After taking a moment to refresh myself in the hotel, I headed down to the lobby to meet with Michael Blankstein, the other fellow, and Professor Richard Field, a consultant from SWLEOC. Mr. Field is an exceptionally charming man with a characteristically dry, British sense of humor.
His first task was to take us to the Epsom Downs Racecourse, a short 10-minute walk from our hotel. This is the site of “The Derby” as the British call it. Today, however, it was hosting the “Superhero Family Day” which is a series of races and the crowd can dress up in superhero costumes. In between horse races there are races with kids running on the track dressed as Batman, Superman, etc. It was very cute.
Richard insisted on Fish & Chips for lunch, and a glass of Pimms which, as he described it, is “a girly drink.” It’s a summertime, garden party type drink that is best described as a mix of cola, lemonade, and some alcohol, possibly gin. This was served with orange and cucumber slices. Quite refreshing.
We also learned how to place wagers on the horses and I am happy to say that I came out pretty much even, or slightly ahead. We go to rub elbows with horse owners, and stand at the finish line to hear the roar of the hooves as the contestants sped down the track. It was all very exciting.
Apart from horse racing, Richard also taught us the three levels of interest when surgeons approach new technology. They are as follows:
- “Spawn of Satan” – At this stage, the observer determines that whoever is using or has adopted the new technology should be treated like a pariah.
- “This is getting interesting” – Once beyond the first stage, the observer begins to consider the new technology as viable, and worth investigating.
- “I’ve always thought this was a good idea” – Complete self-deception on the part of the observer. This stage gets to be very popular
After horse racing, we had a lovely dinner at the hotel, discussed the “Brexit” vote, as well as “Donald vs. Hillary” (and if you think America is confused, please take the time to talk to a European…) All in all a lovely first day in England.