Prior to the dinner, we spent a couple of hours exploring the National Gallery, which is pretty close to the Texas Embassy where the dinner was held. As a result we were some of the first people to arrive at the dinner – the gallery closing at 6pm, right about the time the dinner was due to start. As a result we got to chat to a few people we probably wouldn’t have spoken to before – Hugh McLeod himself, who I have to say did look like someone who has been to Edinburgh, Paris and London in the same week. We also had an interesting chat to a couple of the people responsible for the free drinks at the event, the Stormhoek wines. We also had a nice surprise when we arrived. Rather than the Â£20 cost, we found that thanks to Microsoft, the cost per head was now only Â£10 – Microsoft picking up the tab for the rest.
I have to say that neither Beth or myself are the greatest wine drinkers, however we tried both their red, and also one of the two varieties of white wine they had brought along, and both were very nice. Since I had to drive once we got back to Fleet, I limited myself to one glass – but Beth got through five glasses of wine during the evening. As she said, eminently drinkable wine!
The room started to fill up quite quickly, with a number of familiar faces from previous dinners putting in an appearance. Robert Scoble and his wife Maryam appeared fairly soon after, and soon started working their way amongst the attendees. Like several others, we gave out quite a few of our new blog cards – although Scoble has a slight one up on everybody else in that he has a one off GapingVoid cartoon on his card…
The one notable missing face was Dave Oliver, who was due to be celebrating his 35th birthday at the dinner. After a couple of text messages and a phone call it transpired that Dave and a couple of others were in a bar over at Waterloo, but were heading for the dinner, so it wasn’t long before Dave, complete with 40th Birthday badge, and Care Bears balloons finally arrived.
After chatting close to the bar for a while, we decided to go and grab a table for everybody to sit at. This also gave Barry a chance to get Dave’s birthday cake out – complete with candles.
As he brought the cake out, we all sang Happy Birthday – which produced the most bizarre point in the evening. Once we’d finished singing, one of the other geek dinner attendees – who none of us knew, came over and asked if Dave was the person who had posted about his birthday to the wiki page. Dave said that he was, to which the guy pulled out his present – a pair of chocolate nipples. More than that – he told us that they were a pair moulded based on his wife’s… Totally bizarre. It got even more strange when the guy who had given Dave the chocolates, described them to a woman on the next table, who proceeded to ask to try one!
After that, we then moved on to the food itself – buffet style as before – which does seem to work better than trying to order individually I think. Unlike last time there were no big speeches, so we chatted for a while longer, before heading for the station at about 10pm.
All in all it was a great evening, and a good chance to catch up with some old faces, and make some new friends. I took quite a few pictures, which have been uploaded to Flickr, and are available in our photo gallery.