Tuesday, July 26, 2011

To the winds

A farewell dinner tonight for an old colleague of mine, Jessica Boyd. Some old, some current, NRC colleagues met at the Economy Shoe Shop for a final goodbye before she takes a new post on the faculty of the American University in Yola, Nigeria.

It was a little bit strange seeing so many old, familiar faces again. Of course, as might have been predicted, as the night progressed the crowd around the table dwindled to just Roger Ebanks, Mike Reith, Jess and myself; in many ways just like old times. The juke-box played old folk-punk tunes such as the Pogues' Fairy Tale of New York and we talked about science, life, Jess's new position and the current state of NRC; Roger and Mike still working in the old Mother Ship whilst Jess and I had been cast aside in favour of the new reality four years ago now. To be honest, from what we heard, we might be better off out of it than in!

We all stayed for a pint longer than usual, on account of the rain you understand, and eventually staggered out into the drizzle (drizzle being something Jess is probably going to miss in Nigeria). As we did, I pointed out that in 2000, NRC hired five young RAs on the GHI Aeromonas project; Roger, Jess, Victor Nesatyy and Stephen Tsoi. Victor and Stephen moved on after three or four years, but Roger, Jess and I stayed until the bitter end, and if I may say so, did some damn fine work. Roger survived the great WR (work-force reduction; great euphemism!) of 2007 whilst Jess and I were let go, but we both managed to stay in Halifax. We might all have been pink-slipped nearly four years ago now, but with Jess's farewell dinner and her imminent relocation to Nigeria, tonight felt like the end of GHI, with only Roger remaining on Oxford Street and his erstwhile colleagues, the three Amigos if you will, relocated hither and yon.

We didn't have the silly hats or that intro dance, but we published our fair share of papers and abstracts together.

Plus, after three pints, like the lightweight I am, I fairly staggered home. I don't think I've done that since I went to the Prince of Wales in Aberdeen with Andy one Friday night after work in 1994, had way too much and spent the rest of the night face-down in a bucket moaning "don't move my head". In hindsight, tonight I probably shouldn't have gone for a run then headed straight down the pub to rehydrate with three pints of Rickards White. Just sayin'


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