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Now we are six - the Stratford meet

By Robin Stott

Sunday 6th March, Geograph's sixth birthday, started grey and raw here in mid-Warwickshire. I folded up the bike, stuck it in the back of the car, and drove over to Stratford-upon-Avon. I was early enough to get a space in the small Marina car park only 4 for the day with some photo opportunities thrown in. On the bike (Stratford is even less bike-friendly than Warwick) and I was in the Golden Bee on the dot of 11. Coffee! The pub was already moderately full with late breakfasters and Sunday papers junkies.

David P Howard was first in but, never having met before and being the reserved Englishmen that we are, it took us a while to introduce ourselves. Once we had, the party started and we were joined in quick succession by Alan Murray-Rust, John M, Chris Allen, Mike Westley and his wife, John Brightley and Nigel Mykura. Several non-stop conversations followed, helped along with food and drink. It was a relief to be among other nutters. Philip Halling appeared, then Barry Hunter rolled in, so we were eleven all told and talking nineteen to the dozen.

By the time we'd finished lunch it had turned into a perfect sunny spring afternoon, so it was time to scatter and take some photos. Stratford was thronged with visitors enjoying the sunshine, there was a bit of activity in the canal basin and one or two sightseeing boats were plying the river. And the shops were open.

I don't know where everybody went after all the handshakes and goodbyes - we'll see the photos IDC. I headed across the river - Loxley Road with detours, eventually getting up on Alveston Hill, then back down the A422. Seeing longer views, more open landscapes and intensive cultivation made me realise how immersed I'd become in the secret, intricate, small-scale Arden countryside north of the Avon - a worthwhile excursion.

Three things we forgot to do:
1. We missed the opportunity to thank Barry for his dedication to keeping all the Geograph balls in the air;
2. We forgot the actual birthday toast but, hey, there's always next year;
3. Worst of all, no-one took a group photo - too busy enjoying ourselves. If anyone did sneak a photo, show us.
Apart from that, it couldn't have been a better day. Here's to the next, and my thanks to David Stowell (who was busy with the SVR on the day) and jvb for preliminary thoughts and publicity reinforcements. It was great to meet everyone.

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Mon, 7 Mar 2011 at 22:22
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