jurious: Pencil sketch. Based on Stephen Briggs (Vetinari)
[personal profile] jurious
Just spent another splendiferous weekend down in Wincanton in Somerset to celebrate Hogswatch with fellow Discworld fans. It was my second Hogswatch and my third time visiting Wincanton and it's amazing how much it feels like home already whenever I go down there. Meeting-up with old friends and making fabulous new ones is always a treat, and the Discworld fanbase is such a friendly, open community that you can't help but feel comfortable around them, and it's one of the few places I ever go where I feel like I belong, because it really doesn't matter who you are, or what you do, or where you're from, you're part of the most wonderfully eccentric extended family on the planet. :)

So much happens in the few days that one spends in Wincanton, it's impossible to remember it all, never mind type it all up - but I'll have a shot at writing up at least a little.

I have to start with the only bad thing about the weekend which was the drive down. My new satnav takes me a slightly different route to my old one, and instead of treating me to the bazillion roundabouts of the A43, sent me off down the M40. This proved to be a bad decision on the journey down because roadworks on the M40 meant that three lanes became one, and thus huge, slow-moving congestion resulted. It took me 3 hours to reach Oxford, which is my usual halfway stop - it usually only takes a couple of hours! So I defied satnav on the way home and took the A43 option lest I get stuck in the M40's roadworks again. Mwaha.

Aside from that, though, a wonderful weekend was had! I met up with my old pals Justin, Eve and Per on Friday at "The Nog Inn", and also met a wonderful lady from the US called Elizabeth. Upon noticing the "Team Shakespeare" badge on my bag, she revealed that she taught Shakespeare and was a big theatre-goer and we had a fab conversation about productions we'd been to see this year. It was interesting to hear her thoughts on Trevor Nunn's "The Tempest" which we'd both seen - she loved it, but it left me very bored and unsatisfied, but to hear someone else talk about a play with passion was awesome. And so I told her about Spacey in "Richard III", and Stewart in "Merchant of Venice", and Briggs & co in "Midsummer Night's Dream", and it was really cool because I have so few people to talk about theatre to, and she was genuinely interested and all, so that was really cool.

We then all went to listen to a dark fairy tale being told in The Nog's function room. It wasn't a bad story though the storyteller was so very nervous, bless him - but he got into a decent stride eventually and all the proceeds from the entry fees went to charity, which is always nice. I believe £300 was raised in the end. After that, it was karaoke at The Bear. I was far too shy to take part but everyone else did a brilliant job of taking a turn - Eve went up twice, Justin's Johnny Cash rendition was very popular, and Per had a good stab at it, even though he'd never done it before. :) Well done, team.

On the Saturday I put on my Assassin's Guild scarf, Dark Clerks t-shirt, and took Wuffles for a spin. At The Bear, we were all initiated into the Guild of Thieves by Mr Boggis, which was fun ("Don't forget to leave a receipt!"), then had a wander round the Emporium and trade stalls. I got my Ankh-Morpork passport stamped at the consulate, of course - I now have two stamps in it. :) Also picked up my sausage supper meal ticket.

There were some fabulous costumes on show including a girl as Great A'tuin, a man as Rincewind, and a young boy as Twoflower who really did look good. Wuffles got lots of attention from people, with quite a few children wanting to stroke him, and he had a couple more "chats" with Jacqueline Simpson, who's such a fantastic character! :D She barks and yips at him with shameless aplomb. Terry also turned up around midday and was talking to fans in the shop, and it was cool to stand and listen to him speak on many a varied topic.

The Man in the Hat

We went to the sandwich shop to try Nanny Ogg's boozy figgins which were on sale and they were very yummy. Whilst we were outside the shop, a lady tied up her little Westie (called Hector) whilst she went inside. I looked down at him and wondered if the lady would notice if I swapped Wuffles for her dog! Heheh.

Before the sausage supper, we tried the "scumble" on sale at The Dolphin - and blimey you didn't need much of that! It was 8.5% strength cider! And you felt it as soon as you took a couple of sips. Heheh.

I moseyed on down to my assigned hostelry for the sausage supper at 7pm, which was The Nog Inn. I shared a table with the family of the boy who was dressed as Twoflower and they were a lovely bunch of people. The boy really liked Wuffles and his mum told me that he had a big collection of soft toy dogs at home, so if Wuffles went missing, I would know were to find him! I showed them a picture of Phoenix on my phone, who is of course my real dog, and found out that they used to own a Belgian Shepherd called Leo! What a small world! I meet so few people who own, or have owned, Belgians, it was a pleasure to speak to someone who immediately recognised what type of dog my boy was!

There was an open mic session in The Bear in the evening, which Terry, Bernard and Jacqueline joined the fans for. It was lots of fun, with a rendition of "12 days of Hogswatch" (the eighth day was replaced with 7a because, well, you know, it's not a number we should be speaking aloud! ;) Heheh.) Beth Warner dressed as Rosie Palm and did a clever and funny seamstress song with some corseted backing dancers, which was very entertaining -- and much appreciated by Terry and Bernard, of course.

Sunday saw some items go for ridiculous amounts of money at the charity auction - well over £2500 was made for RICE, which is an Alzheimer's research charity. Terry also created the Order of the Pickle for those who have won the famous pickle-in-a-jar at the auction over the past 9 or 10 years. (Pat Harkin took it home again this year after his wife bid for it for him. Heheh. We are a curious fandom...)

We had lunch at the sandwich bar where I had a fantastic brie and cranberry sandwich. We then returned to The Bear for a fun radio play and then, finally, had the farewell with Bernard and Terry. Terry talked about his future projects, which includes a couple more Discworld books (including another Lipwig novel, which will either be "Raising Taxes" or "Running Water". I'd like him to write the latter, personally!). He also spoke about his work with Stephen Baxter on the sci-fi novel project "Long Earth", and - something which I'm very excited about - his work on a book about a boy in the early Victorian era who worked in the old sewer system. As a student of Victorian economic and industrial history, it's something I'm very interested in reading and it was fascinating to hear Terry talk on it because he's so knowledgeable on the historical context of it, and is clearly himself really excited about the project. I'm really, really looking forward to reading this particular novel of his! :D

The weekend was over too soon, and, after Bernard's traditional send off ("Piss off!!!" ), goodbyes had to be said and the long journey home had to be negotiated (which was at least much smoother than the journey down!). I had a lovely time with lovely people and I can't wait to see everyone again at the next event sometime in spring. Next year will be a big one for Discworld events, with the Convention in Birmingham coming up, too, so bring on 2012!
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jurious: Pencil sketch. Based on Stephen Briggs (Default)
Grace Francis

December 2011

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