1. I didn’t have to book in February to make sure I was charged £8,000 rather than £8,050 for my own room.
2. On my way into a talk, I didn’t have to barge my way past groups of people who attend the same shul and feel compelled, not having seen each other for five days, to discuss arrangements for an upcoming barmitzvah kiddush.
3. I wasn’t squished up on Row 79 of a freezing cold lecture theatre. I didn’t struggle to get my huge winter coat off in my teeny weeny seat while elderly folk tutted and coughed on me.
4. I walked 2 metres to get lunch – from my kitchen. It was delicious. There wasn’t a hard baked potato or tub of kosher coleslaw in sight, and I didn’t have to carry it on a wet tray to my table half a mile away, and then realise three minutes later I’d forgotten to get cutlery.
5. In dull moments, I could take a look at who else was there, and nobody knew I was doing it. I could make instant judgements about their living rooms and book cases and laugh at the people eating lunch with the camera on.
6. I didn’t have to sit through someone asking a question that takes 25 minutes, which is in fact a speech and contains no questions.
7. If I got bored, I could have a shluf / eat biscuits / put the washing on. Sometimes all three.
8. When a talk finished, I didn’t panic about getting a seat at the next one. And nor did I have to barge my way past those shul people on the way out who were still discussing barmitzvah arrangements and which motorway route was best.
9. In between talks, I could make a fantastic cup of tea in a china mug, without having to queue up for a communal urn, and then use a teaspoon that had been shared by 300 people.
10. I didn’t have to spend my last day listening to a panel arguing about Israel, and then immediately hit the road for three hours along an icy M1 with diversions. Which is the true definition of painful.