07 September 2008
Not much been going on round this neck of the woods, but I'll try to hussle up a couple of stories. Just about surviving a legendarily crappy English 'summer'. I've been promising Sean an Indian summer for a couple of months now, but what we currently have is flash flooding. Nice to know the man upstairs has a sense of humour! Been to Bath, an ancient Roman city right next to Bristol, twice in the last couple of weeks, so can show you a couple of photos. As the name might suggest it was the site of Roman spa baths so my mum and I went for a lovely relaxing girly trip to marinade ourselves. The week before Sean and I had done the opposite of a relaxing trip by cycling there and back! There's a cycle path which follows an old trainline, which, whilst pleasantly hill-free, is pretty long at 16 miles. My intention was to cycle there, and then take a leisurely trainride back. Sean had other ideas and convinced me to cycle home again too - so it was a 35 mile trip once we'd also cycled up and down the hill to uni. We were knackered that night, but not at all achy the next day, which was a pretty proud moment - all those morning hill climbs must be paying off!
Here's a cuppla photos:
Bristol seems to be king of the festivals, with harbour, balloon and kite festivals already this summer. The Bristol Balloon festival is particularly nice, with hundreds of balloons taking part in a mass ascent. Unfortunately the weather prevented all but one of the evening flights, but below is a shot of the one that made it, although the resolution doesn't do justice to the number of balloons and majesty of the event. My poor schedule reading skills meant we missed out on seeing the 'night glow' where anchored balloons light up their flames in time to music with fireworks, but we did get to see the red arrows. The kite festival we also missed, although ironically whilst it was the wind (and rain for that matter) that brought the balloon festival down, there was a distinct lack of wind on the weekend of the kite festival. More evidence for God's sense of humour!
And in other news, to cheer myself up in a brief moment of glum (regarding other kittens which I don't think I've ever mentioned) I wrote to the guys who took our little cuties, Monty and Grey (now Lucy) and...got photos! They definately look a bit bigger and more grown up, but look as happy as ever. Evidently enjoying each other's company/killing each other as much as ever. And they have their very own little tent - something we never afforded them, so they've obviously landed on their feet with their new owners! Lovely to see that we did the right thing by at least some of the 'maison de bonheur' kittens.
So yeah, no other tales really. I'll have to start writing a few posts about ideas and thoughts, rather than waiting for interesting stories, which are relatively few and far between! Hope ya'll are well.
29 July 2008
Well, Sean arrived a couple of weeks ago, so we've been doing all sorts of exploring and fun stuff. He's met all the family and a lot of my mates, and can even remember most of the names! After pouring down with rain solidly for a week and a half (during which time he complained continuously) the summer has finally returned so he's more keen on England now. We've been having a lot of post-work, beer-garden beers which always helps. And there are lots of wicked bands for us to see. Including a ridiculous weekend of fun this last weekend involving my personal favourite live band - Kora - as well as Lyrics Born who we've wanted to see for ages (and who I subjected Dr BBE to many times in the lab). And boy did both Kora and Lyrics Born kick some bootie! By the end I ached all over from dancing like a crazy fool at the front at both! There's a couple of photos below. Lyrics Born was playing on a boat venue in Bristol which was pretty small giving the gig a very intimate feel (he bashed me a couple of times in our combined crazy dancing!). And Kora were there usual simply fabulous selves. The crowd was about 90% Kiwis which made me a bit 'home'-sick for NZ! Got Kings of Leon, Goldfrapp, Roots Manuva and a pile of other great acts to look forward to as well and we were even too lazy to go back to London to see Manu Chao - I love being back in Europe!
The slug battle seems to be finally coming to an end. Whilst my efforts were partly responsible, we suddenly have a load of frogs living in our garden, and I'd say they're helping us out. We can even hear them croaking away in the evening. And we have our first courgette!
We've been keeping our eye out for banksy's and have seen a couple - including this one which is just down the road from uni, but it still took me 3 months to notice! It's next to the children's hospital - I didn't realise before but he often designs his graffiti to tie in with a nearby landmark.
So yeah, life in Brizzle is treating us well. Missing a lot about NZ, but the novelty of being back, the excellent entertainment, plus the fact it's STILL summer (a double summer really is a bit surreal and winter will be tough I suspect!) stops me missing it too much. I'm missing a lot of people though - y'all know who you are!
And on that note, hope all's well with you all.
PS Right, there you go, young lady. Now GET BACK TO YOUR THESIS YOU SLACKER! (you may make a cup of coffee first though)
18 June 2008
Otherwise life in the new flat is ok. I've only ever lived on my own for 6 weeks before this; I went partially mad then and I'm probably getting a little loco now too. It's the talking to yourself which is the big worry! Sean arrives in early July, so hopefully my sanity will return then! Been spending a lot of time at uni anyway, after having decided not to spend so much time working when I finished my phd. I figure it's ok cos there's nothing much for me to do at home except talk to myself, and the snails, but when Sean gets here there will be no more late evenings in the lab. I intend to take full advantage of the fantastic local pub at the bottom of our road and to develop a beer belly. They do great pie and mash there too! One of the things I complained most bitterly about in NZ was the lack of small local pubs that you can just have a quiet midweek pint in, so to have one of the nicest little pubs I've been in as our local is a bit of a result! They even do a really tasty local beer (as well as local ciders, which I still don't feel I'm ready for).
I haven't seen Bristol's most famous (indeed, realistically, only) tourist attraction; the suspension bridge, but I promise to bring you a photo of this fine piece of British architecture as soon as I can be bothered to cycle over there. Well I'm actually lying, I can see the very top of the bridge from the end of my road (we're on a hill), but that doesn't count. Bristol is quite a nice looking city, not entirely dissimilar to Sheffield (where i did my undergrad). Lovely rows of terraced houses, often painted bright colours. There's a nice, I guess, cathedral thingie (I've only seen it at speed as I come hurtling down the hill on my bike) as well. The city shopping centre is an absolute dive though - very depressing place somehow. Actually that may be partly for another reason. I've discovered recently that my increasing awareness of ways to limit my impact on the environment has taken all the fun out of shopping. Bugger! I finally now get paid properly so I could buy any clothes I wanted (well, within reason) but I find myself saying - yeah but do I need this? Where was it made? Where were the raw materials grown? Do I not already have something similar? And before I know it I've spent hours wandering round the shops and couldn't find anything that I 'needed' enough to get rid of the guilt! Now realistically, this is an entirely healthy position to find myself in - I DO have plenty of clothes already, and I DON'T need any more. But I still hate it, there's no joy in shopping anymore!
Work's going ok. I'm feeding my bugs some special precursors to see if they put them into their natural products, which I reckon is kinda cool! Never done anything like that before. The people are all cool, although there is definately a bit of politics and eggshells you have to avoid treading on in the group it seems. Still, they're all very welcoming and it's quite a giggle usually.
Well, I'd like to have some photos to show ya'll Brizzol and our new flat and stuff, but I don't so it'll have to be in the next exciting installment! Hope all's well with you all.
22 May 2008
I haven’t updated for ages because life has been ridiculously manic! A month and a hlaf ago I finished my PhD, and since then I’ve corrected and submitted my final thesis, submitted a paper for publication (and unfortunately had it rejected), been for a week holiday with my parents in NZ, graduated, sold all my stuff, packed up and sorted all my life out ready to leave NZ, left NZ, had a couple of flying visits to family and friends, moved to Bristol, found a flat, moved into it, been cleaning all the stuff that the landlord was too lazy to do (which is a lot), turned the garden from a jungle back into a garden and started my new job! That’s a long sentence, cos it’s been a long month and a half!
The holiday with my parents was great – one last cruise round the south island before leaving. We did stuff I’d never usually do, which was great – like fishing (my dad caught a big red snapper which made a fantastic lunch!) and horse-riding (with me on the one who thought he was a race horse!). Also got a chance to go see an ‘exhibition’ organised by Banksy and other street artists in
The new job is going well, with really friendly people in my office. Already been out for drinkies a couple of times with them and got invited over for a fantastic home-cooked traditional English roast! It’s gonna take a long while to get the research up and running cos the cells I’ll be working with take a week to get to the useful stage! Plus there’s equipment which I’ll need which isn’t ready yet, but I’m keeping myself out of mischief.
The new flat is nice, although it takes a while to make it feel like home. We have our own garden which needs A LOT of work, but is slowly getting there. Hopefully the veggies will be in soon, and hopefully I can find a way to keep the MILLIONS of snails away from them. I’ve never seen so many snails in my whole life.
Well, I did get a few nice photos along the way this month, so here ya go:
01 April 2008
Then after lunch, I had a two and a half exam which went mostly well, except for a couple of questions that threw me, but most was fine. Then when I came out I got given a VERY tasty bottle of champagne by Sean, which unfortunately I ended up drinking three glasses of! Couple of photos of the momentous occasion below!
Me with my thesis and bottle of champagne at the desk that was my home for 4 years.
26 March 2008
Now I'm back in chch and facing the carnage which is the next couple of weeks. I have my final PhD exam as well as an hour seminar to give to the department next Monday, plus papers and lab work to finish and packing up my life before heading home. Can't complain though - I'll be taking some more holidays with my parents who are visiting soon, before heading for the mothership.
Oh yeah, and go on Monty Panesar!
Anyway, so here's some photos of the trip. Wish me luck next week! Hopefully by then I'll be a doctor!
Top of the glacier-formed Rees valley
Over the saddle and looking down into the top of the Dart valley
Further down the Dart valley
25 February 2008
Not that long ago, a major portion of a families income would be spent on food but these days its a very small proportion (haven't got the figures, but there was an article on BBC news about it a wee while back). Admittedly we now spend a lot more money on housing costs, but our attitudes have changed to thinking that it's our right to have a new mobile phone and a big TV and a etc etc. I admit to liking being able to have quite a lot of luxuries in my life, but we should probably start to remember that they are actually just bonuses and to be able to eat a huge array of great food (and indeed we throw large portions of it away) is a privilage we shouldn't take for granted. We should be willing to pay a fair price for our food, both from a social point of view (ie fair trade) but also an environmental point of view. If we spent more on our food we'd have less money to spend on junk that we really don't need and we'd only buy those luxuries that were genuinely important to us.
It should go without saying that all trade should be fair so lets support it.