Fifteensquared

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Sloggers and Betters (Midlands) 3

Posted by Admin on September 2nd, 2011

Admin.

Following a three-line whip from Eileen, I am trying to organise another Midlands get-together for crossword aficionados.  Following the Brum Bash that Anax and Jayne organised, we’ll be having another Derby Day.

It will be in the same place as last time: The Waterfall in Derby.  It’s handily opposite Derby station (where parking is also available) and they’ve said they’ll give us a private room if we get enough folk attending.  The food’s okayish and The Brunswick Inn, with its fine range of real ales, is a fifty-metre stroll for those keen on a pre- or post-prandial pint.  Several setters have already announced their intention to be there: Anax, Arachne, Nimrod, Nitsy, Orense, Orlando, Radler, Rufus, Tyrus (and of course all their alter egos).

There’s plenty of notice: we’ll be meeting on Saturday 26th November, 1230 for a 1300 lunch.  So a chance to put it in the diary and book some cheap rail tickets (and if the last two events are anything to go by, cheap flights).  If you are interested in attending, then you can of course say so here; but if you are a definite, please mail me directly on pwharvey{at}msn{dot}com so I have a contact address for you when it comes to choosing menu options, or in case we have to change arrangements because of flood or pestilence.  There is more history of the former than the latter in Derby, but you never know.

The previous two Midlands S&Bs have been very congenial, so it would be nice to see the usual suspects, but also to have some new faces coming.  We don’t bite: even the setters with cruciverbal reputations as Rottweilers are pussy cats in the flesh.

Hope to see lots of you in November.

Peter/Kathryn’s Dad

54 Responses to “Sloggers and Betters (Midlands) 3”

  1. Geoff says:

    Having missed the last two Midlands get-togethers I am determined to attend this thrash. The lovely Eileen gave me advance notice of the date so that I could wedge it in the diary before anything else intervened.

    See you there!

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid, it would be great to see you there.

  3. Geoff says:

    K’s D: I’m Geoff Evans, the ‘Geoff’ who regularly posts under that name on 15^2, not the estimable Geoff ‘Gaufrid’ Moss!

    For some time I have been thinking about switching to a more distinctive username to avoid this confusion. Watch this space!

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Sorry Geoffs!

  5. kloot says:

    As someone who lives in Derbyshire I have no real excuse to miss this. It all depends on my wife’s shift patterns.

  6. steve_m says:

    Hi All,

    I will definitely be there as it’s only fifteen minutes walk from my house.

  7. MikeC says:

    Hi All

    Both the S&B (Midlands) events have been great fun. I certainly hope to come again.

    Cheers

    MikeC

  8. Median says:

    I think I’ll be able to make it this time. Only a short journey (from Nottingham) and there’s nothing else in the diary at present.

  9. Jan says:

    I’ve emailed Peter to say I will be there but can anyone explain how so-called cheap, advanced, rail fares work on the internet?

    Oxford – Derby – Oxford

    This return journey cost £23 when I booked, for January, at the end of November last year.

    According to the Cross Country website on Friday, for 26th of November my train to Derby (never mind getting home again) would cost £21.50. On Saturday the website quoted £46.50. I looked again on Sunday – £13.50.

    It is still £13.50, but Derby to Oxford, to get home again, remains £21.50. Will that come down to a sensible £13.50?

  10. eimi says:

    In my experience, no. The only direction fares move on the railways is upwards, the nearer to the travel time, unlike airlines where the flights can sometimes come down nearer the departure date, so I’d suggest booking the £21.50 before it comes £46.50 or look for a different mode of transport.

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi Jan

    Good to know you will be joining us again, but in answer to your question, no. Kathryn’s been at Sussex University for the past three years and the cost of her train fares back to Derby have remained a mystery to her (and to me).

    Hi eimi

    Can we tempt you to the Midlands this time round? I will buy you a decent pint of ale if you can make it.

  12. Eileen says:

    Hi Jan

    It’s great to know you’re planning to join us again, against all odds!

    Train fare pricings are, more and more, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, or whatever way round it is.

    I’ve just come back from a weekend in Copenhagen. I always use thetrainline.com to book my rail journeys. The last time I went [Leicester to Stansted] the website advised me ‘two single tickets may be cheaper’ – and so it turned out: £26.50 there and £3.50 return! This time there was no such option: £45.55 return.[This is, of course, with a Senior Railcard.] As you will see, there is no rhyme or reason to it!

    I see that thetrainline is now offering the same fare as the one you quoted: £13.50 there, £21.50 back – is Derby so dreadful? ;-)

    I fear eimi is right but I really do hope you’ll think it’s worth it – it was great to see you last time!

    And, eimi, dare we hope to see you?

  13. Jan says:

    Thank you, eimi, K’s Dad and Eileen – isn’t it depressing? I’m an eco-thingymabob who would love to reduce car usage by using a train.

    But I would rather spend far less by driving to Derby than pay silly prices for a train. If they can take me to Derby for £13.50 why can’t they bring me home for the same price?

    Grumble over!

  14. liz says:

    I’m coming (thanks Eileen).

  15. flashling says:

    They want me to pay £80+ each way from London, seriously unimpressed at that. Brum was £7.50 for SNB2(mid) – SNB 1(mid) they wanted £122.50 each way so not so sure I’ll make it now. Sense? I’ve made more sense of some Bannsiders…

  16. Jan says:

    Flashling @15, have you looked at Chiltern Trains to B’ham? Then add the journey to and from Derby.

  17. Jan says:

    I’m sorry, I forgot a >.

    Chiltern Trains

  18. Sylvia says:

    I hope to be with you this time. Looking forward to meeting you all!

  19. scchua says:

    Hi K’sD, by coincidence, I’ll be somewhere in Windsor on 26 Nov, so I’m going to try to make it. The rub is travelling the 160 km or so to Derby. Started looking at the train system, and I reckon you need to do a PhD on it to understand half of it, and that’s for someone who’s living in England. So I’m left with driving the 3 hours or so. May I ask about what time the do will end?

  20. Kathryn's Dad says:

    It would be lovely to see you, scchua. Are you staying with the Queen in Windsor? We’ll be sitting down to eat about 1:00pm, but if you arrive after that you should still be able to order something. Last time we went to the nearby pub around 5:00pm and a few hardy souls were still there considerably later than that, so you won’t be short of company if you decide to hang around.

    As you’ve discovered from the comments above, you need several PhDs, including one in astrophysics, to understand the UK rail industry’s timetables and ticket structures.

  21. John Appleton says:

    I plan on being there. I’m not much of a contributor to this forum, but do use it a lot to check answers, and am looking forward to putting faces to names.

  22. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John, it’ll be good to meet you.

  23. REGALIZE says:

    Thanks Kathryns Dad,
    I look forward to another meet-up in Derby. The last one was excellent.
    Liz

  24. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Regalize, I hope this one will be just as good. You win the prize for taking the numbers above 40! But there’s plenty of space, so room for more …

  25. mhl says:

    I’ve managed to sort out travel so I can be there – I look forward to seeing everyone in Derby!

  26. Graham H says:

    Um, If I could make it, how welcome would we lurkers (who occasionally contribute) be?

  27. anax says:

    Graham H – lurkers are like strangers; as they say, just friends we haven’t yet met. You’ll be made very welcome.

  28. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Anax is right, Graham, the previous two get-togethers have been very welcoming. At the previous Derby Day there were from memory at least two or three people who never contribute to blogs, and I’d never met any of the people before either. Send me an e-mail and I’ll add you to the list!

  29. Quaiteaux says:

    For flashling and others coming from London: I’ve just received the tickets I booked Tuesday night via the East Midland Trains website, and am rather reeling with shock, given my scepticism about the reliability of this sort of thing. They cost £15 outward and £12 return, via Loogaborooga. You do have to commit yourself to a particular train, though. The full, non-advance price would apparently have been £31 more.

  30. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hello Quaiteaux

    Pleased to hear you’ll be joining us – can I just make the same request that you drop me an e-mail so I have your contact details for sending out information nearer the time?

    Tks

    Peter

  31. flashling says:

    Odd and odder on the trains, just tried again and got first class tickets for £36 – cheaper than standard. You’ll have to put up with me now.

  32. Jan says:

    Hi, Kathryn’s Dad, I have a request. (As if you weren’t doing enough for us already – :) )

    Could you email a list of attendees shortly before the get-together?

    In January I met a lot of lovely people but I didn’t meet people who I would have also liked to meet because I didn’t know they were there.

  33. Jan says:

    @31 flashling – did you read Quaiteaux’s @29? That’s better than mine from Oxford.

    (I assume ‘Loogaborooga’ is Loughborough just as Higgy Wicumber is High Wycombe in our family.))

  34. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Our aim is to exceed the expectations of our customers, Jan, so I will try. Otherwise a hard copy on arrival. I do know what you mean, though – the only problem with having so many is that you don’t get round to chat to all the people that you wanted to during the afternoon. We’ll have to play musical chairs between courses or something.

  35. Eileen says:

    As I keep saying, we need [at least] a weekend!

    Graham @26 – and all other ‘lurkers’ or regular commenters who’ve missed the previous get-togethers – it’s scary for all of us to enter a room full of people we’ve never met before but Anax @27 puts it perfectly. My own comment after the first Derby Day was, ‘It was fascinating to put faces to names that I already thought of as friends’ and Sil said, ‘It all felt like one big family event.’ See http://fifteensquared.net/2011/01/29/sloggers-betters-in-derby/ – with photos!

    The fact that so many people have signed up so early to come again says it all, I think.

    I do hope we’ll see you all there.

    These train fare stories are totally surreal – it’s obviously worth persevering in your research. I could tell a tale or two, too.

    [Jan: our family's were 'Uttocks eater', - Uttoxeter and Margaret Harbour - Market Harborough. Daft, isn't it?]

  36. flashling says:

    My sister and brother live in Loogaborooga, neither do crosswords as far as I am aware, dad did but he did them entirely in his head, never wrote anything in, but it was the telegraph! Me I’m a Melton Mowbray lad, but I try not to tell porky pies…

  37. linxit says:

    I’ll be heading up from Coventry again with Sue, great fun last time.

  38. pommers says:

    I’ll be there! Looking forward to it!

  39. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, everyone. Before the blog goes cold and stops being ‘sticky’ (I’ll ask Gaufrid to put up a reminder nearer the time), just wanted to sound everyone out about the meal. We are now up to more than 50 and The Waterfall also have a wedding on that day. They’ve said they can cope, but the only real downside last time was that everyone’s meals arrived in instalments. What do people think about asking them to provide us with a hot buffet where we can get served more quickly and then sit down to chat? We can obviously get a vegetarian/gluten-free option and then people can order desserts if they want. Last time most mains were between £8 and £10 so if folk are happy with that kind of price range I can pop in and see what they can do. And I guess if you really, really didn’t like what was on offer, you could still order from the menu.

    Anyway, let me know if you think that’s a better idea.

  40. anax says:

    Buffet sounds like a great idea to me. Added benefit of allowing attendees to grab food as they feel like it.

  41. MikeC says:

    Sounds good to me as well. One other thought: would smaller tables (“islands”) be more sociable than the long lines we had last time? If that’s a useful idea, maybe you could raise it when you visit. I’ll be there, raring to go, whatever happens.

  42. Arachne says:

    Buffet sounds like an excellent idea, K’sD. Thanks for all your hard work arranging this for our benefit. See you there! TTFN x

  43. steve_m says:

    Buffet sounds like a great idea to me as well – I’d recommend Jack Rabbits in Derby it is really good, but equally it isexpensive. As I’ll be passing it on Saturday morning, I can call in and get some prices.

    Also we’ll have Stars of the small screen attending – did anyone eles see Only Connect on BBC4 on Monday 19th. Well done “The Listeners” and good luck in the next round !

  44. scchua says:

    Hi K’sDad, buffet sounds good…gives added benefit of being able to play “musical chairs” and circulate.

  45. flashling says:

    Sounds a great idea for the buffet especially as us rail travellers may well be delayed… Peter I think Dean’s name tags were a good idea, not sure where I put mine though…

  46. anax says:

    I think I’ve got about 30 left from the big box of them I bought for Birmingham S&B. The supplied inserts are blank of course but I can bring them along with a black marker pen if useful?

  47. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Anax, that would be a good plan. I’ll sort out the rest.

  48. Gervase says:

    Buffet and name tags both splendid ideas. Latter might be most useful if they display both personal names (if desired) and noms de guerre (if used!)

  49. John Appleton says:

    I’m quite happy with the buffet idea.

    I’m making a weekend of it and staying in Derby both the Friday and Saturday nights. Stuck for something to do on the Friday evening, though. Any recommendations? I’m big on theatre (amateur or professional, whatever) and music and comedy also appeal – as would some “Sloggers and Betters’ Eve” socialising if anybody else is around.

  50. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi John. I’m not much into theatre myself, but the main theatre in Derby is The Derby Playhouse, so you could check that out. The Assembly Rooms are the main venue for comedy and music.

    Peter

  51. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Since we’ve reached our half-century of comments, we can modestly raise our bat to the crowd … and talking of crowds, we are now up to 57: 13 setters and 44 worshippers at their sacrificial altar. So I’m going to wing an e-mail to Gaufrid to ask him to stop this thread from being ‘sticky’ (in other words at the top of the main 225 page) at the end of this week. You’ll still be able to find it under ‘Announcements’ and I shall drop by there from time to time to see if there are any new messages.

    Given people’s positive comments, I’m going to go ahead with the hot buffet idea. The other positive thing about going down that route is that I don’t have to arse around collecting 57 menu options to give in advance to The Waterfall.

    I’ll ask Gaufrid if he’ll put a sticky reminder up nearer the date so that we can make any last-minute arrangements.

  52. steve_m says:

    John @49

    If you like the blues then please see http://www.kingkingblues.com/gigs.html whoa re playing at the Flowerpot on the Friday night. The Flowerpot also sells an amazing range of real ales and I’d thoroughly recommend a vist there if you are weekending in Derby.

  53. Colin Foster says:

    I’m interested in attending the event on 26 November in Derby

  54. John Appleton says:

    steve_m @52: Thanks for that tip, I’ll give it some thought.

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