Thursday, 3 July 2008

Business trip - UK

Usually it is my students who take off on business trips and holidays overseas while I have to go to work...not so last week. Thank you Tana for teaching a lot of my classes & to Yuki for holding the fort. I hope none of you missed me too much?!

I have not been to England for eight years, so I had to catch up with some of my old friends very quickly, and meet their children and discover new parts of the country where they now live. I had to rent a car to get to Malvern & Dartmoor, before charging across the country to Cambridge for "work".

There's a lot more traffic than I remember, and speed cameras/police cameras literally everywhere - which I seriously dislike. I noticed being able to hear birds singing - lots of different species, late into England's lovely & relaxing late summer doesn't really get dark until 10pm.

I have found a couple of nice old pubs, refreshed my memory with Old Peculier, Pedigree, and a number of other bitters. I have eaten delicious mutton shank, Turkish kebabs, baltis and curries; I still haven't found a good chippy (south England not the best place to look). I have seen lots of beautiful countryside, churches & colleges (Cambridge), as well as Stonehenge. Odd being a tourist in my own country!

Oh yes - work?! I came here to work on the next generation website for Cambridge ESOL exams - you know, the exams you should all be thinking about taking? Remember, Luna is the best school in Japan and the busiest Centre? Well, the aim was to give my input with other users from around the world about how we want future software platforms to work, what sort of functionality & look we need/want to avoid. This was very useful indeed, as our bosses and the IT people were there listening and adjusting, learning and commenting. Actually an exciting process.

A week away from my classes & family is a long time (and expensive/inconvenient - re-arranging your classes and trying to catch up on a week's email!). I also caught a cold - the weather was great in England, so I think it was the recycled air on BA. Terminal 5, incidentally - my bag didn't get lost!

Please check out flickr for lots more photos.

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