We are back in England after nearly two years away, we landed yesterday morning at London Heathrow. We flew with American Airlines this time (my first time with them), and I must say that I still prefer British Airways - they give you free drinks and I remember the staff being friendlier. The flight went well, and they got us in on time, immigration and baggage claim was all very simple, and so I was pleased the travel went well. William was a little angle on the flight, after letting him run around the airport for a few hours.
This is William's first time in England, so after getting the Underground to St Pancras Louise and I parted ways. She headed up to Sheffield with William, and I headed up to Chester to get my geek on. I will be spending the next couple of days talking with Noel, Tim and Chris about Open Babel development, CMake, Git, Gerrit and open source chemistry software i general. It should be a lot of fun, and while I have not had anywhere near the time I would like to work on open source projects in general, I think some of the things I am doing at Kitware might be useful.
Then Louise and I will be meeting up in London, staying with friends so that we can make our third trip to the US embassy to ask for another visa stamp. All of the forms have changed since we last went in 2008, and our visa type has changed. Hopefully that will all go smoothly, then we will visit another friend before returning up t'North together. I should finally make it up to Sheffield myself on Saturday, but plan on heading out on the Sunday. I have a week of meeting with chemists, physicists and materials scientists, mainly of the computational persuasion, to talk about cool stuff I am doing and what they are doing.
There will be a short intermission on the weekend for a friend's wedding, before continuing another week of talking to scientists. One of these visits will take me down to Cardiff, where Torchwood was filmed. So I am doubly excited by seeing the city where one of my favorite Doctor Who spinoffs was filmed, and meeting with more people to talk about quantum chemistry, electronic structure and visualization. I will be ending my time in England on this trip in Sheffield, meeting with old supervisors, friends and coworkers, talking about what I am doing now and how we might work together in the future.
I am also hoping to squeeze in a generous helping of real ale, some fish and chips, a few full English breakfasts and time to catch up with family and friends. Despite being back for quite a long time, and initially wondering what we would do, I find I don’t have nearly enough time to meet with everyone I would like to and catch up with all of my old friends. We should try to make sure we come back more often! I think this post is long enough already - looking forward to getting out and about in England after my long absence. We will be looking around Chester later, before getting down to business.