Conference Diaries – Day 1

1030pm – Of all the things I got excited about as a child, three still strike me with infantile joy: tricking a vending machine into giving me more than I paid for; arriving at an airport for a holiday and catching something that unexpectedly falls from a cupboard as you open it just before disaster occurs.

On this occasion, I’m enjoying the second one. I’m off to a conference in Dublin, though first I have to atone my sins in the purgatory that is Terminal 3 at Manchester.

0045am – The hours free wifi has ran out. I am now doing a crossword. #thestruggleisreal

0400am – My Rainman-esque performance on the crossword is interrupted by what looks like a New Look store thrown into a blender and spat out onto several too-orange-for-a-British-winter ladies.

0415am – The New Look ladies have realised the security regulations include their VKs. Impromptu pre-flight drinks in the yet-to-open Delice de France it is. Makes you proud to be British

0435am – Got through security in what is a new personal best. Not that I time these things – that’d be mental…cough…let’s move on.

0445am – Having subsisted on only a Double Decker, satisfaction from well-done puzzles and the invigorating smell from the men’s lavatory since 9 o’clock last night, I’m now in Costa drinking half a litre of coffee.

0515am – The airport signs are now looking a little blurry. Either my glasses need a lens change or the coffee has kicked in in a big way.

0540am – The New Look ladies are back and they’ve found some friends! Benidorm, lock up your sons! Or daughters, we live in a modern world! NB. If you’ve never been to Benidorm it’s surprisingly fun, and the Spanish section is really nice.Only place I’ve been you can stumble out of the clubs, nap on the beach and get a fry-up before you get the first bus home.

0720 – On board, and somehow my evening in purgatory paid off and I’ve got a window and a empty seat next to me! In other news, the guy at the end is reading a Koran and listening to what seems like a call to prayer. The lady across the aisle looks incredibly freaked out.

0820 – Speaking of freaked out, it’s a little puzzling to wake up and realise you’re starting the descent to Dublin. Apparently I’m a bit tired.

1000 – successful navigated my way to the hostel and now in severe need of a nap. Turns out I can’t check in until 2, meaning I could have got an 11ish flight and avoided every fiasco up until now. One is less than impressed

1200 – I’ve refreshed with yet another coffee and found out on my aimless wandering that there is a big vote on marriage equality next month. Which official means the Irish Catholoicism ‘Sin Scale’ puts bumming below abortion. Not sure that’s the official wording of that policy.

1620 – Officially calling it a day and giving in to sleep. Hardcore first night in Dublin

0030 – woke up to have dinner 3 hours ago and somehow I’m playing cards with 4 Canadians. One of them is called Parker. He hasn’t heard of the Thunderbirds. I’m a little bit sad

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