It seems that I finished off the Leeds posts: but I was not done there, oh no; in fact, the conference which was my primary excuse for being in England in the first place was the International Arthurian Society’s Triennial Congress, at the University of Bristol.
I liked Bristol! I liked the city (I have a worrying fondness for scruffy port towns), I liked the university, and I liked the villages up above the city in which the university is nestled. I enjoyed the company of the IAS’s most excellent members – although, without the benefit of pre-forged internet acquaintances, I found Bristol much harder going than Leeds so far as social anxiety goes.
To add to it, I was on the end of my trip, and the end of my energy supply: two very lovely friends of mine each took me under their wing for a day in Oxford prior to the IAS, but from the time I woke up on Sunday morning I was scrabbling to keep track of where and when and why I was. I missed my train to Didcot, but, fortunately, caught the next one and made my original connection. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world if I hadn’t, of course, but the powers that be had seen fit to reserve my seat Didcot>Temple Meads at a table-seat, and to arrange for me to share it with two excellent individuals whom I had previously met at ANZAMEMS in Dunedin. When we all piled off the train we ran into a scholar from UWA, and sallied forth in the one taxi in search of our respective accommodations.
I then commenced with what turned out to be my policy for the week: not knowing where anything was, or what I was supposed to be doing, and flinging myself upon the tender mercies of Gareth Griffith, and the somewhat more intimidating beneficence of Elizabeth Archibald in search of the answers to these questions. This tactic paid off: I recommend it for the terminally confused!
Monday morning saw me:
– miss breakfast
– select a cafe, which proceeded to be my breakfast-eating, tea-drinking and paper-writing home base for the rest of the week
– getting lost between said cafe and the university
– adopted by a tiny, fuzzy, enthusiastically affectionate black kitty in a steep pedestrian alleyway behind a church. Kitty loved me! Kitty was quite determined that I not be allowed to stand back up after bending down to pet hir, and certain that my job in life was to be nuzzled and purred at and climbed upon.
Accordingly, I wandered into the conference venue in a state of lateness, where I ran smack bang into the aforementioned Gareth Griffin. I posited that lateness to conferences is entirely acceptable when one has been adopted by a wee black kitty, and he concurred.
After that, I went to some papers! And I might even tell you about them when I am not running late for something else!