The coach ride from London was very juddery, but fortunately only an hour and a half. I was dropped off in front of a festive building advertising a bake sale for charity, so *of course* I went in, since that is what one does. It was tricky to get into the sale due to the three teenagers blocking the doorway. Once I made it in, it was clear that the sale was being run very incompetently by those same teenagers. I bought a terrible piece of cake for 50p and allowed them to get back to what was clearly the main purpose of the day; flirting.
I walked through the town, dragging my bells behind me and admiring the sheer number of awkward teenage buskers, all singing earnestly with their eyes closed. The 20 minute or so walk to the university was charming- lots of stone and brick buildings housing bridal shops and charity shops that also have wedding dresses. Also chemists. Not much else other than those three types of shops. I ended up at one point behind a mother pushing a stroller and trying to guide her daughter who was practicing being blind and giggling maniacally. (Everyone needs a hobby.) See? Charming.
One of the things I had forgotten about the UK is that while there are abundant public maps informing you of where you are and where you might be headed- the street signs are next to impossible to find. So I got a little bit turned around, but eventually found a pathway next to a bunch of blackberry bushes. A teenager informed me that I was, indeed, headed in the correct direction.
After being pushed to the side of the path by a herd of probably around 50 teenagers (most of whom looking at their phones and not at all where they were going-- it felt like being in the wildebeest stampede in The Lion King), I found the local graveyard and happened again upon the mother and her daughter.
Alice is three, has several fidget spinners, likes Miraculous Ladybug (a joint Korean/French anime), calls her little brother "Ed", and is my new best friend. Her mother, Leanne, is a librarian at the University and made sure that I was in the correct place. So now I'm here! Fully 24 hours early to the conference and stashed neatly away in a tiny, claustrophobic dorm room that makes me feel grateful for the fact that I do not regularly reside in one of these any more.
I'm off now to go look at the actual location of the conference, try to sort out what time it actually is, and find some delicious food. Go team!