Had an early breakfast with the Canadian gang before heading down to the exchange room with Louis as my trusty assistant, and many kilos of puzzling Haleslocks…
We get into the room and have pretty much unpacked everything and set out our offerings when we’re unexpectedly herded out of the exchange room… we spend a little time out in the lobby before being allowed back in with more scrupulous checks on the name badges this time – it seems some interlopers might have made it through the security checks the first time around.
This year there are notably three puzzle locks in the exchange – two of them from Shane and I’m somewhat chuffed to be exchanging Haleslock 4 – so I have one on a bath chain around my neck for the rest of the day…
The exchange starts with my neighbours, Eckbert and Dirk, and pretty soon Louis and I are a finely honed exchange team roaming the hall and exchanging efficiently…
My schpiel improves as the morning progresses and then settles down on: “My friend Shane Hales designed a puzzle lock a couple of years ago and he named it Haleslock 1. A while later he came up with Haleslock 2 and then earlier this year, in a fit of creativity he produced Haleslock 3 – and today, I have for you… “ at which point virtually everyone chimes in with “Haleslock 4!” – except for two wiseguys who went for “Haleslock 5!” and one hopeful, thematically interesting “Haleslock 37” – before I deliver the punchline “Trust me, he’s much better at designing puzzles than he is at coming up with names for them!” – (I know, I know, I won’t be giving up my day job any time soon…)
- Steve’s awful Eiffel puns truly plumbed new depths, even for him, and
- Oskar’s proposal down on one knee to present a puzzle ring that he and Bram had designed was somewhat memorable!
My final exchange for the day is Dario who’d been AWOL for a while so we’d set up camp at his desk to await his return… only for him to come back when we’d wandered off for a while… the others in the queue insisted I went first anyway… nice bunch!
A couple of guys had pulled out of the exchange at the last minute – Bex was nowhere to be seen and John was frantically trying to salvage damaged puzzles with the help of his assistant and a couple of volunteers…
Given I had a few spare exchange puzzles I decided to give John one and to my surprise he said he had resurrected a few of his puzzles and would I like one… ‘course I would! :-)
I manage to pack up all the exchanges into a single suitcase – good sign – and notice it’s a LOT lighter than mine was on the way down earlier that morning.
When I got back up to the room I discovered that a dear friend had passed away during the night – all the more poignant that I knew I’d just exchanged a puzzle with Chris Dalgety who was doing the exchange for him as he was too ill to travel…
I went down for Wee-Steve’s presentation on his perspective of the Jabberwocky project, which was interesting… Gill arrived back at the hotel soon after the end of the presentation and we ended up spending a little down-time thinking of Ethel and Laurie – decompressing a bit before the banquet in the evening.
Simon said a few words at the start of the evening and asked us all to remember the happy times we’d shared with Laurie – that was the easy part – there was a lot for Gill and I to choose from – and then we toasted our friend one last time.
The entertainment at the banquet was superb as usual. A couple of local magicians (including a great act of historic magic by a faceless magician) and a world class shadow artist with a huge repertoire – including a Star Wars segment!
There was a lot of banter after the entertainment, and even a little puzzling… and long after we’d gone to bed the Soap's Fabric & Fibre room is well and truly defiled with piles of beer cans and empty glasses and snack packaging, so Frans sends Gill an email at 3am helpfully suggesting that we rename it the Fabric & Fibre & Beer room ….
Lovely post Allard, we all had a great day, the pleasure was absolutely all mine and I'm so pleased you agreed to exchange my puzzle. You have some great photos there (I need you to email me them! Nice shirts on us all & Ali) and reminding me all about it. I look forward to the next one.......... :-)ReplyDelete
Cheers for that, Shane! See you in...Delete
All I remember from that day is glue! Lots and lots of glue! Then I remember feeling quite unwell from glue! I think the day went ok but there was so much glue! At least John managed to get 40 or so exchanges done.ReplyDelete
I never want to see glue again!
Good on you, mate!Delete
I caught up with John during the Sunday vending day. If I recall correctly, he told me he had over 70 exchanges done to that point, all glued up. He was feeling pretty good about that. Along with our exchange, I bought a cubic puzzle from him as well. "Bex" finally arrived Sunday evening, and I was able to give him my exchange puzzle -- he'll get me his puzzle next time we meet.Delete