Hi from Newcastle

After finishing up with meetings in London I’ve headed up to Newcastle for the weekend to stay with some close friends who have been living here for five years, working with an organisation called Mercy Ships. They have been overseeing the refurbishment of a roll-on, roll-off ferry that used to service 20 Danish islands.

The ship is being transformed into a 97-bed floating hospital, with accommodation for 300 people. It is expected to be commissioned at the beginning of next year and will then embark on a 17-month trip to some regions of Africa, dispensing aid and providing medical assistance as required.

Here are some photographs of me taking a tour of the ship yesterday – the first gives you some idea of the size of the vessel, the second is of me on the bridge, and third,in the engine room!

In the afternoon I travelled with my friend to Durham, where we strolled around the historic areas of the town, including the university. A highlight for me was a visit to the enormous Durham Cathedral where we took the opportunity of climbing to the top of the bell tower. This view from the top
looks down on an old castle that is now a part of Durham University.

Off to Sheffield this afternoon to link again with my MoE colleagues and prepare for the Alt-i-lab conference during the week.

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