Monday, 28 February 2011

Our house in the middle of our street :
Blog readers ! I owe you a big apology... If my blogging has been a little erratic (to say the least) over the past couple of weeks, it is because we’ve finally moved into our new house ! After two temporary homes and a four day stay at a hotel when we were really stuck , we are finally here.

I have to say ‘S’ and I couldn’t have survived it all without the help and support of our wonderful friends:
- ‘F’ who hid all my worldly possessions in a cupboard at the School of Science for four days.
-  ‘K’ who helped us big time on moving day, in spite of her fragile shoulder.
- ‘L’ who drove me to Ikea in her lovely big van so that we didn’t have to sit on the floor.
- ‘M’ who was brave enough to look after ‘S’ and his own two girls to enable said trip to Ikea.
- ‘L’ and ‘E’ our lovely new neighbours who helped us when the front door key wouldn’t work on the first. night.
- ‘S’ my best girl, who has put up with an awful lot of instability during the last three months, without a grumble !

We also had some beautiful and practical moving in presents, including : A rain gauge; a Christmas cactus; a cake stand; a bottle of wine; a cat cup, a fruit bowl, a really individual piece of artwork that brought a tear to my eye, plus an unexpected hamper from my mortgage company... Thanks guys it was all fabulous and helped make our house into a home...


Thought you’d like to see a picture of our garden (taken in early January, before we moved in, when it was still frosty)... At the moment it’s a bit of a concrete jungle, but we’ve got big plans ! I’m not sure that the swimming pool  and trampoline that ‘S’ has asked for will fit, but hopefully we can make it a little oasis of ‘chill’ in one way or another ! I know one thing though, some strange force seems to be compelling me to get a banana tree – not sure why, but it seems like the right thing to do !

I should really put a parental advisory for the lyrics on this song, which was originally released in October 2009. It reminds me of friend K’s favourite saying ‘Geologists know what makes the bedrock.’ I’ve chosen it as my record (or should that be MP3, as I’m sure vinyl copies are few and far between) of the week as it will forever remind me of moving day. ‘K’ and I played it over and over, singing along to all the (somewhat questionable) lyrics as we ferried my stuff between F’s secret cupboard at the School of Science and the new house. Enjoy, but I won’t force you to sing along if you don’t want to ! Jerushah X

Thursday, 10 February 2011

A challenging week :


It was an amazing week, this week – The week I (yes me !) was picked for the University of Greenwich, University Challenge team ! It has been an endless source of amusement not only for myself but also my friends and family... I’ve never really considered myself to be the ‘sharpest tool in the box’ so this has all come as a bit of a surprise – especially when I tell you why I entered it in the first place.

Many moons ago (1983 to be exact), one of our course coordinators appeared on (and won!) University Challenge. I won’t tell you who, as he is a modest sort of chap, but suffice to say he is never allowed to forget this particular achievement due to a group of appreciative students who set up a facebook group in his honour.

When the University Challenge online quiz invitation came a few weeks ago, friend ‘K’ and I speculated about how good it would be in twenty years time if our students were still talking about our outing on University Challenge. There and then we made a pact that we would both go home that night and do the online quiz. Dutifully I completed mine, only to find that friend ‘K’ had abandoned her attempt... However, I received the biggest shock of all when after a second assessment the Students Union invited me to join the team !

Well, Monday rolled around and the four of us (Poor ‘K O’ our current reserve member wasn’t well), assembled outside the ITV studios. We had a agonising wait to be called to meet the producers, only to find that we were to be interviewed together with the Cranfield University team (who were all gorgeous, thin, clever, witty good looking twenty-something postgrads). When asked for our unique selling point we said ‘diversity’ having a good range of subjects between us and a combined age of well over one hundred ! ‘H’ also suggested that the fact that our Greenwich Maritime campus was the only 17th Century building ever to contain an atomic weapon might have some bearing on our selection, but the rest of us were not sure about that ! The interview was followed by a forty question test which was not for the faint hearted.

Yesterday ‘K O’ who could not be present at the studios, had her Skype interview with Irene Daniels, and apparently they will let us know if we have been chosen for the next round by Friday 11th February... Wish us luck !

J’s record of the week :

'Valentine love’
Norman Connors              
It used to be that I couldn’t listen to this song without a tear in my eye; it’s so heartrending (all be it in a cheesy 1970’s kind of way).  It was released in 1975 and has guest vocals from the beautiful and talented Jean Carne (look out for a record of the week from her any time soon) !
I wonder why I’ve chosen this song? Has it escaped the notice of the blog readers that it is nearly Valentine’s Day?  All the shops have Valentine’s cards on the stands and the flower racks in the supermarkets are full of red roses. I’ve never seen the film ‘Valentine’s Day’ but I like the idea of an ‘Anti Valentine’s party’ it’s got so commercial these days!  Happy Valentine’s day everyone!  Jerushah X


Thursday, 3 February 2011

And all because the ladies love : MUD !

Tankerton sampling :
Last Sunday, my lovely mini field assistant ‘S’ and I got up at 5.15am all in the name of science...
And the reason for our early rising ? The time and tide were just right to catch some exposures of 5000 year – 8000 year old soils, peats muds being exposed. We were accompanied by trusty friend ‘K’ and Drs ‘A’ and ‘C’ my research supervisor and programme leader respectively. Plus the very cute daughter of Dr ‘C.’ A budding quaternary scientist if ever I saw one !
We took some cores, but unfortunately the peat was a little bit old for our purposes... There was a fantastic up side though, the extreme low tide has exposed some really cool marine life; bright orange living sponges the size of my hand and the biggest sea anemones I’ve even seen (see photo). Best of all though, Dr ‘C’ noticed a large section of mammoth’s tusk sticking out of the mud

Muddy Medway sampling :
What a week, not one field trip but two ! Wednesday on the River Medway was cold, wet, muddy, potentially dangerous and incredibly good fun !
With Dr ‘A’ and ‘R’ standing on the shoreline, us three ladies ‘L’ ‘K’ and me bravely waded out into the mud to take nine samples and a core along a transect. We did get our samples, but it was rather unpleasant wading up to our thighs in anoxic (stinky and sulphurous) mud. A few times we did get quite stuck, and had to pull each other out, which was a good illustration of why you should never work alone in estuarine conditions!

After we had washed off the mud, changed our clothes and got back to the uni, we were soothed by nice hot drinks, flapjacks and comfy chairs in the Pilkington.
While we were there , ‘K’ noticed that her shoulder was hurting... Later that evening she sent me a text to say that she had dislocated her shoulder as we pulled her out of the mud. I must say, ‘L’ and I felt horrendously guilty, but she was very brave about the whole thing ! Her sling comes off tomorrow...
And all because the ladies love : MUD !
J’s record of the week :
‘Mind blowing
by  Heatwave
I was trawling through my collection the other day for something I hadn’t listened to for a while and I remembered this ! Nice sing along lyrics, but its beauty is in the musical arrangement.  In my (humble) opinion it is a genius song of amazing rhythmical complexity ! What do you think is the most amazing thing about it though ?
Listening to it you can visualise some sort of late 70’s disco in Chicago... Tall, suave guys sporting afros and big medallions, and then -   Scratch the record, everyone will gasp when I tell you it was written by a man from Hull ! Yes ! Hull ! Rod Temperton was his name, and as well as playing the keyboards, he was a crucial songwriter in the band. Last year BBC Radio 2 listed this song as part of the ‘Great British’ song book, an acclaim it thoroughly deserves ! Hope you like it as much as I do ! Jerushah x