While I was waiting for that knock, I had made good use of my time. I‘d freshend up, sent my lovely husband a photo of my accommodations and the bowling alley conveniently located next door if it turned out this con thing was a bust, at least we wouldn’t be bored and generally turned the room into a shambles.
So when the knock came, I was kicked back comfortably on one of our twin beds which were so close they may as well have been a double, enjoying the free wifi at the hotel.
I bounded out of bed, opened the door and finally the Mute Twins were sharing the same physical space. What can I say? The feelings I had about us online seamlessly translated into person to person interaction from the first hug. I don’t remember many instances in my life where I kept thinking “exactly what I was gonna suggest” or hearing “I was hoping you’d say that” at every turn.
After Guylty had dumped her stuff and we’d had an excited chat about travel, finally meeting and I don’t remember what else, we both made sure we were in possession of our flower crowns and decided that the first order of business was locating some food.
We thought we might as well check the lay of the land and eat at the convention hotel. I had spotted its exact location earlier on my trip on the free (!!) local bus from the airport, so off we went in the rainy weather. It delighted Guylty to no end how I Germanly wanted to wait at red traffic lights. #tourist Psst, by the end of the weekend I was a much better jaywalker.
Edited to add this wonderful illustration of the above ☝🏻 statement supplied by Olga. Thanks so much. 😘😘
We arrived at the Renaissance Hotel and immediately there were flower crowns, sorry, Richard, flower heads everywhere. And we encountered our first queue of RDC5. Although the whole thing wasn’t supposed to get underway until four, there were already 30-40 people in line for what turned out to be registration. So we did what would become the unofficial motto of this con—don the flower crown and join the queue. We sorted out or registration and then went to the bar for something to eat. PSA: People there think it‘s okay to put anchovies in a Caesar Salad. Buyer beware! After that we hung out in the lobby for a while and then suddenly, there was another queue. We joined the end of it, but nobody in our vicinity seemed to know what we were queueing for, so I cut across diagonally and asked some people about 40 spaces closer to the front: Yes, we were already queuing for the opening ceremony in the Main Hall. This thing was about to get real.
Luckily both Guylty and I had gotten our stewarding schedules with registration and were in possession of these beauties:
We had no idea yet how lucky. When we finally reached the main hall, a long, long way down a hallway from the lobby where we started out, it was already packed. As those of you who read Guylty‘s reports of the Q&A sessions already know, the setup was a raised stage and seating in rows of chairs in front (two blocks of about 20 seats per row on either side of a middle aisle) with the first maybe 8 rows reserved for Gold Ticket holders. A majority of the regular ticket seats were already taken and the view from there wasn‘t brilliant. But thankfully we spotted the steward rows. One of the perks of stewarding (i.e. volunteering to help with running various of the events aka being a con gofer) was priority seating right behind the Gold Tickets.
All things considered, we had the best seats in the house money, a late decision to go and some personal sacrifice (which turned out not to be) could buy.
We chatted and we waited. At one point Guylty asked me how I felt about seeing him in person for the first time (of course she‘d done it quite a few times before). I‘m not sure what I said to her anymore. I think I said something like “Strangely calm and completely freaked out at the same time.” At that point, I felt it could go either way. I might be totally underwhelmed because I had built it up way too much in my mind or I could actually lose it and faint. It was a pretty tense twenty or so minutes. And then, in true Kate fashion, I managed to miss the first possible glimpse of the man. Sheesh! Guylty said “Oh, there he is” but by the time I had collected myself veering definitely more towards hysterical than calm and collected at this point, he was no longer in sight. We were sitting stage left where the actors were mulling by the shadow wall waiting to be introduced by the con organizer and I had missed the Armitage. Classic.
One by one the actors present were brought out on stage and introduced and got to say their little hello to the crowd. They went in reverse order of importance (I‘m not rating the actors! I‘m just going by this particular con‘s MO of pricing their autographs and photos. I’ve no opinion on any of them outside of how they conducted themselves at this event which was flawlessly and for Aaron Abrams and Scott Thompson utterly hilariously): First Jeremy Davies, Aaron Abrams and Scott Thompson one by one (I don’t recall the order), then RA and lastly the star of the show, Mads Mikkelsen bringing up the rear. Don’t ask me anything about the others. My mind is blank. It all comes under the heading of “waiting for RA” for me.
When RA started clowning around behind the shadow wall, my pulse kicked up a notch and when he stepped out in all his glorious six foot twoedness, I may conceivably have whooped loudly. I refer you to Guylty for any and all questions re my behavior. My memory cannot be trusted on this. It definitely wasn’t underwhelming.
He made a very nice welcoming speech about many of us traveling from far away (he was quite fascinated with that and asked everyone at the Meet and Greet for Gold Tickets where exactly they were from) and congratulating us on beating the weather. No lie there. Louise had texted me early that morning that there was snow in England *shockedgasp* and googled to make sure Heathrow airport would not be affected like the wonderful friend that she is. RA then referenced our flower heads tsktsktsk and all I can say is that I am unable to be coherent about the experience other than to say that it was worth every single penny I spent on it.
After this rather short event, the guests and Gold Tickets where whisked away to their Meet and Greet. My jealousy on missing out on that was really rather non-existent. I’m not sure I would have been up to it, as I felt quite jittery still from seeing the Armitage in the flesh. We had planned on sticking around for the opening party, but the 4 am caught up with us and after reassuring a distressed fellow con attendant from Spain in my abysmal Spanish that having missed registration due to a severely delayed flight would not cause her any trouble, we trudged back to our own cozy hotel.
However, once in our jammies and fortified with some Thorntons chocolate courtesy of Guylty and some tea, time simply flew by and we stayed up chatting way past midnight anyway and drifted off much later than intended.
Day one of RDC5 was in the books and it had been thoroughly enjoyable!
To be continued…
P.S. As I was writing this, Guylty posted her day 1 impressions and I swear we didn’t compare notes beforehand. Though I might as well have saved myself the trouble and linked to her post here. 😉