Where were we? Oh yes, I remember – in Grand Rapids without our luggage.

I’m pleased to say that the luggage did eventually show up, late morning and somewhat battered. But to be honest my sense of relief simply having it in my possession again more than counterbalanced its state. In any case, by mid-morning I had received several offers of clothing from Australia to Canada and all points in between. I was touched by their generosity. Although it is equally possible they were aware of the environmental consequences of me wearing the same underpants for 48 consecutive hours. Even Greta Thunberg was alerted.

Okay, I lied about the last bit. But there is no doubt that my undergarments were beginning to acquire a personality all of their own. And not a particularly nice one either. Whereas the wearer is gentle soft soap,liberal socialist, the undergarments are a more Tommy Robinson/Brexit/ rent a thug sort of persona. You know the type. Definitely not the kind of underpants you want lurking at the back of your knicker drawer.

More or less everything had been put on hold while we waited for our luggage to finally appear. It’s hard to plan a set of slides and handouts whilst simultaneously wondering whether the time would be better spent in buying clothes. If the luggage had not arrived before 5 PM for instance, I would have been faced with the very real possibility of having to deliver a scientific presentation wearing only my underpants.

The scientific community deserves better.

Anyway, all’s well that ends well. The rather overassertive underpants have been neutralised and I stand resplendent and fragrant in my purple boxers. Ladies, form an orderly queue.

Yesterday (Monday) was fundamentally a rest day before the onslaught. Gradually people arrived throughout the afternoon. The proceedings really began with the reception at the Van Andel Institute in the early evening. A bottle of beer and a very generous glass of Glenlivet Hea more or less put paid to me for the evening. I hit the wall so to speak, ducked out of the organised dinner and started work on my presentation. Well that was the plan. Somehow it ended by having dinner with Heather and meeting up later with Gaynor for a nightcap.

And the presentation? Oh yes, I remember. Specifically I remembered at 4 AM. To say that I sprung out of bed would be an overstatement. But certainly the pressing urgency was clear to me. Four hours later, the presentation is finished, meetings have been arranged with other speakers and the documentation for the meeting was finally in place. We have a day left for runthrough, so it’s looking good. A couple of quick notes to speakers and helpers and all is done.

We are ready. Bring it on.

Grand Rapids Diary 2