Thursday, 21 April 2011

And from our other correspondent...

There are fewer pictures, since I didn't have the camera. But Mama B managed to miss out the all important 'deterntion at immigration' story of her trip to Brussels that saw us all reunited 20mins after saying goodbye for a few days. The problem this time, though, was in leaving UK - turn out trying to pass Kitty off on my passport doesn't work. Whoops - Kitty's passport was back in Abingdon... So we managed a last evening together in town with old friend M who has been absent for many years:

Happily, Grannie and Grandad combined with friendly French immigration officer saved the day - G & G drove to London with errant passport, immigration officer suggested he had detained Mama, Mancub and Kitty at immigration so they had tyo go on the next available train instead of the one they were booked on! So rather better than trying to leave Tanzania a few days ago when the first officer thought it was too hard for him and called over five more. They then sucked their teeth and said I was a naughty boy, and they had to get the really fat officer to come down and see us. Finally, he arrived, took letter and passports away and nothing happened. Until the plane was about to leave and someone from the flight company came down and started telling them all to get on with it and our passports were stamped and then we were whisked onto the plain, just in time! Hurrah!

Still, having finally sent the rest of the family away, M and I went off for a meal, and I checked into my hotel. Monday saw the conference starting and lots of fun talking about science again - a rare treat in Tanzania! The conference dinner in the evening was all very posh - I learnt that the Royal Society used to be the German Embassy and had lots of fun catching up with other academic types I've not seen for quite a while. Tuesday had me talking nearly at the end of the day (you can see what it was all about here and a few other places if you lik, as once again I'm upsetting a few folk. Most interesting talk goes to the one on parental care and the evolution of sex. Covering why not be incestuous (lots of plants are, of course - only we call it selfing), and why have sex with males it certainly prompted some discussion... My talk was fine but not quite so entertaining I suspect! StillI eventually managed to escape and meet first another old friend for an icecream in the park, then Uncle J for a meal and last night in London. All very nice - lots of people, lots of talk and lots of fun.

Impressions of London - well, more bicycles than when I was there before. Rather remarkably clean too - but I'm not sure if that's just in comparison to Arusha or memories of London some years ago. But certainly more flags (probably temporary - someone told me there's something Royal happening soon), and more roadworks too.

Today has been a full on commercial shopping sadness day. But quite successful all round (even I bought something!) and a useful day if nothing else... Oh, and we got the obligatory British fish and chips in for the evening!

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