We had our alarms set to get us up at 7:30am then we got dressed and the three of us headed over to Speedy’s for 9am where a bunch of Sherlockians we had met at the Conference were having breakfast. Ed got a full English. Morton and I had Sherlock and Watson wraps. Mmm yeah….

After eating we nipped back to the hotel where I recurled my hair and added the coat and scarf to my Sherlock cosplay (now with the purple shirt instead of the black one), and feeling very much in character with Morton in awesome John cosplay, we wandered over to the conference. We had already decided that we weren’t going to attend any of the morning lectures as we needed to psyche ourselves up for our own talk which we were delivering at 11:40am. We’d never really got round to doing another run through of it as we’d planned but we were both fairly calm about things as we sat down and made a few select cuts to make sure it came in under 20 minutes.

By the time it came to going into the Hall (and we were in the biggest one which was quite scary), I was both nervous and excited, but mainly just excited. We had an audience of around 50 with plenty of friendly faces whom we had met the day before as well as some old friends such as Bonnie, Roger Johnson and Biscuitbear from France – a regular on my Sherlock forum.

It all went amazingly well. We didn’t fluff any of our lines or mess things up. We cut out a few bits whilst we were talking as Morton was watching the clock for time, but that was all good. We even got the laughs we were hoping for when we wrote it, and some laughs in more unexpected places too, which was great. I really enjoyed myself and it was over almost too quickly. I was rather glad that it was over, though, because that meant we could truly relax and have fun for the rest of the day.

The two talks that followed ours was “Doyle and the Illusion of Holmes” by Philip K Jones and “NSFW: A Study in BBC Sherlock fanfiction” by Lauren Rosales. Unfortunately Philip K Jones was unable to attend and so his paper was read by Marino Alvarez, who was the chair on our panel. Marino was a great guy and did a good job reading it out, which must have been pretty difficult to read someone else’s paper out loud. It was actually pretty interesting although I did switch off in a couple of places because I kept going over in my mind how our paper went…darnit. Anyway, the next one on Sherlock fan fiction was really hilarious and lots of fun, and I ended up writing down the names of the fan fics she was discussing as some of them sounded pretty damn good and I wouldn’t mind reading them, if I get the time in between all this other Sherlockian stuff I do every single second of my life.

Immediately afterwards, it was lunch, although today I was too much in character to actually eat anything, so I just stood around with my hands in my pockets watching John eat.

Loads of people came up to us to say how much they enjoyed our talk, which was brilliant and really exciting, especially when we received praise from the great Roger Johnson himself, who said he’d learnt more in our presentation than any of the others that weekend. OMGOMGOMG. High praise indeed, although, I guess, not actually that surprising considering he knows everything there is to know about Sherlock Holmes already. Bonnie bought me a copy of his Sherlock Holmes Miscellany and Roger signed it for me which was…well…I was silently freaking out about how amazing that was.

After lunch we attended an afternoon session – “Watching the Detectives: Ideal Homes Exhibition – The Representation of Cinevisual Holmes: Robert Downey Jr, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeremy Brett” by Sharon Marshall, “How Smart is Watson? Or The Role of the Sidekick” by Sarah Weaver and “Sherlock Holmes, Sport and Masculinity” by J L Cranfield. The third guy had sadly had a major laptop crash immediately before his presentation and had lost all his slides and his paper so he had to basically just make it up on the spot and he did a fantastic job under difficult circumstances. My favourite out of this session was the first one, as lots of slides and video clips were used which made it more entertaining, although she actually used slightly too many video clips and ran out of time, having to cut the final part of the talk, which was sad. The second one was pretty interesting too and was in favour of a more proactive Watson, which I was pleased about. Everyone needs a BAMF Watson in their life, after all.

We didn’t attend the keynote speech, instead opting to hang out and chat in the tea room with some other of the attendees, networking and making more friends. I ended up getting invited to the Sherlock Holmes pub for dinner, but as I was already booked on the conference dinner had to turn the offer down. I did promise I would come along afterwards, however, if they were still there. I pretty much always end up finishing my night at the Sherlock Holmes pub anyway, whenever I go to London.

Morton and Ed weren’t attending the dinner as they had to catch a train back to Wales, dull, so I went on my own, although technically I wasn’t actually on my own as I knew so many people by now. It was taking place in a room downstairs at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel on Baker Street and we had a very nice three course meal. I met some more people who were sat on my table and we had some excellent conversations about Holmes.

It was all over by about 9:30pm, after which, I grabbed a group of people together and managed to persuade them to come with me to the Sherlock Holmes pub. I have to say, they didn’t take much persuading. We headed over there by tube and discovered the group of Americans who had invited me were all still there having just finished their meal in the restaurant upstairs. We grabbed drinks and went to sit outside because the evening was fairly warm and pleasant. By 10:30pm I realised I would need to be getting going if I was to make it to Victoria for my 11:30pm bus, but I was having such a brilliant time and so much fun that I really didn’t want to leave. In the end, I just stayed, not really thinking about the consequences or caring. We had more drinks, then I offered to take the group of three American girls I had been chatting to for most of the night, on a 12am trip to St Bart’s, promising them that it was an extremely spiritual place at night and a once in a lifetime experience.

So, I played tour guide for a while, walking us down the Strand, onto Fleet Street and towards St Paul’s, even managing to locate us a 24 hour off licence – Portland Food & Wine on Ludgate Hill by the way, highly reccommended and right next to St Barts, perfect for those middle of the night pilgrimages. We stocked up on wine, beer and cigarettes, then wandered round the corner towards the hospital, sitting down on the ground in “the spot”, talking quietly and getting feels.

We must have stayed for about an hour, then they invited me to go back to their hostel with them in Lancaster Gate. I was quite up for an epic walk, but in the end we got a cab, and actually, I was quite glad we did because it was the first cab they’d got since being in London, and of course, if you come to London, you have to get a black cab. I successfully managed to hail one (obviously, I was dressed as Sherlock), then I even managed to guess what the price would be before we got in, because they wanted an estimate of how much it would cost so we could work out whether it would be worth it. I told them I reckoned it would be about 20 quid. It turned out to be 21 quid. I have to say, I was quietly very pleased with myself. Or maybe not so quietly, although I had had a few beers by then.

Anyway, we stayed up chatting in their room for the next two hours, during which time I booked myself a bus in the morning back to Manchester. I slept on their floor using my Sherlock coat as a duvet and the scarf as a pillow, cheekily got a free breakfast at 8am, then bid farewell to my new pals and set off for Victoria for the epic coach journey home. What a brilliant weekend!