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Yeap was at Ashford in Kent.
Overall I give it 3 coffees and a tea.
It easy to get to regardless of your method there. Parking wise I say sainsbury shopping bit next door. Also nearest cash point. Which is literally a 2 minute walk from the event. Exploring the town before hand ( I like to arrive very early) stumble across the train station in half hour walk at a plod pace.
I did expect it to be a bit bigger 3 halls really only felt like 1 hall, and 2 large conference suites. It did have a large range of tarantulas and invertebrates. Which was nice to see. Crowds were thinning just after 1. Which is a pro and con. My partner liked it with more thinned crowds as they could now see every thing more comfortable ( there short) but did mean some of the jems were gone. But if your looking for the key stone species new world, old world, aboral, fossil, terrestrial they were available right up to the end. As well as still a larger selection of stuff.
Will tip a hat to The spider shop for spending a good 15/20 mins helping (while it was still at the super busy time) a kid pick out there first tarantula and how to set up, the pros and cons on certain species the kid was interested in. The kid also appeared to want getting over a phobia of some kind. Walked away with Tliltocatl albopilosum. So yay kid for listening to advice.
Was very very surprised to find a coconut crab for sale. Followed by lengthy conversations about how some one would keep one once adult size this thing was still a baby and the size of a small football.
One trader ( not and wont mention names) did appear to be trading in mostly wild caught live stock( could have arrived at that trader at the wrong time). Which seemed to be a downer but could have been just wrong table location as they were sandwiched between to breeders who relished being able to tell me all the details on there slings right back to when the sack was pulled. I took that with a pinch of salt. Very enthusiastic Germans
Did spend all day there due to taking part in the raffle. Didnt win anything, but top prize was a pokie communal with set up. Several h, gigas ( which I wanted), jumping spider, ant set up , t shirts, bags, cards , heating cables, substrate, plants, moss and dvds. Sure I'm missing one.
Being able to handle a jumping spider was interesting particular that it felt lighter than it should. And they can move fast.
Stick insects still feel strange cant really describe it. Cold make an interest feeder choice to the right t. But that's thoughts for another time.
Did almost hold a giant mantis but turned that down. But that was due to me not wanting to go "mine" and zoidburging out the door with it. Mantis are way to cute.
Total haul at the end
Female m balfouri ( for a future breeding project)
Green bottle blue ( really cant wait to see the colour change on that)
Which wasn't a bad haul
Really only went for the balfouri, did have to talk my partner out of getting the adult female lasiodora parahybana which from what I could tell was the largest tarantula up at the event for sale (£80) via leg span. Won that augment via not having an enclosure available at the time for it.
Starting to regret not getting the h gigas communal. But there is always BTS.
I didn't meet up with any one there. Wasnt aware who was going. Wouldn't object to meeting people for drinks. Maybe BTS or another event could arrange something got about 3 months.
Ate at the hotel price wise it was ok hotel prices being hotel prices. Looking at around 15 for a large sandwich and a drink with a side of chips. The portion could have been bigger was like a mug worth of chips. Sandwiched was ok Cuban grilled meat, cheese and red onion, was bigger than the plate. A little vingery for my taste ( thay be from the red onion relish) it filled a hole.
Yes there is sainsbury next door with costa upstairs, if you are looking for a cheaper place to eat. Other wise I think it be a good 10 min plod in to the town centre.
Tea ( only English breakfast as far as I could tell) and coffee was available in the little hall connecting the event halls was available all day £2/3 for a mug size drink (takeaway cups only)
The hotel was very very well maintained with helpful staff. Also well signposted so hard to get lost. Next time I attend I will more than likely be getting a room. Can get a decent lay in that way.