On Tuesday afternoon, I saw a message on the Debian-UK mailing list, announcing a gathering in a pub in London. The conversation in
#termisoc went like this:
<@bma> Hey hex42. <@bma> Would going to London for a drink be crazy? <@hex42> just for a drink, yes <@bma> http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/pipermail/debian-uk/2008-January/011130.html <@hex42> but i suppose it depends on the drink <@hex42> if it made me immortal i would <@hex42> OK, that looks interesting <@hex42> you want to go? <@hex42> just because it's crazy doesn't mean we shouldn't do it
So, Wednesday afternoon after my lecture, Gem and I found ourselves at Plymouth station waiting for the 12:55 to Paddington. For once, the journey went smoothly; we got into London, took the tube to Leicester Square (because we knew there was a Pizza Hut there), had pizza. Next step was to get to Westminster Station (a journey, as it happens, of less than a mile). However, it was by now right in the middle of rush hour, and there’s no direct tube—so, we thought, let’s change at Green Park, two stops from Leicester Square and one from Westminster. Got to Green Park. Couldn’t get near the Jubilee Line train. Bugger. Went upstairs to the Victoria Line platform, thinking we’d go to Victoria station (one stop) then Circle/District line to Westminster (two stops, again). Platform not so busy, but train ridiculously so. Back downstairs, onto the Jubilee Line train, almost getting my bag stuck in the door and having to crouch uncomfortably in the doorway. Off at Westminster, now to find St. Steven’s Tavern. Directions say “turn right when you exit”. Very useful, we thought, until it turned out that it really is right next door.
Now came the fun part. There are a few Debian developers I’d recognise, though not many, and I wasn’t sure if any of them would actually be there. We ended up waiting outside until someone (Adam Barratt, if I remember correctly) recognised Gem’s Debian shirt, who in turn called James Bromberger, who’d sent the email and would therefore hopefully know what was going on (and who happened to be right around the corner). We went inside, and attempted to find somewhere to sit. Eventually, various others turned up (Lars Wirzenius, Colin Watson, Steve Langasek, Jorge Castro, Steve McIntyre, Neil McGovern, James Westby, and others whose names I didn’t catch).
Had some interesting conversations, including about the differences between Scandinavian languages, and also advice on getting involved in Debian (I now have a couple of things which I intend to try packaging, one of which would depend on my finding out why it broke…).
Getting home was interesting, to say the least—the tube journey back to Paddington was straightforward, but when we got to the train we discovered that being on the sleeper service doesn’t necessarily mean you get a bed—or even a seat on which you can put the arm up. I was extremely glad to get home to an actual bed. Hopefully, though, I’ll get to go along to more Debiany events in future (with actual ID, so people will sign my key without getting very drunk first).
Update: Jorge Castro blogged about the meeting, and posted a photo. There should be another, where I don’t look like such a fool, but I forget who took it.