A week away and food poisoning | #DeadDuckDilbert | Paying to pee | Trooping the Colour

Last week I travelled to Salisbury for a meeting. This is my second visit to the UK and my first to Salisbury.

Because it was work travel Dead Duck Dilbert would accompany me. You can find the images on twitter and Instagram by searching for #deadduckdilbert (I note Facebook is now hash tag friendly).

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Dilbert at home on my suitcase

Hello #DeadDuckDilbert

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This was captured just before I left home

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For new readers DDD first came with me on my trip to the CDC in Atlanta Georgia earlier this year.

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Virgin Lounge CBR waiting for VA661 With chips 🙂

VA661 CBR to SYD

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I flew the CBR to SYD leg with Virgin Australia so I was able to use the new CBR Virgin Lounge. It was pretty nice.

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Dead Duck Dilbert and boarding pass for VA661 in the Virgin Lounge CBR

Hello #DeadDuckDilbert

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The beginning of DDD’s journey through four airports and quite a few train stations.

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Dinner on VA661 Vegetarian quiche

#dinner vegetarian quiche on VA661

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The flight was in the evening so I had a meal. This was quite nice.

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Dessert on VA661 Lemon meringue tart

#dessert lemon meringue tart on VA661

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This was a bite sized hit of sweetness and tartness but in a good way.

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Air New Zealand Koru Club lounge snack and passport

I fly quite a lot with United Airlines to North America because they offer the best fares of the day mostly. I’m now very familiar with this lounge now. I was surprised though to see the hot dog cart closed.

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Dead Duck Dilbert in Koru Club SYD

Okay #deadduckdilbert we're off again to the UK via UAE

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Message to Instagram and Twitter about being away

(Created with @tweegram app)

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I wasn’t sure what sort of internet access I’d get on my iPhone while overseas. My experience with London previously had been with a T-Mobile sim card and the coverage was patchy. This time I elected for an O2 sim card which I purchased in Australia but couldn’t activate until I arrived in the UK. I thought I should let friends know I may not be around to view and like their images and status updates on various social media platforms.

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On board EY455 (a Boeing 777) with Dead Duck Dilbert SYD

As soon as I sat down I whipped out DDD and captured an image.

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Kraftkorn bread with mushrooms on EY455

#dinner mushroom filled kraftkorn bread with butter oil and vinegar on EY455

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This was pretty nice bread. Inside it was stuffed with mushrooms.

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Dinner Arabic Mezze of hot and cold appetisers on EY455 SYD to AUH

#dinner Arabic Mezze of hot and cold appetisers on EY456 SYD to AUH

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A nice collection of savoury tastes

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Arabic spiced loin of lamb with courgettes pumpkin freekeh and sauce on EY455

The flavours were amazing even at >30 000 feet and having a dried out nasal mucous membrane. I recall an Heston Blumenthall program that demonstrated the benefit of nasal douching before eating to achieve a better flavour experience. If only I had carried on a nasal douche pack.

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Vanilla Ice Cream on EY455

#dessert Vanilla ice cream on EY455 SYD to AUH

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This was delicious

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Coffee on EY455

#coffee with fancy sugar and #chocolate on EY455 SYD to AUH

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Etihad does a nice coffee service with lovely accoutrements.

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Breakfast Croissant and a big lump of butter on EY455 SYD to AUH

#breakfast Croissant and a big lump of butter on EY455 SYD to AUH

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Airline croissants are always very buttery

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Breakfast Frittata with sausage and potatoes on EY455 SYD to AUH

#breakfast Frittata with sausage and potatoes on EY455 SYD to AUH

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This was a little stodgy and there were Instagram comments about the condom like appearance of the sausage skin

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Okay #DeadDuckDilbert we made it to Abu Dhabi where it’s a lovely 30 °C at 6.30 am ETIHAD Lounge Terminal 3

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EY19 AUH to LHR Looks cosy if you could get those seats

EY19 AUH to LHR Looks cosy if you could get those seats

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The seat configuration wasn’t too bad

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#lunch Bread for dipping on EY19 AUH to LHR

#lunch Bread for dipping on EY19 AUH to LHR

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#lunch Arabic Mezze with delicious hummus on EY19 AUH to LHR

#lunch Arabic Mezze with delicious hummus on EY19 AUH to LHR

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Another version. This was better.

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#lunch Chicken biryani with fried onions, cashews and sultanas on EY19 AUH to LHR

#lunch Chicken biryani with fried onions, cashews and sultanas on EY19 AUH to LHR

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This was really very nice

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#dessert Sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce and pistachios on EY19 AUH to LHR

Not as good as Bron’s but nice all the same

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Once at Heathrow London I scramble to top up my Oyster card and activate my O2 sim card. I take the underground from London Healthrow on the Piccadilly line to Green Park rendezvous with another Australian delegate and catch the Jubilee line to Waterloo train station. We then take the South West Train from Waterloo to Salisbury.

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#DeadDuckDilbert at Salisbury Railway Station (SAL) while on the South West Train from Waterloo to Salisbury

#DeadDuckDilbert

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The English train system is truly remarkable. If you ever get to visit London, get an Oyster card and spend as much time seeing things travelling on the underground and other trains.

Some audio of the Underground lady’s voice which always entertains me



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#dinner tonight at Da Vinci

#dinner tonight

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I caught up with some American colleagues before the meeting and we ate here http://www.davinciofsalisbury.co.uk/

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#dinner duck at Da Vinci

#dinner duck

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This didn’t taste as I expected. It didn’t taste off but it wasn’t a pleasant taste.

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The following day at about midday I started feeling a little off colour. It was like I knew I was ‘getting something’. Later in the afternoon I started getting abdominal cramps and started to feel a little light headed. On the bus ride to our accommodation I nearly fainted. As soon as I got to my hotel room door I hit the toilet. That evening I had regular painful abdominal cramps with profuse diarrhoea. I had no nausea and no vomiting. I had no fever. I did have a headache and by morning despite drinking as much water as possible I knew I was at least five per cent dehydrated. The skin on the back of back was veinless and when pinched it remain pinched for a few seconds.

There are three common causes of food poisoning, viz., Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus and Clostridium perfringens. I’ll leave it to you to look up food poisoning associated with those three toxin elaborating pathogens. I believe based on timing and symptoms my culprit was Clostridium perfringens. Importantly, common things are common, I’d wager it was Clostridium perfringens. Combined with my irritable bowel syndrome I knew I was in store for a rough few days. That said, I recovered sufficiently in the morning to attend the meeting. Although I wasn’t infectious (it’s an intoxication rather than an infection) and as a competent infection control medical practitioner I knew what I had to do.

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#dinner whitebait at Da Vinci

#dinner whitebait

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Fried guppies anyone?

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#breakfast Eggs Benedict Fairly ordinary at the Mercure White Hart Hotel. This was Tuesday morning before my symptoms started.

#breakfast Eggs Benedict Fairly ordinary.

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Wednesday evening. Steak sandwich at Mercure White Hart Hotel

Steak sandwich

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Okay. This was a big mistake. This is an example of the dissociation that occurs in my mind when I know something but allow my lust or gluttony overrule common sense.

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On Wednesday evening I was feeling a lot better. The diarrhoea is largely settled. I had rehydrated myself. I still felt delicate but I thought I felt hungry. What I was really feeling was better than feeling totally crap the night before. I thought about eating some toast. I should have sought clear fluids or a jelly. Instead I saw steak sandwich and immediately wanted it. I was really stupid. When I was asked how I wanted the steak I said rare because that’s what I like. I didn’t think about it. Did you see how blue that steak was? I was putting red raw meat into my mouth and expected my damaged intestinal mucosa to do its thing. Of course it couldn’t do its thing and the only thing it could do was purge with extreme prejudice. All that said and yes I’m an idiot. It tasted damn fine. Full marks to the Mecure White Hart. Dunce cap for me.

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Hello everyone message about poor access

Hello everyone

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As far as hotels go, I rate the Mecure White Hart 3 out of 5. Each day my door was left unlocked by the cleaning person. The cold water tap for my hand basin had a problem. I had to turn the toilet lever twice each time to flush and given I used the toilet nearly every twenty minutes throughout Tuesday night that was a lot of lever action. The most annoying problem though was the free wifi. The access was sporadic and the signal strength was poor (no wonder it was free). I couldn’t access my work e-mail from my MacBook. My iPhone worked faster on O2 3G than the wifi. Staying connected was a struggle. If it wasn’t for feeling so crook this would have been much more annoying than it already was.

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Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

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This place was spectacular.

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On Thursday afternoon the rain stopped and my intestines were starting to become friendly again (although farting without worrying was yet to be tested). I went inside while a service was going on. The cathedral is huge. Inside there is a clock that was built around 1376. It’s the oldest working clock on earth. That is over 600 years old.

I can’t not mention or comment on the English summer. I missed it. Apparently the English summer occurred the fortnight before. A two week summer apparently to the locals was fine. I can’t conceive of an enjoyable life with such a short summer. It rained nearly the whole time I was there and it was cold. There wasn’t much difference to being in Canberra and it’s winter here.

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Food poisoning in Salisbury means I’m doing cup a soup 😞 at The Cavendish

Food poisoning in Salisbury means I'm doing cup a soup 😞

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On the Thursday evening after visiting the Salisbury Cathedral I went to a Tesco supermarket to find something bland. I found a jelly cup and some soup. On the Friday I was close to feeling normal again. After the meeting finished on Friday afternoon we caught the train to London and I checked in to The Cavendish. This is a comfortable boutique hotel on Jermyn Street. This was a very comfortable hotel. I had a classic room. That is, a small room with a bed, television and bathroom. I was happy with that. I was there for a night so I could catch my flight home the next day. I would recommend it to anyone wanting a reasonably priced well positioned hotel in London. Jermyn Street is apparently the place to visit if you need shoes, shirts or suits. I wanted to continue respecting my intestine rather abusing it so I went to the local Tesco and bought soup again.

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Before going to London Heathrow on Saturday I managed to see the Trooping of the Colour. It was pretty cool seeing the horses, hearing the 41 gun salute (yes 41 not 21) and then watching the fly past. I love watching military aircraft. These flew low and slow. It was awesome.

From the wikipedia site. “The gun salutes begin on the arrival of the Queen at Buckingham Palace, with the King’s Troop firing a 41-gun royal salute in Green Park and the Honourable Artillery Company firing a 62-gun royal salute from the Tower of London grounds. Finally, the Queen and the Royal Family on the palace balcony witness a flypast by the Royal Air Force, often featuring the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Red Arrows.”

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While walking around a little bit on Saturday morning I needed to go to the toilet. I had to pay 50 pence to get in. That’s the most expensive pee I’ve ever had. The toilet wasn’t even clean. It was pretty disgusting. This should be contrasted to the London Heathrow Etihad lounge. In the toilet there was always someone there who was continuously cleaning the toilets and folding cloth hand towels.

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Okay #DeadDuckDilbert we’re going home in the Etihad Airways Lounge

Okay #DeadDuckDilbert we're going home.

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#dinner Vegetable soup in the Etihad Airways Lounge

#dinner Vegetable soup

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#dinner Sea bass cooked in paper. This was #yummy

#dinner Sea bass cooked in paper. This was #yummy

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Ah #DeadDuckDilbert I should have chosen a beef and mushroom dish in Salisbury rather than the poisoned duck #foodpoisoning

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#dessert Key Lime cheesecake

#dessert Key Lime cheesecake

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Okay bye everyone. On board EY18 LHR to AUH Say goodbye #DeadDuckDilbert with Carrot juice

Okay bye everyone. On board EY18 LHR to AUH Say goodbye #DeadDuckDilbert

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EY18 is an old Airbus 340

EY18 is an old Airbus 340.

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Tomato soup on EY18 LHR to AUH

Tomato soup on EY18 LHR to AUH

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Grilled salmon and mash on EY18 LHR to AUH

Grilled salmon and mash on EY18 LHR to AUH

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Tiramisu with caramel sauce on EY18 LHR to AUH

Tiramisu with caramel sauce on EY18 LHR to AUH

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Well #DeadDuckDilbert with a sore throat I say hello Abu Dhabi

Well #DeadDuckDilbert with a sore throat I say hello Abu Dhabi

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#breakfast on EY18 LHR to AUH

#breakfast on EY18 LHR to AUH

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The hazy tarmac of AUH (Abu Dhabi). It’s 30 °C.

The hazy tarmac of AUH (Abu Dhabi). It's 30 °C.

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Our second last flight #DeadDuckDilbert Nice lemon lime juice too. EY450 AUH to SYD.

Our second last flight #DeadDuckDilbert Nice lemon lime juice too.

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#dinner Pea soup with crème fraiche on EY450 AUH to SYD

#dinner Pea soup with crème fraiche on EY450 AUH to SYD

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#dinner Steak sandwich with onions on EY450 AUH to SYD

#dinner Steak sandwich with onions on EY450 AUH to SYD

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This was delicious

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#dessert Strawberry and Chinese gooseberry pavlova with caramel sauce on EY450 AUH to SYD

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#snack Baklava and vanilla ice cream on EY450 AUH to SYD

#snack Baklava and vanilla ice cream on EY450 AUH to SYD

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#breakfast Fruit on EY450 AUH to SYD

#breakfast Fruit on EY450 AUH to SYD

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#breakfast pastries on EY450 AUH to SYD

#breakfast pastries on EY450 AUH to SYD

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#breakfast fruit smoothie and #coffee on EY450 AUH to SYD

#breakfast fruit smoothie and #coffee on EY450 AUH to SYD

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Not so great #toast on EY450 AUH to SYD

Not so great #toast on EY450 AUH to SYD

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At last I was back in Australia. One last flight. VA632 SYD to CBR.

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This is the last bit of aeroplane food I would eat on this trip. #snack on the last flight VA632 SYD to CBR.

#snack on the last flight VA632 SYD to CBR

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Okay, that was a massive post. Sorry if you’ve had to take a toilet break to read it 🙂 I love my job. Being able to participate in meetings with colleagues doing similar work is rewarding. This was a successful trip. It’s a pity I got so ill but I wasn’t about to let my intestines dictate my work performance. Now that I’m back home, I have a good dose of ManFlu.

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11 thoughts on “A week away and food poisoning | #DeadDuckDilbert | Paying to pee | Trooping the Colour

  1. How long were all the flights? I felt bad for you getting the food poisoning…and then to return and get a case of the manflu! That seating on the plane is nothing I have seen before. Little cubes really. Wishing you well!

  2. 1. I can’t work out your route to England. Did you have to go that way for another meeting?
    2. I really am impressed at your ability to self-diagnose – I’d love to do that. All I would be able to do is say ‘I’ve got the really bad shits’.
    3. Your hotel sounds pretty good compared to some of the dives I’ve tried in London
    4. You have an Oyster card and you’ve been here twice. I’ve been here for 43 years and I still buy travelcards.
    5. Summer happened again today. We hit 28 C but we are promised thunderstorms and downpours tomorrow to make up for it.

    Excellent post!

    • We fly best fare of the day, so this time it was with Etihad. I flew Canberra to Sydney to Abu Dhabi to London. From Heathrow London I took the Piccadilly line to Green Park and then the Jubilee line to Waterloo station. At Waterloo station I caught a South West train to Salisbury. I had a four day meeting in Porton Down so I used Salisbury as my accommodation base camp until the last day when I went to spend a night in London so I wouldn’t miss my flight home.

      I’m grateful to have read medicine and then pathology. Working in bureaucracy now, I get great pleasure in using my skills from time to time, even if it’s on myself 🙂

      I would definitely recommend The Cavendish in London. It was very comfortable.

      I think the whole Oyster card concept is brilliant. We have very poor public transport in Canberra by comparison. I have a go card for when I’m in Brisbane.

      Damn, I am really annoyed to have missed summer. I was looking forward to some warmth.

      I hope you get more warmth and sunshine 🙂

  3. What an enjoyable read! The food you are served on flights always look tasty and interesting. I also missed the whitebait–hmm, would be nice with a lager. Glad you are over with the food poisoning.

  4. A Catholic would realize the seriousness of lust and gluttony 🙂
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins#Historical_and_modern_definitions
    “although farting without worrying was yet to be tested”
    I believe there’s adult medical ‘under clothing garments/devices’ that could have helped.
    I’ve had toxin-related food poisoning twice and although it’s onset is disturbingly rapid (dare I say ‘explosive’), it’s duration is mercifully short, at least compared to a nice infectious bug.

  5. Oh Gary, I’m so sorry to hear that you got food poisoning whilst you were away. Would you believe me if I told you that I was in the middle of watching an immunology lecture whilst reading your post?! Coincidence? The food on Etihad looks amazing! I might just have to sneak in a trip to London sometime soon just to experience what you did – I’ve got a fair few points that I need to use. I hope you feel better soon….

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