First day of the conference proper and everyone is very keen. The talks start at 9 a.m. and are well attended. There’s a minor problem in that the rooms where the talks are given are rather dark and stuffy (unless the air conditioning is on threatening to drown out the speaker!). The rooms have movable partition walls and whilst that’s understandable in terms of giving the venue a flexible space it does mean that it is quite noisy.
Each day as well as the talks there are poster sessions and I duly stuck up a poster I’d brought along for a small White Rose (Universities of Sheffield, Leeds and York) project on earthworm secreted calcium carbonate. Poster sessions are wonderful places to observe human behaviour. It is somewhat akin to being in a bazaar with hawkers positioned at their posters keen to pull customers in and customers often avoiding eye contact so as to be able to pass a poster without getting stuck there for 30 minutes whilst someone talks to you about it.