A Travellerspoint blog

A Day in Bristol

sunny 12 °C

I woke up this morning to another day of sunshine in Bristol, England. I've either been extremely fortunate with 4 out of 5 sunny days in the UK or it's a complete farce that the weather is so bad here... I'm not sure which!

I met Dr. McGoogan and Charlotte for breakfast and then joined Kate to head over to the non-gyn program. The cytology school for the Southwest has a very nice facility with a 14 header microscope, single scopes, and a lecture room. They were kind enough to let us use their space for this workshop. There were 7-8 attendeees (pathologists and CT's) and we reviewed urine and respiratory cytology on ThinPrep. It was a full day and the feedback from the participants were all very positive.

At the end of the day, Kate took Dr. McGoogan to the airport so she could return home to Edinburgh. Kate drove home to London and Charlotte gave me a lift back to Crawley. It was a beautiful day for a drive along the M4 and she dropped me off at the hotel around 7:30pm. I ordered a quick room service (bangers and mash) and started packing for the final time.

Tomorrow - destination HOME!

Posted by mquick70 16:38 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

Working in the UK

overcast 10 °C

I can't believe that it's Tuesday already! I spent yesterday in the Cytyc UK office. They are in the middle of a major renovation - they had half of an office building and have acquired the other half. Much of the day the work crew was breaking through from one side to the other. One of the most impressive areas is the warehouse. For the past several years they have managed their inventory in the space no larger than your average single bay garage - absolutely amazing!

During the day I was able to meet with many of the Cytyc UK team members including Wayne Taylor, VP; Glenn Weatherly, RBD; Clare Daly, HR; and Charlotte Malone, Sales Manager - Diagnostics. It was great getting to know them all and understand more about the similarities and the differences between their roles and the CAS and AE's role in the US. They were all very hospitable and really went above and beyond to make me feel welcomed. I couldn't believe how quickly the day went by.

After a quick ride in Wayne's new Porsche we all had dinner at a great Indian restaurant near the office where they usually take customers during morphology training. The food and company was great!
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This morning I began my first adventure with England's public transport system. The Crawley train station is right next to the hotel I'm staying at. I walked across the bridge, got my train ticket and got onboard for the 45 minute trip to Victoria Station. It was a very easy trip, and remarkably quiet! In the train station I found a stand for Krispy Kreme donuts (yum-o). I walked out of the train station and the theatre for Wicked was right in front of me!

I then entered the Victoria Street Underground to continue my trip. The "tube" took me 4 stops to my destination. I wasn't sure which way to head from there but I just started walking to get my bearings and find some street names - Luckily, I was on the right road and at the closest intersection to the laboratory was a STARBUCKS! I was meeting Kate Thunder, CAS/AE for the London area so I gave her a call and asked her to meet me there. She gave me the background of the account we were meeting with and walked me through the plan for the day. We were able to visit two labs - both a private and a public lab and then we drove out to Bristol this evening.
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Today turned out to be much more overcast than it's been and the temperature dropped quite a bit. It was an easy 2.5 hour drive from London to Bristol on the M4 freeway. The landscape was very green and very rural. I'm sure it will get even more green as the trees get their leaves back over the next several weeks.
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We got into Bristol and then met Charlotte and Dr. Euphemia McGoogan (Pheemie) for dinner. I can't believe that tomorrow is my last full day of this trip and then I'm heading home on Thursday.

Posted by mquick70 15:24 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

2nd Day in London

An afternoon with Stuart and Lisa

sunny 14 °C

I had a fantastic sleep last night! After sleeping in a twin bed for the past two weeks, I felt like a KING to be sleeping in a KING BED again. I woke up around 8:30am and began the now familiar practice of packing up my luggage for my next destination. It's usually not a big deal for me except that being gone for so long, I had to bring 3 suitcases plus a carry-on (hand luggage, they call it).
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I had found a church online to attend this morning and I wasn't quite sure how long it would take me to walk so I skipped breakfast and started out around 10:00am. It couldn't have been a more lovely morning. A light breeze, sun shining... It was a bit of a long walk - maybe 1.5 - 2 miles. I arrived at 10:45am - early enough to have a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich. The church I attended was St. Mary's Church - the 11:00am Family Service. It was fantastic. Today was Palm Sunday and they were having a service with all the kids - and there were a TON of them! It was a bit like herding cats, though. The music team played some songs and then their children's leader led the kids (and adults) in some fun, audience participation, sing-along songs. The present church was built in 1821 but the previous buildings on site date back to the 1200's. It was expectedly chaotic with that number of kids in the service (several times the little ones figured out how to turn on the organ and added a unique musical interlude!!) but you could tell that it was a vibrant community. After church I talked with the music team and their children's pastor for a few minutes and then walked back to the hotel.
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Stuart and his wife Lisa picked me up at 1:00pm from the hotel and we headed out for lunch. They took me to a great outdoor market area called Covent Garden. This market dates back to the 1630's and was the largest fruit and vegetable market in all of England. We visited some shops, had a beer at one pub, and ate lunch at another. I enjoyed watching the collection of street performers here as well - everything from statue actors to jugglers to musicians to limbo dancers!
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Stuart and I were able to share our experiences in South Africa, how they compared and contrasted and I picked both of their brains for insight to life in the UK. They were great hosts and I really enjoyed my time with them. They were nice enough to give me a lift to Crawley on their way home where I'll settle in for the next 4 nights.

Posted by mquick70 11:38 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

First Day in the UK

A walking tour of London

semi-overcast 13 °C

I arrived in London this morning just after 6am. We had a delay out of Jo'berg last night because we would have arrived before the airport opened! The flight was very comfortable - I worked on my summary report from the trip to South Africa, had dinner, and went to sleep. By the time I woke up, I had breakfast, watched a little TV, and then we landed. It's just over 10 hours from Johannesburg to London.
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I arranged for a car to pick me up at the airport and he was right on time. After making it through passport control and collecting my luggage, we left for the Hilton Green Park in London. The drive was a short 45 minutes and I had my eyes wide open the whole time, trying to take it all in. It was very gray this morning - overcast - on the cool side, and no sun. I arrived at my hotel shortly after 7:30. The receptionist was able to upgrade my room to a King suite at no charge and even get me in early - which was great! It is interesting to note that their "suites" are smaller than our regular rooms. But it was very nicely appointed and comfortable.
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After a much appreciated shower and change of clothes, I excitedly headed out to check out London, camera in hand. First stop - STARBUCKS! There is no Starbucks in South Africa (Belinda's husband thought there might be one in Jo'berg but thinks it's a "home brew." - not officially sanctioned!) It never tasted better!

The hotel is right across the street from Green Park. A short walk through the park ends at Buckingham Palace. The guards are there, just like in the movies - walking in synchronization. Very cool...
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St. James Park is between Buckingham Palace and the Parade grounds. The park is beautiful and has gone through many renovations over the past 500 years. There are many species of exotic birds here which have been given over the years by various countries.Everything in the park is so green and colorful. There are lots of flowering trees currently in bloom. Most of the trees don't have their leaves yet but the buds are on and I can only imagine what it will look like in a few more weeks.
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After walking through the parade grounds, I got my first glimpse of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. They are breathtaking! I couldn't stop taking photographs! I love perspective and looking at things differently so I kept trying different angles - I'll only include one of my favorites...
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From here I walked across the Westminster Bridge to the London Eye. I went back and forth as to whether or not I wanted to go up but finally decided that I would. It was a great ride. The entire trip around the wheel takes about 30 minutes and provides some of the best views of the city. While I was in line for the the ride, I used my blackberry to download a London walking trail from the internet. It was surprising to me how relatively close things are. The tour guide would give clear walking directions and then provide historic and cultural references for everything you could see at the prescribed stopping points. It was good fun, interesting, and kept me from getting lost. The good news was that I always had the River Thames to get my bearings.
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After riding the London Eye, I continued walking along the South Bank and had lunch at a great little pub - Doggett's. The "football" game was on, I had fish and chips and a pint of English beer - It doesn't get any more English than that!
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The next stop on my journey was The Globe - actually the reconstruction of The Globe - Shakespeare's Theatre. One of the problems was that the theatre was rebuilt on what was thought to be the original site; however, there was no account taking for the fact that the river has shifted over the past several centuries, and the original location was actually a couple of blocks away from the water today! This was discovered in the late 1980's after the reproduction was built and apartments were in place on the original site.

There was so much to see today, and I took SO MANY pictures, that I'll need to share more with you when we're together in person. I know that I only scratched the surface of London today but I've got aching feet and sore calf muscles that say I made a solid dent! Other areas I saw were The National Theatre, The Rose Theatre (where Shakespeare was an actor), The Golde Hinde (a replica of Sir Francis Drake's "round the world" vessel), Southwark Cathedral (dating to 1200AD)... On a side note, I've got lots of the pictures of Southwark because after I snapped a photo, one of the workers told me I needed a permit to take pictures (which cost $4) so I needed to make sure I got my money's worth! - Then on to London Bridge (which is not falling down - and the original, oddly enough, is in Arizona) - Then The Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Theatre District, Trafalgar Square, Picadilly Circus, back to Buckingham, and return to the hotel.
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Southwark Cathedral c1200AD

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Tower Bridge

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Tower of London c1066AD

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St. Paul's Cathedral

I made a quick souvenir hunting trip into the Theatre district tonight and found London to be very safe compared to other major cities I've been to.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday and I'm planning on making it to a London church in the morning. Stuart MacRorie and his family are joining me in the afternoon for lunch and some siteseeing. Stuart offered to take me to the next hotel which is closer to the Cytyc UK office in Crawley. I'm looking forward to seeing Stuart tomorrow and getting some more insight into life in the UK.

Posted by mquick70 14:29 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

So long to South Africa...

sunny 22 °C

First off, I must apologize for the delay in writing this week. Much of the week has just been focused on day to day work activities so there haven't been any great photo opporunities to share. However, today is my last day in South Africa and I feel I must bring this leg of the journey to a conclusion.

Today is definitely bittersweet. I've had an amazing time in South Africa, both personally and professionally. It definitely has had it's ups and downs but it's been a pleasure to work with a passionate dedicated group of individuals working together to make the world a better place.
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John Hill, owner of Perryhill International, Cytyc Distributor in UK
In the short time I spent with John I could easily see that he is extremely well respected by his staff. John has a philosophy of people first and this is very evident in his business. We were able to have lunch together yesterday and I learned that his other home is only an hours flight from mine - just outside Salt Lake City.

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Brenda, receptionist
Brenda is the smiling face of Perryhill.

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Donne, Marketing assistant for Women's Health at Perryhill. Donne keeps things running smoothly in the office. She also coordinates the details of the training events. She was kind enough to take me back to the hotel one evening and we had a nice chat.

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[/i]Dorcas: I'm not sure what Dorcas's title is, but it should have been "MAKE YOU FEEL WELCOME" Manager. She knew what everyone liked to drink and would bring refills throughout the day. I got in trouble with Dorcas one afternoon for washing my coffee cup out. She told me that it was her job and Belinda jokingly told her that she would have that part of her salary sent to me! She always has a great smile on and makes customers and employees feel at home.

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Engela, Marketing Director

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Jemina, Cytology Applications Specialist

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Belinda van der Merwe, Product Manager, Women's Health

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[i]Review ThinPrep article in preparation for meeting

This morning Belinda and I had a meeting with the cervical cancer screening board at Pretoria Academic Hospital. The meeting went even better than expected and was a nice way to finish off my time in the field. For the past two days Jemina and I have been conducting morphology training for a new ThinPrep laboratory beginning a market evaluation of the system. The training has been going very well - the usual confidence, lack of confidence, confidence returns that we see in training classes in the US. Some things are universal!

We should wrap up training around 4pm and then Herman is taking me to the airport. I should be at the airport by 6pm and check in for my 8:00pm red eye flight to London. I'm scheduled to arrive around 7:00am tomorrow. There is only a 1 hour time difference between Johannesburg and London so I'm not expecting any jet lag - as long as I can sleep on the plane tonight!
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Posted by mquick70 03:49 Archived in South Africa Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

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