What a weekend! I have spent the last four days up north at one of my Join Meets (I've written about Join Me before - best collective / cult / group ever. Google Join Me for further details :)). This one happens every year in Liverpool and is called, cunningly, Loverpool. And it was amazing. The team behind it (Jamie, Amanda, Laura, Sean and Kieran) are all wonderful and so clever, and run the meet in such a way that it's both fun and organised, while still being ridiculously chilled. Awesome.
More on that later, I'd better start at the start.
Friday, 1 pm. All the children are gone. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy (the goldfish) are safely dispatched with one of the yummy mummies. Classroom, if not tidy, safe to abandon. And off to my first commitment of the weekend - my friend Fi's baby shower (my first proper baby shower!). It was lovely - food and wine and chat and loveliness, and great to get together and see the mother-to-be off in style. Fi's one of my closest colleagues here (we started at the same time), so it's going to be strange without her here. But I am very excited to meet her new wee person. We all had a great time.
Then I packed the car up (which took far longer than I'd thought it would), and set off north-west to Liverpool. This also took a fair while as it was the start of a three day weekend. Finally I arrived in Liverpool just shy of 11, and met some of the others. Then we all drank far too much (purple cocktails? What was I thinking?) and various japes, adventures and sorts of tomfoolery ensued.
Saturday morning I awoke on a giant beanbag, surrounded by lots of my friends sleeping too, at six-thirty am. My friend Phil woke up at the same time. Why? Well, we're the two teachers in the group, and our pesky bodyclocks do that! A morning of tea and chat and queueing for showers and fry ups and awesome cable television followed. Then we all headed into Liverpool city centre to meet everyone else for the challenge.
At Loverpool, one of the main events is the Random Act of Kindness (RAoK) challenge. We split into three teams and then we have to go round the city on a scavenger hunt of sorts - some of the challenges are silly and fun (find a construction worker and get them to help you recreate the YMCA pose), but many of them involve RAoKing (give flowers to a little old lady), and others combine the two (do some busking, and use any money you make to do another RAoK).
I was on team 1 (woot!) and we had the most fun. We even adopted a band who we found outside their hotel (they are called Sincerely Calvin - go check out their myspace!) and we convinced to help us busk. They were lovely, and after the RAoKing we went to their midafternoon gig. Brilliant. We gave flowers to travel agents, sweeties to traffic wardens, serenaded random people.... so much fun.
After we'd done the RAoKing and enjoyed the Sincerely Calvin gig, we headed to the pub to meet the other Joinees. There we played all sorts of games (all of which raised money for a charity) - Joinee Bingo! Who's Knees (I really had to struggle to identify my own...)! How much money in Rich's jar! And then Eurovision began! We had a sweepstake for Eurovision (I was Finland, who were kind of awful, but were rock, which meant I could mosh pit it up, and the flag did go perfectly with my outfit!). And there was lots of cake (nyom!). And then we had a title auction for new titles on our forum. And then the RAoK challenge winners were announced, and it was the team I was on! I won a gold gnome! Great night. So great in fact that when we headed home and the party continued, I headed straight to bed for fear of jinxing what had already been a great night.
Sunday started hilariously (at 5.15) with someone in our room trying to get up to go to the loo in their sleeping bag and looking like a giant worm. Then another lazy, relaxed morning. And I decided to stay for another day, and offered to drive some of the London contingent home too if they wanted to stay. I also drove to York and back (four hour round trip) to catch up with Kat, Tom and their boys and to have a lovely early dinner with them and their friends Steve and Martin. Then back to Liverpool for more chat and food and drink and being given thirteen beany kitties and becoming crazy cat lady and snuggling up to watch Enchanted. Then sleepytime.
Monday, those of us who were left managed to sleep in to the decadent time of eight-thirty, and after another chilled morning we all headed to the Docks for sightseeing, tea, cakes, and a go on the Duckbus. Then, after a hearty tea of Spag Bol (nyom!), Toby, Steve, Siobhan and I set off home to the south. I dropped them all off in London at 1, and got home myself at 3 am.
I was shattered.
So, all in all, a busy weekend. I didn't take any pics, but my friends have plenty...will endeavour to snaffle some to put up here. I had some great conversations, some interesting chats, and have an awful lot of stuff to mull over. And I am just bowled over once again by the generosity and largesse of people I am lucky enough to have as friends :-).
How was your weekend?