A Kentish tweet-up

With apologies to all present ... I've often wondered whether the tweeps I interact with are real people or some cunning Turing Test type bots. There was only one way to find out. So, dear reader, I went to my first ever tweet up. This is my story of it, other people's may differ!

Dramatis personæ

In person: @Freckleface12, @jamierubicin, @LauraMullan, @MullanLydia, @oxguin, @RowanMullan, @SideWinderSid, @sp1305 (aka Sarah)
By interwebs:  @bernieforkin, @parkerfarquer (aka Arthur)
Apologies: @haleofbay (aka Rachie)


It started many moons ago when the lovely Sid invited a load of people to a BBQ at his pub in Kent. Why not go, I thought to myself. They all seem wonderful people and it would be great to meet them in real life and get to know each other a bit better. The I remembered my crippling shyness and sat gibbering in a corner for an hour. Then I remembered the advice of my therapist: Graham, pull your socks up and stop being such a fucking wimp (I have a very good therapist). So I became determined to feel the fear and do it anyway.

As the day drew closer, the auspices took a turn for the worst. The weather forecast was not good (and surprisingly accurate). A BBQ turned into a buffet. Then Rachie had to withdraw due to William's baby sitting falling ill. Then the French, still bitter about the Battle of Waterloo, decided to go on strike resulting in Operation Stack that closed much of the M20.

Day 1

I would like to tell you, dear reader, that I cannot tell you much about day 1 due to such outrageous behaviour that 'what ever happens at a tweet-up, stays at a tweet-up'. But, for me at least, the reason is somewhat duller.

I got up super early on Friday (my day off work) at 11am. Went to pick up hire car, did a few errands, and by 2pm was ready to leave. Torrential rain on M40, the M25 thinking it was a car park, and Operation Stack got the better of me. As did my ability to get lost on anywhere that doesn't have really clear road signs (Kent, the threat of invasion was a long time ago - you really should sort that out). So what would normally be a three hour journey took well over seven hours. Arriving at my B&B, some miles from the venue, at 9.30, I made a desperate phone call to Sarah.

"Sarah, it's Graham. I have a horrible journey, I'm fed up and it's pissing down. Can I have a lift?" Sarah's generosity overwhelmed her well-founded reluctance. She shoveled out the horse manure from her trailer, punched a few air holes in it and came to pick me up. After a Formula 1 like drive to the pub, I was finally there - my first tweet-up! It was all to short, but some highlights included ...

  • Lydia's instigation of the flip the beer mat game - how many beer mats can you flip off the table and the catch.
  • The discussion about what number comes after 2, 3, 5, 13, 89, 233, 1597, 28657, 514229, 433494437? (Still owe you a beer for that Rowan - perhaps to be shared with Laura. And well done Frecks to getting it on the night.)
  • The online Viber (think Skype) chat with Arthur & Bernie - even though nobody could hear each other due to the driving rain.
  • The costumes - including school boys & girls, teachers, and Sid's porkpie hat.
  • Jamie's party trick (don't worry Jamie, we'll all chip in to get the table fixed wink).

So, day 1 over. Bit of a disappointment for me as I had so little time with people. Boo!

Day 2

I set my alarm to be up mega early - 8.30am. Shouldn't have bothered as the seagull make sure you're wide awake at 4.30am. (Although, as I was to find out later, I was lucky. Frecks and Jamie were woken up wondering what birds were outside their B&B - were they shags or seagulls. Nope, they were seagulls shagging. Nice.) Having woken up and the crack of dawn, I decided to say goodbye to Dawn and get on with my day seeing as the sun was now out. Spent a lovely few hours wandering along the Dymchurch beach. Photos can't do it justice, but it's a bit like this (main picture).

Midday was now here, so it was back to Sid's pub for lunch with Sid, Sarah, Frecks and Jamie. Sadly, the Mullan's couldn't be there because they were busy stuffing Laura's face with birthday cake. Before I go any further, I should describe Sid's pub. It is a proper pub. That is all. What? You want more? OK, it has lots of exposed dark wood and traditional pub ornaments. It has a fine selection of drinks and very friendly bar staff and clients. Most importantly, it is not a gastro pub! And the food portions are enormous. Freaks has a very admirable strategy to ordering food - work out what you want for pudding, and work backwards from there. Despite this, the pies, peas & gravy did for here (I also admire finishing off the gravy with a spoon - this should be made compulsory). An emergency strategy was put in place, and a take out apple pie dispatched. Sarah did less well with her lasagna (Sid did comment "better than most"), but luckily Jamie was on hand to help. I quote: "best lasagna I've ever had."

There was much good conversation - including chats with Bernie & Arthur that we could actually hear. Some about you lot that weren't here (synopsis: most of you are extremely lovely, some of you are a bit odd). Some of it out us. Yu had to be there, but I'll give you a few snippets ...

  • One of us (more accurately, one of our friends) vandalised a 400+ year old table at Cambridge University.
  • One of us built very many roads.
  • One of us comes to tweep-ups in a dressing gown.
  • One of us owns a pair of 'eating trousers'.
  • One of us has spent two hours in the bath admiring the beauty of a light bulb.
  • Two of us are Trekkies.

Endings (for now)

Once lunch was done, it was time for most to go home. I hung around for a bit and went on a lovely walk in the Kent countryside and popped in to see Sid on my way back. Was going to spend day three in Kent, but the rain returned so home I came. On my journey back, I reflected on what I have learnt ...

  • Lovely people on Twitter are even nicer in real life.
  • Hardly anyone sounds how I imagined them to sound.
  • It's silly to be scared of going to a tweet-up.
  • Allow more traveling time.

Thanks you to all the marvelous people I met. I hope to meet you all again, and even more of you, soon.