Day 3? Day 3 is not yet over – how can she be posting about Day 3 already? Read on and all will be revealed.
Day 2 dawns and we wend our way back to the NEC. This time the motorway is kind to us but the shuttle bus fails to play the game, or indeed turn up at all for twenty minutes. Finally, back in Hall 2, I spend a couple of busy hours promoting online genealogy courses on the Pharos stand then, after a little more chatting, it was another expert’s session with an interesting enquiry about a will that appeared to have been proved twice, fifty years apart. In the interests of pacing ourselves, we sneak out a little early to rest aching feet, backs and vocal chords.
Day 3 brings its own problems in that a fisherman of my acquaintance wakes up barely able to move, having pulled a muscle in his back. I assume my ‘care in the community’ role and tie his shoe laces for him. Today is the day that Master Christopher and Mistress Agnes are due to make an appearance, so we are fully equipped with our seventeenth century costumes. Sadly, one of us is not currently equipped with the ability to dress himself unaided, particularly as his costume involves thigh boots. We need a safe place to change. Normally, we would both repair to our respective gendered toilets but this is clearly not going to work today. We discuss the relative merits and demerits of the ‘fully accessible’ toilet and the baby change area, both of which seem gender neutral. The disabled toilet wins, clearly one of us is not currently fully abled. Amidst groans of anguish, we manage to transform Master Christopher into his seventeenth century self. We hope that no one has been listening outside or spots us emerging or they may be wondering what we were up to.
A successful few hours of networking follows. Actually it was a little too successful in some respects. I approach one of the big companies who are exhibiting to request that they may part with 35-40 of their promotional bags for us to use at a conference. The lady in charge eagerly presses a box of 200 bags upon me. I demure, I really only want 40 at the most. She insists. She is on a mission and clearly has no intention of taking this box back with her. Have you any idea how large, or indeed how heavy, a box of two hundred bags is? I stagger along to stash my loot, wondering how well this is going to go down with my chauffeur.
Next a photo call. Mistress Agnes and Master Christopher have been selected to promote a future conference. I am not sure quite what sort of attendee we may attract but our souls were duly stolen and our portraits painted. I should point out that the photograph on this blog is not said promotional photograph. No prizes but I am waiting for the eagle eyed to spot what is ‘wrong’ with this picture. More interesting conversations follow and contacts are made. By this time, Master Christopher is in some parlous state and needs to revert to his twenty-first century self. On the way to accomplish this mission we pass a stall selling back massaging machines. You are correct in your assumption that this has nothing whatsoever to do with family history and there are rather more unrelated stands than would seem desirable this year. I guess spaces have to be filled. It was somewhat incongruous to see a seventeenth century character wired up to modern technology but the lady doing the demonstrating seemed keen to have her photograph taken with us. The pause at her stall did ease Master C’s predicament long enough for him to get changed. We repeat the fully accessible toilet exercise in reverse. This is trickier than our earlier escapade as, by this time, there are rather more people to avoid. A couple of hours later and it really is time for him to lie down in a darkened room, or at least lie down. Not only do we have enormous, heavy boxes of bags to transport but other display materials as well. Taking what appears to be part of a stand out of the hall before close of play is tantamount to a hanging offence and as for trying to bring a car through the security cordon in order to load it before the appointed time….. In the end our plight is heeded and indeed one of the security guards is clearly concerned to see that our wounded soldier is going to drive. Believe me this is safer than the alternative of letting me loose on a motorway in a car that I am not used to. Fortunately we only have a very short journey back to the van. So sorry to all those I didn’t get a chance to see or say goodbye to. There is always next year.