On Sunday morning we had a little leisure time before John Hodgkinson picked us up to take us to his house. The plan was to get in a little physical activity, have a nice lunch, and then John would drive us to Manchester airport to fly down to Exeter.
Tim Board met us at John’s house, and brought his running apparel with him. I also brought my running apparel, but Tim is in much better shape than I am! We decided to go for a run around the Holcombe Moor which is where John’s house is. So I laced up my running shoes, and Tim ran me for 5 miles up and down the English countryside.
It was an absolutely delightful run, and took us near an area that was being used by the Ministry of Defense for training exercises. I could hear the “pop pop pop” of the guns as we ran on the outskirts of this training area. Otherwise, the route took us up this beautiful Moor over wet, rocky terrain. As we followed the path around, it took us by the Robert Peel Tower. This was a tower dedicated to the man who created the police system in England. It is in reverence of him that police officers in England are referred to as “Bobbies.”
By the time we made it back to John’s house, John and his wife and Michael had just returned from their walk. We were all ready for lunch and a little bit of relaxation. After a shower, and a quick change of clothes, I joined the group for some wine and lunch on their beautiful patio.
As we ate, we sat and talked about our experience. Given the time that John has been an orthopedic surgeon, we gained tremendous insight from him and his history. He has truly been in one of the great centers of orthopedics and has seen firsthand orthopedic innovation. It was an honor to simply sit with him, and hear him tell his tales. Like so many of the other hosts we have dealt with before I was awestruck by his humility.
When lunch was done we piled into John’s car and he drove us to Manchester airport. We said our goodbyes, and boarded the plane to Exeter. After another short flight we were greeted at the Exeter airport by Mr. Jonathan Howell. Jonathan is a great guy with a contagious smile, and he drove us into City center. He briefly showed us the Exeter Cathedral, which was built just a few short decades after the Norwich Cathedral, and also by the Normans. We grabbed a quick pint at a local bar, and then headed down the street to a wonderful restaurant to meet the rest of the group.
At the restaurant, we were joined by Mr. John Timperley, Mr. Matthew Hubble, and Mr. Matthew Wilson. We joked that to be on the Exeter hip team, one needed to be named “Matthew” or “John”. We discussed all of the places we visited, the usual topics of conversation (of course Donald/Hillary included), and shared a lovely evening together.
While most places had put us up in a hotel, in Exeter Michael and I were each sent to stay with one of the consultants at their homes. Michael stayed with Mr. Timperley, and I stayed with Mr. Hubble. It was a very warm and welcoming gesture on their behalf.
At Mr. Hubble’s house I had the pleasure of meeting his wife, and three of his four children. Their house was lovely, the accommodations immaculate, and they even had candles lit for me. I went to sleep that night reflecting on how lucky I am to have this type of experience.