I got home from England about 11 pm last night and went to work as usual today. I am totally wiped out but I have to pack again. Tomorrow I work at FLS and then leave for Gen Con.
The trip went really well. I have neither the time nor the energy for a big recap, but here’s a quick overview.
* Got in Thursday morning and hooked up with Charles Ryan. He took me south to Alton, where I met with Esdevium folks and got a look at their operation.
* Joined by the rest of Charles’ family, we visited the impressive Fort Nelson near Portsmouth. This 19th century fortification is now the Royal Armouries Artillery Museum. After that we had dinner and then it was back to their new house in the village of Liss. It was great to see Charles, Tammie, and the kids and hopefully I can get back there before long with Nik and Kate.
* Got up to Cambridge Friday afternoon after a brief stop in London for a late breakfast. I had a big traditional English breakfast, as I wasn’t sure I’d have the chance the rest of the trip.
* The con was at New Hall, a college of Cambridge University. Attendees stayed in dorm rooms, so it was real college flashback. The rooms came with breakfast each morning. A traditional English breakfast, so by the end of my stay I had had more than enough eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, mushrooms, and so on.
* The con drew between 200 and 300 people. The committee treated me very well and did a fine job of organizing the whole affair.
* I did 7 or so seminars and they seemed to go off well. Before each one I could go to the Real Ale Bar and get a pint of beer or cider. That’s something you don’t see at American cons. I kept thinking Rob Schwalb was made for a show like this.
* Other guests included Ian Watson and Jo Walton. Ian was a riot and very witty. Jo was frightfully smart and well studied in history. We had a great talk about historical what ifs, what could have been done to stop Hitler’s rise to power, and important silver strikes in ancient Greek history.
* Saturday and Sunday afternoon I had a few hours to walk downtown and see a few things. I visited the King’s College Chapel, which a truly magnificent piece of architecture and craftsmanship.
* I also went the Fitzwilliam Museum and saw their special Egyptian exhibit. They had excerpts of a 3300-year-old Book of the Dead that had just recently been restored. They also had a nice exhibit of medieval armor and weapons. One display of pole arms could very well have been featured in the 1E Player’s Handbook. It included a military fork, a bill, a ranseur, a bardiche, a halberd and not one but two holy water sprinklers!
* I had a hard time getting to sleep Saturday night because a woman was screaming and ranting for a good hour in the middle of the night. She turned out to be the con attendee who had previously insisted that her bed be set up in the gaming area because of her disability. She became so overwrought that a doctor was called. He brought in another doctor and they ended up taking her off to an asylum in the middle of the night. Strangely, the excerpt I had provided for the con booklet was a location from the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport: the Chambers Asylum. Maybe she had seen the Yellow Sign.
* Monday I went back to London and met James Wallis in Paddington Station. We had lunch and caught up, which was great fun. Then I took the high-speed train to Heathrow and headed home.
Now I need to pack and do some last minute Gen Con stuff. We are announcing the acquisition of a new license at the show and I need to make sure everything is sorted out for that. Go go August indeed.