Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

What I did over Easter

Last Monday I made it home from Eastercon after a somewhat epic journey through a snowy and flooded Yorkshire. There were no trains from Harrogate to Leeds, due to flooding on the line, so had to reach Manchester via York. Then a train was cancelled and I had to wait an hour for the next one and then there was a problem on the line between Shrewsbury and Welshpool so the train was an hour and a quarter late leaving and terminated at Machynlleth. Fortunately my husband retrieved me from there and I reached home only an hour and a half later than planned.

However, I had a good time and the convention was well worth the effort of attending. I met many old friends and also chatted with some people who previously had just been names commenting on friends' Facebook posts. I attended some interesting panels and had many long conversations about writing, the state of the world, Brexit, books and other topics too numerous to mention.

My idea of doing the whole journey to and from Harrogate by public transport didn't quite work out (see above about having to be retrieved from Machynlleth). Normally we drive to Machynlleth and park the car there for the duration, but I had wondered whether getting the bus to Barmouth (which is nearer) and catching the train from there would work. The answer is, it does, but adds a ridiculous amount of time onto the journey so I probably won't be doing it again, unless I want to enjoy the scenery.

The first stage went OK, but catching the bus left me with rather a long time to wait for the train. I went for a walk along the prom...

Fortunately the weather was glorious.

Barmouth beach

I bought a cup of tea and drank it on the platform while reading the local paper and, eventually, got on the train. The stretch of the Cambrian Coast railway between Barmouth and Dovey Junction is one of the most beautiful lines in the UK.

Through the train window

After changing trains at Shrewsbury and Manchester and again Leeds, I eventually reached Harrogate where the weather had changed for the worse. By the time I reached the Majestic, it had turned grey and drizzly.

Majestic Hotel, Harrogate

There were overtones of faded splendour in the hotel, but my single room was comfortable and the shower was efficient and everything worked as it should.

I got a look at the centre of Harrogate walking from the station to the hotel and on the Friday morning, I joined the walk through the extensive Valley Gardens as far as the RHS gardens at Harlow Carr. Most people then went in to look around, but I headed back to the hotel with a friend and her brother.

I won't go into detail of the rest of the con, but as far as I could see everything went smoothly, thanks to the efforts of the volunteers who run it. I'm on two minds as to whether to go next year because it's in London again, at one of the Heathrow hotels. I'll have to think about it, but may give Eastercon a miss as I'm hoping to do the Worldcon in Dublin. I'm not sure whether I can justify the expense of both. But we shall see. I won't make a firm decision until nearer the time.

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