But this year there was a difference. I was no longer just a delegate but a member of the committee with the fancy title, 'Assistant Conference Chair.' I have to say, despite the name, I really didn't get to sit down much! With the introduction of the new PULSE stream, it was our biggest conference yet.
There was not one, not two but three key note speakers. Cathy Cassidy, Nick Butterworth and Sally Gardner all reduced us to tears, be that through emotion or laughter they had a lot of time, wisdom and passion to share.
I believe for some people the party went on till 3 in the morning! I gave up at 1, after all I had another busy day ahead.
Terrified actually, especially when I spotted Sally Gardner in the audience! But encouraged on by our lovely guests Joy Court, Trisha Adams and Adam Lancaster it flowed smoothly. In fact we could have talked another hour, but there was lunch to be had, awards to award, intensives to finish, thanks to be said and cake to be eaten.
As I waved goodbye to delegates and speakers leaving to do battle with the Sunday replacement bus service I was very glad that I had manged to wangle a day of work and have an extra night. There was time to celebrate with the last scoobies standing before collapsing into bed ready for the long journey home in the morning. Yes, I was shattered, but also creatively recharged by the experience. I have manuscripts to polish and pitches to follow up.
But while others suffer the post conference sadness that follows after saying goodbye to friends for another year, for me the conference is still going on. I'm still sending thanks and replying to e-mails, I'm beginning to go through the feedback to look at what we can do even better next year and, most excitedly of all, I am already talking with people about what date next years conference will be. So while I get on with all that, I'll leave you with some of my favourite pictures from the weekend.