#Swanwick68: Day 1 (Saturday)


The gardens, as beautiful as ever

From my position at the reception desk, it was great to see old friends and meet new (soon to be) friends as they arrived at The Hayes Conference Centre. The ‘old hands’ knew where they were going and headed straight for ABC or Lakeside. The newbies and anyone who had forgotten the details of their booking (and that happens to all of us from time to time) were soon sorted out and sent on their way. The Hayes was looking particularly welcoming in the sunshine, with a couple of new features in the garden and considerable sprucing-up inside (of which, more later in the week).

After tea, cake and a chance to catch up, it was over to the Main Conference Hall for the Chairman’s welcome. And some things hadn’t changed: Michael still got people’s names wrong, but did it with such charm that no-one could be offended. John and Zana Lamont won the Quaich: voted for by last year’s delegates and much applauded by this year’s.

Guest speaker

John Lamont, opening night speaker (right)

We were to see more of John later, as he was the opening night Guest Speaker. As always, he kept us amused and challenged our pre-conceptions at the same time. He seemed to enjoying the fact that for once, he wasn’t chasing around after the speaker (leaving that role to Zana for one night only).

Vorpal sword and Tumtum tree

Vorpal sword and Tumtum tree

Julia Pattison hosted the ice-breaker as always. The exercises we were given were a repeat of the ones I did in my first year, 2006, but that didn’t matter one bit. I have never forgotten creating the Brazilian rain forest with my hands and feet, so it was a pleasure to revisit that. And interpreting The Jaberwocky is always a fascinating experience. Cue much growling, gurning and laughter.

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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