My alarm went off at 6:30 am on the Thursday morning. I'd only succeeded in dragging myself to bed at about 1am, after GMing on Wednesday evening, so I didn't pay much attention to it; and then jumped out of bed adrenaline pumping at about 7:15 or so. This did still give me enough time to shower and finish packing before I left the house.
In fact, I had about a half our of spare time, which I spent talking to people on #eddings, and writing a very short 'goodbye' lj entry. Left the house at 9:30am, and cycled leisurely down to the station. It pretty much had to be leisurely too, since I had a lot of stuff with me, and hadn't properly woken up yet. Still, I made it to the station in less than half an hour, so had 30 mins to kill at Cambridge station. Coffee of course :).
I had a slightly unusual route planned. WAGN semi-fast down to Stevenage, then get the GNER from there. (The UK route map might be helpful here). Usually I'd go via Peterborough, but I've got the cycle with me, and I don't want to get stuck in a Central dogbox on the way back. Anyway, WAGN are cuddly. It's a little faff changing at Stevenage -- I have to use the (station-staff operated) lift to get up to the overpass, and then make the mistake of trying to walk the bike down the stairs -- it has too much momentum for this and so it's a lot of effort. Fortunately I've planned for a long stopover here, so there's no rush.
From Stevenage northwards there's little interesting, except to note that York Station has gained an exit on the Leeman Road side, which would've been useful when I used to live in York.
So, at about 2:30pm I arrive in Durham. I even have a map, and a plan. I've picked a route with most of the contour crossing by the beginning, so I race down from the station, then slog back up to civilised heights. This means that 90% of the distance on my journey is reasonably flat, and it's not until I get to the hill near Aidan's that I have much of a problem. All of a sudden I discover that my bike has a third gear on the front, with a really small gear wheel. Wow, this is really useful when on steep gradients :-).
Eventually I surmounted the hill, and arrived at the college. The college reception staff was only moderately competent, but it didn't take too long to acquire room keys, college keys and, most importantly, a bike shed key. Krager, the Mandys, aggy_elfqueen and itagne are slobbing out in the corridor outside the JCR, and give me a shout while I'm waiting for the college staff to get organised. Once I've got my keys I wander over to them and exchange the traditional insults, then drag Itty off so he can show me the bike-shed. No, not like that, silly people.
My room's further along B-curve than other ones I've occupied in the past, and they've even refurbished the rooms since I was last in one! With proper electricity, and a fridge and everything! I'm going to be sharing with cjwatson, so I select a side of the room at random.
I grab camera and Jenga set, and wander back to the others; whence we decamp into the SCR, where we lurk for a while (and play Jenga), before the by now traditional supermarket trip; where we bought barbarcue stuff and booze. And Coke, and pringles.
Some point after this we decamp to the bar; and Aquarius (who is wearing a suit of all things) discovers that Hogaarden is two quid a pint. For some reason this becomes the staple drink of the weekend :). People carry on drifting in as we talk about all kinds of things (and taking photos of each other), and eventually Itty decides that it's time for the BBQ, so goes off to get it. Holly and Mrs Teut volunteer (are volunteered?) to organise the cooking for some reason; which they do very well. Nef gets involved as well, but my memory seems to think that she doesn't originally.
Ce' turns up while we're eating -- arriving as Aquarius texts her to tell her where we are! The rest of the evening proceeds convivially, with Khendon passing out, and (most of) the women showing us that they can pick up very small cornflakes boxes with their teeth.... Oh, and there was a crap darts game, too. Eventually Kamion shows up, and I give him his room keys (which reception had given to Ce' for some reason!); and some time later (after almost everyone had gone to bed) I turned into a pumpkin and followed them.
Friday morning I staggered out of bed, eventually, to discover that half of everyone had gone to Hadrian's Wall. The rest of us staggered into town, picked up aquarionical and lonecat and found an eatery. And ate breakfast, at about luncthime. It was good.
We then talked to Ce' and Aquarius whom, it turned out, hadn't gone to Hadrian's Wall after all, and had camped in a Pub somewhere. So we went to the pub; and discovered that they weren't there, but in a different pub now. So we went to that pub instead. And drank a few rounds. Eventually we decided to go back to Aidan's; mainly because they had cheap Hogaarden, and then we found everyone else.
The Music Quiz happened at this point, and "Have Pringles" (the team I was on) wasn't entirely incompetent at it. Even the bar staff joined in! The evening finished up with ordered Pizza, and then I staggered back to bed, feeling as if I'd eaten a horse or other equidae.
Saturday, we wandered into Durham again, and visited the Cathedral. I've been before, but it's still a nice cathedral, and they had a photographic exhibit in the Lady Chapel. They also had a wedding in, and we felt that it was a bit public for a wedding - in particular there were tourists wandering around the back of the cathedral all the way through, and around the area where their wedding photos were being taken.
I have a vague memory of then finding somewhere else to eat, but I have no recollection of where; We ended up back at Aidan's for three, and had the Trivia Quiz, before getting kicked out of the Bar; at which point we wandered back into Durham again, this time for the Pub Meal. The Pub Meal was very good, and noone could have complained about the sizes of the portions. A lot of us were complaining about how full we were as we made our way back to the college.
We ended up that evening in the JCR listening to Aquarion's collection of theme-tune mp3s, which brought back a lot of memories; and a knightmare discussion.
Sunday morning was "get up early" day, we had to be out of our rooms by 10am; something which neither Kam nor I had any difficulty with in the end. We then lazed around on the lawn as people drifted away, until the last group of us (Aquarion, Lonecat, Krager, Vard, Myriad, William) wandered into Durham again (with a bit of bicycle faff) to find yet another eatery (and breakfast!).
Eventually I ended up on my train, and faffed around at Stevenage again, and ended back up at Cambridge. Where it rained on me heavily for the last 10 minutes of my journey home. Typical.
All in all, a good trip.