Penny for the Guy?

Well I neglected blogging last week. Does that mean I have to make up for it this week with an entry twice as long as usual? ūüėČ

My excuse is that I was away on a course in Gloucester last week which I’m happy to say exceeded my expectations…. I guess they were pretty low to start with but that’s always nice. It was at British Energy and we had engaging presenters and lots of syndicate exercises to keep us on our toes.

In terms of a weekend summary, on Friday night I had dinner with Sue – she cooked the main course (lovely salmon, salad and cous cous) and I supplied dessert (Pumpkin pie and squirty cream). Next time we’re going to swap responsibilities. It was also bonfire night on Friday so we saw a few fireworks in the sky from the view from Sue’s flat across the Manchester ship canal. This is the rather bizarre tradition of celebrating the occasion when a Catholic renegade called Guy Fawkes came very close to his “Gunpowder Plot” being successful.¬† This was a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament along with the protestant King.¬†¬†The anniversary of the day of the failure became a public holiday and attending church (protestant, of course!) was mandatory as it was viewed as a victory of the protestant over the¬†catholics!¬†¬†¬† It’s celebrated these days¬†with fireworks and bonfires on top of which burns¬†an effigy of Guy Fawkes. In the weeks running up to the day, kids make a “Guy” by stuffing shirts and trousers and then¬†ask passerbys for a “Penny for the Guy?”. The idea being to raise money for fireworks. Driving home from Sue’s on Friday, the air was thick with the smoke of bonfires. It is definitely a well celebrated occasion here – although apparently now being overtaken in popularity by Hallowe’en, a relatively new introduction.

Saturday we had a nice walk on the weekend up Bidston Hill. It was a clear morning and we managed to miss the midday rain.


A bit of shopping (mostly looking) in the afternoon and some failed attempts to visit family. Saturday night was movie night! Paul went out yesterday afternoon for christening and football festivities so I did some baking and then put *lots* of wood on the fire and tried to see if I could melt…

This week I’m in London on Wednesday and then the next couple of weeks I’m in Cambridge and Portsmouth respectively for pretty much the whole week. Cambridge is a conference¬†which has some interesting presentations planned and I’ve never been to Cambridge either so looking forward to exploring.¬†¬† Brent is also going to join me for a little break in the city – think he’ll be passing on the conference lectures, though! The course in Portsmouth at the end of the month has had good reviews too and should hopefully fill a gap in my knowledge. ¬†A busy old month work travel wise but it’s just how things have fallen and is not really a reflection of normality in this job!