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!