Conference Diaries – Day 4

1130 – Apparently I’m pathetic and have to stay in bed until 1130 after only 4 pints of Guinness . Surprising bonus: it’s now late enough that I can justify enough a full Irish as brunch. Winner winner, potato dinner

1400 – Just once I’d like to go somewhere on holiday where there isn’t a museum dedicated to how badly British people treated a country. Though for any Brits planning a Dublin trip – Kilmanhaim Gaol is fascinating and it does get your yearly dose of ‘Post-Empire guilt’ out in one hourlong visit
1530 – The Guiness Storehouse has a very Disneyesque vibe. Though hopefully there’s less indoctrination to children at Disney.
1610 – Top marks to the clearly 13 year old kid who tried to claim his free Guiness. Better marks to the cool uncle who did it for him when his dad wasn’t looking.
1630 – Managers of the world’s tourist attractions have one big lesson to takeaway from the Guiness storehouse: a free pint = Trip Advisor nirvana
1640 – officially the silliest thing at the Guniess store – Guiness themed tea bag holders. A big thank you to the worker who rather than fleecing me like the tourist I am, pointed out Guiness BBQ sauce wouldn’t get through in my hand luggage.

Conference Diaries -Day 2

0730- Very thoughtful of the hostel to provide only a cold shower this morning. They clearly knew I needed a good waking up

0900 – Officially at the conference – things are about to get evidency! Or not, things aren’t actually kicking off until 1200. Time to go get some culture and see exactly how bad the British Government were back in the day.
1100 – Top tip: animal rights advocates and fans of accurate taxidermy should avoid Dublin Natural History Museum. On the other hand this picture of what I think is a beaver is pretty fantastic.
1330 – First workshop on the James Lind Alliance and somehow I know more about the topic than someone else! Yes, it’s the only topic I have any knowledge on courtesy of a 6 week project last year, but still. Ego slightly boosted.
1600 – Second workshop in, 5 coffees in and I’m much more chatty than earlier. Can’t think why that is. Hyper me clearly isn’t too silly as at least two consultants said I had a good idea, doubling the lifetime count in that department.
1740 – Checked in to the hotel and absolutely knackered. If only there was a bath, free coffee and a king size bed to relax with. Oh wait, as I’m living on expenses tonight, turns out there is

Conference Diaries – Day 1

1030pm – Of all the things I got excited about as a child, three still strike me with infantile joy: tricking a vending machine into giving me more than I paid for; arriving at an airport for a holiday and catching something that unexpectedly falls from a cupboard as you open it just before disaster occurs.

On this occasion, I’m enjoying the second one. I’m off to a conference in Dublin, though first I have to atone my sins in the purgatory that is Terminal 3 at Manchester.

0045am – The hours free wifi has ran out. I am now doing a crossword. #thestruggleisreal

0400am – My Rainman-esque performance on the crossword is interrupted by what looks like a New Look store thrown into a blender and spat out onto several too-orange-for-a-British-winter ladies.

0415am – The New Look ladies have realised the security regulations include their VKs. Impromptu pre-flight drinks in the yet-to-open Delice de France it is. Makes you proud to be British

0435am – Got through security in what is a new personal best. Not that I time these things – that’d be mental…cough…let’s move on.

0445am – Having subsisted on only a Double Decker, satisfaction from well-done puzzles and the invigorating smell from the men’s lavatory since 9 o’clock last night, I’m now in Costa drinking half a litre of coffee.

0515am – The airport signs are now looking a little blurry. Either my glasses need a lens change or the coffee has kicked in in a big way.

0540am – The New Look ladies are back and they’ve found some friends! Benidorm, lock up your sons! Or daughters, we live in a modern world! NB. If you’ve never been to Benidorm it’s surprisingly fun, and the Spanish section is really nice.Only place I’ve been you can stumble out of the clubs, nap on the beach and get a fry-up before you get the first bus home.

0720 – On board, and somehow my evening in purgatory paid off and I’ve got a window and a empty seat next to me! In other news, the guy at the end is reading a Koran and listening to what seems like a call to prayer. The lady across the aisle looks incredibly freaked out.

0820 – Speaking of freaked out, it’s a little puzzling to wake up and realise you’re starting the descent to Dublin. Apparently I’m a bit tired.

1000 – successful navigated my way to the hostel and now in severe need of a nap. Turns out I can’t check in until 2, meaning I could have got an 11ish flight and avoided every fiasco up until now. One is less than impressed

1200 – I’ve refreshed with yet another coffee and found out on my aimless wandering that there is a big vote on marriage equality next month. Which official means the Irish Catholoicism ‘Sin Scale’ puts bumming below abortion. Not sure that’s the official wording of that policy.

1620 – Officially calling it a day and giving in to sleep. Hardcore first night in Dublin

0030 – woke up to have dinner 3 hours ago and somehow I’m playing cards with 4 Canadians. One of them is called Parker. He hasn’t heard of the Thunderbirds. I’m a little bit sad