Well that was a rather stuffed weekend. Full to the brim of frippery, family, food, firewater, and frivolity. Fun times and so it's back to work with a bump.
Friday was the Smithy open and a lot of fun that is. We were very lucky with the weather. In fact this has been true all weekend. Not a raincloud in sight. Very warm though. Close, as the old folks would say. All went off without a hitch, and although I didn't win, it's not about the winning or loosing... it's about the winning. Well done Stanlar.
Our evening entertainment was an eclectic mix of establishments on the Bath road in Cheltenham, including The Exmouth Arms, The Brown Jug and the 5 Alls. Extremes, but all very enjoyable. Pleased to see the 6X of my home town on tap in the Brown Jug. I've been in here plenty of times before, and always enjoyed it and it's also good to see the 5 Alls having a lick of paint. All a bit of a blur, but generally a nice bunch of boozers. There's more about that over on the WTC site though. 'nuff said.
Friday night was also the launch of the Cheltenham Literature Festival which this year, we've failed miserably to get properly involved with. What is does mean is that Cheltenham gets very busy and is a generally slightly more interesting place to be for the week. That's not to say that it isn't always interesting, it's just this week (like any Cheltenham Festival week) is more so. The streets are littered with interesting characters, both well known and completely unidentifiable that make people watching an excellent pastime.
For example, on Friday we had Melvyn Bragg, Simon Hoggart, Mark Kermode & Andrew Marr. Gutted that I missed Dr K of course, but would also have loved to have heard Andrew Marr after writing about him earlier in the year. I hear reports that he was having a go at bloggers. More on that here and here. Very entertaining stuff I'm sure.
On Saturday, as regular readers will be aware, it was Cheltenham's attempt at a SuperSwarm that drew Mrs G, Daughter and I to "The Bank House" in the town, as well as a few other bits and pieces of shopping that needed to be done. It was interesting to finally put some actual faces to Twitter names that I've read about and followed. The likes of @AdrianEXG & @jonnop to name but two. It was a valiant effort and there was a decent buzz (all puns intended even if not achieved) about the place that made it look like there was a chance of achieving it. In fact, The Literature Festival itself drew a large enough crowd to aquire a spontaneous "Swarm" badge* (a group of 50) during the morning.
Sadly, it wasn't to be. The crowd peaked at 120, and 250 is the target. Of course this is still something of a success. Even 120 people is no mean feat, but while the Literature Festival does bring a lot of people to Cheltenham, they may not necessarily be the people that are foursquare savvy. A more likely target - given the numbers of people involved would be Cheltenham races. Punters are twitterer's because they're looking for the inside line on the horses s this makes them a natural progression for Foursquare. Maybe the team will have a pop at the Festival in March ??. There's racing on Friday/Saturday too but more on that later in the week.
Saturday's LitFest names included Sebastian Faulks, Alastair Campbell & Darling (although not together) & "the Dark Lord", Peter Madelson. Also ran... Armstrong & Miller and Derren Brown. Needless to say we hadn't arranged tickets for any of these shows this year and that truly is a travesty. Sunday had Stephen Hawking, Clive Anderson, Graham Norton, Germain Greer, Martin Jarvis and so the list goes on and on and on...Of the approximately 200 well known faces to appear this year, the worst one to miss of the lot is next Friday. 12-1pm Mr Stephen Fry. He is the king of twitter and a national treasure.
Next year, Mrs G and I will be having a week off and planning it properly.
After the people-watching and book browsing of the day, the early evening saw the arrival of the Scottish contingent who are staying with us until Tuesday. This is Mrs G's sister & D along with the three little ones, A, W & F.
Good company, good food & good wine made for a most enjoyable evening and onwards into the wee small hours of Sunday morning. Daughter & Son where out with friends but bother were tucked up asleep by the time the rest of the house arose by 9am. Sunday meant a roast dinner in the pub with Grandparents. More excellent socialising and the early evening led to kids hot-tubbing which had meant a bit of work for me to prep it having not used it for the last couple of months. Auntie S brought the cousins (E&E) round as well, so the house was fit to burst with kids and adults all having a great time and bemoaning the quality of the X-Factor among other things. All provoking much giggling, pointing and oooo-ing and ahhh-ing. Fun times.
Finally exhausted, all retired for the evening, save myself and D who with a night-cap in hand enjoyed a run of The Big Lebowski before admitting defeat and turning in for the night. Try as I might, time & tide waits for no man and with the inevitability of the sun rising, so the working week begins and all I can do is get on with it whilst wishing for the new year and the start of the new job. L&D & Kids are off to Slimbridge with Grandparents while the rest of us work for a living. They'll be back this evening for one last night of socialising before heading off to the south coast for the week.
Hey ho - back to it.
* If you want to know more about all of the Foursquare badges - details can be seen here: http://tonyfelice.wordpress.com/foursquare/
This post originally appeared here: Posterous