After getting into the hostel at around 4:30 and eating a petrol garage sandwich, I'd set my alarm for 9am so I'd have enough time to get myself to the Gamma Factory in town, to attend the first day of sprints. I woke up at 11:45, checked my phone and saw the alarm was marked to go off on weekdays. Today was Saturday.
After all my talk yesterday of wanting to be part of the community, and signing up to attend a workshop on committing code to Django, I'd failed. If I turned up I was going to be late, I'd almost certainly miss the workshop and would end up walking around aimlessly searching for something to do.
All of this would've made me feel like a gaping arsehole, but for this simple phrase:
I regret nothing.
I'd had a memorable and potentially life-changing night, and one of the side-effects of having such a night is that you can't always be in tip-top condition the next day. So I got showered, dressed and out the door to my taxi.
Now, a note on being blind in the back of a non-English speaking driver's cab. In Birmingham, it's pretty common to have an Asian taxi driver. Sometimes they're first-generation immigrants and very occasionally their English isn't all that great. But I've never had a problem asking what I owed and paying. This wasn't true of Warsaw.
That's not a criticism at all. I don't expect people to speak my native tongue, but it does create a problem when you can't read the numbers on screen and they can't say them in English. But this is my problem, and I've tried to solve it in different ways. What tends to be the most effective is getting it written down on a receipt, as a) that's not abnormal and b) it's relatively easy to communicate.
So after hopping out of the car I headed indoors to the Gamma Factory, an interesting, sparsely-decorated venue which put me in mind of bits of the Custard Factory in Digbeth, but cooler and with a lot more spit-and-sawdust.
As I'd guessed, I wasn't able to join in with anything as people were hard at work on their own projects, so I took a seat and began work on my own idea.
For the uninitiated, sprints (which is a term I've only known inside the Python community but I'm sure exists outside it) are a little like hackathons. They're time set aside for working intensely to achieve a goal. That goal might be to fix a bug, start work on a new feature, or document an existing one.
Because I'd missed the intro, I'd forfeited my ability to work on Django or anything related, so I got to work on something I'd wanted to build for a week or so. I won't go into the details, but it's a hopefully useful tool that I can open source and deploy online for people to check out.
The sprints - certainly the first day - were pretty heavily over-subscribed, meaning the organisers didn't have enough food for everyone. But once again they rose to the challenge and went above and beyond, feeding people with chicken and rice, chocolate cake, and pizzas both vegetarian and meaty. This echoed the feeling I got through the whole conference. Obviously I don't have a previous one to compare it to, but I feel like the Polish organising committee really did their attendees proud. Hats off to 'em.
We had to leave at around 6:30pm and so I raced to finish my project. I'm happy to say I pretty much smashed it, thanks to having a good prototyping toolset (as I'd mentioned in yesterday's talks) and a bunch of code that only needed minor improvements. I'll be putting the results of that online as soon as I've got access to wifi and a clear head.
James and I had been working across from each-other all day, and we ended up in a group of people from across Europe, in search of a "real" meal before the unofficial "drink up", which was in a park by an overpass. We found a faux-Brazilian restaurant - a sort of Hooters affair - and chewed over the last three days of talks, then headed out on foot to the venue.
It turned out that this weekend marked a national holiday in Poland. Everything on Sunday was to be closed, and everyone who is everyone was outside drinking in a big public piss-up. It had a nice atmos; there were loads of people but the whole thing felt really safe and without the rowdiness you'd expect from a British affair, but then there aren't that many opportunities for Brits to drink outdoors so we kinda like to let our hair down when the time does arrive.
I tried throughout my week in Poland not to attach myself to someone like a leech, in the hope that they'd keep me safe, so I always had to strike a balance between letting the night take its course and getting home with safety in numbers. I hope James didn't feel like I glommed onto him too much, but it was for his company and the laughs, not for anything else that I think we ended up bumping into each other or hanging out. He did let me grab the first taxi, too.
I ended Saturday night full to the brim with heavy beer, having eaten well and experienced a Polish piss-up. I think it went pretty well.
Photo by Father Jack