This week is National Volunteers Week…apparently. To celebrate, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum (NHM) put on a bit of a do for us. I went tonight and had a great time.
The do was in the new Darwin Discovery Centre at the NHM which sort of resembles a big egg inside an airport terminal. Inside the big egg is a big laboratory for scientists who want to dissect and work out stuff. As they do. It’s all very snazzy.
I chatted with a fellow volunteer who is from Brisbane and knows Caboolchure. She had her first orientation day at the NHM today and was all excited about scanning and entering information about small bugs (like lice) onto the database.
We then had a fantastic talk by Chris Stringer who I saw at the archaeology conference I went to with Dawn earlier in the year. It was the same talk, about Neanderthals, but was updated with all the new information regarding the genome sequencing of Neanderthal DNA. It was excellent!
But the highlight, the truly marvellous bit, was when he took out of a tissue lined box, a real Neanderthal skull and put it on the table in order to demonstrate certain features. And then, afterwards, everyone crowded round to take photographs of it. And I reached out and touched the brow ridge! It felt like rock. Mainly because it is rock. Still.
We then all went back to the booze and food for a bit. I excused myself from Francis and Nick (my boss who had joined us) and left. I wanted to get the 9pm train so I wouldn’t be home too late. Well, that was really, really stupid.
All was fine until the train suddenly stopped outside Wimbledon. And then the power went off (there were emergency lights). And then, after about 20 minutes, we had an announcement. We were being held there because a train had struck a passenger in Wimbledon station on the adjacent track to ours and all the power had been turned off so the police could do their CSI thing.
It was very frustrating to watch all the other trains go belting by as we just sat there. I almost finished my book. Other people finished books and hunted around for discarded newspapers. We were there for an hour and a quarter.
I finally walked into the house at 11:45 instead of 10:30. BASTARDS!