Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
We'd pulled two rather long days by this time so our conversation was starting to sound a little surreal, and still with a two hour car journey ahead. No worries, though - in the mood for Abba (but none available) we were kept awake instead with loud French rap music. Of course, what else? But having taken you to and from Athens in just a couple of paragraphs, perhaps I should fill in the bit in the middle which was a business trip for a networking event in Athens. The University I work for has networking events all over the place - there was one last month in Hong Kong which my colleague went to and next month I get to go to Southend too! But this time it was Athens, to the land of fabulous ancient architecture and, as it happens, my first sight of a modern European shanty town. The financial situation in Greece is difficult as we know, but I guess it's diferent when you see it with your own eyes, in Europe (not some far away African country as we are used, and immunised - not immune - to). That was a very small part of our trip though. The purpose of our trip was the social event with our alumni.
We arrived in Athens after waking at 4.30am to leave at 5 and catch a 9am flight. So we started our day tired - but also didn't have a lot of rest time as we had to time shift two hours forward on arrival. No problem: metro from airport to hotel, enough time for a change of clothes and then off to the venue by taxi. Unfortunately lots of registered delegates did not turn up, but fortunately lots of those who hadn't, did. But this did mean the hand-writing of many badges with long and complicated Greek names. Thankfully we had a colleague with us, Maria, who is native Greek. Otherwise I think I could have proably totally screwed up the spelling of so many Greek names as to have invented a new language. The event went well and thankfully did not finish too late. There was nice food and drink and lots of good talk and socialising - exactly what we wanted. After the event we went back to the hotel (boss, myself and Maria) and had our debrief camped on Maria's bed with tin trays full of take-away leftovers from the buffet. An odd 'hotel picnic'. Plenty of laughter though, that always helps round things off nicely. I slept like a log and awoke fresh and ready for action at 8.00am. First thing I had to do was call and re-arrange a meeting that I had got completely the wrong day for. But it was ok. Day two of our mini-Greek odyssey began. And that, I think, will be another chapter.
Picture: even the Metro stations have ancient monuments in them - this is one that is showcased in the station where they dug up a Roman watercourse.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
What a busy week! Last weekend I went on a walking trip with 18 women and 3 dogs (and the only bitch had four feet, honest). We went to Burnham Deepdale on the Norfolk coast and, as luck would have it, the weather was lovely! We strung out along the coastal path as we walked but I kept getting left behind. Totally my own fault, I'd keep stopping to look at avocets, oystercatchers, ducks and geese.
I didn't know a lot of the people walking, but I was with two friends and maybe have made a couple more - unless my bad singing put them off in the garden on the Saturday night. It was a great fun weekend though - good company, good food (we cooked en-masse in the kitchen) and great countryside. I do like the Norfolk coast.
Sunday evening was Mother's Day and I was taken out by my daughter for a lovely meal. Accompanied by my mother, and my adopted daughter (not really, but she's like another daughter) plus other friends, it was a lovely evening. An exhausting weekend! But my busy-ness did not stop there.
On Monday night I went to the local open mic session in Wivenhoe and I played a couple of songs. The audience seemed to like them (it was early on, so not a lot of people there at that time). Later on I played again, only this time with my office colleague, Matt. I played, he sang - two Irish songs with lots of enthusiasm. Other colleagues came along to watch (I was astounded, usually work mates say 'yeah, I'll be there' and have a string of excuses in the morning why they didn't turn up) and videoed the performance. Available on Youtube of course (7 Drunken Nights, Rocky Road to Dublin) .
So how do we get to a dozen lawyers? Back to work! On Wednesday night I ran my first event for my new employer: a networking session for lawyers at the Inner Temple in London. On the whole it went well but I think the sunny weather persuaded a few folks to hit the sunshine rather than the smoking room (as our venue was called). My biggest mistake of the whole evening was a simple one I should have seen coming. I wore the wrong boots! Before we'd even started my feet were smarting. Oh well, hopefully that was the worst that happened.
I met an extremely interesting and lovely lawyer called Mark who, as well as having got up to some 'high jinks' at University, has also been Knighted by the Pope. I had never heard of that before. He told me how he had a green suit made, a hat with ostrich feathers and got to wear a sword! Fabulous - I hope he sends me the photo. He also mentioned that the papal crew told him that most folks knighted by his holiness only last about six months, so was he sure he wanted to buy the green suit? Admittedly, I guess most of the be-knighted (that doesn't quite work lingusitically, does it?) are probably beyond dotage, unlike Mark.
So - an active and enjoyable week. Oh, and I played badminton on Thursday at work too. You know, just in case I don't do enough in my days...