Friday, April 17, 2009


Student Nationals - Day 0

It's the Easter holidays so time once again for the Student Nationals. As Vague won last year, the event is hosted at the Manchester Metropolitan University Student Union.

This will be the fifth we've attended representing Reading University Games and Roleplaying Society (GARPS). ("We" being Sue and I as no-one else at Reading can be bothered to summon up the energy to go with us.)

Lunchtime we are squeezing onto a train to Manchester that seems a coach or two short without any reduction in passengers. Thankfully we booked weeks in advance so had the right to turf people out of our seats. The ride was pretty uneventful apart from having to endure the whingy kid opposite who never seemed happy.

From Manchester Piccadilly it was a short-ish walk to the Atrium on Princess Street. This place rented out apartments which sounded better than hotel rooms although what we paid for was effectively a very nice bedsit with a bathroom. The fridge came in handy for storing some food but we didn't cook anything - too many restaurants around.

Great view of the Rochdale Canal under the window, which seemed to have more traffic cones in it than ducks and geese.

And across the road was one end of Canal Street, the centre of the Manchester Gay Village.

After dumping our stuff, we set off into Manchester to do some food shopping. Or that was what I was led to believe we were doing. Instead I ended up following Sue round a series of weird and wonderful shops, like Cyberdog and Afflecks.

To be fair, we did eventually find a supermarket in the form of an Aldi. I'm so unfamiliar with this chain that I couldn't even pronounce the name correctly - apparently it rhymes with Audi.

On the way back through Piccadilly Gardens, we spotted some delightful urban furniture against a delightfully colourful wall. I would have to be really drunk to use these - which is probably a good thing as that's when they're most needed.

Next stop was China Town for tea - a HuNan restaurant on Faulkner Street.

After finally getting back to base, we dumped our shopping and set off to the Nationals to register. Importantly, I remembered to take a pair of dice which was the toll for admission - no die, no entry.

We were too late to catch Big Bad John's welcome speech to the masses so retired to the bar where we spent the night chatting to people we'd made friends with over the years and playing "Apples to Apples".

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