This year, it even felt like Brazil 2014 because nothing seemed to be ready. If you told me the M1 had been built specifically for the conference, but had failed to get built on time (corruption! inefficiency! government interference!), and was very unpopular (think of the hospitals we could have! think of the doctors!) - I'd have believed you. Hundreds of miles of roadworks, with speed restrictions, made it a dull journey.
I was in a bad mood before I left for the conference because getting to and from Leeds came in between two other non-negotiable commitments; by the time I got there, I was fuming.
As I mulled over a paper I had to give the next morning on how to evaluate political, military and cultural 'achievement' in 12th Century Byzantium, I had one of those moments that made me remember why I love what I do - and why the journey and conference were all worth the hassle and effort.
I was waiting in line to get a good strong cup of coffee when I heard voices being raised in front of me - frantic, angry, determined - the sort you hear just before fists start flying. I've been around the block enough times to know when trouble is coming. Excess of testosterone. Hang on, here we go, I thought; it's about to kick off.
As I switched from thinking about the past in Constantinople to the present in Leeds, I tuned in to the heart of the argument that was about to see two grown men knock seven bells out of each other. One voice was repeating the same thing, insistently, the other asking for trouble by goading him with sarcasm.
'Oh, of course, that's right', he was saying, mockingly. 'Yes, I'm sure you have looked in to it properly.' Trouble coming.
'The problem with you', he then added - in triumph, the coup finale before he likely took a shot to the chin - 'is that your perspectives on Carolingian monastic reform are limited by your concept of periodisation.'
'That is way out of line', came the response. 'All you are saying is that Montecassino offers a particularly intersting template that you think is relevant. Well it isn't; and you're quite wrong from a metholodological point of view.'
I didn't stick around to see if things calmed down. But the cloud of my bad mood lifted there and then. Not everyone understands the passion of history, or the importance of battles like these. But I do. And I love it.