Friday 16th – Travel Day
It’s Friday 16th November and I am super excited about going up to Edinburgh for a weekend of WordPress. I pack my bag, check my tickets and head into Manchester.
On arriving, I rendezvous with Kayleigh Thorpe and we head down to the platform for our train. The good news is, our train came on time. The bad news it is a Friday and we do not have seat reservations. Three and a half standing hours later, we arrive in Edinburgh. YAY! (feet and legs crying inside).
We stagger off the train, allow our legs to start to regain feeling again and shuffle down a busy platform. It looks like Waverley are doing renovation works as everything is boarded off. We pop out up on the main road and grab a cab to our air b n b. Here we meet with Tim and Phil, before heading off to the speakers / sponsors meal at Le Monde. We had free drinks and food which was lovely finger food, very tasty!
On arriving we met Luminus and he did, as always, dispense the best hugs. It was nice to chat to old friends and meet new ones, Kenda from Automation Ninjas being the new face of the evening. We shared our love of Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer. I had a nice long chat with Claire Brotherton about accessibility, Gutenberg and the future. Was also nice to have a brief catchup with Mark and hope a WordPress meet-up can happen again in Cumbria one day.
Saturday 17th November – Day One
The day started off early and we arrived at Codebase to set up our stand.
Throughout the day we met many lovely people and discussed all sorts of WordPress and non WordPress related stuff. Many enjoyed playing our conga game too. I didn’t get to go into any talks on the day, as I was focused on networking for the most part. The lunch was fantastic, the soup was a real highlight for me.
The after party
Come the end of the day, we started to wind down and then the surprise happened. There was much flurry around the doors and what should appear but what looks like a three wheel vehicle of some kind. It’s only the Prosecco Van. Prosecco and Perroni where enjoyed by all.
The after party had begun! During the party I met Kenda’s husband and business partner Mike, quickly discovering our shared love for music and our eclectic tastes. He also has a fantastic beard. After a few hours Heather announced she was going to take us on a tour of the Edinburgh Christmas Markets. Very very busy! Heather did a fantastic job of keeping us all together, though myself , Rhys and Heather did loose the rest for a short while. During the markets I met the lovely Alda a code wrangler with Automattic. She has a very interesting career and lots of insight. We enjoyed talking about various things including our past experiences within the logistics industry.
The after after party
Once Heather had seen us safely through the busy markets (thank you Heather <3), a small group of us where left. Myself, Lorelei, Kenda, Mike , Alda and a lovely lady who’s name I cannot remember. I am so sorry if your reading this, please let me know your name! We set off looking for a late night bar.
We found the Waldorf Astoria. Here Lorelei very kindly bought us wine and we had a lovely social.
Oh my god, I met Bryan HabanaKenda MacDonald..many many many times
So, it transpires there had been a rugby match that day. South Africa Vs Scotland. It also turns out the team are staying in this very hotel. Kenda is originally from South Africa and knows the team. The rest of us however did not. Kenda was full of excitement while the rest of us seemed less enthused by her meeting this famous person none of us knew.
Mike had spotted Mr Habana across the room and proceeded over to ask if he would be OK to have his picture taken with Kenda. Next we knew, we are all shaking hands with the rugby legend. What a wonderful twist and great end to the night. I imagine Kenda is still telling everyone she meets about it!
Sunday 18th November – Day 2
A later start to the day. We all loved the organisers for this and what an attendance. There where two workshops to start the day. Luminus ran a workshop called, “Setting up the local WordPress development toolset of your dreams” where he showed us how to create a local Laravel Valet + environment, how to pimp our shells with ZSH with oh-my-zsh and to deploy local WordPress sites at speed using wp-cli. So many great tips. You can find Luminus’s slides on his site here. They had to get extra tables and chairs it was so popular.
In the other session Kayleigh Thorpe was helping people to build their first WordPress site. There was also a panel after this discussing content which was also very popular.
The day came to a close and we packed away. We said our goodbyes and proceeded outside. As full of surprises as WordCamp Edinburgh was, there was one last surprise. Suddenly the fireworks began. It was the opening of the Christmas markets and we had a great view from outside of codebase. I took a video of the last half of the show below:
Takeaways and final thoughts
All in all WordCamp Edinburgh was fantastic. Interesting talks, great work shops and by far the most rewarding on the networking / social side. I feel like I got to speak to a lot of people, but also got to really know people better, which I found very rewarding. The organisers and volunteers are very good at appearing chilled and relaxed and just created an amazing atmosphere (even if things are really mad behind the scenes).
I cannot wait until the next one!