Thursday evening at 11:40pm I boarded the Caledonian Sleeper train from Edinburgh to London. I found my cabin and quickly tried to settle in to bed and get to sleep before the train left Edinburgh Waverly. I failed but I did manage to get some sleep on the way to London.
Occationally I would be woken up by a tilting feeling as we sped around a corner or the noise of a passing train but overall, the journey from Edinburgh to London was not too bad. Not as bad as I had expected, that's for sure.
I think if I were to get the sleeper down again, I'd look at getting some noise cancelling earbuds or something similar. I did try my headphones but they were too bulky to sleep in.
I arrived at London Euston at 7am and made my way off the train and down to Umbraco Together. I decided I'd just walk to the venue, it was about an hour's walk away, but it was nice to stretch my legs after being on the train. The weather was dry, and it also meant I could pick some breakfast on-route.
The venue, Techspace, was in the Shoreditch area of London, and the walk was easy enough. I just followed the directions on my phone.
I arrived and met Sebbastian, Emma, Warren and Trine from Umbraco HQ and that was the start of the friendly hugs and high 5s for the day.
One of the main reasons why I got involved in the Umbraco Community back in 2017/18 was the friendliness of everyone and that is even more prevalent now that in-person events are back! Everyone really is so happy to see each other and catch up.
After catching up with a few familiar Umbracians, I met up with my work mates who were also attending, and we took our seats ready for the opening talk of the day.
Each and every talk was fantastic, they ranged from technical talks about Feature Flags to general talks about Accessibility and opensource.
Each presentation was slick and had great take aways from it. The talks were 30mins each which felt rushed for maybe a couple of the topics but at the same time, ideal to keep everyone's attention. It can't be easy to get a lineup of speakers that appeals to all attendees, especially when there is only 1 track of talks which means you can't head off to a different talk if the current one doesn't interest you.
The lunch that was provided was top notch. Really tasty and plenty of it which is really good to see. I must admit I did take a couple of extra sandwiches for the train back up to Edinburgh.
I believe the event was broadcast online at the same time which is a nice addition that I guess Covid has made possible. In the past if you couldn't make the event then you'd just have to miss the talks but at least now you can watch them remotely and also catch up again on any talks you missed or want to rewatch.
You really can't beat being at an event in person though, the chats with people over lunch and/or over a beer at the end of the day really are worth the ticket price alone, which this year was an outstanding £50! A bargain.
After the event and I had said cheerio to the rest of the Spindogs team, I headed to the "after party" which was more time to socialise and catchup with my fellow Umbracians. I didn't get a chance to speak to everyone I had hoped but that's just what happens when you're trying to catch up with everyone in one day.
I left the bar at around 9pm and walked back to the train station, about an hours walk back, and was told my train was cancelled due to bad weather in Scotland! After a frantic phonecall to my wife and a couple of chats with station staff, I was told the Edinburgh train was running but the Glasgow train was the cancelled one. Phew!
I didn't have a cabin on the way back up to Edinburgh, so I boarded the train, took my seat and hoped I could get some sleep. As it happened, I got the grand total of 2 hours and that was probably broken up in to 10 mins allocations. To say I was tired when I finally arrived in Edinburgh on Saturday morning would be an understatement. But would I do it all again? Absolutely!
If you get the chance to go to Umbraco Together next year, I would highly recommend it. A great event and it's great to see it back!
#h5yr to all the organisers, sponsors and speakers - it was a great day!
Update: If you'd like to watch the day, or rewatch talks you maybe wanted to catch again, you now can over on Youtube
Published on: 21 November 2022