What a May it’s been! The last day of the SRP conference I flew to Manchester, only to fly back out the next day to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with my dad and husband. It’s been 14 years since we last went over to visit family, so long overdue, and my husband has never been … so it was a bit of a baptism of fire with nearly 3 weeks travelling around Malaysia and Indonesia. Luckily my spice training I mentioned in a previous blog, one chilli extra each time I cook, served him well.
We visited Kuala Lumpur (shopping heaven, and a bit of time to acclimatise), Tawau (Malaysian side of Borneo, my closest cousins live here, they organised us a mini wedding here in traditional Indonesian outfits which was lots of fun – our 4th wedding …I think we’re just being greedy now – plus it’s just more anniversaries my poor husband has to remember!), Nunukan and Tarakan (two small Indonesian islands, by boat. In Tarakan we got to see the Proboscis Monkey – it has a huge nose and can only be found in Borneo), Jakarta (more shopping and sightseeing, crazy city!), Makassar (Sulawesi, the Indonesian island my dad was born on. We drove 4.5 hours through the mountains and forest, past monkeys just sat by the roadside, to reach my dad’s village, quite an experience. I’d last been there nearly 30 years ago when there was barely a road to drive there on), and finally Singapore before flying back to Manchester. Then, you guessed it, the next day we were on the move again, back at Manchester airport (if I didn’t already hate it – I did – then I definitely do now!) to fly to Belfast to attend a friend’s wedding, 4 days in the beautiful Ballycastle, the wedding, catching up with good friends and a colleague who has moved out there, and taking in the scenery of Northern Ireland including the Giants Causeway of course, before travelling down to Dublin to fly to the north of Spain, Oviedo, where I’d been invited to speak at the Sociedad Española de Protección Radiólogica (Spanish Radiation Protection Society) annual conference on communication and outreach. I took part in a Round Table discussion along with my counterpart from the Spanish Society, a representative from the Spanish Medical Physics Society, and interestingly, two women with journalism degrees and specialise in communication in companies and institutes, who are employed by ENRESA, the Spanish radioactive waste agency, and FORO Nuclear, an association which represents the interests of the Spanish nuclear sector. It was interesting to have the two sides of the story, from a professional communicator’s point of view, and that of the technical person. I managed to have some good discussions with the Spanish societies about their engagement strategies and drum up interest in IRPA 2026, as well as secure a webinar speaker, so, successful trip.
So, after 5 weeks, 7 countries, 2 radiation protection conferences, 2 weddings, and lots of time with amazing friends and family, last Saturday we returned to Toledo. It’s been an amazing 5 weeks away, but I was very much looking forward to sleeping in my own bed for a while (3 weeks…until I’m back in the UK for the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham – watch out for a call out for volunteers in the Weekly if you want to be involved!).
I think, dear readers, you’ll also be glad to know that the weather in Spain is worse than the photos I’ve seen of the weather in the UK this past week. So, enjoy the sun, and I’ll speak to you after the Big Bang Fair!
Director of Engagement