I’m the chief cook & bottle washer around here, and this is what I served up tonight.
In Arabba, we stayed in the Hotel Evaldo, and the food was super. Each afternoon there was cake.
I tended to overdue the starters from the buffet. These had themes on different days, such as mushrooms, roast vegetables or seafood.
As you might expect in a restaurant in Italy, the pasta second courses were particularly good.
Thankfully, the mains were not particularly large.
The third trip we made was to the ‘Hidden Valley’, which involved skiing over to Armentarola, and then catching a bus to Paso Falzarego, and then taking the gondola up to Lagazuoi (2,778m).
It’s a long red, with wonderful views, down to the end of the run at the Capanna Alpina. From there you can get the ‘horselift’ for 2 Euros.
It’s quite a way from the road at Armentarola to get back to Arabba, and by the end of the day we were both pretty knackered.
The other great ski trip to do in the Dolomites is the Sellaronda, a 42 km circular route. It takes the best part of a day to complete the tour.
One of the great ski trips you can do from Arabba is the Marmolada. It is best to start off early.
Just over from where you’re standing is the highest point in the Dolomites (3342m).
What a great time we had in Arabba, in the Dolomites, last week. The snow, which is really the most important thing, was perfect! In many kilometres of skiing I only saw one very small spot of icey snow, at the bottom of a long run in a valley. Apart from that, the pistes were perfect, with new snow when we arrived, new snow on the Tuesday, which was the only day we didn’t ski, and new snow on the Friday, which lay on a good solid base and was quite good fun to ski on. We only found it tough going late one afternoon on a churned up red, which I ended up side slipping down.
The Dolomite ski area is extremely extensive, and there are several interesting trips you can do.
Our hotel was excellent, and the food fabulous.
My skiing technique is not good, but that doesn’t worry me apart from the fact that I have to force my turns on steep slopes, and this can be tiring. At the top of steep reds some people just launch themselves, and their technique is good enough for them to zoom down without much effort. When it’s my turn I have to plan the route down, sometimes going from one side of the piste to the other, and taking several breaks.
Reading the announcement about the closure of the Online Information Show, and Phil Bradley’s blog post about his experiences at Olympia made me think about my own memories of ‘Online’, as most of us referred to it.
I first attended Online a long time ago – I can’t remember which year it was. I wasn’t prepared for it and was rather overawed by the massive size of the exhibition and the thousands of visitors.
After a break of a couple of years, in 1998, I was back, presenting a paper entitled “Enabling the user in the quest for quality” and taking a turn on the JISC stall to tell people about EEVL. The conference/exhibition was a wonderful way to meet up with colleagues and others working in the information industry. It really did give you the feeling that you were part of something big and current, and I learnt an immense amount by attending various presentations and working on various stands.
My Online highlight was being presented with the Information Professional of the Year 2000 award at the official Online party.
In the years that followed, I used the venue to consult with publishers, do various deals with information providers and others, take part in a nerve-racking panel session, meet friends and collect brochures and other information for Heriot-Watt University Library. I’d go home with a bag packed full of leaflets, and magazines such as Information World Review, Online Searcher and various other Information Today titles. What I quickly learnt was that you had to be well prepared to make the most of the Show, and if you wanted to collaborate with a publisher, for example, you had to find the right person to arrange a meeting with. Having a name badge saying ‘Presenter’ opened doors as well. Online was also an opportunity to attend other meetings, arranged to coincide with everyone being in London for the Exhibition and Conference. We also had a few parties, several with others working on RDN projects.
For a number of years running I gave Updates on Engineering Information Sources at the Exhibition, which gave me an excuse to attend and make various contacts, which were nearly always useful.
The Updates, of which this is the most recent one which survives, took place in one of the three seminar areas dotted about the Exhibition. The first time I gave one of these updates I was surprised by how many people attended – Yes – there were others who were interested in engineeering information resources! Although only twenty minutes in length, the updates took a lot of advance preparation because they were collations of what twenty or more publishers/websites/services/projects were doing, and each had to be contacted a couple of months ahead of the Show, and then followed up.
I can’t remember which year it was, but I’d been ill for a few weeks before Online with a stubborn kidney stone, and wasn’t as well prepared as usual. That year, it seemed to be incredibly stuffy in the seminar room, and I melted as I went through the list of things that were happening in the world of engineeering information. Dehydration is the worst thing when you’ve got a kidney stone and I was aware that my presentation suffered. I also wasn’t encourged by the fact that the number of attendees at my session was down on previous years, but I just about got through the talk, went back to the hotel, changed my soaking shirt, and eventually felt sufficiently revived to go to a party organised by ProQuest in the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, Southwark.
At that party I found myself sitting at a round table with various other librarians, publishers and hangers-on. I turned to the chap on my right and asked him how his day at Online had been.
“Oh, quite good, actually” he replied.
“Did you attend any good sessions?” I enquired.
“Yes, a few” he continued, “They were all very well presented apart from the one at lunchtime. Dreadfully boring, it was, and the man giving it had the most awful monotone voice, he… oh! … Oh my Goodness … It was YOU!”
“Oh dear” I responded, “I’m very sorry about that, but I wasn’t feeling very well earlier today. But at least I hope you found the content of some interest.”
“None at all, I’m afraid” he continued, “I only went into the talk because there were so many empty seats, and I was desperate for a sit-down.”
After that, I was dreading the next year conference, but that one actually went very well, with standing room only for my presentation, and several people coming up to me afterwards saying that they’d found it useful.
My thanks go to all those who helped organise Online over the years, and who made it such a rewarding experience for everyone who attended.
It’s been a busy week, with more appointments than usual.
First, there was a meeting to deal with the admin of the temporary part-time job I’m doing just now for a research project called JEMO (JournalTOCs: Expanding Market Opportunities). JEMO is a neat, very worthwhile project which will potentially benefit researchers everywhere, but especially those in developing countries.
Then I had to go to the hospital to arrange a forthcoming minor, non-serious operation.
Then the dentist, for an extraction. What a relief that was!
Then the opticians for an eye test, a glaucoma test, and to arrange for new spectacles.
And then back to the dentist to collect the plate.
Plus there’s packing to be done for our skiing trip to Arabba.
In the meantime, I heard that Fat Mac is going on another Diet & Detox retreat to a remote island off the west of Scotland which has no pub. He’s worried about being reincarnated as a worm, and wants to experience an extended period of self-denial.
So, next week, after ten perfect runs on pisted new snow with a firm base, I will hopefully be sunning myself on a deckchair outside a mountain cafe enjoying a glass of glühwein and views of the Dolomites, and looking forward to the blue run back to our room, a dip in the swimming pool, a session in the jacuzzi, and then some cordon bleu food in the 4* hotel, whilst Fat Mac will be sitting in a cell by himself on an island with the wind and rain howling outside the door, contemplating an evening meal of raw carrots and a future life as a non-arthropod invertebrate.
It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?