As proof of my recent transformation from 'dossy student' to 'dossy professional', this week I went on my first ever 'business trip'. A major part of the project that I am working on right now involves speech recognition, and we are lucky enough to be working with an expert in the field, Mike Lincoln, who is a researcher at the University of Edinburgh. I am doubly lucky in that he is a sound bloke who has a very similar outlook on life/work/getting-things-done as I do, and we get on well. So on wednesday I took the train from Kings Cross up to the 'Burgher, with the intention of working with him on establishing a framework which we can use to work remotely in the future to help get things working.
The train from Kings Cross to the Burgher is wicked. It took four hours and 15 minutes, and was very pleasant and relaxing. If I'd caught a plane from, say, Luton, it would have taken me an hour to get there (from Kings X), an hour and half waiting at the terminal, and hour's flight, and half an hour's transfer from the airport to the middle of Edinburgh. That's four hours in total, and rather than sitting in one place as with the train, you can never settle for long, as every hour you have to move about and walk/queue. So not only is the train more comfortable, it is just as fast, and it satisfies my inner eco-warrior by being better for the environment.
I feel quite at home in Scotland, for three reasons. One, the countryside is beautiful; two, it is usually raining; and three, we share a dislike for the English! As an example, on Wednesday Scotland were playing Ukraine in football, and I walked into the pub at a bad time - Ukraine had just sealed their win by scoring their second goal, a penalty, in injury time. The atmosphere was very morose. At that moment, the teletext service flashed up on the TV screen, showing the result of England game that had been played simultaneously. Croatia 2, England 0. An enormous cheer rattled the very foundations of the building, and I couldn't help joining in - I felt right at home!