Thursday, 28 October 2010

Money saving tips:

This weekend I texted a friend to apologise for not being in touch as I’d been far too ‘strapped for cash’ to go out anywhere..! A phenomenon that all of us students (even old ones like me!) experience from time to time.
After talking to some of my friends working at the enquiry unit today we have devised some money saving tips and useful websites:
Food & household shopping
- Tesco/Morrisons/Sainsburys; shop as close as possible to 4pm on Sunday, bargains guaranteed !
- Morrisons; the bakery & rotisserie depts put their products on clearance prices at 7pm each night.
- Save 10p on hot drinks at Medway by bringing your own cup (thanks Kelly!).
- Aldi have 10 x instant cappuccino sachets for £1, great for making yourself a hot drink at Uni – hot
  water only costs 10p on campus !
- Medway student shop have an excellent bargain shelf at the back of the store.
- Avery Hill student shop sometimes have boxes of discounted items next to the till.
- At you can order travel plugs 5 for £5 (thanks Remco!).
- Lidl are currently selling tomato soup at 17p per can (thanks Remco!).
- lists all the 2 for 1 & 3 for 2 offers in all UK supermarkets.
Resource saving
- Use energy saving light bulbs (some power suppliers give them away free if you sign up).
- Avoid leaving halogen lights on, they use loads of power!
- Use a slow cooker, they can be bought for £14 at Argos. You can cook a meal using the same  
   amount of energy it takes to power a light bulb. 
- Share showers/baths (if appropriate!) that’s what they do in Australia!
- Free smoke alarms  ! You can get them from the Kent Fire Brigade, and they may save your life!

- Car sharing – When I was at studying at Canterbury I saved at least £1200 by car sharing. Check out the 5hare scheme on the U of G website.
- for cheapest flight fares (thanks Remco!)
- for free accommodation (thanks Remco!)
- for low price accommodation in some beautiful locations, from £14 per night.
Going out
- Orange Wednesdays 2 for 1 cinema tickets for orange network users.
- for eating out vouchers
- for free communications.
- for free calls with a 20 Euro deposit (thanks Remco!)
Everything else !
- Have a savings account (thanks Taz !)
- Have a rainy day fund in the ashtray of your car (thanks Taz!)
- Make a budget list (thanks Taz !)
- for a whole variety of ways to save money (thanks Spencer!)

J’s Record of the week:

Night nurse

by Gregory Isaacs
It was a sad day on Monday 25th October. Gregory Isaacs passed away aged just 59, after a long battle with lung cancer. I thought it only fitting that this week’s record of the week should be dedicated to him.
He had an illustrious career spanning 1968 to the present day. He was signed to Island Records in 1982 and released ‘Night Nurse’ the same year. Initially, although it received frequent radio play, ‘Night Nurse’ was not a hit in the UK. However, the song did rise to popularity in the 1990’s when it was covered by Simply Red.  Hopefully a more cheery musical choice next week !  Jerushah x

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Road rage:

Yesterday I experienced a fabulous (is that the right word...?) example of road rage that I would like to share, plus a cautionary tale about the same. A driver was careering along the A289 gesticulating at a variety of cars, plus beeping and flashing at intervals (it wasn’t me, don’t worry!). ‘Someone’s having a bad morning!’ I said to myself, which nearly got even worse when he hastily changed lanes, pulled close in front of another car and subsequently jammed on his brakes. The other driver narrowly missed him, then it was his turn to be on the receiving end of some beeping , flashing and a variety of gesticulations.. Hope he managed to survive the day unscathed!!

A cautionary tale... A few years ago I was amongst a group of friends, walking along Westcombe Park Road in Greenwich. We had barely stepped off the pavement to cross the road, when a woman came roaring around the corner, yelling at us to ‘Get out of the <insert swearword of your choice> way!’ out of her open car window. She was so busy concentrating on yelling at us that she failed to notice the stationary car right in front of her... Can you guess what happened ? Needless to say the group of us were not her main concern after that ! I think the moral of the story should be ‘Drive with all due care and attention...’
Life’s too short to get road rage everyone !

J’s Record of week :

Pull up to the bumper
by Grace Jones

I thought this would be a bit topical for my blog
entry this week ! Too obvious ?? Perhaps !
It was first released in 1982 from the ‘Nightclubbing’ album, but only reached number 53 in the UK charts. It was rereleased in 1986 and that time it reached number 12. Actually it is 1986 when I remember dancing around to ‘Pull up to the bumper’ wearing my royal blue ¾ length sleeved shirt , chunky blue plastic beads (oh so cool!), black lace jeans and matching royal blue stilettos... Happy carefree days ! Jerushah x

Friday, 15 October 2010

'The late-in-life ecowarrior !

Climate change :
I think I mentioned in my ‘all about me’ section that I used to work in the oil industry as a processing geophysicist. All those years I spent hoping the oil prices would go up so that I would get paid more, telling people that global warming is nothing to worry about because it has happened so many times before in the geological record.
Well, last year I learnt the error of my ways... I took a level 3 course called ‘Climate Change’ with the School of Science, and boy did I change my attitude after taking that course ?! We learnt a few crucial things :
Ø  The current rate at which climate change is happening is unprecedented.
Ø  As of 2010 the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere is 390ppm.
Ø  The ‘point of no return’ whereby we will have to deal with the consequences of several centuries of warming, is 400ppm.
Ø  If current trends continue, we could see 400ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere is the next seven years!
So I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether it is an important issue... On a more light hearted note, even the Uni catering establishments are doing their bit to reduce, reuse, recycle. Did you know that you can get a 10p discount on your hot drink if you bring your own mug?
To celebrate this fact, my friend gave me a lovely climate change mug, which shows the polar ice caps and glaciers melting, followed by global sea levels rising... See picture above !
J’s record of the week.
‘Waiting in vain’
by Bob Marley

This true reggae classic needs no introduction! It was recorded for Bob Marley’s 1977 Exodus album, and reached number 27 in the UK singles chart. It was reputedly penned by Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett (so called because so many local kids called him ‘Dad’!).
I’ve chosen this as my record of the week, as I’m still waiting for news of my imminent house move and I hope I’m not ‘Waiting in vain !’ A Jamaican friend of mine once asked ‘Why do all you Cornish people love Bob Marley so much?’ At the time I couldn’t think why, but having thought about it, I suppose it must be all the sun, sea, surf and palm trees in Cornwall...  Jerushah X

Friday, 8 October 2010

Life in the lab!

Let’s get crushing:

In the lab at long last... Having started lectures last week, I’ve been ‘chomping (or is it champing?) at the bit’ to get back in the lab. If I’m honest, apart from wading around in a muddy estuary somewhere, the lab is where I feel most at home...  Ready to don my lab coat now!
Way back in July I had put some peat samples in the oven to dry (only a degree or two above air temperature, don’t worry it’s not dangerous!). I came back to find them out on the bench with a note on top saying ‘taken out of the oven for a holiday!’  That could only mean one thing... that they were ready to face the horrors of ... The ball mill! Sounds awful doesn’t it?
See animation for a demonstration of its brutal crushing power!

Before starting I was given some very stern warnings about the mistakes made by the previous two users of the ball mill, who had each caused catastrophic destruction costing thousands of pounds!

After several days (plus a lots of noise, some dodgy solvent smells, plenty of dust, and an encounter with two delightful pharmacy students on Tuesday who were using a polymer that STANK of fish!) I have now processed 12 out of 16 samples and have not broken anything yet... let’s hope all is ok for the last four!

J’s record of the week:
‘Uptown top ranking’
 by Althea and Donna

Jamaican teenagers Althea and Donna (aged 17 and 18 respectively), released this single in the UK on Lightning records. It was number one on the UK chart in February 1978 and although they released other material, remains their only major hit.
It brings back memories of a really snowy winter and cosy evenings cuddled up to my mum by the Rayburn in the kitchen listening to the radio, as we had no central heating or TV! I was too young at the time to have bought this on vinyl, but it is a permanent fixture on my iPod which I listen to when in need of a smile (see Monique’s blog for the healing powers of music) and I will always love it to bits!  Jerushah x