ePHOTOzine members North West meeting

A group of ePHOTOzine members meet up again for what's become the annual meeting that you just can't miss.t

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Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a village called West End. In the ‘70s the village was flooded to make way for a hyper space bypass……..hang on, sorry, getting mixed up with some other far fetched stories.

What really happened will unfold before your very eyes, right here.

Welcome to the story about a group of intrepid photographers. The problems started early, when some of the regulars and a few of the newbies were unable to come, but that just meant all the more fun to go round for the rest of us.

I arrived at 2.30, and yes found my own way there without any help at all. Grabbed the flat and settled in. The others started to arrive and over the next few hours we just spent some time getting to know each other, getting a suntan in the garden, with a few beers for the drinkers.

We eventually headed off to the pub for something to eat, as we were all starting to get hungry enough to attempt the lone pork pie that was found. Now, it was at this point it occurred to me that to have given my number out to everyone might have been a good idea, so I stuck a business card on the door, hoping that any late comers would get the idea.

We headed for the pub, and Steve (SteveBB) suggested a particular place he knew how to get to. This was our first encounter with that dam road.

ePHOTOzine members North West meeting
Blues Brothers – Jeanie Lazenby

This is where the next problem crept up. I had no signal at the pub, but I found that if I stood in the car park, on one leg, with my trousers rolled up, and my phone 12 inches above my head, I got one. Yee haa. So, every 20 minutes or so, I ran outside to see if anyone had called. We polished off our meals in relative peace and quiet, although my hat seemed to grow to about the same size as Ian (Digicammad)’s head. Not sure how that happened! Anyway, the meal was fabulous, chunks of meat in my meat and potato pie the size of a 50mm f1.4 Canon lens. For the first year, I was not able to finish the meal, or have a pudding. Steve took over the mantle on that front, with some lovely Ice Cream, and Ian (Digicammad) and Robbie (Mrs Digicammad) shared a pud too.

We then headed out to the car park to discuss what we were going to do next, and as the sky was making a rather stunning display of colours, we decided to shoot the sunset. At this point my phone buzzed into life, telling me we had a message. It was Teresa (TeresaH) and Jamie (Wotashot). They had arrived, found my number and called. We headed back to the dam road, and left the majority of people at the visitors car park at Thruscross reservoir. Jeanie (Jeanie) and I (Anthony) headed to the centre to collect the stragglers. Then headed back off to the car park to shoot the most amazing sunset. ePHOTOzine members North West meeting
Thruscross Reservoir – Anthony Smith

Once the sun had set, we got back to the centre, away from the midgies and towards the beer.

Friday night was spent chatting, shooting the odd pic, and for most, swigging the odd beer. I called Tony (TonyWetta) who was meant to arrive around 1am, but he was not coming till the later in the morning. So, I sent him some wonderful directions to follow, and hopefully make his journey really easy. More on that later.

After much fun and games, beer and laughter, out came Jenga. Well, this was a new one on me. We gathered round the tower of wooden blocks, awe struck, not knowing what to do with this new thing. We got it quite quickly though and after some distractions from Teresa (TeresaH) we won a few games and lost a few games. Great fun.

As things started to wind down a bit, Jamie (Wotashot) somehow got the idea that dropping a Jenga brick into Bri’s (Big Bri) pint was a good idea. Well, have you seen the cartoon character, The Flash? Well, Jamie (Wotashot) was off like a rocket, and Bri (Big Bri) was right behind him. They ran round the centre twice, before the hapless Jamie (Wotashot) ended up pinned into a corner. Bri (Big Bri)proceeded to “insert” the wooden brick into some orifice of Jamie’s (Wotashot). Not sure which one, but it did not stop him laughing, so I guess it was not his mouth. Teresa (TeresaH) joined them and tried to help, but I think the blood content of her alcohol stream must have been thinning, as she backed of rather quickly. ePHOTOzine members North West meeting
Jamie about to get intimate with Jenga – Anthony Smith

As the evening progressed, and the attendees got more and more drunk, and I got more and more tired, I retired for the evening at about 4am. The others were left to their own devices. The sun was just starting to come up, but no one really felt like trying to catch it.

As it turned out the drinkers were still at it the following morning, they forgot they had beds I think, as the sensible ones among us found them still drinking, and still up and about when we got up for breakfast. I called Tony (TonyWetta) and he was on the M1!!! How did that happen? Anyway, I revised the directions for him, and said we would talk later.

ePHOTOzine members North West meeting
Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers – Geoff Taylor
ePHOTOzine members North West meeting
How can it be empty? - Geoff Taylor
ePHOTOzine members North West meeting
Bri and his new hat from San Diego – Geoff Taylor

The plans were to head for Fountains Abbey, a wonderful National Trust site, to shoot the architecture for a few hours. We headed off about 10 ish. Steve (SteveBB) knew the way, or at least his Sat Nav did. When we got there, we actually drove in, drove out, and then back in again. His Sat Nav was taking us through Fountains Abbey to get to the entrance on the other side. D’oh!! ePHOTOzine members North West meeting
Fountains Abbey – Jeanie Lazenby

By this time, Tony (TonyWetta) had called to say he was in Leeds, much to the merriment of Jeanie (Jeanie) and myself (Anthony). Jamie (Wotashot) was out cold on the backseat, as he was young and inexperienced with these late nights, so it took its toll on the poor lad.

We then spent the next few hours dodging midgies, taking some lovely shots, bumping into each other. At one point there was 6 of us, with big lenses on, trying to shoot a Grey Wagtail. Each time the little fella came past, the shutters went off like a machine gun, lol. I don’t think anyone got a decent shot of him though. Never mind.

After a wee stop for a drink, and a rest, we bumped into Tony (TonyWetta) and his friend. He got quite a ribbing for the journey that took them almost 4 hours, that took me 2 the day before.

It was at this point the lovely Magda and Paul Indigo turned up. We chatted for a bit, then headed back to the centre for beer and chilli. (Are you seeing a pattern yet?)

Bri (Big Bri) had ever so kindly agreed to cook up a chilli. And what a chilli it was. Stunning stuff Bri, and on behalf of all of us, thank you. Take a bow old pal.

ePHOTOzine members North West meeting
Ian and Jeanie, and guest appearance by Onion – Magda Indigo
Jamie (Wotashot) volounteered to do the dishes, good lad. Can you guess what happened next? You got it, more beer. And, Boppit came out to play too. Now, some of the old hands like myself had a fair idea of what to do, but it was so funny watching the newbies getting to grips with the wonder of Boppit. (Especially when Teresa (TeresaH) got the second one out as well) Naturally Teresa (TeresaH) was on hand to demonstrate, and off we went.
ePHOTOzine members North West meeting
Doing his chores – Unknown – Found it on my camera the next day.
ePHOTOzine members North West meeting
Anthony and Boppit – Geoff Taylor
ePHOTOzine members North West meeting
Geoff Taylor and Jenga – Anthony Smith

The drinking and games went on for many hours, and into the wee small hours, again!

So, off to bed we all went, (not together I might add) and made ready for departure.

The following day we got up, got ready, and had breakfast. Now, remember that pork pie I mentioned at the start? Well, some plucky kid scoffed it. Jamie (Wotashot) gulped it down. Must have been really hungry .

We then started to depart, which was a shame as we had only just got to know each other, but not before giving Tony (TonyWetta) some directions, and stealing the batteries from the Sat Nav so he would find his way home. (How was Glasgow Tony?)

Another wonderful weekend, only spoilt by the need to shoot some pictures so we had an alibi, but overall, great company, great food, not bad weather, and some new friendships struck up.

Thank you all for coming, and making it another special and wonderful weekend, it really was great to put faces to new names, and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

Now, all we need to know, is who is arranging the next one? And put my name on the list again.

Article written by Anthony Smith, with images provided by Geoff Taylor, Jeanie Lazenby, Magda Indigo, and myself.

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