That was the week that was

If I had more than five hours of sleep per night during last week, I’d count myself lucky.

What a week! Exhausting, experiential, exhilarating. From Monday right through to Saturday, it was a week of travel, conversations, presentations, new sights and sounds and discovery.

Shel and Michele Holtz came a-visiting last Monday morning. They stayed with us (well, they slept in the pub hotel across the road) and we played tourists for much of the week.

And what a week, as I mentioned. It resulted in an almost complete absence of blogging here although I managed to keep up twittering fairly well.

The great thing about having friends visiting – especially out-of-country friends – is that you take them places that you rarely go to yourself. When you do, you discover things you never knew.

More on that in a minute.

The week started with a crack-of-dawn visit to Gatwick airport last Monday to meet and greet our two visitors. It was a dejá vu visit for me – I’d been in Gatwick less than ten hours previously, returning from Ireland following PodCamp Ireland.

Although I talked about PodCamp Ireland in FIR #280 a week ago, I haven’t really done full justice to commenting about that excellent event. No time for blogging last week… :)

So I want to say again – special thanks to key organizers Krishna De, Bernie Goldbach, Brian Greene, Ken McGuire and Conn Ó Muíneacháin. You did Ireland proud!

The day before PodCamp Ireland, on Friday September 28 when I arrived in Dublin, I had two radio interviews set up by Krishna.

The first was a phone interview with Alex Gibson, host of The Persuaders, a marketing show on the Dublin City Annalivia station. That interview was live, in the show as it was being broadcast. There will be a podcast available soon.

The second interview was face-to-face in the studio with Damien Kiberd, one of Ireland’s leading business journalists, on Down To Business, Ireland’s premier business radio show on NewsTalk radio.

That interview was included in the show broadcast on September 29 and a podcast is now available.

In addition, Krishna and I had a conversation which is included in the latest episode of The Podcast Sisters. Also, Conn interviewed me for an upcoming episode of Intruders.tv.

On top of all that, Bernie and Ken had organized a book signing at PodCamp Ireland, with copies of How to Do Everything with Podcasting on sale at a reduced price, supplied by The Kilkenny Book Centre. We shifted 10 copies.

And there’s more – on the journey to Dublin airport last Sunday with Bernie, Brian and Dean Whitbread, we recorded an impromptu podcast mostly for Bernie’s students. I wonder if that will be generally available sometime.

I had my 15 minutes of fame in Ireland! And enjoyed it!

Speaking of interviews, I had another radio interview last Tuesday with Mick Mulcahy of Cork’s 96FM station. Nothing to do with PodCamp Ireland: this was about Second Life. I don’t know if a podcast will be available or not.

So, for last week we had lots of plans for Shel and Michele. Not all play, though, as Shel and I had commitments Monday-Wednesday – me at the CIPR workshop on social media on Monday and both of us involved with the Ragan/SimplyCommunicate Social Media Masterclass on Tuesday and Wednesday.

We talked about both of these events in last Thursday’s FIR #281. And Marc Wright posted about the Masterclass. Truly great to see such positive feedback, makes it all worthwhile.

And now we come to the discovery phase of last week, Thursday and Friday.

These were the two days we’d planned to take Shel and Michele visiting places not too far from us and outside London.

Knowing Shel’s interest in British history, we decided we’d visit places steeped in ancient history – Stonehenge followed by the Avebury stone circle. These places are 5,000 and 6,000 years old respectively and are World Heritage sites.

I was especially impressed with Stonehenge as a tourist destination. Compared to the last time I visited (about ten years ago), it was clear that English Heritage had invested serious time and money to make Stonehenge a terrific experience.

That experience was enhanced with a recorded audio guide to the monument that you could listen to as you walked around. Extremely well done.

Then on to Avebury where we met up with David Phillips, our FIR correspondent in the UK, whose historical knowledge gave us rich insights into everything at Avebury (there’s a lot more than the stone circle).

Our tour wrapped up with a barbecue at David’s place near Swindon. A perfect conclusion to the day.

On Friday, we fast-forwarded by about 4,000 years on a tour of Windsor Castle. Michele especially was keen to experience this aspect of British history.

Just as with Stonehenge, the tour included a recorded audio guide. Really excellent to gain some knowledge of the history that you simply can’t just looking around by yourself.

For instance, I never knew that Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Edward III are interred in St George’s Chapel. I’d always thought all monarchs were buried in Westminster Abbey.

Our day and indeed our week culminated in the FIR Geek Dinner on Friday evening in Windsor. A really great event.

All the photos I’ve taken of PodCamp Ireland and last week during our grand tours are up on Flickr.

On Saturday, Shel and Michele departed for Manchester where Shel has a speaking gig to complete before they both jet off to the US tomorrow. Later today we’ll be recording today’s episode of FIR. Face-to-face last week, over Skype today as usual.

It’s been a great week!

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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