Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Planes, coaches and automobiles

I'm becoming quite the regular seminar giver now, as last Friday I went down to the University of Southampton to give a talk to the General Relativity group in the School of Mathematics (this time I was invited to talk myself, rather than standing in for my boss, which was the case for the last talk). It was nice to go down there and giving the talk was enjoyable - I think it was quite novel for the group there to have a non-theoretical maths-y talk, which I certainly was never going to be in danger of giving. I also got to have a useful chat with Ian about his paper, which gives a mechanism for getting gravitational waves from a neutron star at the spin frequency (rather than twice the spin frequency, which is where we normally look).

However, getting there proved to be a bit more hassle than planned. I had the ambitious plan of getting there and back in one day, which isn't too difficult a task normally, but I was doing it in the current weather conditions. I was booked on the early morning flybe flight direct from Glasgow to Southampton, and due to arrive at 8:15. The plane left on time, however at about 8pm, probably as we were approaching the south coast, it was announced that snow in Southampton was going to prevent us from landing, so we did an about turn and diverted to Birmingham. Due to the fact that flybe don't do flights between Brum and Soton they put on a coach for us, which took about an hour to arrive (not too bad a turn around really). The main problem was that it was 10am when the coach left Birmingham Airport and my talk was scheduled for midday - luckily I had the seminar organisers number and we were able to reschedule the talk for 3pm. There's not really a motorway link directky from the West Midlands down to Southampton, so the coach trip took us towards London, round the M25, and then down south - all the roads were completely clear of snow and the traffic flowed freely, but it was still a 3 hour ride, getting me into Southampton Airport for 1pm. The coach trip was useful in that it gave me a chance to read a very nice review article (which I should have read ages ago) on constraints to neutron star equations of state, but hadn't been my ideal journey.

The trip back was less eventful and my flight returned me to Glasgow directly, although about 50 mins late (but I can't really complain too much about that).