I spent today in a meeting in Edinburgh talking about the activity in UK nuclear theory to the committee of NuPECC - a Europe-wide body that oversees nuclear physics research activity. I had the prescience to book a flight up yesterday that was due to leave around 5:30pm. Prescient because all flights from Heathrow seemed delayed by around two hours because of the weather. Rather than getting to my hotel at around 8:30pm, I was there more like 10:30pm. But okay - I certainly came off better than my poor colleague who were booked on flights due to leave around 8pm. I think she got to bed around 2am.
The hotel was a cheap one I found on hotels.com. It started off a bit badly when the night porter tried to let me in and managed instead to lock us both out, asking if I had a phone so he could get us back in. Poor guy - I think it was one of his first nights on the job. The hotel was nice, and I slept just fine, and walked over to the part of campus of the University of Edinburgh where the science stuff is. Of course, it is a rule of old Universities that arts subjects happen in the old buildings in the centre of town, and science subjects in new buildings further away.
The meeting went just fine. There were a bunch of talks by different members of the UK community - an overview, then talks from different physics areas. I covered, or tried to, all the physics areas where theorists contribute. I think people generally listened to my talk, and there were certainly a few questions at the end.
Following lunch, I can say that the University of Edinburgh mass catering department is quite good. The sandwiches were reasonable, and they had these nice empanada things with hot sauce, which I ate perhaps too many of. In fact, straight after lunch I shared a taxi with some STFC brethren (including sororial brethren) to the airport, sitting in one of the fold-down seats that face backwards in black cabs and soon developed quite some travel sickness. I have no idea if the over-consumption of these empanadas was a cause. To be fair, the cab was jolting about quite a lot, and I guess it was nice in some ways that the driver mounted the pavement to get us to the airport sooner. Boy, I felt sick though. Elizabeth gallantly swapped seats with me, which helped, but it wasn't until around the time I got on the flight that I really felt much better. Weird - I don't often get travel sick these days, though I did when I was a kid.
The taxi ride inspired the title of this post, from this poem by Stephanie Green