How Astuners roll: our Spring team meet-up

This year, our Spring meet-up moved all of four miles from Richmond to Kingston.

For some, Kingston is the birthplace of England, for others, it’s the alleged home of Stormzy. Now, for Astuners, it’ll go down in the annals of company history for the oddest rain-soaked procession known to man (King Charles’s coronation excepted). 

It’s Astun’s 18th year in business and we thought it’d be fun to mark our coming of age with a little celebration. Luckily, Jon Lake-Thomas (Senior Developer) had the foresight to marry a cake maker some years ago. Unfortunately, for Jon, this marital relationship meant being lumbered with the title of Chief Cake Bearer and all the responsibility this entails. In a feat of unsurpassed optimism, he thought bringing it to our meeting place at Kingston University would get him off the hook. There, we laid the cake out for all to admire during our two-hour company briefing and brainstorming session. Unfortunately, we were so busy having lively discussions that the cake cutting was delayed and the cake was invited to join our tenpin bowling party. As almost Biblical rain had descended on Kingston, Jonathan reluctantly shouldered the cake burden for the trek to the Rotunda, Kingston’s stickiest (and only?) bowling alley.

There, the cake sat in silent judgement as many of us proved that our misspent youths were not spent throwing balls at pins. In all fairness, some of us were unaware that bowling alleys don’t provide shoes these days and were therefore prone to sliding on the run-up. Others had simply no excuse (this author most of all). 

Having taken over four lanes, it was clear that the technically-inclined inhabitants of the left-hand lane were taking this extremely seriously. Not only had they bothered to have bowling mugshots taken, but they’d discovered a way to measure the speed of each ball. The other lanes were rather more chilled out in their approach, partly thanks to the ’2 for £10’ cocktail offer and partly due to their increased visibility to the general public (aka a sizable number of Kingston’s teenage population with access to recording devices). 

Retiree Steven Feldman (Board Advisor) was quick to wow, despite his claims to have not set foot in a bowling alley for over a decade. He soon sparked a competition with Astun’s MD, Mike Saunt. The techies took an early lead with Gavin Kelly (Customer Support Analyst), Matt Walker (Custom Solutions Lead) and Andy Bailey (iShare Delivery Lead) storming ahead although starting strong turned out to be no real indication of eventual success.

After bowling we made our way to Megans at the Griffin, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, to give Steven and Ant Scott (GIS consultant, trainer and MapAction volunteer) a proper send-off. Having been associated with Astun for 11 and nine years respectively, we were all sad to see them go. In true Astun style, there was no such thing as a free dinner, so they were called upon to give speeches and present trophies to our bowlers.

The best bowler award went to Peter Goulborn (Principal Systems Architect) who scored 245 across two games. He’s pictured receiving his trophy from Ant (left) and Steven (middle). 

Unsurprisingly, the best bowling team award went to Peter’s team. His teammates were Gavin, Jon (temporarily liberated from cake duties), Paul, Ant, and Simon (with a total score of 1058 across two games).

The donkey award for truly execrable bowling went to Jill Davis (as I’m the author, I’m invoking “authors’ privileges” and not revealing my score, or lack of it). 

Thanks to:

Our management team for hosting the event and our team for attending/logging in.

Our team’s other halves for holding various domestic forts so our colleagues could take part.

Leigh McLaren Brierley, right-hand woman to the management team and our event planner.

Jon Lake-Thomas, Chief Cake Bearer, and his wife Shenaz (owner of Lake-Thomas Cakes).

Wooden Apfel for our eco-friendly cake topper and Trophy Store for our (mainly) coveted trophies. 

Want to join the team?

We’re looking for a new Sales Account Manager to join the team. Previous experience in GIS, bowling and carrying cakes is advantageous, but not essential. 

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