I have told my boss, so now I can make my announcement here – I’ve accepted another speaking engagement, this one in Jamaica for ACURIL. Karen Schneider (aka Free Range Librarian) had referred me to the conference organizers to do a couple of presentations in her place. I will be doing a presentation on Collaboration and Cloud Computing and then one on either Mashups or Web 3.0 – that hasn’t been decided yet. So, back from England for 3 days and getting ready to do Chicago and the MLS workshop in 3 weeks and Jamaica a week or so after that. I’m gonna be a tired girl this summer!!

Update – I’ll be doing the Mashups presentation that I did at MORENet’s conference in Jamaica. The decision has been made!

Crash & Burn and the Recovery

Westminister AbbeyYesterday I crashed. I got up – late – and blearily made my way to the breathtakingly gorgeous Westminster Abbey. I toured and I enjoyed, but I was so tired I’m sure I missed a bunch. I came back to my hotel after the tour and promptly passed out on the bed, sleeping from 3pm to 7pm. I got up, ate dinner, came back to the hotel, called my family to let them know I still lived (sort of) and went right back to bed.
Today I woke up much refreshed and ready to start touring again! This morning I ran off and spent a lovely couple of hours wandering around Hyde Park. It was particularly interesting to me, since I read so many romances set in the 18th & 19th century in London – and they are always riding through Hyde Park, or walking along the Serpentine Lake. I didn’t get on a horse (though it was available), nor did I take a boat out on the lake (though if my son had been with me, I would have!), but I did get some beautiful views (and a few nice shots) of the park as I wandered aimlessly along.

The Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park   Tulips in Hyde Park One of many statues in Hyde Park

Tonight, I go on a walking tour of Jack the Ripper’s old haunts – of course, they don’t offer these during the daytime (I checked), so I’ll be completely freaked out on my last night in London. Oh well…
I don’t know if I’ll get my pictures from the tour uploaded tonight – I’m going to try to get everything pretty much packed up this afternoon and ready for me to head out of here at 6:30am tomorrow morning (that’s 12:30am CST…). I’ll probably keep my laptop out until I go to bed – I’ll have to Skype everyone when I get back and make sure that my getting back home arrangements are set up!
This will undoubtably be my last post of the trip, however, so I’ll say goodbye now and I’ll see you all when I get home!

Eyeing London and The British Museum

Today I went on a ride on the London Eye and got a fabulous view of the city. The conditions weren’t perfect, but they were pretty darn good! I could see all of the city, at least, and a bit into the countryside – but then it got a bit hazy. After that, I made my way to the British Museum…
Above the entrance to the British Museum I have to say, I entered this building with a sense of awe – more so than any other place I’ve been in my travels around town. That sense of awe did not diminish in the slightest as I wandered around, seeing the Rosetta stone, all manner of ancient statues, jars, jewelry and such and entire temples relocated into the museum itself. Nereid Monument (The Nereid Monument, taken from Turkey and set back up in a side gallery in the museum – how is that for awe inspiring?)
I saw lots of mummies – from fancy Egyptian ones to accidental English ones (Lindow Man). All in all, it was a fabulous way to spend an afternoon!

More London

Lunch - a traditional English tea
You didn’t think that just because I was no longer in Devon, I’d be giving up my Devon clotted cream, did you? Ha! That was my lunch yesterday while I was getting ready to head into St. Paul’s Cathedral. I toured that AMAZING structure yesterday afternoon, after visiting the Tate Modern Art Museum in the morning (Kadinskys and Picassos and Warhols, oh my!). Quite possibly the best moment of the trip (so far) was watching a little girl of about 6 or 7 years look straight up into the dome of St. Paul’s and watching her face light up in awe. That was an amazing sight!! No pics allowed in either the Tate or St. Pauls, so I gave my camera a bit of a rest yesterday.
Not so today, however! Today, I went to the Tower of London!
It was fabulous!! I got the audio tour, since it was raining and the Yeoman Warders don’t do their guided tour in the rain, but when the sun came out and my audio tour was over, I joined the guided tour as well. I saw the bloody tower, where the two princes “disappeared” and are said to be haunting the area, I saw the crown jewels (the yeoman said not to let us ladies compare our jewels to the Queen’s – the guys would get horrible inferiority complexes) and I saw the royal armory (with Henry the 8th’s armor – something else guys shouldn’t be comparing themselves to! The yeoman said that the codpeice on that suit of armor was psychological warfare before it became popular…). I saw the White Tower, where a number of prisoners were held and I saw the Queen’s house where both Guy Fawkes and Rudolph Hess (of WWII Nazi infamy) were held as prisoners. I, unfortunately, didn’t see much of the Tower Bridge because I decided to visit the Tower on the same day the London marathon was running over the Tower Bridge and around the Tower itself. Talk about crowds!!
I’m back now, and ready for my mid-day siesta before I go out to eat tonight. It’s been rainy today and I need to do a bit of drying out…

London by bus

Today I spent the majority of my day sitting on my butt on a tour bus, listening to facts that I cannot now remember, but will assuredly pull out of my head at random times over the next few weeks. Just a warning to all of you who will have to deal with me!
I hopped on the bus at 9:30ish and rode around for an hour and a half learning about the “famous places” of London. When we got to Trafalgar Square, I hopped off and immediately went into a bookstore. This was an expensive little diversion… After that, I had lunch (and a cider – drinking at noon! I could get used to this!!) at the Sherlock Holmes pub. Next was the National Gallery of Art. It rained while I was in gazing at Monet’s rendition of the Parliament building in the background of the Thames and at Gainsborough, Van Gogh and many, many other masterpieces. I then went to the shop. This too was an expensive visit…
After I’d spent most of my daily budget at Trafalgar, I hopped back on the bus and then got right back off at Piccadily Circus. I wandered around that area for a while – not spending any money – until it was time for afternoon tea, which I had in a slightly frenchified manner – with a tartlet instead of scones. It was satisfying, though and that got me back on the bus for more sightseeing!
After I had taken a million pictures and walked around the spots I wasn’t planning on visiting later, I headed back to the hotel for a brief siesta. I uploaded pics, checked email and searched for a restaurant that was close. I settled on the Blue Jade – thai food, of course – and headed there at about 7pm. It was wonderful!! Excellent food and service!
Now I’m back to my hotel and ready to call everyone and see how they are doing, assure them that I’m still kicking and the like. I was going to do the Tower of London tomorrow, but it looks like it will be nice tomorrow and rainy Sunday and Monday, so I may do Hyde Park tomorrow instead!

Buckingham Palace

After I uploaded this morning’s batch of pictures and rested for a bit, I went off back toward Victoria Station and Buckingham palace. On my way there, I stopped off at the Grosvenor Gardens and sat and watched the pigeons and people wander by (and found a cash machine that will actually give me pounds – took me two tries, but I found one!!). I continued on past the royal mews and finally on to the palace.
Buckingham Palace
That was an impressive sight! I got several pictures, both of the palace at different angles and of the monument to Queen Victoria that sits just outside the gates. They are on Flickr, of course!
After that lookaround, I walked back – slowly – to an Indian restaurant I’d passed on my way to the palace and had a lovely dinner there. A short walk back to my hotel followed dinner and now I’m back in my room – uploading, tagging and organizing all of my day’s photos. I’m going to be talking to the folks at home soon, when they get home from work, and then I’ll be more than ready to get some sleep!

More Travelin’

I hopped the train to Paddington Station at 2:21pm and ended the portion of my trip that required work. Except for the hauling of 75 pounds of crap that I decided was necessary for my trip to England. I’d call that work, too. Anyway, the trip back to London was lovely – all verdent (and I mean blinding, saturated greens on the hills – dotted with sheep, of course – that we passed) and lovely and relaxing. We got to Paddington, hopped the tube to Victoria Station, got bad directions to the hotel and wandered the streets for a bit – until we finally got good directions – and then made it to the hotel – with all 75 pounds of crap still attached. We were going to get an extra bed and Bobbi was going to crash in my room overnight, before getting on a 7am plane to Italy – but my room is barely big enough for the twin bed that is in it (as in the door won’t fully open because the foot of space between the doorjamb and the bed won’t allow it. Private toilet, lots of tea/coffee makings and all, but NO ROOM. They are moving me to a bigger one tomorrow. After all that, Bobbi decided it would be just as cheap to get a hotel room out at the airport than to get a room here and pay 45 pounds (that’s 90 bucks) for the taxi back – since the tube doesn’t open til 6am. She left, I got settled in my closet and went out for dinner.
I stopped off at a cute little pub on Victoria Street (I think – still getting my bearings) and had bangers and mash with a cider to drink. As I was finishing up, a lady came and sat at my table and asked to bum a light – I gave her one, we chatted amiably, then her friend came out and joined her and she lit into him like a banshee. Apparently he (or someone) had been telling people that she will “drain your bank account” and she wanted him to stop. He insisted that he wasn’t saying it. I was fascinated, but had to leave in the middle – it was getting a bit weird for me! They paused in their argument, wished me a lovely evening and continued on as I walked away.
I got back to the hotel at about 9:30 and the “emergency engineering issue” that they had warned me about when I checked in kicked in. No electricity for the rest of the night. I’m typing this up on battery power and will post it tomorrow (Thursday) after the power comes back on to our street.
Sweet dreams, y’all – I’m going to sleep!

Final Overview Of UKSG

Wednesday, the final day of the UKSG conference was fabulous. We started the day with a discussion of Web 3.0 that I am totally going to crib for my Web 3.0 session in September. The speaker, Geoffrey Bilder of CrossRef , discussed the emergence of metadata and the move from “reading” the web to “computing” the web. He also talked about RDF and turning the web into a database. It was all fascinating stuff and I will definitely be using it. We snuck out after that to get ready for our session at 11am, the final breakout session of the conference. It went pretty well – not as many questions during the session itself, but lots of folks stopped by and chatted afterward. I took about 50 moo cards and left with 6. I was pleased! After that was a discussion of the similar issues plaguing the music industry and libraries – that of content distribution that both supports content creators and allows democratic access to culture by the public. Jim Griffin, a music industry exec, was funny and thought-provoking. After that was a final lunch – with goodbyes and thank yous to all the nice people I met and to those who invited me to the conference as well.

Dinner in Red

Last night’s final dinner was a “red” themed dinner – everyone was supposed to show up in whatever they felt interpreted the red theme best. I wore a red sweater. The guy who won the contest wore copies of the Sun and the Mirror (“redtop” papers) plastered to his entirely red outfit as well as a little hat made of more pages from those papers. I recieved enough advice about where to go in London that I’m probably going to have to extend my vacation for another week (we can consider this my official request for time off, right Bill?) and had a lovely time eating myself silly. I, along with the rest of my table, received advice on how to taste wine in the snobbiest French way by a truly charming French man and we discovered that there were more midwesterners at this conference than we had ever guessed. I sat across from a lovely woman who lived in Kansas City, MO for years before she relocated to Glasgow, Scotland.
In response to Margaret’s concerns for my health, I am walking a lot – we are about 1/2 mile or better from the conference center, so I get it at least a couple of miles a day walking back and forth – but there is no way on earth I could walk off all of the amazing food they are providing!
I’m off to a discussion on Web 3.0 and then a repeat of our session! Have a lovely day!!

Tuesday afternoon

Great, now I’m going to have that song in my head today. Oh well, it will be a change from Madonna’s Material Girl, which has been running through my head for a week!
Anyway, Tuesday, after our first class, I went back to the hotel and headed to the bar area for High Tea. I had little finger sandwiches (of ham & mustard, smoked salmon & cream cheese, roast beef (withhout the tomato) and I passed on the cucumber sandwich), fruit cake (real, live fruit cake!!) with my scones, devon clotted cream, strawberry jam and tea. It was a perfect snack – a bit heavy, perhaps, but lovely to eat & experience. Now I’m getting ready to head to the evening reception & dinner. I’ve still got a couple of hours before dinner, so I’m sure I’ll be ready for it – despite the big tea – when it is served!

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