So, I sorted the paperwork out, took it to my manager on another campus for signature and we handed it to the finance person in the school (sorry its now called a faculty) office. So, I have been wondering if I should order some train tickets before the confirmation comes through (if it did make it at all).
Surprise, surprise I received the confirmation today and reacted with shock. I did, however, find out why this happened so quickly. Apparently the faculty has a credit card which can be used for 'small' purchases. This way, the awful system of multiple signatures, the slow and grinding processes in the main finance department, not to mention that the payment has occured - not delayed 'due to finance......'. The whole process took about a week - not especially good in normal terms, but on works standard its amazingly fast. I've now got my train tickets online(train leaves at 5.00am) which I can claim the money back via expenses (not booked via another awful system).
I'm still scatterbrained today, but at least I now don't have to worry about this workshop - I'm quite looking forward to it.