17 July 2012

BCSA "Get to know you" Social Evening (July 2012)

Working in Cardiff is putting bit of a damper on some of my normal social activities in London and while I can make most of my theatre booking at the weekends there are some regular events in my schedule that I cannot move.

The two main losses are the Big Ideas discussions and the BCSA socials that are held on the second Wednesday of each month.

After several months away I managed to plan my time in Cardiff so that I could get to the social in July, even though that meant catching the 7:06am train two mornings in a row.

It was worth it.

Food is an important part of these socials and almost everybody eats a full meal. I had what I always have, smazeny syr. That's cheese fried in breadcrumbs with chips and tartar sauce. This was my staple diet when I worked in Prague and so it almost seems disloyal to eat anything else.

Drink is another important part of the evening and I have my routine for this too. I start the evening with a few draft Pilsner Urquell's and then have a bottle of Zlaty Bazant (Golden Pheasant) to round the night off.

The third, and most important component of the socials is the people. These are deliberately informal events with an open door and people are encouraged to pop in and out whenever they like over the evening.

We normally get around a dozen people there at various times of the evening. This is a small enough number to be able to have meaningful conversations with most people and the turn-over of people during the evening refreshes the atmosphere and sparks fresh conversations.

There are some regular attendees (I used to be one of them) but there are always several new faces so there is no risk of the evenings getting stale.

The evenings are organised by the British Czech and Slovak association and everybody there has some sort of connection with the Czech and Slovak Republics, which gives an easy starting point for every conversation.

The success of the evening can be judged by the mad rush I had approaching 11pm to catch my train having arrived there soon after 7pm. Here's hoping that I can make the August social too.

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