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Going to do this day by day...


I had just got up to go to the loo and was on my way back to bed and there was a knock on the door.  I glanced at the clock about 06.30am, grabbed my shirt and threw it on, Sue opened her eyes and I said 'It'll be the girls' and grinned at her.

Sure enough, Chris, the Tigger-babe, Alona and Monika!  General dumping of suitcases etc and I put the kettle on, as a couple of them were parched.  Having done a quick primp/change & whatever, they departed on-masse to go check out the queues etc.  I'm not sure if they expected us to be up but it really wasn't a problem, we knew they would be coming early…

We were in no rush to go with anyway and Lynnie promised to ring and let us know how James' queue was shaping up [which she did].   I just had time to climb back into bed and there was another knock on the door, then it opened!!  To our astonishment!

We worked it out later that Sue must have left the key at the desk when she got the linen the night before…   Anyway, I got out of bed and threw on the shirt again and met Nancy half way in already, to her shock!  She, Ro & Jean came in, with Jessie *waves to Jessie* and duly got themselves sorted pretty quickly and off they went…

I sat down on the bed and started to laugh…  Poor girls, they thought the room was vacant…especially as Reception had the key!

After that we said we might as well stay up and get ourselves ready, but neither of us were in any desperate hurry, an afternoon autograph would be fine…  I had to go collect the Shopmobility scooter that I'd booked, after 9.30am when they opened and decided we'd check out the virtual numbers for James first, then I'd head over and get the scooter.  I was waiting outside for Sue, when Hawera from CDS, with a couple of lasses, offered me a lift which I declined.  But by time they had got the car and came back round, Sue had arrived and Hawera repeated the offer and we scrunched in – well, they scrunched, I sat in the front like Lady Muck!  But gratefully received, thank you, m'am…

The shopping centre's hours were/are 09.00am to 6.30pm Saturday, 10am – 5pm Sunday and 10am-5pm Monday.  My Shopmobility shop opened a little afterwards and I had to get the scooter back half an hour before they closed each night..  not at all bad..

Found these guys wandering about...

 

We found James' queue and there were a mere handful going through, to my surprise.  The queue controller said, glancing at the lack of people [and the stick], would we like to go straight in??  Hell yeah… My hair was back in a scrunchie but we took the opportunity and paid our money, then I got out something for James to sign…  Sue didn't have anything but I'd brought some things to sign for that very occasion..  wasn't sure if I would get photos taken back in time for him to sign the next day and what if I hated them anyway??   This actually happened to us most of the weekend, the queue thing I mean, as people tended to get the ticket and go away, thus creating gaps here and there.  We were lucky and the guys were on the lookout for walking sticks, etc and were berry good to me.  All the queue controllers worked hard and were helpful and nice, without exception…but some did try to herd you through…you just had to stand your ground.

We got in so quickly, it was thank you to the steward and 'good morning, James' quickly after, even I got a bit flustered.  But the beauty of James' good nature shines even at 9.30 in the blessed am and there was no mistaking the way his face lit up at seeing people he knew and I got a really lovely smile and an enthusiastic 'Hi, darlin!' – he signed my Summer Knight sleeve and I held it together long enough to tell him how great the concert was the night before and how much he has improved since I heard him last, like a year & a half ago…  He looked surprised at the length of time and very pleased at my comments and I urged him to make the second CD SOON!!   He said he had enjoyed it very much and the acoustics in the Union Chapel were so good, he could hear it on stage when he was singing.  I said I'd see him later and that was me.

Then it was Sue's turn, to the same please recognition [more so, following the auction].  She gave him my 'Cool Money' to sign [he couldn't get the hang of my gold pen and used Ulla's!! I found out later].  We came away with matching delighted smiles.  Then we were all 'gah, my hair!' and 'I haven't got any lipstick on!' and my hands were shaking…  Even at that time of the morning, the man is beautiful…


 

I hoofed it and got the scooter – gad, what fun!!  I want one of those!!  Safe to say, I would not have made it through the weekend without it…  The people in the shop were lovely and I can't speak too highly of them – all of them, from the lady who booked me in way earlier than normal to the guys on the day.  I would recommend anyone who has mobility problems of any kind to get one for such weekends…  £3 per session, morning & evening, Sunday they class as one session 'cos they open at 11am and two sessions again Monday = £15 for the weekend – what would you??

The only thing I would have changed was giving it back each night!! *pouts*

 

So there we were, ready to rock n' roll!  We had until 12pm for James' photo ops and had a quick look around, to see who was where and who did we want to see etc..  Sue's son wanted Grace Park's sig on a model of the fighter she flies on 'Battlestar Gallactica' – well, you would not believe what footwork she put in on that as she checked out EVERY single stall that had models… Not a bloody skerrik…  Eventually, after a lot of legging it and a couple of calls to Greg, they settled on a graphic novel [I think!] and Sue said let's see what the ticket sitch is… 

We spent the rest of the day, on and off, checking the numbers – fitting in a super visit to see George Hertzberg and it was really nice to catch up with him.


He not only remembered both of us as Harvest stewards but the George's girls photo, he'd had with us, Char & Vicki.  Then he told us about his new baby - *So, ses I, George, green or what? With or without a Handle?? – "no…no, just normal colour and without a Handle", replies George, totally straight faced – then we grinned at our wit!*  He is such a love…  He posed happily for pictures with us and it was very nice.

And sort of meeting Mark Lutz, who was new to both of us.  Susie was very good to him the next day, as she thought he'd been left out! and bought him some delicious cookies, when she got his autograph.   He was blown away by that and she got a lovely pic with him, though I say it myself!  We called in to see them every day after that and they always had somethin' going – a map of towns all over the UK and then little signs over their pictures…  they were a hoot…

Sue & I then went and joined the James photo line and the steward said would I like to go straight through?  But I had the scooter, somewhere to sit and I elected to go through the line with Sue – BOY, did I regret that???  *no, not really but I near froze!*   I was shivering by the time I got in to see James and he wrapped his arms round me – please can I stay there – snap!  I said just one today but multiple tomorrow, "Right on!" was the enthusiastic response.

Lynnie got so cold, there were fears for her health and by the time she got in, she was shaking so hard, she was shaking James!!  She recovered but upped her meds to compensate the next day – and of course, it was warmer then but bloody HELL, guys!!

We repaired to John Lewis' café up on the mezzanine and had some food and HOT coffee… When they were finished, the girls went to Costa's and thawed out…  Then back to check Grace's numbers etc.  Sue still on the hot trail for something to sign and I took the opportunity to visit Rene Auberjonois – dozing in his chair, between visitors… I smiled at his PA and we talked in sign language – come ahead… so I went to be a fan girl…  He was very nice, a little distant maybe, but a treat.  He liked the picture that he signed for me, I had actually vandalised a book that I got rid of – just loved the picture – in his Odo persona standing on the set with a whole load of things happening around him, like the eye of the storm…

 

Those autographs were not cheap £15 for Rene, Tony Head & George Hertzberg, only £10 though for the 'Allo Allo' guys – Guy Siner & Arthur Bostrom [I wish I had got Richard Gibson's now…] and a whacking £20 for Avery Brooks, Terry Jones & Charisma Carpenter [the last two I did not get, nor want] and of course, James.

I totalled it up and I spent £145.00 on autos.  *gulp*

James was the only professional photo I got, as I wasn't sure if we could take pics in the autograph line and I wanted to make sure we had a quick snuggle recorded, as it were.   But Sue was really fabulous and for the first time, I actually had candids with James!  I made sure she had plenty, not only with James but George & Mark too.  I am pleased to say I got some good ones.  I hear tell hubby's not that pleased…but I can see where he's sitting, if you know what I mean.  Anyway, a girl needs a few souvenirs…keepsakes, even..  *glances guiltily at the autographed pics*

No.  Dammit.  I won't be guilty!  life is too frickin short…and who need groceries… *snorts*

 

Sue & I checked in with each other on our mobiles at regular intervals and I went back round to the side where Tony Head, Peter Mayhew, Avery Brooks & Grace Park were [this line-up changed a bit from day to day]… to see Avery Brooks if I could – he'd been BUSY in the morning…  But when I got round there, no queue… my guardian angel was working that day…  I parked the scooter and went to AB's photo table to see what I liked there, glancing across at him as I did so.  To find him watching me, so I grinned at him and half bobbed him a curtsey, which made him smile.  I picked out the picture below as it made me think of his role in 'Spencer,' all those years ago…


I trolled up to the desk and put down the picture, putting out my hand to him and he took it, while I pretended to ignore him and talked to his pa – saying it wasn't often you got to be a complete fangirl and meet someone you are a big fan for… she laughed and when I looked back at Avery, he was grinning from ear to ear...  stroking my hand…  I said to him I've been a fan since before 'Spencer' and he said, wow…  While he signed my picture, I told him I was a dedicated Star Trek follower and that I loved 'DS9' most of all.  By which time, he was done and passing back the picture to me, took my hand again and resumed stroking it…  That man has a voice like warm velvet and he said he was glad I liked it and thanked me for coming.  I carefully put the picture away and giving him a final smile, happily floated away…

oh alright, I hobbled off!! but he was lovely…

As I moved back to my scooter, I did a double take on one of the Collectormania stewards…  Donna???  and damn me, it was!  Boy, did she look good!  Half the size she'd been at the Harvest and longer, blonder hair…  She gave me a hug and said there's a lot of us here and she was right!  Jo was there and Belinda and various of the others that I knew by sight but not name.  Old homes week, baby!  Mara's face was also very familiar but not sure if she'd been there.   Donna & I had a quick natter and she asked me if I had got all the autographs I wanted.  I was still shy of James' ones for the next days but I had been toying with going to see Tony Head again.  Not that I needed a photo or an autograph, as I already have several of both but it had been a while…and I hadn't spoken to him when he was there last time.  I asked Donna if she'd mind checking the virtuals for me to see how they were getting on… 300-odd I think?  something like that anyway – I knew he'd be popular…  Anyway, Donna said was I going to get one?  and I thought, yeah, I'd like to and she very kindly exercised pit-boss priv and slotted me into the line.  I would have been happy to take a virtual but this was a real pleasure.  Thank you, babe.

When I got to the table, I half cocked my head at him and smiled – Do you remember me…  He looked at me considering and I turned my head so he could see the tats and I saw a lightbulb go off over his head.  Oh yes, he said and I laughed.  I thought I'd help out a little and reminded him of the crazy photographer we'd had at the Harvest, who wouldn't take my picture with any of the guests, unless he could see the tattoos – and Craig in Oakland was almost as manic. 

I'd picked the photo below as the PM in 'Little Britten' and he signed it as we were chatting.  I put that carefully away and then I told him he was looking very well and held my hand out to his good side.  I was blown away when he took it in his bad hand, standing up as he did so, leaned across the desk and kissed me.  I'm a real softie but my eyes filled with tears.  We said goodbye and I came away.

I speak from the heart and I always will…  These wonderful people enrich our lives with their talent and charisma…and they sure do get you though the day.

Susie turned up, she'd got the mag and was ready to rock…  Oddly enough there is photo from another photographer, snapping pics of Grace Park, that shows Sue in the queue.   So mission accomplished.  We had a couple of other things to do and then wound our way round to the other side of the mall…  as we did, Avery Brooks came out of the side with his minder - I couldn't resist it, I said quietly but clearly, "Good night, Mr Brooks".   He waved his fingers in a roll and said 'Goodnight, honey'.   Sue and I grinned at each other and went to see if the photos had been developed yet.  Not yet – we took the time to look at other people's and have a quick natter with those already there…  It all got complicated with bodies coming and going and I now understand how permanent wheelchair users find it difficult to keep track!!

Got the pics eventually, went and took back the scooter, walked out to a taxi.  We went back to the hotel, with no idea about dinner… 

We found out that the Travelodge had managed to loose my print list of who's luggage was in our room and they not only refused to let Lynnie & Chris in to get their luggage but also Ginger, Ro, Nancy & Jean etc!! [They had come to find me in the mall to let me know].   I was FURIOUS and demanded an explanation by the time I came downstairs again…  The Receptionist could not have cared less – but the following morning, they found the list!  I spoke to both Twatwoman and the Duty Manager and she refused to accept any responsibility for the problems but he had a bit more sense and apologise profusely and every time I saw him after that.   The final straw when we got back, the lift was out of order!  Luckily for them, the repair man arrived just before we did and got it working in jig time…  getting me to take it up asap to test it – it was fine.

Sue came up with the idea of ordering in something – there were pamphlets in the lobby and she & Ginger were keenest on pizza - then going over to the party after, so that is what we did.

As soon as we got back upstairs, the American delegation came to claim their luggage and then Lynnie & Chris.  We all split up as the girls had their stuff to sort out and they were doing their own dinner arrangements…  Lynnie rang when they were ready to go over but we had only just had our pizza delivered and were chomping away for dear life…  We'll meet you there…

I had a very sore tongue for several days as I kept biting it – in the same place…and it took over a week to heal properly, so I was trying to eat and not bite the same sodding place again…  I still have a hard lump on the side of my tongue but it has healed now - THANK HEAVENS...

We actually had a lovely little break and Ginger really makes me laugh…  love your accent and honesty, petal!  then we hoofed it over to the Room…  Had a couple of drinks and Billy Boyd's band came out & played…  some professional musicians in there.  BB's voice is okay but no power…  And Rod Stewart he ain't…  or James…

Also only the speakers next to the stage were on, so you needed to be with in 20 feet to hear them properly [didn't bode well for ASH Sunday night].   So after a bit we went back to the Hotel and had some wine & fell into bed…  Only two hours sleep ourselves the night before…

Another day in the concrete nightmare that is Milton Keynes beckoned us, as we drifted off…

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
kazzy_cee
May. 19th, 2007 07:03 am (UTC)
Looking forward to the pics!
lovejames
May. 19th, 2007 12:24 pm (UTC)
Up now, darlin - rest of them on photobucket - use my email & password as before
*waves*
uih
May. 19th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
Hi, Jill!

Thank´s for the Saturday report. Good to know what I missed, running around in London printing photos for Sunday.
Had a look at your photos, they were really OK for a compact camera! Sue got her Chance signed with my gold-pen on Sunday... I gave it to James after he signed The Photo Album (see the capital letters :O) ) and the big photo from Spring Fever, that I had printed out...

I´m still in a good "after-James mood", guess that´s because I´m editing photos of him every day and reading all great reports...

I hope he comes back next spring, wouldn´t mind the tour in Germany, but I prefer London. Easiers access and my German skills aren´t too good. I understand a lot, but I´ve forgotten the grammer... Guess I´ll have to dring a lot of beer, I speak great German when I´m drunk! I prefer not to tell how i know THAT!

So, I´m eagerly waiting for the Sunday report...
Thanks and hugs,
Ulla
lovejames
May. 20th, 2007 10:55 am (UTC)
I have the Fuji FinePix 4800Zoom digital and when i bought it, it was close to the top of the range - it sure cost me enough! But that was quite some time ago now...
i actually took a gold pen with me but James couldn't get the hang of it, but used yours - that's neat! i loved your Photo Album... i was looking through your pics for when he was reading the play at Rich Mix - i know you took some 'cos Susie has one - i'd sure like to see them... You working on them now?
One of the beauties of doing the reports and playing with the pictures, is the extension of the James' Glow, which hasn't diminished, i have to say... bless him...
If he does do a German tour, i will just have to wait for him to come here...but knowing he loves England, i don't think i have to worry...
i'm glad you are enjoying my report, love!
stretfordditto
May. 19th, 2007 06:49 pm (UTC)
Wonderful post! You sure filled up every minute...there's a mezzanine?! My sisters decided to go off to the hotel and we stayed behind to browse and we met up with them a couple of hours later, wandering about, trying to find a way out, lost! That place is a maze.
lovejames
May. 20th, 2007 11:01 am (UTC)
Thank you, love!
Yes, there is a mezzanine.. you can look down into the area where Collectormania set up shop and all the autograph tables... i have seen some of the CM pics shot from up here to show the crowd & area - on their website.
Having been before, i knew just how complex it is and printed out quite a large map, for anyone to look at really and it came in handy for the US Contingent as i spread it out on the bed to show them where they were going... We already knew where we were going and i had noted which door i needed to find Shopmobility, so no probs.
'Sunday' coming up...
vampgaia
May. 20th, 2007 12:10 am (UTC)
*hugs* I'm already counting the days until James does this again next year. He has to do it again next year! We all need a reason to be in the same place at the same time.

I love reading your reports. It's a great way to relived the fun.

Photos are going up slowly.

http://www.pbase.com/vampgaia814gagrav3s
lovejames
May. 20th, 2007 11:06 am (UTC)
Ooooh! Thank you for that!
i have made your own folder in my Pics, so i don't get them mixed up... You, Lene & Chrispy all have their own now...
James has virtually promised to come back next year... *falls about laughing at her own joke*
Just whether he will do a New CD tour or wait and bring it with him, remains to be seen... but i SO want to see you all again!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )