pensnest: bright-eyed baby me (Camp Sparkle)
[personal profile] pensnest
Hi again,

a bit more detail about travel to and from Camp, as some of you may want to get busy sorting out holidays and flights in good time.

The trip from my house will probably take about four hours, plus a lunch break. (Digression #1: if it is a nice day, I vote we take a picnic and go via Snugbury's Ice Cream - the place which had the Giant Straw Dalek this year. They have some awesome flavours! There probably won't be a giant Dalek next year, but these things deserve to be rewarded, I feel. If it's not a nice day, we'll find a services station—with a roof—somewhere.)

I'd like to leave at around 11am on the Friday morning - which should, with reasonable traffic (Digression #2: there's always heavy traffic north from London on Fridays, and in the commuter area around Birmingham, so we really don't want to leave it as late as lunchtime to get going), mean we get to the Ship Inn at about 4pm, which is when we'll be able to get inside. I don't think it's feasible to collect anybody from Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted on Friday morning, as Gatwick and Stansted are completely in the wrong directions, and a Heathrow diversion would add at least an hour to the travel time, most likely rather more. We could pick up from Luton Airport or Birmingham Airport on the way on Friday morning.

If you're coming to one of the big London airports, ideally you'll either come a day or so earlier and stay with me (I'm happy to pick up from Heathrow and Stansted (and Luton) as usual, and the train from Gatwick to St Albans is the best way to get from there to here), or you'll get yourself from the airport (or elsewhere in London) to St Albans Station or Hemel Hempstead bus station on the Friday morning. (I know some of you spent a few days in London before/after Camp this year.) Train Service from St Pancras to St Albans is very good, and there is certainly a bus service from Heathrow to Hemel Hempstead and another from Stansted that goes to Oxford via Hemel—and of course a bus from Victoria Coach Station to Hemel, too, which is probably cheaper than the train.

I have bed space for six (if some of you are okay sharing, which I'm sure you are) and a spare mattress and some airbeds and a decent couch—basically, if you need to stay with me, I'll find you somewhere to sleep!

If flying in to East Midlands or Birmingham is possible for you, you could probably be picked up by [ profile] nopseud, and possibly stay with her in advance (or after Camp), if handy. Best check with her if you're looking at travelling on Friday 13th.

The return trip will also (presumably) take four hours or so, plus a break at some point (traffic willing). I expect we'll leave somewhere between 9-10am. People can be deposited at Birmingham and Luton on the way back, and I might be able to cover Heathrow as well, but if you need to return home on Friday, do make sure you've left plenty of time for the journey and your check-in! You can stay chez me and be ferried to Heathrow or Stansted over the weekend—it still remains a more efficient option to go to Gatwick by train, but that's easy. Or, of course, make suitable arrangements with [ profile] nopseud if you're going from a Midlands airport.

[ profile] turlough mentioned the possibility of flying in to Manchester, which may necessitate getting a train to Old Colwyn, or it may be possible for someone to pick you up, we're not sure yet. Could be worth looking at, if there are handy flights to Manchester. I expect we could figure out a larger scale pick-up from there if it turns out to be useful for several of you—I expect it might be worth considering for [ profile] chalcopyrite at least.

There are trains which would get you to Camp, if you can't make the minibus, but if that's going to be the case, you should haunt the advance ticket places in the hope of getting something that doesn't cost you £100. Bargains can be available, but definitely need to be booked early. There are also buses and coaches from London to Chester which take 5.5 - 6.5 hours and cost £29ish for a round trip, if you can stand it - so if you can't get there with the minibus, all is not necessarily lost. We should be able to pick up from Chester if we can manage to do it just once—there is a train station in Old Colwyn, though, so you can get there easily from Chester. This website may be a useful place to start looking. Also, [ profile] nopseud checked out the train details, so ask her for guidance.

My personal recommendation would be: come a day early, and stay overnight with one of us, then plan to return home on Saturday or Sunday after Camp. If you can. :-)

Camp 2014!

Oct. 3rd, 2013 07:08 pm
pensnest: bright-eyed baby me (Camp Sparkle optional)
[personal profile] pensnest
Camp Sparkle next year will take place on 13th - 20th June.

*pause for cheering*

A very early warning: it will probably be a really good idea to make sure that you get to my place or to [ profile] nopseud's place in time to be ferried to Camp by car or minibus. We have investigated the train service, and it is certainly possible to get there from (say) London by train, but it will cost you. The fares are a bit of a morass, but could easily be as much as £100 for a Friday-Friday return, although more in the region of £35 to get there on a Saturday and £35 to get back on a Friday morning. There might be coaches (probably to Chester), but the minibus will be way more fun.

I'll post in a bit more detail in the new year, unless anyone is being *really* efficient and wants to get stuff booked right away. Meanwhile, you can look forward to Many Welsh Castles, the Seaside, Chester, Portmeirion, and other treats. And a serious Party House!
pensnest: bright-eyed baby me (Baby Me sepia)
[personal profile] pensnest
Can we do a round-up of how and when people are planning to get there?

I need dates and times and flight numbers (and airports!) for people who're coming early and needing to stay with me (I think only Noora and Bettina, but I don't want to forget anyone!).

Those of you arriving at Gatwick sometime on the Monday might well be able to travel onward together, so this would be a good place to announce your arrival time. How much pleasanter it will be to land in the welcoming arms of fellow Sparklers, yes?

Does anyone need a pick-up on Monday from an airport that is not Gatwick? If so, where and when?

And is there anything else I should know?


Apr. 20th, 2012 05:05 pm
pensnest: bright-eyed baby me (Camp Sparkle Death Cake)
[personal profile] pensnest
Camp is going to be an unusual shape this year, what with most of us going into London for the first full day. I've been having a look at a possible timetable for outings and notable events, and I'm thinking, how about this:

Friday: Arrivals Evening footage - ? Classic pop stuff? New pop stuff? Films? Requests, please!

Saturday: TRIP to London, including concert

Sunday: POP DAY including at least one discussion session.
I have a topic to propose: differences between 'classic' popslash stories and more recent ones. How do you tell what era it's from, and why is that? However, if any of you have more possible discussions to propose, please comment with them. Also, footage requests.

Monday: TRIP This seems like a good day for going into Portsmouth to explore. An outing, but minibus not needed as we are better off walking and getting the ferry on foot.

Tuesday: Sparkly Day. If the weather is unkind to us on Monday, we can do the Portsmouth thing on Tuesday instead. More discussions? Footage requests? Creation and decoration of sparkly dancing cookies? (I am happy to bring cookie cutters and sprinkles if required.)

Wednesday: MODERATELY SPARKLY DINNER tonight, so bring something shiny to wear. There may well be an auxiliary outing to the Bovington Tank Museum on this day for those of you who want to beg a place in the car.

Thursday: Visit to a stately home, something we've been doing during every Camp for a while now. I have two suggestions:
(a) Beaulieu, currently advertising from Cistercian monks to Formula One racing cars. National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, James Bond exhibition, Palace House and Victorian Flower Gardens. Beaulieu is a big place.
(b) somewhat smaller scale, Breamore House and Countryside Museum (paintings, needlework and porcelain, museum with replica of blacksmith's shop, dairy, brewery, saddler's, steam powered farm machinery), with the option of also visiting the Rockbourne Roman Villa which is in the same area

Preferences? I think we can talk this one out in comments and see if a vote looks necessary.


We will need to do our usual thing with regard to cooking dinners, but of course that is complicated somewhat by the Saturday outing. We'll do a shopping trip on Friday afternoon to get breakfast and basics in, and there'll probably be leftover shepherd's pie/fish pie if the stay-at-homes are okay with that for Saturday. Whoever signs up to cater Sunday's dinner had better be ready with a list of requirements!

Sign up in comments, please, and I'll fill in.

Friday: Pen (usual pies, unless there is a revolution)

Saturday: fend for ourselves

Sunday: Chief Chef: Chalcopyrite



Wednesday's Moderately Sparkly Dinner: Pen (Kitchen minions willing to talk about Adam Lambert and/or Lance Bass will be particularly appreciated!)

Thursday: probably no cook needed, we can eat Wednesday's leftovers/pizza/fish & chips etc

Finally (hah!), I know we have Chalcopyrite who's a vegetarian, Turlough who needs to be gluten-free, and Trumpeterofdoom who does not eat beef. Any other needs to be accommodated?

ETA Does anyone have an allergy to almonds? See Turlough's comment below.
pensnest: bright-eyed baby me (Camp Sparkle optional)
[personal profile] pensnest
Okay, folks, I think I have figured this out, but PLEASE check to make sure I haven't missed you out of my calculations!

Saba and Sperrywink are arriving at Heathrow and Gatwick respectively on Friday morning.

Fleur, Bettina, Chalcopyrite and Bubbleforest arrive at Stansted during Friday.

Ninjetti, Turlough and Fadedsouls arrive on Thursday and spend the night chez Pen. (Turlough, if you end up visiting family instead, I'll assume you can make your way to Stansted to join the pick-up list there.)

I propose that my Beast does the Heathrow and Gatwick pick-ups and takes Saba and Sperrywink along to Camp. (He can also take the shepherd's pies, so that they can be heating up before my minibusload arrives!)

I will have my three housemates, and we'll get along to Stansted in the late afternoon to collect Fleur, Bettina, Chalcopyrite and Bubbleforest. I'm afraid that means some of you—especially Bubbleforest—will have to hang around at the airport for a while, but unless I can think of a handy, fun thing to do in the vicinity of Stansted, there isn't much option.

Now, as to the day in London/Concert:

Beast, Stellamira and Fleur want to go into London but are not going to see NKOTBSB.

Pen, Saba, Titch, Ninjetti, Nopseud, Bettina, Rikes, Bubbleforest, Fadedsouls, Trumpeterofdoom and Chalcopyrite all want to get back to Portsmouth from the concert. If I can hire a 12-seater minibus, it'll be a bit less intimidating for me to drive through London, and will accommodate us all with a seat to spare for the luggage.

I suggest that I drive in the minibus all of us from Camp who want to spend the day in London, and then the three of you who are not going to the concert make your own arrangements for getting back down to Gosport. Is that going to work for you guys? If so, it may be pleasanter for you to return together, and (if necessary) share a taxi from the station. If you're okay with this, it may well be more economical to book your train tickets in advance (or for Beast to do so), so let me know what sort of time you would like to leave town.

We'll be staying in an area we haven't explored before, and Nopseud has looked at possible outings, which seem to be things we can do pretty locally. However, if we do want to jaunt off a bit further afield, we'll have 12 seats in the minibus, plus our car, plus (I assume) Nopseud's car, so there shouldn't be a problem getting everyone to wherever.


ETA: ahahahahahahahaha. Hah.

Okay, then.

A revised plan sees me and my overnighters (Adelate, Ninjetti, Turlough and Fadedsouls) heading to Heathrow on Friday morning to fetch Saba, and thence on to Gatwick for Sperrywink, Mette and CJ. We'll go to Camp and set up housekeeping. Beast will drive the car to Stansted for Chalcopyrite, Fleur and Bettina, who're all arriving sometime during the afternoon.

As for Saturday, we're now looking at Beast driving into London and planning to drive himself back at the end of the tourist day with CJ, Adelate, Fleur and Mira. Bit of a squeeze but some of you are Quite Small and can snuggle into the back seat together. It's possible Beast won't drive to Greenwich but will park in Shepherd's Bush instead, at the mega shopping centre (which Rikes may remember from our Glambert experience), which will make it easier for his morning passengers to get into the city centre. Note that he probably won't want to be too late leaving town, so anyone wanting to stay late can either beg a place on the minibus or arrange to get the train back to Portsmouth/Gosport.

And I will drive everyone else to park at the O2 in the minibus, and drive the following people back after the concert: me, Saba, Titch, Josh, Nopseud, Bettina, Rikes, Mette, Fadedsouls, Chalcopyrite.

NB: If any of the non-concert day trippers wants to spend a late evening in London, we can accommodate up to two more on the minibus home trip IF I have the numbers right (and assuming the luggage can be arranged around us)! Also, if anyone particularly wants to be in the middle of London early on, you can fight for the available spaces in the car. But there are touristy things to do in the Greenwich area, eg Greenwich Observatory, and things on the eastmost side of the city centre, like the Tower, which won't take *too* much time by Tube.

pensnest: bright-eyed baby me (Camp Sparkle optional)
[personal profile] pensnest
I've just been looking at the parking arrangements at the O2. I can book to park the minibus, but it's cheaper to park if it's a vehicle for 12 or fewer than if it's our usual 17-seater.

Also, I have to drive this thing through London!

So I'm wondering what kind of travel arrangments I'll be needing to make. Who's going to be travelling to Portsmouth on the minibus from my house (and/or Stansted pickup), and who's going to be travelling in to London for the day on the 28th, even if you aren't going to the concert. (My Beast is likely to be one such—we'll pootle off to the Greenwich Observatory or something during the day, and he'll amuse himself while I'm being amused by NKOTBSB). There may also be one or two of you who'll be wanting a ride from the O2 to Portsmouth.

It seems likely I'll need to book the bigger minibus as usual, but I wouldn't at all mind escaping that, so do let me know if you need a place on it.


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Camp Sparkle - a yearly UK popslash get-together

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