This weekend, I was in London for Sherlocked, the official con for the BBC Sherlock series. I’ve been watching the show since it came out, but have been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I was just a kid. I remember watching the Basil Rathbone movies, and I adored the Jeremy Brett series from Granada TV back in the 1980s, as well. When the production company decided to put together an opportunity to see props and meet actors and production crew, I was happy to get my pennies together for a trip to see it all.
Ryanair recently changed its flight times from Trieste to London, so instead of arriving at a reasonable hour, I got in at near midnight. I was able to get a train to Liverpool Street Station, but had to take a cab to my hotel – I was sharing a room with another fan, a young woman from Latvia. There were people from all over the world at the con, united by a mutual love for the show.
The con was the same weekend as the London Marathon, and held in the same huge conference space as the marathon registration, so we were mixing with the runners, as well as people attending other conferences. The ExCel center is immense, and the conference areas feel rather like warehouses. It’s not a comfortable space, unfortunately, and there was road construction going on near the train tracks, so getting in and out proved problematic for at least some folks.
Friday, my roommate Vita and I were going down to Speedy’s, a café that is one of the locations where the exterior for 221B Baker Street is shot. Just by coincidence, we ran into a friend of mine, Jenn from Spokane, who was there with a few other fans; she had put together an informal locations tour, so we joined them for a few hours that afternoon. Neither of us had realized the other was going to be at the con, so it was great to run into each other randomly, and we spent some time together over the course of the weekend.
A lot of the con itself consisted of waiting around in lines for the panels, for photos with the actors, and for autographs. I was, more than once, tempted to moo at things. That said, I did have a good time at the event. I got to see different parts of London this time than on my last visit, though I didn’t really have a lot of time for sightseeing beyond the locations tour.
We wandered from Speedy’s to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, where Sherlock leapt to his supposed death to protect his friends from Moriarty’s henchmen. We stopped at the park where John Watson met Mike Stamford, who introduced him to Sherlock Holmes. There was a stop outside New Scotland Yard, where Inspector Lestrade works. We wandered through St. James Park, near Buckingham Palace, and out to where the exterior for the Diogenes, Mycroft Holmes’s silent club, was filmed. Our tour ended at Baker Street itself, though I didn’t get a chance to go to the Sherlock Holmes museum there, much to my disappointment. By that time we’d been touring around for about four hours, and we had to get back to the venue so that we could check in with registration and get our con badges.
I had dinner with some of my fellow fans every night. I met one of my favorite British fans, and got a chance to have a photo with one of my favorite actors from the series – on the Baker Street living room set, no less. I was able to talk briefly with a woman who was doing her thesis in fandom studies on Sherlock fandom, with whom I’d done an interview last month for her study.
I really had a great time at the con, and with the people I met there. Arriving back home, my brother picked me up at Ronchi Airport on his motorcycle in a light drizzle, and we got back to Trieste just a little too late to get dinner out before the nearby restaurants closed for the night.
The month of May will have some more international travel for me. One of my friends from Canada is staying on the Croatian island of Mljet, just off the coast from Dubrovnik, for a month, and he’s invited me to come for a week to look over the poetry manuscript he’s finishing up. We’re planning on doing some hiking, and maybe some kayaking, as much of the island is a Croatian national park. It has a couple of salt lakes on it and, from what I’ve seen of the photos online, the island looks very beautiful. I’ll be taking a bus down; it runs twice a week from Trieste and is a 15 hour trip one way. I’m expecting to take some really good photos there!
Once I get back from Croatia, I have a poetry reading from my book Fireflies at Absolute Zero over at the American Corner library, on May 25th. One of my Triestina friends is going to translate a few of my poems, so they will be read in both Italian and English.
This poet has been busy, yes she has.