Some dear friends of ours from my days in the Nuffield Department of Medicine were over from Melbourne. (That's where the UK bioscience brain drain has been for the past ten years, or so it seems to me; if I count up all my best friends from doctorate and post-doc years about half have ended up in Oz. Okay, most of those were originally Australian, but hey...)
They'd always talked about taking us to their favourite haunt in Cornwall, where they'd rent a cottage almost every year when they lived in the UK. We hadn't seen them for years, so this it was wonderful that this time, we could join them there.
I've been to Cornwall once before, North Cornwall, which is gorgeous but this place was even better! It has the Lizard on one side and Lands End on the other (both far in the distance); old smugglers caves, gorgeous little coves as well as wide, sandy beaches with all the stuff kids like (e.g. rock pools, pebbles, shells), amazing clifftop walks with views out to St Michael's Mount.
So after a gorgeous weekend eating Cornish pasties (veggie and yummy!), visiting ice-cream parlours and eating cake, I've probably gained a pound or three, despite the exercise of walking.
My friend Magda gave me a lovely scientist flashback moment when she went through the slides for a talk she gave last week at a conference in London; a fantastically effective new way to use nano-particles as part of a new vaccine for diseases like malaria. My very first research job was with a team developing one of the UK's earliest candidates for an AIDS vaccine, so it was vaguely familiar territory. I'm so proud of Magda, of all my scientist friends she's the first to be made a full Professor. Professor Magda!
In other news, someone is selling a bound proof of The Joshua Files: Invisible City on ebay. There are only a few hundred in circulation, I believe...
It should go for a very, very reasonable sum, i.e. cheap-as-chips, given that at this point in time i) almost no-one has heard of the title and ii) almost no-one has heard of the author...