San Jose, Liverpool and the Lakes…

Well, I spent last week at the Marriott in San Jose, for SES. A couple of days I spent almost totally locked in my room suffering from… A kind of bug, or virus or… Something! Anyway, whatever it was it almost completely knocked me out of action.

My northern neighbour, Dave Naylor got in early for the show on the Saturday. As did Jen Slegg So, after a chance meeting in the bar (where else?) the three of us nipped around to a local restaurant where good food and bottles of Faustino were devoured. Then, it was back to the Marriott bar.

I decided on a late breakfast on Sunday morning. As did my dinner chums from the night before. So with the three of us scattered around the restaurant, we decided on breakfast together. And then on to Santana Row to do a little shopping – which turned, of course, into a little drinking. And what better way to start the day than with some flights of Champagne?

One of my favourite places on Santana Row is the Hotel Valencia. It’s such a beautiful place to stay.

Anyway, after a couple of rounds of shampoo, I split and went to meet Rebecca Lieb for lunch. And then I did a little shopping for a trinket or two for Tatiana. Back to the Marriott, a quick freshen up and then it was into a limo and back to Santana Row again. This time for dinner at The Left Bank. A very nice French restaurant. Much food and French booze was consumed. And then it was back to the Marriott bar.

By now, many of the regular faces were in the bar. As well as our very own blogger extraordinaire, Lisa Barone. Not many people know it, but Lisa is actually my long lost daughter who was kidnapped by people traffickers and… Yeah, that’s a special story between me and Lisa. And here she is with SEO Tiger, Simon Heseltine.

I took that picture with my BlackBerry camera which seems to work much better in daylight than it does at night. Anyway, I think I’m going to start an “I love Lisa” campaign in the industry. I was so blown away when she got a shout-out from the stage by Jim Lanzone at the first keynote at SES.

And lovely Lisa has a pic of her and long lost Dad (very boozy Dad, by now) over here 🙂

So, before the night ended, someone decided we should go to the Fairmont for something else to eat. Correct, after breakfast, lunch and dinner… It was time to eat again! At the Fairmont I got caught up with Danny Sullivan and a dozen others. And then, everything went black. And I woke up in my room.

I woke up fearing that I had been captured by aliens who had performed some indecent experiment on me in their spaceship. I was delighted when Daron and Brandy told me that they had helped me back to the hotel as my personal Tom Tom didn’t seem to be working and I was crawling around the floor. I was even more relieved when Brandy told me that it was her who took my pants off. Fine by me. And a little more relieved when Daron told me it was him who slapped the Vaseline on my ass for a little joke 🙂

Phew… That’s good. No aliens then.

Monday was a real treat. I was kidnapped and taken to the SES Women’s Luncheon. Correct – women’s luncheon. Here I didn’t even need to borrow skirt or anything. It was a splendid lunch. Li Evans asked me to pull out the winning raffle tickets. And I also get to meet the lovely Laura Lippay from Yahoo! for the first time.

After the conference finished, I went to the Fairmont with my great mate from Australia, Steve Riley. We sat around the pool, had lunch and then Steve did his SEO falling out of a tree impression.

Of course, the Webmaster FM bash was a must attend. So, I hooked up with Bruce (Bruce Clay, Inc is one of the party sponsors). We had a drink and admired the blood coming from our ears as the DJ cranked the sound up.

I made for the Bruce Clay VIP area and hooked up with Rebecca again. I love Rebecca very much for some sage advice she gave me that evening (well, I loved her before that also). And so it was, that the lovely Li Evans decided to capture a picture of us as we were just about to leave the bash. I can still hear Li shouting to us both over the top of the music now. “I said CHEESE godammit… say CHEESE!

Upon my return to the less than sunny shores of the UK I was reminded that it was a long weekend (public holiday). I was also reminded that I had promised to take my wife to the Mathew Street Music Festival in Liverpool. Hundreds of thousands of people hit the centre of Liverpool for this annual celebration of The Beatles. Mathew Street is where the original Cavern Club is. And that’s the epicentre of the party.

And Tatiana was able to fulfil a long held ambition. To stand in the doorway of the club where her favourite band ever, The Beatles, started their career.

I got to stand outside The Beatles official merchandise shop.

Look closely and you can see that, interestingly, they also sell, Mocha, Mochaccino, Paninis, er… sofas, light switches and chairs. Well, you never know when you’ll get the urge to install a Beatles light switch, do you?

Cavern Walks is where the city paid their main tribute to their favourite sons with bronze statues of each of The Beatles.

And of course, you couldn’t go to Liverpool without visiting Albert Docks and have a stroll down the River Mersey. “So ferry, cross the Mersey… de dah, do, do dah”

On Monday we jumped into the SEMmobile and headed north into some of the most beautiful countryside God created on earth. The Lake District has been the inspiration for beautiful poetry, music, art and even cartoon rabbits.

We visited a beautiful lakeside town called Keswick, which sits on Derwentwater.

Derwentwater is a much smaller lake then Winderemere. But still staggeringly gorgeous.

All in all, another lovely, relaxing weekend away with the missus.

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