Finish with the first few reports, check email and find two more, go figure. This time around there’s a report from a fan that flew in from Finland for the event!
When I first heard about Collectormania 3, I knew it would be a perfect opportunity to meet Billy Boyd. It only takes 3 hours to fly from Finland to England, and as it was going to be on the May Day weekend, both my aunt and I were able to travel. We booked the trip (we actually got the last two flight tickets!), and then flew to London on the 1st of May.
Saturday, the 3rd of May
We wanted to get to Milton Keynes as early as possible, so we got up at 6 am. We were downstairs at 7 am when they started to serve breakfast at our hotel. After a quick breakfast, we almost ran to Euston station and made it to the 7.55 am train, arriving to Milton Keynes Central around 8.40 am. We had a look at the map, then walked along Midsummer Boulevard to the shopping centre.
The Middleton Hall was already pretty crowded at 9.00 am, and there was a long queue to Billy’s desk. Billy hadn’t arrived yet, but we got our queue ticket (number 50). We then walked around taking pictures of John Rhys-Davies, Bruce Hopkins and Tom Felton (my aunt likes Harry Potter). Sala Baker was somewhere else, but my aunt took a picture of him later. We tried to walk around the dealer stalls, but it was very slow because there were so many people.
We went back to Billy’s signing area, but he still wasn’t there, so we sat down to wait. Billy arrived around 10 am together with the same woman who had been seen with him sometimes during the Empire awards. Billy started to autograph pictures, taking photographs with fans once in a while. The Empire woman sat behind Billy for some time, then left, but I spotted her later in the afternoon standing next to a wall, talking with one of the organisers (she went to sit behind Billy this time, too).
Anyway, back to the morning. It took quite a long time before we even got into Billy’s autograph queue (they were giving out queue numbers starting with 390 or something then), but around 11.45 am I finally got to meet Billy. I said “Greetings from Finland” as I gave him his present, a necklace with a gold washing pan (made in Finland, of course). Billy seemed to be slightly surprised about where I came from, and that could have been the reason why he talked to me a little bit longer. He said the necklace was beautiful and asked what the thing hanging from it was (the gold washing pan), then he turned the package around and noticed my card with a tiny picture of my hobbit hole (Billy: “Nice.”). On the other side of the card was my home address and mobile phone number, Billy had a very quick look at them, too.
I then gave Billy the Pippin picture I had gotten for free when I paid for the autograph, and he asked me who he should sign it for. I told him my real name, and he signed the picture with [my real name], Lots of love, Billy Boyd x (The “t” in my name actually looks more like a “d”, but I don’t mind). I thanked Billy for the autograph and asked if we could take a picture together. He said sure, so Billy and I moved to the other side of the table (Billy put his arm on my shoulder), and my aunt took the picture. I then got ready to leave, but Billy shouted “Thanks for the gift” once more, so I smiled and said goodbye to him. I stayed next to the signing area with my aunt, she took even more pictures of Billy and Andy Sekis, whose desk was next to Billy’s. We then left to sit on a bench to pack away the autographed photograph (after having made sure that the ink from Billy’s silver pen had dried).
We went back to the dealer stalls (I bought an Elven brooch), then my aunt decided it was time for lunch. After eating, we checked out some shops and returned to Billy’s signing desk, finding out he was having lunch and was supposed to be back at 2 pm. A little before 2, we went to stand right next to the exit of Billy’s signing queue. Billy had been brought in trough the entrance of the queue in the morning, but now there were too many people, so around 2.30 pm, Billy walked right in front of us to his place. We stayed for fifteen minutes, then made way for the others.
We came back to see Billy a little later. I climbed up next to a little plant area, so I had a pretty good view of Billy (this was when I noticed the Empire woman for the second time). The organisers had apparently thought it would be faster to take pictures in the queue with Billy walking around, instead of having Billy stand up and sit down over and over again. My aunt got tired of standing so she found a place to sit, but I stayed where I was. The last time I looked, they were letting in people with queue tickets numbered 280 or less.
Someone came to film Billy with a big video camera, so we stayed to watch that. We left a little past 4 pm, my aunt stopping quickly to take some better pictures of Tom Felton. We walked back to the train station in Milton Keynes and came back to the Euston station at 5.30 pm.
All in all, the day was really wonderful and it was great to meet Billy and get to see all the other stars. I flew back to Finland late on Sunday evening, a bit tired, but very, very happy.
My pictures will be posted sometimes soon on this site: http://koti.mbnet.fi/gaprohan/amyc3.html