Goodbye, Durham


I left the UK just a couple of week ago, completing an adventure that began in September of 2006. With the culinary help of my (also physicist) flatmates, we made made sure I had a proper send-off.

Below are some shots of the table spread. (Not pictured are the MSSM amaretti that I couldn’t help making.)

In typical English summer-celebratory fashion, the drinks included a bowl of Pimms. I have to say that the Pimms we made was a lot better than the Pimms I tried at the mathematics garden party in Cambridge last year… but this one had me feeling woozy after a couple of glasses. For a bunch of physicists, I think we did a good job with the catering.

I called the celebration the “Inverse American Revolution,” since this Yank was being sent back to where he came from. On the other hand, I should note that my desk in the IPPP office has been passed down to an American summer student. If you include last year’s also-studying-in-the-US summer student, then there’s been a continuous American presence in the office for over a year and counting. Next thing you know there’ll be an airbase and a Walmart.

On a whim, I decided to invite Durham’s vice chancellor and England’s unofficial adopted American, Bill Bryson. (Brysons books are required reading for anyone travelling anywhere that he has, but especially England.) I figured he was really busy, so I wrote a rather quick and only slightly-cheeky e-mail. The day after the party I was surprised to find a very nice reply saying congratulations on finishing my course and noting that I’d forgottent o list the time and place for my party. I got my share of Bryson the following day, however, when I read Into The Woods on the flight home. (This particualr book was preparation for future physics adventures on the East coast.)

The desserts included a pumpkin pie (mix imported from the US) and a banoffee pie which (thanks to my flatmate, Jo) was decorated in stars and stripes.

Boosting into the present for a moment: I’d like to note to my English friends that thus far banoffee pie has been a huge hit on this side of the Atlantic. Nobody here has heard of it, but they love it.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who made it to my party and sorry to those who were too far away to invite (e.g. Cambridge people). I’ll miss Durham and I’ll miss the UK. But not too much, since it looks like I’ll be returning for a visit next April. (More on this later.)

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