We're in Liverpool for the Liberal Democrat conference and my laptop is usefully hooked up to the wi-fi here in our Hampton by Hilton Hotel which is usefully just a 5 minute walk from the conference centre.
I plan to blog where I can throughout the week to give a sample of life at a conference 'as it happens'.
I'm staying with a group of our students from Aberystwyth University at the Hampton and we all arrived yesterday mid-afternoon. After a 7 hour bus trip I was shattered and needed a break before setting off into town for the evening.
We happen to be next door to a well known Liverpool pub famed for its real ales called the 'Baltic Fleet' so we all happily went there for a few drinks at 6pm. Mike Dixon from Birmigham also called in for a drink and a catch up - was good to see him. Good also to see Emma Hall from ALDC again. Then, a catch up with the Cardiff Lib Dem contingent over an Italian at 'Ask!' in the city centre. A few drinks before a few of us, tired from a day of travelling, set back early for our hotel.
Having said that, I couldn't resist calling into the Conference Bar in the Jury Inn to see who was about.
Most delegates will be arriving today so it was rather calm last night at the conference bar. Still, it was good to catch up briefly with old friends such as Anders Hanson, Simon Wilson and Gerald Vernon-Jackson whilst there. For what felt like an 'early night' at a conference, 2am wasn't really that early!
I've woken and fought my way through the crowds to get myself a 'self-service' breakfas here in the hotel. I personally can't stand them. I can see the advantage as it means you can pretty much within reason, eat as much as you like. But it's far too unorganised and chaotic and far too commcercial in its ways. Give me a good old-fashioned B&B style breakfast ordered and brought to my table any day.
Conference officially opens today at 2.30pm and I'm looking forward to some fringes and training during the course of the afternoon and evening.
Mostly, I'm looking forward to seeing an influx of friends arriving today and look forward to catching up with them later this evening.