My notes made at this year’s Gormanston extend over 61 pages of the shorthand notebook that I was given on arrival. Some of my notes are legible and I hope to do a series of blogs about the activities and about the lectures and workshops. I shall try to keep them short as (unlike the organisers and lecturers) I know that the average attention span isn’t very long.
Saturday, 29th July, it rained all day so I spent it packing and preparing for an early start. I set the alarm for 6.30. As is often the case when I set an alarm, I awoke before it went off on Sunday morning. The weather was fine with sun between light cloud.
I left at 7.30 and was surprised to see how many other people, joggers and dog walkers, were up and about. My sat-nav was pre-set and guided me to Jan Stuart’s at Colaton Raleigh by about 8.35 – on target. I needn’t have started quite so early as Jan still had a few jobs to do, like watering her polytunnel.
Jan’s hubby, Mike, drove us to the airport at Exeter where we got through the technicalities and customs unscathed, my hip flask and penknife being in Jan’s suitcase as they aren’t allowed in hand luggage. We saw Jim and Mary Elliott from Launceston in the lounge, but there was no sign of Chris Utting who usually travels on the same flight as us.
My seat, 2C was right at the front, just behind the pilot and next to the emergency exit, which I was tasked to monitor and was shown how to open it if necessary. The cabin girl, Ellie, took my rucksack and put it elsewhere so that it wouldn’t block the way of people escaping in an emergency.
Ellie went through the usual elfin safety demonstration, at the end of which I burst into applause and called for an encore. She seemed pleased.
The journey was uneventful and the view was poor because of cloud. We took off at about 10.30 and landed just over an hour later. They seem to have changed the layout of the airport and we had to climb several flights of stairs and traipse along corridors to get to the exit. We had to wait a long time for Jan’s case to appear on the roundabout.
We found the bus stop, also re-arranged, and waited an hour for the 101. The fare was €7.30. It was only €7 last year (I had found my ticket while packing). We drove through occasional showers during the half hour it took to get to the Huntsman, but it was fine when we arrived.
We went in for lunch. I had soup and soda bread and a bottle of Guinness. We all raised our glasses to Dave Cushman. After lunch we started walking to the College. We had gone only a few yards when there was a massive crash of thunder, followed by a few more, but fortunately the rain held off until we got to the College.