This blog is a personal view of how it feels to be the Vice-President, and then the President, of CIPA. These are my own words, not CIPA’s: tongue-in-cheek, often irreverent, sometimes satirical. They are written for people with a sense of humour, a broad mind and a generous and forgiving spirit. And talking of spirits, they contain quite a lot of references to gin, which I like drinking. If you think you might find this type of writing disturbing, please do not read any further.
Sunday, 15 March 2015
Soup, man flu & an evening in Liverpool
11 February 2015, 10.30 am
I am back at CIPA after my Soup Holiday.At last I can be reunited with my secret
friend the ceiling-mounted espionage system.It gives me a look that I know means it has been missing me.I think I am in love.
At a meeting of the Congress Steering Committee, I make some
suggestions for panel discussions.To
which people say, no, don’t be silly; that would be boring and repetitive.And I think, oh, perhaps I have been missing the
point of Congress all along?
I leave the meeting in a huff and go to lunch with the folk
who helped me with the EPO oral proceedings course.It is a lunch to say thank you.I give them autographed copies of my
Not-so-secret Diary and a free glass of wine each.And then I tell them about the work they will
have to do for this year’s courses.
The food is very good but I can only eat the soupy
bits.Which means, essentially, the
pudding and the wine.It could be worse
11 February 2015, 2 pm
We hold one of our regular meetings with ITMA.I have been led to believe that in the past, the
two Institutes did not get on particularly well.I also gather, however, that this was at a
time when CIPA did not get on particularly well with anyone.Things have changed since then.CIPA realised that if you go round picking
fights with people they stop inviting you to their parties, and since ITMA is
renowned for its parties, it made sense to be friends again.
In the absence of the President, it is my job to chair this
meeting.I read out each of the agenda
items in turn and ask the others what we are supposed to be doing about
it.Thankfully, the others are able to
tell me, and so we progress rapidly through the agenda without any further
action being required by me.
I am relieved the meeting progresses quickly, because Mr
Davies has such bad man flu that he almost dies twice.Also we have a train to catch to Liverpool.
11 February 2015, 4 pm
On the Liverpool train, I have to sit next to Mr Davies and
his man flu.In between bouts of
terminal dying, he tells me the background to yesterday’s ABS webcast.Apparently it may have looked most
professional from Zummerzet, but in reality it was mainly held together with
gaffer tape and string.By which I mean
that Unlucky Gary and his CIPA colleagues spent the day buying cheap coffee
tables and table cloths for the set; assembling the cheap coffee tables and
ironing the cheap table cloths; and cutting up bits of wire and their
connectors in order to make the electrons from the microphones communicate
properly with the electrons from the internet.Apparently electrons can be quite fussy about the types of connectors
they’re prepared to go down.
The final straw, I am told, was the giant gold heraldic CIPA
crest.Impressive as this Plaster of
Paris monstrosity must have looked in its day, gracing the front of CIPA Hall,
it now gets in the way of the screen, thereby casting an anatomically-evocative
and most undignified shadow onto the freshly ironed table cloths that Unlucky
Gary was so proud of.The heraldic
monstrosity I mean crest had to be removed for the afternoon, creating a
heraldically monstrous storage problem in the back room.Unfortunate.
11 February 2015, 7 pm
away an hour or so not finding somewhere to eat.Our lack of success is only partly due to my
inability to swallow anything that isn’t soup.
For a start, our hotel restaurant is in darkness.This is not a good sign.The staff direct us to the bar instead, but the
bar is only just not in darkness, and in any case its menu is limited to
burgers and macho meaty things.An
Italian restaurant across the way looks promising to start with, but it soon
becomes apparent that all we are allowed to do there is sit at a table and look
at a menu.Forgive me, but that is not a
restaurant; that is a LIBRARY.
We leave the library and head for what we think is a Mexican
eatery.It is not.It serves burgers and macho meaty
things.Finally we end up in a tapas
bar, where the lights are so low and the menus so Spanish that we could be
eating anything, but at least we get offered a drink and at least some of the
dingy Spanish things are soupy enough for me to eat.In fact, they are really rather nice.At this point I begin to quite like
Liverpool, although quite liking somewhere because of its dingy and
unpronounceable soupiness is not a massive compliment I concede.