Our opening social event had us getting lost in the labyrinth of fish tanks in the Brighton Sea Life centre. The catfish, parrotfish, angelfish, sea anaemonies and companions looked on as we enjoyed a glass of wine and canapes in the Victorian splendour, meet up with old friends and welcomed first-timers to conference. Once you ventured through to the hall of mirrors (aagh!) to the coral reef, you found a ‘variance’ of statisticians in an orderly queue waiting for a trip on the new glass bottom boat. Looking down on the sharks and fish living on the coral reef, you could imagine being transported to Australia on the Great Barrier Reef. Certainly the walk through the glass canopy under the tank, gave you the perception of diving in the reef. It was feeding time, so the fish were very active, apart from a sleeping basking shark. The finale was the feeding of the turtles with their daily ration of lettuce leaves.
One hot topic for canapes chatter was who are the top 10 statisticians in the last century. Leading names were Cox, Fisher, Lindley, Box, Nelder …now thrown open to the conference to add another 5 and agree the ranking!