My UK Trip

Sheila Crosby, glammed up to give a presentation
Me, glammed up for my presentation

My trip to the UK went very well. We didn’t get to the hotel until late Wednesday night, but it’s posh. Most of the group were mad keen to go explore London on our free morning, but I went in search of makeup for redheads (successfully) and then went to the National Gallery which was largely shut due to industrial action. Apparently they have new management who want everyone to reapply for their jobs, but the new job will involve more work and less pay, and they don’t in the least object to employees who don’t know spit about the paintings. So I have to say that I sympathise.

The presentation went really well. I think I overdid the glamour, but that’s better than the opposite and it certainly helped with my confidence. Everyone said how good I looked – partly the contrast with my every day slobby self, I’m sure. And afterwards several people said I did a good intro. The best bit is that the boss of the Spanish tourist board in London seemed quite impressed with me. You never know, it might just lead to something fun. Anyway, I met some interesting people, including people from the local astronomical society and the RAS. It turned out that I’m OK in heels for about 2 hours. Pity it went on for 4 hours. I felt like the little mermaid, walking on knives. As soon as the lift door closed behind me afterwards, I went, “Arrgh!” and took them off. My feet were still sore next day, but my bad ankle coped much better than expected.

The next morning I picked up my hire at Euston station. I didn’t really think it through when I made the booking. Me, that finds the traffic in Tenerife a bit much, picking up a hire car (can’t tell where the corners are) to drive on the left (first time in a year), through central London, on a Friday. Luckily I didn’t prang it and I didn’t get lost, but it was very nice to finally reach the M25 after about 90 minutes. I did a little bit of shopping in Andover, but only a bit because of suitcase space.

I spent a couple of days chilling in Somerset at my cousin’s house, and headed back to London. It all went very well until I drove into traffic cone hell on the M3. It wasn’t the roadworks themselves, it was the three (3!) breakdowns who couldn’t get onto the hard shoulder because there wasn’t one. It took over an hour to go four miles. And then I left the M25 and went round and round Heathrow like a ruddy Scalectrix, trying to find the hotel. I finally got to bed at 11:30 pm. Pity I had to get up at 3:45 am for a 4:30 am check in.

It’s going to take a couple of days to recover.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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