Thursday, 18 October 2018

UK PonyCon 2018, Friday: Muffins with Muffins

A question I would ask myself repeatedly
Bright and sunlit were the skies as I ventured forth from home and—no, actually they weren't. It was raining. This would become something of a running theme. Still, I was off to UK PonyCon, and for that I can put up with some damp even when carrying two heavyish bags. (Because I am useless at travelling light.) I was going by train as usual, and the trip was pretty uneventful, which suited me. I managed to get in a quick one-finger "Babs Seed" on the New Street station piano, and ate the compulsory Big Mac, but that was about the height of the excitement.

More fun was that, from Birmingham onwards, I had company in the shape of CuldeeFell, who thinks that Fluttershy is best pony and occasionally comes to the Worcester meets, both unerring signs of quality. (CrossCountry also provided us with a train with room to sit down for a change...) We spent the time having a sometimes quite in-depth chat about MLP's past, present and future; written down here in black and white it seems sad that we felt it might be for the best if G4 did end next year, but it didn't feel that way on the train.
The truly stunning view from my hotel room
We arrived in Nottingham just before 3pm and set off for our respective hotels, though I stayed a few moments to give a quick rendition of "Winter Wrap Up" on that station's piano. It was a very windy day, but thankfully not (quite) raining, so lugging my bags for ten minutes wasn't too much of a trial. Check-in was quick and painless, as it usually is with Travelodge, and I was allotted a corner room on the third floor. As a result, it was noticeably larger than the chain's usual standard, which was nice.

I'd been wearing my UK PonyCon 2017 shirt on the way, but I now changed into my Derpy shirt for something I'd really wanted to do since I discovered it would be possible: I walked a short way to the 200 Degrees coffee shop in Flying Horse Walk (named after a former pub). It was really crowded, but I just about found a place to perch and had a cappuccino and a very nice lemon curd muffin. So there I was, wearing a Derpy shirt, eating a muffin, in Flying Horse Walk. There must be worse starts to pony conventions!

Forbidden Planet's idea of going all-out for the convention market
After nipping into Poundland to get some mints for my annoying cough, I went back to the hotel before going to the Roebuck, a Wetherspoon pub about three minutes from where I was staying and therefore very convenient, to meet up with some friends and (gasp!) talk about ponies. I won't try to name-check everyone here as I'm bound to miss someone out, but during the five hours or so I was there I think I talked to about ten other people. I ate fish and chips and drank the weekend's first cider, followed by a very chocolatey brownie with ice cream.

I walked back to the hotel at a bit after 11pm, and though quite lively (there'd been an away England football match) it wasn't too bad, at least on my side of Nottingham. I forced myself to spend a few minutes getting stuff ready for the morrow, such as my "Friendship Squad" tote bag (this design, but pink and plasticised). By this time I was knackered. And so to bed and dreams of pony conventions, as Samuel Pepys would doubtless have written had he been a brony. And 350 years younger.

A terrible mix-up meant the Phil ended up in the concert hall next door

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