Monday, 20 June 2011

A wedding in Cambridge :

On Saturday, my fabulously glamorous Aunt ‘H’ got married in Cambridge... It was a wonderful day, with not only the wedding, but catching up with all those far flung family members that you don’t usually see. People had come from as far afield as Northern Ireland, Stafford, Somerset and Cornwall. Some of us even drove up from deepest darkest Medway ! Highlights included the cute little flower girl ‘T,’ who did her very best; hanging out with my cousins ‘M’ and ‘C,’ who share my sense of humour (and good looks); my eighty-nine year old grandmother dancing with a ‘lovely young man’ (her words, not mine) of sixty-five; the sweet poem written my aunt’s new husband ‘S’ entitled ‘Our little house’ as part of his speech and meeting new cousin by marriage ‘S’ who tells me she is hoping to attend Greenwich in 2012 !


Food for free :

This week has also been an excellent week for... Cherries ! Fellow blogger Dan is always saying ‘Jerushah, we live in the garden of England.’ He is right too ! At the beginning of the week daughter ‘S’ and me were out picking wild cherries in the rain ! They are smaller and darker than commercial varieties, but have a lovely intense flavour - My freezer is now full of them and my hands are all juice stained after the de-stoning...I am really looking forward to the rest of the summer when there are all sorts of wild foods to be found in rapid succession : woodland strawberries, cherry plums, damsons, blackberries and cob nuts to name but a few Kentish examples ! At the university this week, I mentioned the whole ‘foraging thing’ to a friend who shall remain nameless. I offered to lend him my copy of ‘Food for free’ by Richard Mabey, to which he replied ‘ that a book about shop lifting ?’ 

‘Fly me to the moon’ was written in 1954 by Bart Howard, and performed by Frank Sinatra. I am dedicating my record of the week to Aunt ‘H’ and ‘S’ who tied the knot this week, and are such big jazz fans that they had a Frank Sinatra impersonator to provide the musical backdrop to their wedding... I wish them every happiness  ! Jerushah X

Friday, 3 June 2011

Life in the home lab :

I’m sure if you have a family it cannot have escaped your notice that it is half term this week ? I had a slight logistical difficulty, in that although I can take ‘mini me’ along to the library or cafe on campus, the labs are strictly off limits... and with good reason too, we work with some very ‘narrrrrsty’ chemicals and the occasional biohazard.
I was discussing this difficulty with lovely ‘Dr F L,’ one of the academics who has given me an awful lot of support with my lab work.
She came up with the ingenious solution that if Jerushah cannot go to the lab, the lab (only the safe bits of course) could come to Jerushah ! Dr F L very kindly lent me a binocular microscope, picking equipment and identification books to take home...
Last Friday, I spent most of the evening setting up my ‘home lab’ under the stairs, also incorporating an old garden table, a rickety Victorian chair and my daughter’s purple ‘groovy chick’ lamp for extra illumination. When I had finished the task, I proudly emailed the picture around to a few friends to which friend ‘L’ replied : ‘Jerushah, that is truly the lair of a mad scientist !’ such a way with words, but I took it as a compliment !

...and what was I picking and identifying under my microscope ? Beautiful and intricate, six million year old microfossils gathered during my trip to Spain (it has taken this long to process them), called foraminifera.
They are very small, these particular specimens are 125 microns in size, and just about visible to the naked eye. Good thing too, as I have to pick them up with the dampened end of a one stranded paint brush and glue them to a slide, and at 300 individuals per sample, it is very intensive work !
Here are a couple of pictures I took during the course of my picking this week :

J’s record of the week :
‘Hold me tighter in the rain’
Billy Griffin
In 1982, Billy Griffin (the former lead singer of the Miracles), released this song, which was a UK top twenty chart hit in the following year. I first heard it featured in the ‘quiet storm’ on the BBC radio one soul train show, while tucked up in bed with a secret radio under my pillow. This time last week, remember that Bryony’s provision of record of the week resulted in a huge downpour ? Actually the rain gauge total for last week was 6.5mm, 5mm of which fell on Thursday night alone ! So this week, with plenty of rain forecast for the south east on Sunday, I thought I should choose something more appropriate and dedicate it to meteorologists everywhere ! Jerushah X