A Great Evening Of Excel Chat

So I am home from my adventures in Europe.

I spoke about Excel and Access and PowerPivot at the SDN Conference in Zeist, Holland Monday and Tuesday last week.  It was a great event, as always at the SDN, and I will blog about that in a couple of days. But before I left on my trip there was a hint of something stirring in me and the change in time and climate and the pressures of the conference and the travel brought on a major Cold the first day there,  one that made the whole trip drudgery and that continues to this day( as I can’t stay awake for more than a few hours at a time).

But despite all that, by last Thursday evening I had wound my way to London and I waited patiently in the White Lion Pub, just off of Covent Square, for the potential arrival of some London-area Excel junkies like myself.

Sadly I didn’t wear an Excel hat, or something because I stood and stared around the busy, happy pub for a hint that one of the visitors might be there to talk Excel with me.  After 20 minutes or so I took a chance and asked a man next to me if he was an Excel guy (which could have been misinterpreted pretty easily I’m afraid) , but he was not.  However behind me the guy who had sat at the bar for 20 minutes that I “thought” might be one of the people I was to meet,  spoke  up that he was and within seconds Andy Pope and I  were off and running on Excel and Microsoft and Simon Murphy and  MVPing and never looked back.

Within a very few minutes we were joined by Mike Staunton and then Bob Phillips and away we went !! Sorry about the fuzzy pic:

It is always fun to get connected with “birds of a feather” with common interests and obsessions and this was no different.  Thanks to Excel I felt a total bond with these guys immediately (who all knew each other through years of effort in the UK and MVP Excel communities).  Furthermore, when Andy pulled out a map he had graciously printed of all the local Indian Curry restaurants in the vicinity (because of my stated desire for some “Traditional” English Curry – sorry Bob,) I could not have been happier.  So we moved off to a local Curry establishment and continued our rants and discussions.  We were having so much fun that we even made the restaurant staff laugh (I think they did anyway)

It was a great evening, but my voice has still not completely recovered.

Once we said our goodbyes (and Bob and Andy went back  for another – of course), I travelled back to my “B&B” for a night in the worst accommodations I have EVER stayed in (tried to save money and made a BIG mistake).  I left in such a hurry I forgot to take a picture of my “cell”.

That morning I went on Hotwire and booked a room for a  good, but much higher, price at the  Crowne Plaza near Buckingham Palace.  I was able to check in at 10:00 am Friday morning, have a loooong shower in the marble-walled bathroom with lots of big white towels and a towel heating rack, settled into my big fluffy duvet with 6 pillows and a Hi-Def TV,watched CNN tell us that my plane the next day was going to fall out of the sky…. and did not leave my room until 9:00 the next morning – Saturday.

I am now home with my cold in tow but I look fondly back at my time with Mike and Andy and Bob at the White Lion and I thank Simon Murphy for making it all happen for us.  Cheers to my new Mates!


About Biggus Dickus

Dick is a consultant in London, ON Canada who specializes in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office Development.
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12 Responses to A Great Evening Of Excel Chat

  1. I’ve talked Excel with Bob and Andy over beers, and I can vouch for the fact that there is hardly a better way to spend an evening.

  2. Ken Puls says:

    Man, Andy is going to think all Canadians want to come over there, talk Excel and go out for traditional English curry. Funny enough, last summer I found Andy in a bar too… curious… did you choose a place in Brick Lane? I’ve never been anywhere quite like it.

    While I can’t say I’ve met Mike, I also agree that spending an evening chatting Excel with Bob & Andy is pretty hard to beat. 🙂

    • Biggus Dickus says:

      “Andy is going to think all Canadians want to (DO IS) come over there, talk Excel and go out for traditional English curry.” Sounds like a great attitude 🙂 (excuse the teeny edit).

      What really bugs me is that I spent 3 days in London and ony had 1 and 3/4 pints because I was feeling so crappy. Next time will be different.

      We also talked about why we Canadians could never have a community feeling in Excel like they do and I explained that is its because our poulation is spread out 95% within 100 miles North of the U.S. border but 3000 kms wide (approx). Too bad, because I’d love to see us develop some kind of energy here too .. it’d be good for Canadian business IMHO.


    • Bob Phillips says:

      I met Andy one day in summer at lunchtime, and that was in a bar too (is there a theme here). He even managed to find one called ‘The Master Gunner’ LOL!

      The Indian was nothing like you get in Brick Lane Ken, its main claim to fame is some paper puppets hanging from the ceiling, although I can’t say that I noticed them.

  3. Andy Pope says:

    Those 20 minutes was me allowing you to experience the famous English reserve 😉

    It was a great evening doing the things I like best, drinking and eating whilst talking Excel.

    The curry house, this time, was in Covent Garden. Very much a tourist restaurant. The place itself, along with the staff, was fine but I’ve had better food.

    • Bob Phillips says:

      Shame that Marcus and Mike (Woodhouse) failed to make it, Simon couldn’t make it, and that the pub had no Jaipur IPA … boo! It was good to meet Dick though it was shame he was so rough. But meeting my old mate Andy and cracking a beer or two (or three or four) is ever a pleasure, and Mike Staunton is always good for a rail. I didn’t miss the train home; had a nice relaxing trip (had to laugh when both guys opposite me opened up MacBooks), all in a good time.

    • Biggus Dickus says:

      “but I’ve had better food.”

      Maybe it was my Cold, but it tasted fine to me 🙂 … But most Canadians aren’t connoisseurs of Indian food (but we’re getting there).

  4. Good to hear you had a good time in the UK. Also happy that you liked your B&B that you were able to book with such an effort. 😉 The benefit of having a terrible room is that you are extra happy when you are back home and appreciate the things you have at home.

    -= Maarten =-

    • Biggus Dickus says:

      True Maarten… but remember that when I got home I had lost half my house (until Christmas apparently) due to a flood from somewhere in the upstairs bathroomn 😦 …


  5. Simon says:

    If you didn’t get too many flea bites then the accom was good by London standards.

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