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Saturday, July 30, 2005

All over (well almost).

So, Friday was the date of my official leaving do. Twenty of us traipsed to our local for a long lunch, and very nice it was to. It wasn't as emotional as I thought it would be -in part because I am going to be floating around the lab for the next few weeks writing a paper and finishing a few last experiments to tie up loose ends. Then there is the process of cataloguing the myriad of strains, genetic constructs and data sets that I have accumulated over the past few years (and tidying my bench - shudder). Despite the short notice (I only sent an email on monday) my workmates (old and new) had arranged a very generous whip-round. Knowing me as well as they do, they didn't even bother asking what I wanted - because they knew that I would have no idea. So instead I received a couple of very lovely souvenirs and mementoes that will adorn whatever desk I eventually end up occupying and then they gave me the rest as a chunk of cash - probably far more useful to me at the moment.

In time-honoured fashion, I was required to give a speech. After initially demuring, I produced 4 sheets of densely typed A4 paper to a chorus of groans and shouts of "right I'm off" - just as well really, it was actually a printout of a paper I was reading that I had slipped into my pocket before leaving the lab. Always start with a gag I say! In the end all I simply had to say was that as I look to the future, my biggest worry is that I won't find a group of workmates with whom I am so happy.

And that's the truth. Despite the stresses caused by SWMNBN and her poorly thought out project, with almost no exceptions this group are wonderful to work with. Over the years we have had literally dozens of visitors from across the planet. All of them, without exception, have commented on the positive and friendly atmosphere in the lab. The group email list is inundated with best wishes at christmas from people who may have only spent 3 weeks with us, 5 years previously. More than a few emailed in the aftermath of the London attacks to say that they were thinking and praying that our city wouldn't be next - particularly touching coming from colleagues who's own countries are wracked with far worse terrorist atrocities on a regular basis. And I now officially have offers of accomodation from every continent on earth, bar Antarctica, should I ever plan a world tour.

There will be a few more unofficial leaving dos over the next couple of weeks, as workmates who were on holiday or at a conference have insisted that I let them take me for a pint... oh well, if you insist...

I suspect however, that the day I finally hand in my security card for the last time, I may have slightly blurred vision...



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