Today's blog is a bit different. No project today- normal service will be resumed shortly- instead I'm going to be telling you about the Onstage Local event in Birmingham. I'm writing this the day after the event so forgive me if I'm a bit space-happy right now! Warning - long blog!
If you've seen my YouTube video showing you the goodies I got at Onstage (if you haven't you'll find it linked below) you'll know that the journey up was not uneventful. To begin with, I hired a car - my husband needed our car because he is a carer for his father and has to visit him a couple of times a day. I got an automatic - I wanted something easy to drive.
The controls seemed straightforward enough, although it did take me a few minutes to puzzle out the handbrake. I don't know why vehicle designers think that they have to think up cute ways of hiding the handbrake from view, but they do. I should mention that I am short. I'm 5'2", so I drive with my seat pretty far forward, and the handbrake on this car was about level with my left elbow - I could use it as an armrest when I wasn't using it to keep the car still.
I was on the motorway before I realised that I couldn't read the speedometer because the steering wheel was in the way - something I've never encountered before. A quick stop at the Services to adjust the driving seat height was called for.
For once, there were no real delays on the motorway, but it was still dark by the time I came off the M42, and I managed to misunderstand the Sat Nav's directions - at least, that's the only thing I can think of. The alternative is that the Sat Nav hates me. (I'd brought my own Sat Nav with me. The last time I'd had a hire car I hadn't been able to work out how to get the onboard Sat Nav to actually speak to me! I did try the volume control - it just made the radio deafening. I think all Sat Navs are in the same union.)
Anyway, I found myself driving down single-track lanes. In the dark. In the rain. (Did I mention that there was a storm? There was). In a strange car. If you encountered me and I dazzled you, it's because I couldn't work out how to turn off the main beam headlights after I'd managed to turn them on and I apologise...
I will draw a veil over my attempts to park but there was a 17-point turn executed at one point, when I'd been panicked into turning into the wrong part of the car park by a closely-following vehicle. I staggered into the hotel and to my room, where I restored myself with a cheeky gin-and-orange, a long shower, and a short stint of TV watching.
After a good night's sleep and a good, if hurried breakfast, I set off for the Vox centre in the Genting arena, which is next to the NEC. I got lost looking for the car park, and had to ask for directions - twice - from the same car park steward, who I have to say was really helpful. It's not his fault I am a numpty. However, it did make me late and by the time I'd parked, walked to the conference centre and registered none of my team-mates were to be seen. I was very flustered by this time!
After a lot of What'sApp messaging (only possible because I realised I'd left my phone in my coat pocket - I said I was flustered! - and had to get it back from the cloakroom) I found them - or some of them - and could get on with enjoying the event.
What a great event it was, too! We got copies of the new catalogue (which opens for business in January) and the Sale-A-Bration brochure, as well as some lovely gifts. Stampin' Up! always spoils OnStage attendees but this time, because it was the 30th Anniversary of the business, they pulled out all the stops. Oh, and we are allowed to share pictures of everything except the inside of the catalogues - so check out my Facebook page later today to see the pictures of the display boards I took!
This is a very long post, and I thank you for staying with me this far. If you want to see the goodies we got, I've made a video for YouTube!
See you again soon,
PS - I will be showing you what I got in exchange for my swaps, so keep checking my YouTube channel.