John Scott-Scott: a trip to California

Engineer John Scott-Scott recalls the value of making informal friends at conferences and a research trip to California.

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But they were jolly good, and that’s where you can meet these informal people in the corridor over a cup of tea, where we’d pretend to forget all about security. Yeah, well you’d check that the fellow’s not Russian for a start, but generally speaking you can have a better meeting than you have in a formal sense. Now on one of these things I fixed up with someone to go and see them another day, after the conference, and in the meanwhile some wretch, I don’t know whether it was the British Embassy who used to play us up a lot, had decided, they’d found out about me, and they were going to ban my visit. So I had to turn up at the gate of this place, and they said, ‘You can’t come in, John, sorry, we’re not allowed to do this, that and the other.’ I said, ‘Well that’s a bit daft, I’ve come 6,000 miles,’ because it was on the far side, ‘to have a chat with you.’ ‘Ah, don’t worry about it,’ he said, ‘you just can’t come on site.’ I said, ‘What am I going to do then?’ He says, ‘Drive back half a mile,’ he says, ‘and you’ll find there’s a sort of park area with one or two benches. Just go and park down there.’ I said, ‘All right,’ try anything once. Well you won’t believe it, by the time I got down there half the bushes had got blokes in them. And these blokes all walk out, and they come and sit on these benches round in a circle, and we have a wonderful meeting out there, where someone brought a cold box so we got something cold to drink, and we had our meeting outside in the sun of California. So it just shows, if you know a few people, you know, and they were always very good to me that way.

  • Interviewee John Scott-Scott
  • Duration 00:01:35
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Thomas Lean
  • Date of interview 12/13/2010
  • Shelfmark C1379/32

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