Several weeks back I attached my Blackberry to my PC to clear down all the photos in preparation for SQL Pass and I stumbled across these grainy old photos taken during those rainy few days in York. It all seems like a lifetime ago now and much has happened to me since SQL Bits 7, but this was my story of an interesting and enjoyable but all too brief few days.
It was Wednesday and I had originally planned to go back home and head off first thing in the early hours of Thursday morning. Since a DBA friend of mine had decided to book into The Grange the night before the first training day, I decided that an early morning drive was probably best avoided and headed off myself one day early (this part should read “I decided that a few hours in the pub the night before was called for”). The drive was all a bit surreal to be honest, I’d spent the last four weekends preparing for my presentation on the coming Saturday and was still in a bit of a daze and tired. As I set off on my journey, the heavens decided to open but fortunately I had given myself plenty of time and drove at a leisurely pace.
After several hours of travel I had made it as far as Sherwood Forest without incident.
Since the journey was going so smoothly I decided that I would make a slight detour and head for Sheffield’s Meddowhall where I had been a few times before. I decided that I would buy a few bits and pieces and grab a bite to eat whilst my DBA chum was still stuck on the M25 hehe.
Unfortunately I spent a little too long enjoying my rest and recuperation break and I no longer had time on my side for my pre-arranged drinkette in the evening. What compounded my lateness was the fact that I completely missed the turning for York and ended up doing an obscure country route to get there. However in some ways this turned out to be quite enjoyable. The landscape was very picturesque and I quietly imagined what it must have been like to be a local living here as the Viking ships came sailing up the River on their raids (it was late and I was traveling over lots of bridges and waterways so my mind was running away with itself!).
Although a little late, we still made it out in York on the Wednesday evening but were a little surprised at how only a few people seemed to be doing the same thing. After a couple more drinks we called it a night in preparation for the big first day.
After a short walk to the hotel where the training sessions were being held, it was time to grab another Orange juice, coffee and croissant. Initially the crowd looked quite small, but it wasn’t too long before the rooms started buzzing with noise. Soon after people started move off to their respective rooms, I bumped into fellow presenter Neil Hambly (blog|twitter) (or rather, reintroduced myself to him) and then headed off for my training session. I had chosen to do Klaus Ashenbrecker’s session on Service Broker. This reason I picked this session over Brents (which I have to say I was particularly keen to go to) was simply the fact that I felt I had more to learn about Service Broker than I did for SAN and storage. On reflection, after completing the session I feel that the biggest problem with Service Broker is that it is one of those subjects where you really need to start playing with it in order to learn something tangible. I think the general feedback in the class was that the session was enjoyable but people struggled to see exactly where it would fit into their business and IT infrastructure. I’m personally not too sure about that view. I think once we master this particular technology we would probably be recommending it for anything and everything! Microsoft for instance are slowly starting to use it more and more behind the scenes such as with Database Mirroring and Stream Insight.
Once the training day was over, I met up with the “SQL wizard”, DBA Steve Hindmarsh (blog|twitter) and we had a few pints in the hotel. After we finally ventured out we meet up with several other chaps such as the lovely Christina Leo, the fabulous Andre Kamman (blog|twitter) and “Mr Kent SQLUG” Dave Ballantyne (blog|twitter) to name but a very few. As myself and Mr Hindmarsh made our way to the pub we decided that the route we were taking to get there was certainly not going to be the same as the one we were going to take back (you might be able to make out that there is a substantial drop from the wall which was silently saying to my brain “WARNING! BEER+WALL=DEATH”).
By the time we reached York Minster the Great British weather had realized that I had foolishly left my coat behind in the hotel because I thought that I would be ….wait for it…. “too hot”. The rain absolutely sheeted down and by the time I walked into Ye Olde English Pub (fictional pub name) and I resembled a drowned rat! Still a good night was had by all, lots of beer, chips and a curry to wash it all down.
In part 2 I’ll talk about what happened over Friday and Saturday sessions.
Till then, goodbye for now!