People may wonder why have I been busy for the past two months?

Over three years ago, in the virtual world of Eve Online, a few players decided to get together and form The Volition Cult (VOLT) Alliance in game, and choose to fly together for common goals within the game.

Back then, it started out simply as a means of players working together for personnel gain within the game. Three years on, and it has turned into much more than that… Its now a community of friends, or almost “extended family” almost as some of the people I know from within VOLT, know me better than real life friends or family.

The 22nd September 2009 marked the three year anniversary of the formation of our online community, and to celebrate this we decided to host a large meetup in the United Kingdom… Specifically, myself and a guy called “Doc” hosted the event in the City of Bath.

On the 5th August 2009, I started work on preparations for the meetup, these preparations and planning would consume most of my time for nearly two months, from finding a date that suited everyone to quadruple checking the route for karting. That said, its worth mentioning how helpful M4 Karting were, as I must have called four times, and emailed twice double checking things, and a staff member called Laura was very helpful and understanding of what I was trying to organise.

We eventually picked the 1st October onwards for the meetup, and until mid September, it was simply all planning work, with phone calls, and emails being sent round. On the 23rd September, I spent a 3 day weekend cleaning my apartment to ensure it was spotless and clean for the visitors. As Bath is expensive to stay in, many people would be staying at mine or Docs for the duration of the event.

On Wednesday, 30th September… Doc came over in the afternoon and assisted in the baking of the cake, helping create the Victoria Sponges which would make the foundation of the VOLT Cake. Thursday saw me spend my first day off work finish the cake with the design, structure and art that was applied to it, to create this final result. (Link removed as broken.)

The first guest arrived at my apartment Thursday Afternoon, with another shortly after. We had to remain awake until 2am for four more guests that were arriving at Bath Spa Bus Station around that time early Friday Morning. But we could not stay in bed to make up for that as throughout Friday Morning, Afternoon and Evening more guests were arriving.

Thursday Evening, Doc drove me and another guy from to Bristol International Airport in the evening to collect Filarion, who was flying in from Germany. In true “Doc Op” fashion, Doc saw the “Bristol Airport >” sign and went the opposite way claiming it was a short cut… After a few minutes for him to realise we were lost, I got my Google Maps + GPS out on my mobile phone and got us back on track.

Filarion’s flight was delayed, but luckily the two guys from Denmark I had to meet at Bath Spa Train Station at the same time were also delayed as there train was on fire, so they got put on a coach. In pure luck, the coach they were put on by First Great Western was the same coach two people coming from Denmark and Slovenia were arriving on, so at 2am we were able to meet all four of them at Bath Spa Bus Station.

Throughout Friday, I had made nearly ten 30 Minute Walks to collect people who were arriving in Bath who needed help finding my apartment or suitable parking in the city. Not normally a problem, but when my apartment is 60 stairs up, and the closest parking is at least 15 minute walk, or 30 minutes from the centre its quite a draining process to repeat several times a day.

We spend Friday Evening in The Trinity, the local pub in Bath where my old corporation was formed, and also where I probably decided to start playing Eve Online about four years ago. There was much drinking and socialising and some people from my work even gate crashed and said hello.

Saturday Morning was another early start, as we had to get to M4 Karting which was 30 minute drive away by 11am, but with just over 10 people staying in my apartment the bath room queue would be well over an hour, so most of us woke up around 7:30am as we slowly started to get ready. We managed to get ready, and left the house at 10am with all drivers having a print off, with details on how to get to M4 Karting.

Almost all of us arrived at around 10:50am, as Laura was about to start taking our names and setup the races however one car was missing with a few guests… Doc… Who arrived at 11:10am having performed a Doc Op? Who knows. We were able to get everyone’s in game names down on the computer that tracked the races though. After some more preparation, and everyone paying there £35 we got suited up and the races started.

Everyone got to do 4 Heats and a Semi-Final, and the best 6 people got to go in the Grand Final. We had booked two hours for this, but we had over run quite badly due, and we were about for nearly three hours. Laura, the organiser who managed us must have had a hard time too, so credit to her for having to put up with us, and our antics. At the end, we got a nifty presentation too, which we have a video of here. Overall everyone agreed that £35 was well spent, and from the people I spoke with, they agreed it was one of the best karting experiences they had. Kella even blogged about how good it was here. Everyone also got a print off, which looked like this.

Next everyone left for The Globe, just out side of Bath. Normally they don’t do reservations due to the size of the place, but I managed to speak to the manager who kindly set aside three tables for 23 People in the morning. Again, this was a brilliant meal although we stressed out the bar staff a little with all of us paying separately. It was kinda cool to see “Reserved: Stone x 23” on a few tables though. (Nice for my Ego)

Next we set off for my apartment again… As it was Saturday, my works Car Park would be empty, so we borrowed that so everyone stayed together. I was a little nervous about fitting 20+ people in my small apartment but it just about worked. I got out the cake, and handed out slices to everyone, and it lasted a good 5 minutes before it was consumed. Video here.

Next J nx demonstrated the new Alliance Member Registration System, with API’s an Industry support before we all headed to Longwell Green for some Bowling. We had a few games, and the results are currently on my desk waiting to be scanned later. It was cool as half way through, at around 9:30pm they turned off the normal lights and turned on the neon lights and disco like lighting. It certainly made things more interesting.

Sunday saw people starting to depart, so we decided to see people off and relax in the morning before going to Victoria Park, where Nuero was trying out his impressive kite, and we enjoyed throwing things at each other, and trying to hit each other with “bomb” like things. (Links removed as broken.)

We had another meal Saturday Evening at Pizza Express, with the few people that remained. But from that point onwards, we were seeing most of the people off, as they travelled home.

Over the next week Frank and Matrix stayed to see the UK. We then went to Jaflong in Bath a couple of times, as its probably the best Indian Restaurant in Bath. I have been to many Indian Restaurants, and to Jaflong a number of times, and they are consistently good, but not too busy or expensive which is handy.

Thursday, just before they left my Grandad helped drive and take them on a tour of heritage sites around the South West of England:

  1. The Tithe Barn
  2. Westbury White Horse
  3. Stonehenge
  4. Lacock
  5. Avebury Stone Circle
  6. Cherhill White Horse
  7. Silbury Hill
  8. Castle Combe

Friday, 9th October saw the last day, as I took Matrix to the Bus Station at 6am, and Frank to the Train Station at 4pm as they headed home. I am sure there is stuff I have missed off, but I am exhausted, and plan on sleeping through the weekend.

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