday evening at a Thai restaurant about 3 blocks from my B&B. Curry. Yum.
Woke up far too early (again) on Monday. Headed to the conference center around 9am to get checked in prior to the conference opening. And then it was just go-go-go until around 4pm. Plenaries, breakout sessions, wandering the exhibit hall, talking to vendors, trying to take notes so I could blog the sessions, and trying to tweet, too. (I just signed up for twitter about 2 days before I left the States – NASIG is just starting a twitter feed and UKSG was doing one for the conference.)
The UKSG is a bit more civilized than NASIG – opening was 10am on Monday; 9am on Tuesday and Wednesday. The sessions end between 4-4:45 and you get a break (if you don’t want to visit the exhibits again or haven’t set up meetings with colleagues) until 6ish (on Monday), 7pm (on Tuesday) before the evening reception and dinner. I took part in the traditional “quiz” – 60 questions, 55 of which are extremely difficult. I think the winning team/table only got 45-48 questions right. I never did hear our table’s final score. I think we might have gotten 1/2 of them correct. I contributed at least 1 right answer: I knew that Herbert Hoover was the 31st president of the U.S. but I could not name any of the 4 states that bordered on the 31st parallel north. (“31” being significant because the quiz master thought this was the 31st annual UKSG meeting – he decided he wasn’t going in search of questions regarding the no. 32 when he learned it was actually the 32nd meeting.)
Tuesday – like Monday, only it started an hour earlier. The evening reception was held at the Old Spanish Barn. There were tours of Torre Abbey, which is right next to the Barn, before the reception – somehow I missed signing up for that. The Abbey was closed for renovation last year so it would have been nice to have seen it up close. Of course, I left my camera at the B&B, so I didn’t even get outside pictures of the place. The Old Spanish Barn was… old… I never did get any information on the history of the place. It was quite large but crowded with the 500 or so conference delegates milling about and enjoying the food & drink reception there before we returned to the conference center for a lovely dinner.
I had wonderful dinner companions, including Ginny (who blogged and tweeted the conference (and dinner), Paul (who is a Star Wars fan and is certain he read my “A Certain Point of View” story), and Farishna (spelling might be wrong), whom I promised to call upon at Imperial College when I return to the UK next spring. I was also seated with outgoing UKSG chair, Paul Harwood, and several other folks. Unfortunately (I guess), the UKSG twitter folks now know of my obsession with a certain BBC tv series AND Star Wars. It was a fun evening!