Hi guys,

as you may have heard, I'n St Louis, Missouri this week at the Genome Sequencing
Center that we collaborate with.  It happened kind of suddenly.  They use a 
piece of software I am developing and were keen to get it in use here.  We
discussed me coming over here at some stage and they were happy to pay for
the flight (this was discussed last week) and in the end, with the 4th of
July holiday etc, they had to organise it in a hurry and decided to tentatively
book me for a flight over here on Monday (I found out thursday) to return on
Friday.  So after a pleasant but frantic weekend (we went bike riding on
Sunday - you'd be proud of us Alex and Avis, as we managed about half of what
you'd ride on a weekend) I was off to sunny U.S.A.  

I have been staying in a university apratment and have been well looked 
after - eating good cheap food and catching movies that won't be in England
for another 3 months etc.  I will hopefully get a chance to look around on
the weekend (I had the flight moved back to Sunday) if I can get time
around the frantic (but pleasant) social calendar that they have organised
for me.  It's nice to be back in the States.  Australia has bits in common
with both the English and US culture, but the latter two seem to be the
most dissimilar of the three, and Cambridge->St Louis is quite a shock.  
Driving everywhere again (being driven) - 24 hour services, choice choice
choice - people who smile when they serve you and don't make you feel like
you're wrecking their otherwise nice day :)

In other news, we have moved into our new building with other bits of the
Sanger Centre to follow in the next 2 months.  It's been very quite at
the moment, and nice to have a lovely new office.  The view is not quite
so nice, but the atmosphere is good.  People have generally been a little
more highly strung lately - not sure why - I think all this moving and
improvement in conditions actually has a negative effect as everyone starts
comparing what they got with everyone else :(  Richard (my boss) has moved
office, moved house and gets married in two weeks, so he's been a bit stressed
too.  He has also had to deal with a general effort by many pharmaceutical
companies to poch staff - they are really buying at the moment.  It's a real
shame I'm not interested in moving at the moment, since I'm probably worth
60->90K US at the moment.  It's nice to be in demand still.   On a related
note, thanks Avis for the vicarious networking the WEHI and I'd love to
meet up at Christmas.  Please feel free to make any plans for me.

My RSI is still giving me problems, but the physio I have seen at the hospital
has been giving me some useful exercises.  I think that between the voice
recognition software and the exercise and generally being sensible, I will
get through this.

Well I'm off wine-tasting and have some work to do with what is left of the
day here, so I will say goodbye.  The weather has been "nice" here - meaning
not too hot and muggy - almost like a hot summer's day in Melbourne most of
the time.  The smell of a hot morning as I step out of the apartment  really
stirs up lots of pleasant memories.  Cambridge has been pretty dismal
weather-wise lately by comparison.  I am off to a pool-party here on Saturday
so I might have to buy some bathers - ah the fine life.

Nice to hear from you - I nearly have the computers at home ( we have two now )
in a state where I can speak to them easily, so I promise another big letter
when I get that under control.

Lots of love.