So I did a Friday morning casual dress photowalk, where I explored the grounds of the castle. This is the ‘Poppies Wave’, an art installation dedicated to the WW1 dead. Or any war, really.

So, this is inside the walls of Lincoln Castle but it took a very kind Lincolnite to point out to me that it’s actually the Courthouse! From here on in, you’re not really going to get any photos without people in them. It just got busier and busier!

And I was hugely under the impression this was Queen Victoria until someone asked me who the man was and I Googled. It’s George III.

The early bird ticket buyers all got medals for their promptness [and the extra money they paid. Imagine my delight when I found out they all had a typo. A kind gent let me photograph his, as of course I never paid the extra for one. I’ll pay the extra for food, very little else.

This is really how Lincoln was. Normal streets, and then huge chunks of stone history. This is the Newport Arch.

Pub sign.

There will be a few selfies throughout, as I wasn’t sure if anyone would take photos of me.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party! It was on my way to the party that I had the really horrible bus driver incident, and on the way back that a member of the public made fun of my clothes, but I don’t want to write more about that. The party was warm. So warm I was worried I hadn’t topped up my suncream in a few hours, I was worried I didn’t have a parasol or sunhat. They operate a sort of ‘musical chairs’ system where the Hatter calls something like “Everyone wearing purple, move tables!” in an attempt to get people to mingle. And it works, to an extent although there were an awful lot of people who said things like “My partner’s over at that other table!” I hung back for the first few tables and then began to realise nobody was swapping names! So I began to take the lead and ask around each table for names, amazed no-one else was doing this. Funny, Angie’s partner Glenn was there [he took my Cheshire Cat photo] and I spoke to him at the end when he was realising he didn’t get anyone’s names. I told him it wasn’t his fault, no-one was really giving names as they seemed to all live safely in partner-land. I’m pretty sure even if I had a partner I wouldn’t be so complacent but… Who knows?

Speaking of Glenn and Angie, I was beginning to realise they probably wouldn’t ask me to work the tea stall for them. They talked a lot of big talk and said we could hang out, have a dinner, I could even chill out in their close-to-the-centre hotel for naps if I needed it during the day. I did suggest coffee once or twice and there was an attempt on Sunday but… nothing turned out properly. Maybe for the best, who knows? I do more when I’m alone, I’m learning that and every trip reinforces it. When I wait for people, I lose part of my trip and part of myself. I felt a little sad though, especially after barely seeing Alice in Edinburgh.

I know the make-up isn’t amazing, but it was my first attempt and it looked better when I first applied it, and from farther away! I might rework it again sometime.

Friday night was my first volunteer shift at a magic show but I liked the other volunteer Roxy, we got on well and somehow when our shift was over and we could go in and watch the magic show… we ended up just talking to each other instead. John [the organiser] said he would introduce us to the band Experiment Number Q but when we went over they were talking business¬†so Roxy and I sat with Kevin who was taking over from us to do the late shift and although Kevin seemed rather sombre at first, I realised he was just nervous, or was reacting to my stress. We had lovely chats, although they revealed that I had been supposed to pick up a volunteer form which should be signed at each shift proving you were there and handed in for your refund at the end of the weekend. I hadn’t known about this which made me worry I had been struck off the list without knowing [for internet rudeness maybe?! My internet conduct can be a bit weird when I’m upset], or I’d been marked as a no-show? I nearly cried, but decided I would go to event control/wristband collection the next day and fix it. I was worried about it being busy on the Saturday but it was my only option really. I emailed Jackie [the volunteer co-ordinator] when I got back to my room and she said not to worry too much. Which was nice, as I’d been quite a way down the road towards worrying too much. I got some salted chili pepper squid from the nearby Chinese takeaway and rested in my room until bedtime.


First’s The Worst…

September 14, 2016

Travel to the Asylum went fine. Travel when I got there was something else. Aggressive bus drivers and rude bus passengers meant travelling from my dorm to town dressed as I was became very difficult. I’ve never experienced that before. I’ve been to Whitby Goth weekend but Whitby is a small town, not a city. And WGW is 22 years old. People are used to it now. The Asylum Steampunk Festival, Lincoln is only in its 8th year and even though in the town centre, the cobblestoned ‘safe zone’ people were wonderful and dressed up, there would still be a Muggle who stared, who poked their friend and pointed at you, a woman who laughed in your face, someone who shouted “What the fuck?!” at you and actually quite a nice lady who was talking to her friend about me while staring at me so I asked if she was talking to me and she said no, she was talking to her friend but couldn’t take her eyes off me. Sums it up really. I don’t mind being noticed, but hostility makes me fold back in on myself. I started to wear my big black coat and dark glasses when on public transport to try and minimise attention. The buses were only a problem Thurs-Sat though, as the 7 & 8 bus route didn’t run on Sun or Mon or after 6:30 any evening. Of course I didn’t know that so I’d bought a week ticket, but such is life.

Lots of silly things happened to make me wonder if I should have gone. On Thursday I left my key card in my room, along with the ticket to the event I was heading to later so I had to do twice the walk to get it back, not to mention bother the university reception staff with the issue. They were lovely though. I got hair dye on the towel even though I was trying to not let it touch my hair, so I tried to wash it out at the sink. It started to wash out! …but I was standing there in just my nightdress and soaked my nightdress before bed so had to sleep in a shirt. I got caught in the rain on Saturday without an umbrella, missed the last bus by 4 minutes, would have had to wait an hour and a half for a taxi so just walked, only realising how hungry I was when I got back, rain too bad to go out again. I tried to order something from Just Eat but most takeaways had ¬£12 minimum charge and I wasn’t going to spend that much only to throw it out. In the end I went to the university bar and they sold me a packet of crisps to tide me over until morning. I was lucky they had crisps, the guy didn’t even seem sure they sold them. Bars and their beer fixation, eh?

Apart from that [and a slight confusion with some paperwork that I’ll get into] it was lovely! Oh, and I developed crushes on nearly everyone. The easy manner, gentle ribbing, just general sense of joy emanating from everyone was really conducive to this.

Here’s my introduction to the city though, a photo walk I took [dressed casually] after I dropped my suitcase off at the university lodgings [which were lovely. Double bed, wifi, en suite, quiet neighbours, free breakfast].

Stairs! Why is it always stairs?! I climbed two hills in an attempt to find Steep Hill. They were both steep, but not Steep Hill.

But what’s this?! A glimpse of the Cathedral!

Imagine my embarrassment when I found I had been photographing the back of the Cathedral. This is the front!

Whomp, there it is.

It’s really tough to photograph a gradient. I think this is the best one at showing how steep it was!

These signs would have been super-useful to tourists… if the lettering wasn’t peeling off.

There was a group photoshoot arranged by a group of photographers but by the time I had navigated the bus route, got dressed, walked to the Cathedral, frozen in horror when I realised I’d forgotten my key and party ticket.. I was late. I was so disappointed but at least I wasn’t in my best outfit, and I found a photographer called Tim who had hung around until the end, and helped me get some of these solo shots here. I felt lacking in confidence because of all the key-forgetting hoo-haa, I would usually move more.

That evening I teamed up with Ivy from the next dorm and we walked down to the early bird party where everyone could show off their finery. I liked Ivy, she was pretty easy to talk to but I somehow had the feeling that when we both found our feet we wouldn’t see each other much. We watched Andrew O’Neill do some quite funny comedy, although he did try to sing within his routine a bit too much. You know, the kind who wants to remind us he’s a singer? I mean, I’d never heard of him but he was sledgehammering us with the singing. Still smiled a lot during his set though. Lady Violet Hugh started singing silly songs that to me, sounded like they were copied from Fascinating Aida, so I left as I heard a local Steampunk group were having cake at a nearby pub. And they were! I walked in shyly and they didn’t notice me as they were having some sort of sherbet related drinking game but I didn’t mind, as I got a nice vibe. Rob began to talk to me, then Greg, then I found Sharen who had invited me on Facebook. It was just a really pleasant evening with a group of people who are comfortable with each other, and who are reaching out to share that with others. Funny though, turns out this group [Steampunks at the Well] started after a dispute with the Lincoln Steampunk Society, and both groups blame the other. Anyone I met from either group was kind to me, although I only met LSS members in isolation, no group meets so they didn’t seem as co-ordinated at greeting new folks as a group. Nothing can ever be simple, eh? Sharen and Michael gave me a lift back to the dorm, and I gladly went to bed.