Harrogate is lovely. I’m greatly impressed by free wireless connection to the internet — I’m sitting in the foyer watching the quite extraordinary array of totty walk past on the way into the conference hall. Given that it’s free, there aren’t many people using it. Just me and one of the more IT literate MPs. I’m trying not to earwig on the great and the good having extremely confidential conversations all around me. A quick chat on Messenger/Trillan to my brother who’s in Nepal at the moment getting ready to climb Everest. E-mailing the content of a training session I’ve just delivered to some of the attendees, since I forgot to produce a handout. A nice conversation with a former co-worker who I’ve not seen for ages. A chance, finally, to meet a very good-looking young man I’ve been chatting to online on and off since last summer–whose photos really don’t do him justice. Quite disappointing going round the exhibition: not much in the way of freebies this time, although there’s a very comprehensive pack from the Paper Co, which I availed myself of to give to our print buyer. Park, a printing firm, managed to help us out of a hole by finding us a firm to do some printing over the weekend–saving us from having to go home early and do it ourselves through the night on Sunday. I had a chat with the EARS people (EARS is our voter ID database) but didn’t quite manage to fix the problem I have just yet. There’s a reception tonight, and then the GLEE club, a quite extraordinary event where hundreds of mad Lib Dems sing songs with funny words at each other basically until the bar runs dry and we all stagger back to our hotels with the tune to ‘The Land’ stuck in our brains for another year.
Four years ago in Bournemouth in 2001 I went to my first Lib Dem conference, knowing practically no-one there. It only took one year to get to the position where the following year in Brighton, there was someone I wanted to avoid in every room. 🙂