I'm on a plane, as previously mentioned, doing my first overseas business trip in ... well, a while. I managed to write off San Francisco last year as business, given that I did actually have a business meeting during it, and I also met with another one of my customers in a non-business sense, but other than that, hm. Probably 1999 was the last time I went away on a trip whose purpose was mostly business.
SAA were having a hell of a time, as the after-effects of the lousy weather in London earlier this week were having a knock-on effect on their bookings. Apparently there were 32 standby passengers for economy alone, which isn't bad for a plane which only has 270 economy seats in the first place. I believe one of them may actually have got on the plane (leaving 31 unhappy campers stuck at Heathrow Airport).
All the people who are supposed to be coming with me to the meeting have also made it onto the plane; one of them coming in from Paris on a connection which was way too tight for my comfort, the other two flying in from Frankfurt. Compared to them, I had it easy, as I had a relatively short drive to the airport as opposed to having an extra leg of the flight (we all have this leg plus one more, a connecting flight to Cape Town).
The beloved is also supposed to be away this week, in exciting Eindhoven. It is a little dependent on whether he recovers from a bout of intestinal malaise which has afflicted him on and off since last Wednesday; not much fun travelling if you have to keep running to the bathroom, and indeed completely impractical if we are talking every ten minutes or so.
He got back on Friday night from last week, also spent in Eindhoven, and luckily wasn't affected too much by the weather. We did little on Friday (he was still feeling somewhat poorly) and then I spent most of Saturday trying to do trip-related admin. Later on we ambled over to west London for a meeting to help plan the stag night of a good friend of ours; this was followed by a curry and then a party. Not a bad party, though I can't help feeling it would have been better if both I and the chap I wanted to flirt with hadn't been driving and therefore sober. We are both English, don't you know, and therefore unable to express anything unless we've had a couple of drinks. Well, that tends to be how it works for me, anyway, and the evidence would appear to be that he works the same way.
Let's see, what else is new. On Thursday I braved the weather to go and visit my sister down in Portsmouth. Driving down out of London was more exciting than it needed to be, largely because the driving snow all but obscured the lane dividing markings, but pretty much as soon as I got to the M25 the snow stopped and driving became a lot easier. By the time I drove back it had stopped altogether and the only really exciting bit of the drive was the road on which we live - it's a side street and does not get gritted. Unlike the last time we had snow, the snow itself had packed down and turned into ice, which is lots of fun when there's a 90-degree turn in the road and you drive a rear-wheel-drive rollerskate. I didn't bother trying to turn into our drive, just parked on the road.
This week coming is going to be a little frantic to say the least. I am away until Thursday morning, then we are off out with friends of the beloved on Friday night, we have another party to go to on Saturday night, and we're visiting my parents for the day on Sunday. And did I mention I have a one-hour talk to give on the Monday following all this? It's a damn good thing that it's basically just a revamp of a talk I've given previously, 'cause I'm not at all sure when I'd have the time to write it otherwise.
Until next time, Gentle Reader; my battery is running low and I hear a copy of Cryptonomicon calling my name.