So, on rolls Sunday morning and a better-than-expected trip up to the NEC to the Focus on Imaging show, where I met several of the family who also have an aperture interest.
I had a vague idea of what to expect having been to several other exhibitions related to work. However, what I didn't expect was the heaving throng that kept me on my toes for the four hours I was there ... or for the second latchee!
My cousin and I were queueing at the snack area for a bite to eat when we were joined by a rather large* chap who took to talking to us as if he knew us.
Great, a queue jumper.
Now I am quite an amiable person and if someone starts talking to me, I will generally listen in the hopes that I don't have to talk too much ... I am the world's worst at small talk!
However, my instincts about this guy were not good: there was something about him that made me uneasy, not aided by the fact that he was boasting to me about how much of his club's money he could spend on photography kit.
Thankfully, my cousin is good at getting me out of sticky situations and suggested we tried the restaurant if there wasn't anything I fancied, so we scarpered.
Perhaps the highlight of the show, for me, was meeting Daniel Lezano at the Digital SLR Photography stand and getting his autograph in his and Bjorn Thomassen's book, 100 Ways to Take Better Portrait Photographs. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get Bjorn's autograph ... this time :-)
The most stressful ... and expensive ... part of the day was finally plumping to buy a new lens at the Jacobs stand, where chaos reigned supreme: broken tills and a free-for-all for their goods created quite a crowd that had me teetering on the edge of freaking out. I hate being in the middle of crowds, being pushed, shoved, elbowed and squashed whilst queueing for a turn to be served, and which I keep losing because I'm too polite to push back.
Again, thankfully, my cousin saved the day by returning the pushes and getting me to the til just before they managed to get it fixed, leaving me to it once I was there as he was getting frustrated with the guy behind who kept pushing him.
They really could have done with a ticketing system there...
Soon after that, we decided to leave, making my prediction true: I'd told my Dad I couldn't see us being there for more than four hours, and we were bang on! How's that for guesswork?! :-)
Then came the ambush.
We were just walking down the concourse to the exit when someone started talking to me and I turned around to see Queue Jumper had somehow appeared from nowhere, had planted himself between me and the rest of the family, and was in the process of telling me about his huge order he had placed. It was like a predator separating the weak prey from the rest of the herd.
Quick as a shot, and for the third time that day, my cousin managed to get me away from this guy and we all disappeared out the nearest exit.
So, to my cuz, I have to say an absolutely huuuuuuuuuuge, THANK YOU!!!
I really need to consider taking some kind of assertiveness class ... or just stop worrying about offending people.
* To give an idea of his size, I'm talking at least Richard Griffiths proportions and shaped like a weeble with legs.