Am finally back from glorious blackpool.
The week started poorly for me: after passing Preston, I realised I'd left my pass and hotel details in Birmingham after rushing to throw bits in my bags early on Saturday morning. The pass was easily replaced (at the not insignificant cost of £25!) by the excellent people on registration.
The tricky part was remembering which of the several hundred hotels and guest houses I'd booked for myself...
Fortunately I'd multimapped
the location, so knew the general location and that it was close to a PO and a couple of churches. I then twigged that the name had a Brum connection: The Dudley
. Turned out to be quite delightful little hotel with a friendly couple running it. (You'll get a better room rate by phoning direct than through the web.) It was nicely situated halfway between the Imperial and the Winter Gardens.
As for conference itself, I spent most of it doing photos. In the morning there was a daily photo-op with CK doing something interesting (arriving in Blackpool, walking along the front, meeting trainee mechanics, popping into the creche, and riding a tram). Then along to various fringe meetings at lunch and in the evening to get shots of various MPs and other speakers. Claire Raynor popped along for an afternoon, so spent an hour with her (really nice lady, and had something to say to everyone).
There are many aspects to the party conferences, and Neil Fawcett
sums them up quite nicely.
The last night of conference is the one where most delegates get quite tipsy. This year was no exception... Looking scruffy and having a big camera normally means you can blag into any event, so I started at the Bloomberg international reception, lots of big names and party bigwigs. Then into the ERS
"whiskey tasting", a traditional annual conference event. Then a quick break to pop into the NUT fish & chip supper, before the press reception with possibly the most free booze in any event I've been to. The press event was good and had a good chat with Martin Rickett (PA) and Paul Glover (Telegraph) about politics and photography. Suffice to say I've been a little bit tender today.