Saturday, 3 November 2012

More conference madness

It is complete madness to attend two conferences in two consecutive weeks, not only because all the everyday work suffers, but your body and mind become confused. Even though I only went to Glasgow this time it was just as stressful. The day before I went, our daugher Lisa came to visit, with two grandchildren. They knew that I would be away, but I was a bit upset; I'd like to spend some time with them. However: the flight was 9am from Stansted, and Staffan had - long before Lisa declared her arrival - agreed to take me and Morag. We collected Morag at 7am, which means that we left home a quarter to seven which means that we had to get up... The flight was uneventful, and we took taxi to Modag's favourite shop. It was my third time in Glasgow, and the third time I visited this shop that makes me wish I was three sizes bigger. Our transport to the conference venue was not until mid-afternoon, so we could shop as much as we had energy for.

Now, if you have followed my blog, you know that I hate shopping. If you haven't, you can read about some of my shopping adventures here and here. I need some winter outfits, and I never have time to shop, so a couple of hours in Glasgow were godsent. I had looked up the shops where I made most of my purchases with my Personal Shopper, and the shopping centre was quite close to Morag's shop, so I ran there arranging to come back for lunch. To my utter disappointment, there wasn't anything even remotely in agreement with my new fashion style. Most of it was black and grey. Before my Great Makeover, I'd happily buy another pair of black trousers (I have at least three already), a grey jacket and perhaps a grey top. But I have promised my Personal Shopper that I would never ever wear black, grey or off-white which had always been my safe colours. So I turned to go back, but a shop window caught my attention, and, checking the average age of the browsing customers (I don't want to err into a teenage shop), I went in. I saw at once two sets of possibles, but it was too late to try anything on. I ran back to Morag who had chosen some things, but wanted my advice. We had lunch, returned to her shop, she tried this and that, while I walked around, once again wishing there was something my size among those gorgeous garments. Then I saw it. I put it on. Morag and the shop assistant applauded. Morag tried on a few more things, and finally we were fimished. I didn't want to drag Morag to my store, but proxy shopping is almost as much fun (for me, much more fun), so I couldn't deny her the pleasure. We walked to the shopping centre, pulling our luggage and carrying a big plastic bag each, mine slightly smaller. I quickly tried on the skirt and jacket, trousers and jacket, mixing and matching. Probably for the first time in my life I not only felt confident, but also comfortable. A shop assistant was summoned, who approved, tried to make me buy some more tops which I resisted, and in less than half an hour I had spent as much money as Morag did in the previous three hours. I am a quick learner. Then we took a taxi to our friend, who, even knowing Morag well, had begun to be worried about us. We had a cup of tea and started on our journey to Ross Priory which was our goal for the day. It was too dark to admire the scenery, and I was quite tired, but there were all the dear friends, warm greetings, preprandials, fabulous dinner.

The reason I went to this conference, or rather workshop, is that it is very small, papers pre-circulated and plenty of time for discussion, including breakfast and lunch. I am still not sure that travelling that far for a few hours of inspirational talk with friends is worth while, but I enjoyed it once I was there. When I booked my flights I thought for some reason that we would finish at five, and I booked a late flight to avoid rush. As it was, we finished at three, and it turned out that I was the only one who needed to get to the airport. I prepared for five hours in an uncomfortable airport chair, but a colleague invited me to use a comfortable chair in her sitting room instead. We even went for a little walk. Then I took a taxi. The taxi driver said something in the wonderfully incomprehensible local dialect which turned out to be an offer of fixed price. It was still too early for check-in. Then I had to pay for extra luggage. The kind lady at check-in advised me, in her incomprehensible dialect, to put my backpack into my bag and take it as hand luggage, but I knew it woundn't go with all my purchases. It was a miracle I managed to pack them at all. I had anticipated I would have to pay extra. The check-in lady was disappointed - she had apparently expected this customer to make a scene.

The flight was uneventful, and Staffan picked me up at Stansted. I tried to remember what the conference was about, to tell him, but I couldn't. I just remembered that it was very fruitful. And I told myself, for umpteenth time, that I must never go to another conference, because any day one of them would kill me.

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