Last week I was at The Grove Hotel in Watford, providing IT support for British American Tobacco’s 2008 Global Finance Conference. I have been to The Grove before, that was somewhere in October last year, to sort out an IT issue for a period of roughly 2 hours, and that was it. I didnt have the time to actually enjoy the beauty that this hotel had to offer.
This time it was different. I was going to be there for a whole week. I got picked up from North Finchley and token to work in a Merc [top of the range]..it was absolutely great. I easily and quickly relasped into a world of my own whilst I was being driven to Watford; I imagined myself to be a top exec being taken to work that morning. We got to the Grove at 8.00 AM prompt and I was escorted to our command centre, Office Number 60. All the kit had arrived by courier the previous day, so I immediately got down to work setting up the IT kit. The main thing was to get “BOB” setup and configured. “BOB” is BAT’s mobile CISCO router and switch. Once configured, it allows BAT connected laptops gain direct access to the BAT network without a separate VPN connection from the laptops. In the absence of “BOB”, users would connect to the hotels wireless network and then VPN into the BAT network. this is ok, but the only problem is that the wireless connection keeps on dropping off.
So everything is hooked up and working, I have all 4 laptops setup and connected to “BOB”…lotus notes [which is the main thing] is firing on all 24 cylinders. Both colour printers are up and running and the fax machine is geared up to churn out some serious faxes….then what happens?…”BOB” decideds not to play anymore. That is when mayhem suddenly breaks in…lotus notes cannot connect to the domino server which means there are no emails coming in…this is where the PA’s go nuts. I quickly switch to plan B and get my 4 port hub out and feed a single broadband connection provided by the hotel into the hub and susequently feed this to the rest of the teams laptops. However they still have to VPN into the BAT network, which is better than nothing at all. For a period of about 50 minutes i was running around like a headless chicken just trying to sort this out.
I got chauffeured to and from the hotel for 3 days, and on the last last day, the PA organizing the conference asked if i would like to spend the night at the hotel…why not I thought, and instantly said yes.. After work I over to reception and checked in, got taken up to my room, turn to my escort and asked her “are you sure this is my room”…it was HUGE…check out the pics below.
I freashened up and went over to another part of the hotel called The Stables to have my dinner. the food was fantastic, a bit pricey, but hey it was all being paid for. who am i to feel guilty!!
The conference finished off on a high. I didnt leave The Grove untill 7pm on the friday. I was back in the bar with the other PA’s and another chap who helped organize the conference. When I was ready to leave, my chauffeur pulled up and drove me to King Cross St Pancras to catch the train back up north. What a great week working away from the office.