April 24, 2009

there's a giraffe in London

I've been cajoled into posting what few photos I have from the Minions meet at Giraffe-Upon-Thames, London, UK. Both Jane and FairyHedgehog have done a better job of detailing events (and taking pictures) than I can, so read their entries and ignore this one. You'll thank me for it later.

Now, expectations properly set, I can get on with my entry.

It was a long way to come for this meeting, but it was worth it. Something like 6,500 miles each way for me, somewhat less for most of the others (unless they were using the same GPS system that I was using). Thanks to whoever chose the spot for the meet--very public setting (in case some of us were ax murderers), outdoor seating (for easy and quick getaways in a pinch), serving both coffee and wine.

I must admit that when I left the house in the morning, I had some reservations. I certainly was excited to meet the attending minions, but what the hell was I doing taking a full day out of my 12-day vacation, leaving my wife and children behind, and going all the way into the city (30+ minutes by train) to meet people I only knew from blogs and a few emails? Originally I'd hoped wife and wee ones would accompany me, but our wiser selves realized the kids would have been bored out of their skulls as soon as their sodas were finished.

There was a long line outside the Giraffe when I got there, and it seemed to block the entrance so I wasn't sure if I should wait or try to squeeze through and see if I could find the group. As I deliberated, a couple of business types started chatting, and my hopes flagged when one asked with incredulity, "Are you actually queuing for the Giraffe then?" It was then I noticed all the baby strollers in the queue. And then I saw FHH dash through the door. And then I made eye contact with some redhead who seemed to be staring me down from across the patio. Fortunately before I quailed and fled, she mouthed the word "Pete?" (or it could have been "feet" but that would have been weird). So I made my way to the table.

OK, so long story short: Conversation went from zero to sixty in about oh-point-two seconds, and it did not let up (even after FHH and hubby left) until I was seated safely back on the train at Waterloo station around 6:15 p.m. (That's about six hours for those keeping score at home.) The conversation had so much momentum that it actually followed me as I walked alone from Giraffe to the train platform.

We talked about EE, about blogs, about the education system, about London pollution and pea soup fog, about ocean currents, about flying small planes, about other blogging friends who could not make it, about health, about children, about each other, about ourselves. Before I got there, I expected more talk about writing and our projects, but really that almost didn't even come up. We were only seven people, yet we finished five bottles of wine. Perhaps more. I lost count at some point.

And I really don't have a lot more to say about it. Anyone who couldn't make it... you missed out, big time. We missed you.

It is now time to begin planning Minion Meet 2010. We talked about San Francisco or Las Vegas. Who's up for it? And it doesn't have to be just EE's minions; you other writerly blogging friends would have had a good time, too.

And now for the photos:





15 comments:

Sarah Laurenson said...

I'm voting for Millenium in San Francisco. Think they'll go for vegan? It's seriously good vegan.

Sorry we couldn't make it. Was with you in spirit!

JaneyV said...

That's hilarious! I'm so glad you posted. We all look very happy. I really hadn't got a clue how to work that darned phone. I think I managed two pics on it.

Next time (in SF or Vegas) I hope Maria makes it. I have to say I'm thinking Vegas would be fun. I have no wish to go anywhere near a casino but there seems to be loads to do and see nearby (I've been Google Earthing). Now to convince the Hubby's employer that sending him to Vegas next year is imperative to their business!

Aerin said...

I vote for Vegas but that's only because it's closer to me. Heck, at least SF is closer than London.

I'm glad you explained about the boys, because I wondered if it was more that you were worried Robin was an ax murderer (I still have some reservations) and didn't want her to take out the younger Dudleys....

(word verification: snessesp)

fairyhedgehog said...

It's wonderful getting your take on it. I love the photos too.

I'd have liked to have met your wife and kids but you made the right call with the boys.

Phoenix said...

You all look so much like, well, real people. Not virtual at all. And I had a lot of virtual expectations.

If any of you are ever Texas-way...

pjd said...

Sarah, as long as "vegan" includes wine. I heard last night about a girl who was such a staunch vegetarian that she refused to eat tomatoes because they came off a vine. I don't really understand that. But I note that both grapes and hops come off vines as well, so I'm hoping that wine and beer are still OK.

Phoenix: Where, generally, in Texas? Austin? I will likely have business trips to San Antonio and Houston in the near future (late May or early June).

Aerin, I wasn't really worried about Robin since I actually know her from a different context as well (though we never met in person before). It was really Jane that had me worried... but I could never quite figure out why...

FHH and Jane, can't wait until the next Minion Meet. I hope we can all attend, with many more, too! Maybe in 2011 we'll go down under to include McKoala, then perhaps Paris in 2012? Ha! Like I have budget for even ONE of those trips.

sylvia said...

I barely know what I'm doing next month, let alone in 2010 but theoretically I like the idea and either location would work for me (Vegas is probably cheaper?)

Great photos - you really captured Janey's smile perfectly! I agree with your comment of the conversation going from zero to sixty in about oh-point-two seconds. I had a great time.

sylvia said...

(oh and by the way, this is the smurf photo that you couldn't recall having seen!)

Phoenix said...

Drat. Houston and SA might as well be in another country (they would be, too, if Texas were in Europe). I'm about 60 miles north of Dallas. Almost into Oklahoma. But if you're ever Dallas-way...

Oh, and thanks for the virtual vacation. I feel like I've done far west-ish Europe for free now!

Whirlochre said...

The more I see of this, the better fun it looks to have been — especially if Janey kept grinning like that.

On a broader note, looks like you took in more of the UK in a week than I have in 40 years, Pete.

fairyhedgehog said...

If we were to meet up again, and if there were people in the group that didn't want their real name and their photo plastered all over the Internet, then that could be arranged.

We wouldn't even charge for our silence.

Robin S. said...

Great post, Pete!

We really do have to get together next year- Vegas or SF would be fine with me.

And for you Britons/Europeans and traveler-happy people, Gina and I already talked about doing another day in and around London next year.

I just arrived home late last night - will put up my stuff soon.

McKoala said...

Just great. Remaining jealous!

pacatrue said...

The gift of gab, it seems. nice to hear of the great meet-up.

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