Saturday the 12th May saw the Reading Thursday Meet-Up. Yes, that's right, the Thursday meet-up; so-called to annoy the Thingites. And as meet-ups go, it was a tremendous success.
|Meeting Up At The Forbury At 1pm|
Despite the plan being to meet up in the Forbury Gardens at 1 o'clock, in true meet-up style, no-one really seemed to pay any attention to this, and met-up at Reading station instead, outside the rather nice, but rather expensive, Cornish pasty shop.
The workers at the Cornish pasty shop took one look at our intrepid, educated and froody group of researchers frequenting their humble abode, and took the only approach possible; yes, they told us to stick our heads in a pig. So, what was our gallant band of researchers to do but to go down the pub?
In this case, a nice, h2g2 sounding pub called the Forum, whilst
the meet organizer, the Fish, went to Forbury Gardens to find the 4 researchers who had actually bothered to meet in the right place.
For the next hour and a quarter, lethargy took over as we awaited for people to arrive. The Fish wasn't sure what to do, as he had been expecting a few more people to turn up, and seemed inclined to have us just wait for ever until they all turned up.
Eventually, he was persuaded that more people weren't likely to
turn up, and so led us all through Reading station, down a lift1, through a car park, across a road, along a road, over a Thames and over a Reading Bridge, to Caversham park. All except Jack Naples, who had decided to stay at the pub as he liked the music.
There were 19 attendees so far.
Then, despite the protests of Bluebottle, the Fish produced Baseball bats, and decided to organise a game of Rounders. In protest, Bluebottle and the Minister of Darkness went down town, coming back with a large number of Star Wars: Episode II: Attack Of The Clones merchandise.
Bluebottle came back just in time to, with Prof. C. Tonks, go in search of Ming and Mother of Ming, who had somehow failed to meet-up with everyone in the station and the Forbury, and had decided to go to Marks and Spencer’s instead.
As soon as they arrived, Pastey and the Fish led everyone away from the park, via Reading's world-famous pop-up loo, to a very small pub - the Hobgoblin - where the group of researchers divided into two groups; the die-hard drunks, and those who wished to go to the
The trip to the Oracle started innocently enough, with everyone in HMV, looking at the Doctor Who section, with some people buying Brass Eye on DVD, some going to the Gadget Shop, and some using the normal, not self-raising, toilets inside, just to see that Reading did have ordinary toilets as well as tourist attractions.
After a while, it was decided to go and sit by the river2, and so, walking along the top floor of the Oracle, and needing to go to the bottom floor, a lift was used. Most of the researchers not at the pub bundled in, except Ming's Mother and Tinkerbell, and the button for the Riverside level was pressed.
As the lift descended, Jack Naples wondered aloud what would happen if everyone in the lift jumped at the same time. As no-one knew the answer, a simple experiment was put into place, with everyone jumping.
Have you ever wondered what happens if everyone in a lift jumps at the same time? Well, the answer is simple; the lift breaks, and no matter of pressing the "open doors", "up" and "down" buttons could do anything about it. Have you also ever wondered how long it would take a group of intrepid Hitchhikers' Guide To The Galaxy fans trapped in a lift, having been brought up on reading books with "Don't Panic" written in large, friendly letters on the cover, to press the "Panic" button? The answer to that was about 49 seconds, although all
that the panic button did was make a noise like a drowned doorbell.
Eventually, after wondering why it was that in all action films, lifts have trapdoors in the top the hero can escape from, yet never in real life, the doors were forced open, only to attempt to close as soon as we jumped out of the lift, just under a foot above the ground floor. Waiting outside to get into the lift was a woman with a pram, who seemed determined to get in. The Fish did the honest thing, and told a member of the Oracle's staff that the lift had broke, while the rest of the group scarpered.
|Blue Bottle3, Grey Desk, And Other Stationary|
After sitting down on the other side of the river, watching H2O drift by, The Fish had a call - could Greydesk be met at the station? Bluebottle, wearing a recognisable H2G2 T-shirt, was sent off to look for "a tallish guy with a beard", only to find that Reading station was full of tallish guys with beards, most of whom looked as if they were gathering for a "Part-time Father Christmas at Woolworths" convention. Bluebottle then had an idea, and approached a member
of staff, asking that, as he was hoping to meet a friend, could they broadcast an announcement?
"Certainly," the helpful British Rail man said. "Who are you hoping to contact, and what is your name?"
After being told "Greydesk" and "Bluebottle", the man gave Bluebottle a very strange look, and walked away very quickly. Bluebottle, however, was not defeated, and found another BR man, and asked him if he could broadcast the message, "Would Mr. Greydesk please wait outside W.H. Smiths?".
The plan worked, and soon Bluebottle and Greydesk were walking towards the pub, discussing rising urinals, h2g2 and the Isle of Wight.
The final pub of the day was the Hogshead, which was a nice pub beside the Kennet river, and its downstairs was completely taken over by H2G2 Researchers. The full number of attendees was now:
Here, everyone re-united, and began to eat, drink, and re-arrange the furniture. The tables were organised into a triangle, so everyone could see everyone, and after a while a quiz was organised to celebrate the Life, Universe and Everything of Douglas Adams, who had died exactly one year before.
The questions were on The Guide, Dirk Gently, and H2G210 with questions like "What colours were Ford Prefect's towel?" Munchkin seemed destined to know every answer, but sadly there were no h2g2 T-
shirts to be one as prizes.
After that, people began to drift away, but they were happy to remember the event as a good day, and knew that they could all meet-up again soon at the Southampton Meet-Up in June.