May 12, 2015: SpiceWorld London

Today is Tuesday and it is the main day, the only full day, of SpiceWorld London.  I am not speaking today, however, but am speaking tomorrow morning so today I get to relax, for the most part, and just attend the conference.

I knew that the day would be busy and that there was nothing that I needed to attend first thing this morning so I took the chance to sleep in a little, until about seven thirty, and shower and have a leisurely trip into the conference.  I did well getting there on the tube with plenty of time to meet up with people, get registered and checked in (did not have a chance to do that last night, if you remember) and get into the conference before the sessions actually began.

As with the last few years, my badge was missing.  I have given up on expecting one anymore.  And, in reality, I prefer the anonymity of not having one.  I have been doing this long enough that the novelty of being a minor celebrity has worn off and without the badge I am able to mostly blend into the background and the majority of people are not even aware that I am there.  Only the people who actually know me, which is pretty few when in London, realize that I am at the conference.

I managed to snag breakfast at the conference, which was a cheese and tomato croissant which was absolutely fantastic.  In fact, I snagged a lot of them.  Best croissants ever.

The London conference is tiny compared to Austin.  It really all happens in a single room and the venue is more like the old Alamo Drafthouse movie theater and less like what Austin has been for the past many years.  This was very low key and casual.  But far less of a party than the Alamo in Austin used to be.  I really miss those old conference days, those were awesome.

The conference went well today.  I had a good time and I feel like the time was well spent since I am here to speak tomorrow.

At lunch I managed to meet someone from my London office.  We had a nice time and it was very valuable getting a chance to get to know a bit about the London team.

After the conference was over, I skipped the 80s party, I’ve made the mistake of going to that one in the past specifically, and instead went right next door to the Jugged Hare to meet up with Clare that I used to work with at Citi back in 2006.  We last met up for coffee when I was in London working on Canary Wharf in 2007!  She had left Citi right about that time so we have not actually worked together for at least seven years but we stay in touch on Facebook.

We had a really nice time catching up at the pub.  She drank wine and I sampled all of the cask ales that they had.  We were there until after eleven!

There was supposed to be a late night pub crawl that I was to organize after the 80s party way over so I hung around for nearly an hour waiting for people to get back just to find out that no one (again, London is not a party down) was up for it.  But because I had waited on them, I had missed the last train back to Westminster.  That sucked.

Danielle ended up being the only person who met me, mostly just because she had to go back to her hotel anyway and I was on the street between the tube and the hotel.  So we walked back there and got a pizza.  We would have done fish and chips again but it was so late that the last kitchen was closed but they hotel does pizza all night so at least we were able to get that.  Definitely a frozen pizza, though, and not on par with the fish and chips.

We also went through our swag bags with an eye towards how we would deal with them needing to fly back to our respective countries.  After going through it we decided that there was nothing worth keeping, including the bags themselves, and tossed it all right there so that we would not have to deal with it tomorrow.  The bag itself was so cheap there was nothing that we would ever use it for. I’ve had a couple of awesome bags from these conferences in the past but a few have been pretty horrible. This was not the worst but not good enough to keep when you don’t live locally and, if I was thinking clearly, not good enough to keep if I was local either.

So around one thirty in the morning I set out to head back to Westminster.  Since the tube was closed and I had no idea how to use the buses and certainly did not want to spend a bunch on a taxi I just started walking.  It was more than four miles, possibly quite a bit more than four, across the heart of London.  What a long night.  But interesting, too.  I got to see so much of the “real” London that I have never seen before.  Lots of neighbourhoods (Notting Hill, for example) that I have never knowingly been in before.  Lots of different districts. Shopping areas, restaurant areas, warehouses, residential, you name it.  It was a very long walk and I got a lot of blisters but it was fun and interesting and the same time.  Rather chilly, though.

It was a little after four in the morning when I finally got to my hotel, after being propositioned by a number of prostitutes along the way, and I was very exhausted.  It was a long day.  I went straight to bed.  I am speaking late tomorrow morning on “DevOps and Snowflakes” at SpiceWorld and then traveling back to Spain immediately following my portion of the conference.