Plague, Fire & BristolCon

Well, that was exciting, in all sorts of ways.

For me it began on Wednesday night, most of which I spent awake getting acquainted with the toilet bowl at the hotel where Kevin and I were staying. I’ve not mentioned this before because I wanted to pin down the source of the stomach bug. In particular I didn’t want anyone to jump to the conclusion that the fine folks at Simply Fish were responsible.

My first suspicion was Korean food. I know from a bad experience at a lovely traditional restaurant in Seoul that I am violently allergic to something in Korean cooking, and the meal I had on Tuesday evening did have a Korean-style relish with it. However, on arriving at BristolCon I discovered that Juliet McKenna, Gem Morgan, Neil Benyon and several other people I know had gone down with something very similar. Anne Sudworth also went down with it on Friday. We’d all been at the same event recently, so I’m pretty sure I know where the problem arose, and the nice fish restaurant is fully exonerated.

Food poisoning is a horrible thing, partly for what it does to your digestive system initially, but also because it leaves you with no energy, and no appetite so no means of replacing the missing energy. I lived mainly off fruit and energy drinks for 2 days. I tried having a proper meal on Friday night, and promptly collapsed again. Thankfully I made it through the convention, despite being only half awake at best. Juliet and Anne were magnificent, coping far better than I did.

Much as I wanted to stay up and chat with people after the convention, I needed sleep, so I was in bed and unconscious by midnight. That was when the fire alarm went off. A fault in a lift (elevator) motor had set off a fire alarm, and we were all evacuated while Bristol’s fire service dealt with the problem. To my knowledge, the only casualties were the lift (which remained out of service the following morning) and Del Lakin Smith’s beer, which got knocked over while we were out in the car park. (Yes, of course some people were still drinking at midnight.)

If that wasn’t all Biblical enough, Paul Cornell and Caroline Symcox announced the arrival of their first-born the following morning. Jo said on Twitter that we’d try to arrange a rain of frogs for next year, while Kevin joked that we might have a plague of Locus (which is entirely possible as I’m sure that Liza, Jonathan & Gary will be coming over for World Fantasy).

Despite all of that, the convention appears to have gone very well. That is, every comment I have seen on Twitter thus far has been very enthusiastic, and no one has complained to me yet. Of course there are things we know we did wrong, and there will be a debrief session next Saturday, but all in all I am again very pleased with how things went. Roll on next year.

In the meantime, Kevin and I are going to ride trains for a few days. Bloggage will be a bit sparse, after which there will be photos.

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