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Thursday nights out on the town

Thursday nights were designated as the night to hit the town, to a tapas bar or a Chinese restaurant, or whatever. Usually that was a preliminary to the gang then moving on to sample the local bars and nightlife, but I simply wasn’t up for that. I was working some stupidly long hours (by my current standards anyway – I was still doing far less than the 12 hour days of many of the techies) so was far too tired to cope with a late night. If I joined the gang, it was for dinner only, followed by an early night. 

One week the Thursday night out was a curry evening. I don’t eat curry – I really can’t stand it, so was preparing to give it a miss. However, the trials manager talked me into joining the party by saying that he wouldn’t eat curry or chilli either, but that the restaurant served a range of delicious and non-spicy food too. The clincher though that sold it to me was that on Thursday nights there was a magician who performed close-up magic tricks at the tables. Some of the group had gone the previous week, and had been raving about the tricks ever since. I was pleasantly surprised – the waiter pointed me at some very tasty but completely non-spicy dishes, the smell of curry wasn’t too overpowering, and the table-top magic was really very good indeed. Mostly card tricks, but done with great dexterity, even with a dozen highly sceptical scientists watching the magician’s every move and trying to guess how the tricks were done. We were particularly impressed when he turned a pack of cards into a block of perspex, while one of the team had a firm grip of it. 

All in all, the three weeks spent working away from home on that equipment trial were surprisingly enjoyable. The work was tough, but there was a really good team spirit, and there was a lot of hilarity over dinner each night. We even had a birthday party one evening, complete with balloons and chocolate cake, since one of the engineers was unfortunate enough to be celebrating his birthday during the trial.