Travelling in pins

Badges: KDE, Foyle's, Leonardo di Vinci

I’ve bought or were given several pins during my tour of the British Isles.

I got the KDE pin at the aKademy, and it sums up the atmosphere at the conference quite well: Even the man sitting at the counter in the hostel got free Kubuntu CDs to showcase KDE, that passion and outgoing interest in spreading that passion is infectious.

I left Dublin and the aKademy conference at the end of September to go to London where I stayed with my friend Bryan who I met during my semester in Manchester last year. He has since finished his Ph.D in Mathematics, moved to London and got a job as an investment banker. He still hasn’t gotten used to being elevated to the higher echelons of the capitalist system, and it was very interesting to hear stories from a world of which I know almost nothing.

One of the smaller benefits of that kind of job is all the extra free stuff the bankers get. They can just go down to the reception and get free tickets to most of the major art exhibitions in town, and when I came by, Bryan had gotten tickets for the exhibition of Leonardo di Vinci’s notebooks at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The exhibition was tiny, with no more than around 15 pages on display. All of them written in Leonardo’s trademark mirror handwriting which when you saw it on the page looked so tiny. He must have had really good eyesight. I got the “Genius” pin there, though I don’t feel brilliant enough to wear it. Maybe I can pass it off to one of my informants.

Later, after a two-day excursion to Cambridge in the middle of last week, I went to Foyle’s bookshop on Charing Cross Road and lured myself into buying several books which I am now obliged to lug around for the rest of my trip. The friendly shopkeeper gave me a little “Independent Thinker” pin to go with it. And who wouldn’t like to mark themselves as such?

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