Monday, July 3, 2017

A recent adventure

Most tourists to London cannot miss the idea and symbolism of royalty, but few get to be near. Now, I was born in Canada which does not have a huge population, so it's not that uncommon to have seen royalty; however, never in quite such limited group surroundings. Princess Anne was a speaker at the evening of lectures where she discussed her work with Save The Children. Cal and I attended that reception at the Royal College of Medicine. The speeches all endorsed convincingly that the provision of health care to women improves not only their health but that of their children and others in the family.

Lecture and reception at the Royal College of Medicine

Another night, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, a physician, and peer in government, invited the female guests at the conference to join her at a dinner at the House of Lords. She is a warm, humorous and intelligent professional who charmed us with stories about the pleasures and hazards of needing to be a physician first responder in that august body.
Parliament Buildings are ancient, but the dining room was lovely with fabric covered ceiling and walls and large sliding glass doors that opened to a narrow patio along the Thames.


Photos at the event were limited but here are my friends Gail from Canada and Deb from Australia

Even at dinner I had a lovely view out on the Thames to the Eye

On the narrow patio

View from patio in late evening


The dinner information and menu from the MWF Centenary Program


The Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Sophie, a patroness of the MWF, attended the dinner and met with each one of us. One expects royalty to be charming and gracious and she was every bit of that. We all were delighted to meet her and grateful for her interest in medical women.
The staff at the House of Lords was unbelievably courteous and kind and exceptionally friendly.
On my way into the dinner, a person who works in the building said to me, “I hope it's not impertinent of me Ma'am, but I must say I've never before been in a room with so many powerful women.” I smiled because there were many remarkable individuals present and I felt a bit awed myself.

A view of Big Ben as I left the House of Lords

Engaging educational topics, new friends, historic venues, great food, and entertainment made for a worthwhile trip.
Traveling is one of my passions, not necessarily easy, but worth all of the challenges.

Some photos from the MWF Centenary conference and events


This recent long trip started in San Francisco with a lecture by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He has a new book that I highly recommend, Astrophysics - for People in a Hurry. My husband's positive reaction to the talk leads me to be confident that other non-scientists will enjoy reading and hearing Tyson's words on the subject.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson in San Francisco

From San Francisco, we left for London and then on to the rest of the UK and the Irish Republic.
For the present, I'll focus this post on London. The twenty-five days that followed London will likely inspire future blog entries. It was a peripatetic experience that existed somewhere between boot camp and a whirlwind, but fun!
London as a destination and the hobnobbing with the nobility was because of the celebration of the Centenary of the Medical Women's Federation of England.

Every Birthday needs cake

As a Medical Women International Association member, I wanted to celebrate with my physician sisterhood as did many other women physicians from around the globe.

A few of us decided we needed to get a photo of the visit to Historic Trafalgar Tavern

The MWF organization began with a small group of female doctors who met at a tavern in Greenwich. The MFW arranged a private boat tour for the Centenary attendees to travel from London to Greenwich on the Thames.

Thames River Cruise with MWF

Our group was too large to dine at the Trafalgar Tavern. Fortunately, a larger public house nearby, the Old Brewery, accommodated us nicely with delicious fare. The founding mothers would probably be pleased with the size of our celebratory crowd.

View towards the Greenwich Meridian

While I saw the location of the Meridian on the hill Cal and I were unable to work a visit to the exact spot into our full agenda. I do want to visit there in the future. (Note: I have visited a significant Meridian site in the past, in Ghana, at the spot where the equator meets the Greenwich Meridian, a place Ghanaians refer to as the "Center of the Earth.")
The main conference was held at The British Medical Association building situated near Euston Station. My Hilton Hotel accommodations were right across the street. A shout-out of thanks to my travel agent, Jeff Doris, at the on-line travel agency, Vacations To Go, who situated us in such an excellent spot.

The British Medical Association Building

Cal experiences difficulty with walking and stairs, and I do too on occasion; Uber proved to be an excellent alternative to the Tube to getting around London to other sites.
A couple of other historical sites functioned as the meeting venues - The Royal College of Medicine that I mentioned earlier and The Royal College of Surgeons. I loved all the history and experienced goosebumps stepping where some greats in medicine had walked.





















The Royal College of Surgeons Building

The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons features collections of anatomical and pathological specimens of humans and animal, as well as models, instruments, and art of surgery from the 1800's to the present. Perhaps the museum is a little gruesome for nonscientists but informative for everyone. I recommend a visit.




The London Eye

The day after the conference was Mother's Day and Cal treated me to the London Eye. It's a tourist attraction that I can unequivocally recommend. The pods are spacious with excellent visibility. It's very comfortable with plenty of viewing room and moves slowly, so those with vertigo have little to worry. We'd missed visiting it on our last visit to London.
The day was complete with a trip to The British Museum, a site of great wonders neither of us tires of visiting. Well, that's not strictly true. Emotionally, the collection is fascinating; physically, for our feet and legs, it's fatiguing.