A collection of random wafflings as they pop into my mind

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Part 2

So at 8pm the opening ceremony err, opened. Terry appeared on stage after a dramatic opening based on Maskerade, grabbed his hat off the ghost of the opera houses and said a few words along the lines of "Is it only starting now - didn't it start last Wednesday?" before the guild heads were introduced.

The Assassins Guild Head was Stephen Briggs (apparently he didn't get to head them last time and so paid the Assassins to assassinate their head so that he could take over). The Alchemists were headed by Jack Cohen - one of the authors of the Science of Discworld books, Unseen University were led by one of the other co-authors of the series, Ian Stewart. Bernard Pearson aka The Cunning Artificer and the man behind Discworld Stamps was head of the Fools Guild - can't imagine why they thought that was appropriate.

The Conjurers were headed by Trevor Turan, who designed the Thud game and the Priests were led by Colin Smythe - Terry's agent and therefore our intermediary with "The Creator". Diane Duane (who wrote the Young Wizards series) was head of the Seamstresses Guild and her husband (and author of the Horse Lords series) Peter Morwood was my Guild head (but I already knew that having had discussions via email with him about the laws of Ankh-Morpork)

Please excuse the rubbish photo of Peter - but you should be aware of him and be warned - this man had the worst puns of the convention. In his acceptance speech as Head of the Guild of Lawyers he referred to his members as the "wee fee men".

After the opening ceremony we had our first guild meeting (ours was in the room labelled Leshp - quite appropriate I felt for people being guided by me who didn't know what the heck I was doing - would we sink or would we swim?). Peter came along and bamboozled us with his interpretation of the Laws of Ankh- Morpork (which I swear had grown since I last heard about them) and left us with the problem of how to make each lawyer aware of them (resolved the next day by giving one of our members a wad of cash & sending her into town to do some photocopying). We adjourned the meeting as quickly as we could as we were all desperate to go to Terry's bedtime story.

We had been warned at the Trolls Guide to Conventions that some people would attend the Bedtime Story in nightwear. They also said that not everyone who did so would have gone out and bought nice, clean respectable pajamas. They were right about this.

Terry started his storytelling by reading to us from "Wintersmith" (the next Tiffany Aching novel - due out in October) although Terry though we should probably be reading it to him as we had apparently "denuded ebay of proof copies". He read a few extracts, one where Tiffany starts to dance with the Wintersmith, another where the feegles are reading Tiffany's diary and my favourites were about the Book of Witch Catching for Really Stupid People, and Miss Tick's conversation in the post office when her stealth witches hat malfunctioned.

He then went on to read passages from "Making Money". The next book to star Moist Von Lipwig who is becoming bored of the lack of challenges in the Post Office and so Vetinari offers him a new position at the Royal Mint. The conversation between Moist and Vetinari, and Vetinari and Drumknott were fabulous, as was the extract where Moist goes to visit the largest shareholder of the Mint and her dog "Mr Fusspot" - who put us all in mind of Tricky- woo from All Creatures Great and Small.

I could happily have listened to Terry reading all night and yet I was so tired I was desperate for him to stop so I could go to bed, he finally finished at about 11.30 after reading for about an hour and a half, at which point I headed straight for bed - after all it had been a bedtime story.

Bits of the convention I can remember: Part 1

Well, I arrived Thursday afternoon courtesy of Dad's Chauffeuring Services (and my first trip down the M6 toll road) . It took about an hour to check into the hotel as they'd had a new computerised checking in system installed the day before and so the staff hadn't quite got the hang of it. The hotel had recently been refurbished (okay they were still doing parts of it) but my room was very nice (not too sure why you needed 6 pillows on a double bed though...)

I registered in "The Hub", the central space from which all the corridors to the bedrooms led off from and collected my registration pack and goody bag. The goody bag contained amongst other things, a Discworld convention balloon (inflation required), a pen, a leather Discworld Convention Bookmark and a glossy copy of the programme - which had my name in print as the Deputy of the Lawyers Guild!

After registering I wandered round and met Jax (Basement from the forum) in the bar who kindly took me under her wing for the evening which meant I got to meet other people from the forum and had people to talk to whilst queuing for the buffet - of which we shall gloss over - other than to say the best part of it was probably the chocolate that Jean offered me at the end. I'm afraid I wimped out of the pub quiz and had an early night as I was shattered.

I made it down to breakfast the next morning - you could tell the Hotel hadn't yet switched into convention mode - " Would Madam like me to pour her coffee?" and spent most of the morning wandering around trying to spot people from the forum - oh and avoiding the cheerful fairies. Five women with sensible clothes, wings and whistles and a book of cheery songs to sing were terrorising guests and entertaining the queue in Hotel reception, Terry's imagination has a lot to answer for!

At some point during the afternoon I went to the "Trolls Guide to Conventions" Basically a talk for first timers to give pointers about what to do and what to expect. Here we learnt the mantra, "Go to Ops" If you lose someone or something, GO TO OPS. if you find someone or something, GO TO OPS. You're probably getting the gist of it right? We were also introduced to the weapons policy (all weapons must be passed by ops to reduce the risk of injury) and introduced to the concept of stabby, pokey and slicey weapons in a most entertaining manner.

We were also informed that there is a guest during the convention by the name of Silas T Firefly, who is the absolute double of a certain Mr T Pratchett, but is not him, honest guv, and if we see him we are to leave him in peace. If however we see Silas T Firefly remove his name badge and swap it for one that says Terry Pratchett we can go and chat to him and buy him a drink (a bottle of lager for preference).

I also attended a Deputies briefing at which point I realised I had absolutely no idea what I was doing as a deputy and then went to a guild registration meeting where we could recruit new members, oddly despite it all being very disorganised we did get an increase in numbers.

Still to come: The convention is officially opened!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I survived!

I'm back - I survived the convention and I'm now taking the next three weeks off to recover.
Highlights of the convention - Terry's Bedtime Stories - where he read us extracts from Wintersmith and Making Money - both were fabulous and I can't wait for them to be published.

The Mob who are making the Hogfather (to be shown on Sky on December & be released on DVD in March) came and told us about the joys of film making (and how they managed to get Harry Potter to pay for their really expensive helicopter camera hire!) and showed us the trailer for it (Death of Rats & the Sock Eater looked fantastic) and the scene where Nobby meets the Hogfather in Crumleys. Apparently they were quite pleased that the clips got a standing ovation and were still enjoying themselves in the bar with the fans at 4 the next morning!

I shall update you with the rest when I have the energy to do so - but in the meantime if you look here you can see pictures from the convention (Steve even managed to get one of me in the dress!)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It's finished

...and with at least 12 hours to spare!

Please note that my hair will be put up somewhat better on the night (hopefully) I just shoved most of it up as it was damp and I didn't want to get the dress wet, plus we wanted to see if the flowers would stay put in it - they did.

If you're lucky someone might take a reasonable picture of the front of the dress (and with a bit of luck miss my head off!) at the convention.

Mum has worked really hard making the dress - sadly as I've been feeling grotty for the last few weeks I haven't been able to do any where near as much as I had originally intended to do, but watching Mum and talking through things with her I've learnt a huge amount. Thank you so much Mum.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

It WILL be finished in time.

See it's a dress. I'd like to point out that I actually do have a waist despite the fact that the dress appears not to. The dress has progressed further than this picture, in fact apart from a few finishing touches it's complete.

So, one thing almost finished four hundred and ninety eight to go. Will some one please remind me why I agreed to be the Deputy of the Lawyers Guild at the Convention? Tomorrow I need to buy red tape, print off some small print labels, figure out what on earth we're doing for our 20 minute long children's slot and I'm sure there was something else but I've forgotten it. I did however remember to buy a new memory card for my camera so I figure being able to take 300 pictures should be enough.

Tomorrow is likely to be a day of mad running around and panicking though - fortunately because I'm very spoilt my parents have agreed to drive me down to the Convention and pick me up on Tuesday. Okay, they might say it's because I've been feeling pretty lousy at the moment and my latest blood tests showed my liver function wasn't quite as it should be (perfect timing for a relapse, as I've got to convince college that I'm well enough to return next month!), but between you and me it's because I'm spoilt rotten and have wonderful parents.

Friday, August 11, 2006

So I missed the York deadline...

I picked up the 231 stitches for the neckband and then I needed a break before I could knit them. (Note to self - it may be worth purchasing longer needles next time)

Eventually, I ended up with this, which will be posted as soon as I get round to it!

Do you want to know how "the dress" is coming on?

The train is almost finished and has the amazing talent of being able to stand up on its own.

Yes, my bum will look big in this, but hey I'll always have a cushion (or 8 layers or so of net) to sit on!

Monday, August 07, 2006

What I did at the weekend.

Well, as Mum & Dad spent the weekend at York playing with their new caravan and showing it off to my sister and her family the dress had a weekend off and spent it lounging about on either the sofa (for the partially assembled pieces) or the spare bed (for those still waiting to play a part).

Yes, technically there were bits of it that I could have done without Mum's assistance, but actually cutting and sewing things without a second pair of eyes saying "Yes, that's right." was just too scary. So I gave up and instead just had recurring nightmares about arriving at the convention, getting ready for the gala dinner and discovering that I had only a quarter of a dress to wear and a large bag of fabric.

Instead I ventured out on Sunday (free parking in town!) to M&S in search of some, ahem, "foundation garments" to wear with the dress. As usual they didn't have the ones I wanted in the correct size, but I did however end up buying these. They're not as pale as they appear on the photo, they're really more the colour of the insoles, but I figure they should look nice with the dress (well the tips of them that might peak out from under it whilst I'm walking should anyway).

I have to admit that I was amazed that I actually found shoes that were in my size, were wide enough to fit me, didn't cripple my dodgy big toe (a story for another day), were in a style that I liked, a colour that I liked and which I thought I might be able to wear on more than one occasion, that I was able to walk in without toppling over and that had a price tag that didn't cause my credit card to have a panic attack. Taking all that into account I just had to buy them!

Thursday, August 03, 2006


So the first fitting.... err.... it almost fits... sort of... It isn't actually pinned up at the back and I'm planning on wearing high heels with it, hence the puddle of fabric on the floor, but come on - it looks more like a dress now, right?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Me? Panic? Noooooooooooo.

So, the convention is 15 days away.
The dress?
As you can see, the bodice lining has been sewn together and has boning attached. The bodice is taking shape.It might just be finished in time - whether or not my waist will have shrunk enough to fit into it is another matter. If the worst comes to the worst some serious underwear will have to be bought to squish bits into it, well it's either that or put in an extra panel at the back (much easier than having to let out seams on the bodice and lining). However we have faith in the miracle of dieting!!

Ellie's cardigan is coming along - I have picked up 231 stitches and crammed them onto the needle. Mum & Dad are going back over to York to play with their new caravan (and show it off to Lisa & Paul) on Friday so that's the deadline. Which means I can't do the fun knitting Auntie Irene bought me until after then. It's really odd yarn to knit with but the bobbles hide a multitude of mistakes and I love how it's turning out. Just half a side and the strap to go.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Well, it was Lisa's birthday on Saturday so I was finally able to give her her birthday present (remember there was a sneaky peek of it when I was swatching for Ellie's cardigan?)
I'm quite pleased with how the scarf turned out. The yarn has a fine white thread wrapped around it so the elongated stitch pattern is more defined as more of the purple shows through than on the garter stitch. However, this thread also has a habit of unravelling itself on the fringe - but I'm working on the theory that whilst the fringe may therefore become a bit more uneven and need trimming it won't bother me as I won't be the one that has to do it. Sorry Lisa, I forgot to mention that bit!

Lisa very kindly offered to model the scarf for me despite that fact that it was the hottest July on record - I'm sure she'll want me to point out that the birthday girl is drinking diet cherry coke out of that pint glass!
Ellie's cardigan is still waiting to have the stitches picked up & the neckband knitted on to it. To be honest I keep wimping out of doing it as it's scary - I've never done it before and there's over 200 stitches to be picked up. I've marked it out though and calculated how many stitches need to be cast on in each section, and tomorrow I will do it. Well, I'll have a go and shout for help from Mum should it all go not neckband shaped.

When I visited Auntie Irene last week she gave me a lovely present of three balls of curly wurly yarn, needles and a pattern to make a bag. I was going to take a pic of it all to show you, but I couldn't resist and started knitting with it. So far one and half sides of the bag have been knitted, and I've got some lining fabric left over from the dress that I can use to line it with when finished.

The gala dinner dress has not progressed very far I'm embarrassed to say. I've ironed the bodice sections but still haven't basted them together yet. That's the other job on the list of things to do tomorrow...