I’ve had precious few reasons to be cheerful so far this year, and just when I thought things could not get much worse, at the beginning of last week I almost lost an eye. The eye can be saved, but if you find typos below please be understanding.

So it was nice to be involved in a celebration on Friday and to attend the opening of Aviagen’s extension to its veterinary laboratory facility in Edinburgh, UK.

Graeme Dear, Aviagen general manager, welcomed the assembled guests to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which saw guests from the Scottish Executive, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, and the design and build teams.

Aviagen has occupied the site since 2000, but an increasing workload and staff numbers rising to 27, as well as increase in research activities meant that more space was needed. The facility ensures that the company’s farming base is healthy and disease free. Its serology department, for example, processes 20,000 samples a month, while the bacteriology department processes 15,000 samples.

While there is still doom and gloom in the UK about the overall state of the economy, it is good to witness a success story and see a company that is actually expanding. The laboratory has been taking on work from sister companies and, last year, opened a new molecular department. On top of this, the extension has been built with spare capacity in anticipation of additional work.

The site’s research and development department is looking at genomics that, combined with traditional methods, could help to develop birds that, for example, have better disease resistance.

It might have been cold on my trip north to Scotland, but the reception was warm. And this was not simply a visit to see bricks and mortar; it was an opportunity to see a company succeeding in staying at the cutting edge of technology - an uplifting way to end a difficult week. Oh, and to the kind woman who read a newspaper article for me on the plane home: thank you so much. I hope you enjoyed your trip to Nice.