Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Dear Diary, alive and noodling

Just want to say, I'm still alive and kicking after my trip from Greenland. A post will follow shortly on my field season in Narsarsuaq.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Dear Diary, the ball is rolling!

Dear Diary, since the new year I've been plodding along with my work- plans for Greenland are finally setting in so that's exciting, but it means I now need to put my head down and focus on what I actually want to do out in the field. (Un)fortunately, our chosen site for this field season is in Southern Greenland and we'll be setting up base in a small town, so there won't be any hungry polar bears to keep us warm. Though there is a tiny weeny chance that if the pack ice is close to shore they could wonder onto land, though it's unlikely they'll go into the town- if I am to (un)fortunately bump into one it'll be up on the glacier itself. Also to my fellow friends and family who heard about my Svalbard stunt involving pulling a metal pin from a live socket, which might I say was rather electrifying(!), I will not be performing it again so rest assured.

You can catch a glimpse of my secret field site's airport through the clouds. Looks promising, though I'm guessing there are loads of mosquitoes. Ignoring the rather erratic bedrock of the area, it's perfect for glaciology. There's a land terminating glacier (which I'll be working on) which drains into the sea with a large pro-glacial area for me to study, and now here's the best bit, there's also another land terminating glacier which calves into a lake causing outburst floods in the summer. Icebergs and rapid floods, sounds awesome! >=]

Monday, 24 December 2012

Dear Diary, Away to Amsterdam

Dear Diary, Jesse and I’ve just returned back from a short break away in Amsterdam to mark the start of the Christmas holidays. My goodness, we needed the break from all the work we’ve been given! We ended up picking the wettest month to visit, though luckily the weather held out for the majority of the week for us. We stayed in a lovely hotel just off the botanical Hortus gardens, which coincidently had some light art inside as part of the Amsterdam Light Festival. Inside the park was about 6/7 giant orbs of light, which blinked different colours and at times spoke and mumbled in a alien-like language, it was pretty cool actually. We also came across other light shows, as part of the Amsterdam Light Festival, which were all interesting and very pretty to look at (see video). We found the China-street/town almost as soon as we walked out the station- typical- so I was determined to sample the local grub. We ate out at a lovely Thai restaurant and followed it up with a march through the Red Light District. I’ve got a lot to say about attitudes towards the area, though I’ll rant about that in a later post.
Our time in Amsterdam was filled with walks around the city and along the canals. The streets and canals are adorned with fairy lights during the Christmas period making it rather whimsical. We had a good rummage about in the local flea market and also in a local market which seemed to stretch out forever! We must’ve spent a good ten minutes just walking the stretch without stopping. We did however sample some raw herring with pickles along that market. The stall was rather popular and surprisingly the simple dish was rather delightful with the herring almost being gelatinous in texture. We also sampled Dutch cheese, a traditional uitsmijter, and yes, we also indulged in fries with mayonnaise during our trip but missed out on the Dutch pancakes.
I almost always forget when I travel abroad that museums and galleries have entrance fees- the UK really does spoil you. We forked out a hefty €17 each to visit the Van Gough museum, though in hindsight it was all worth it. The gallery had two exhibitions, Van Gough’s work and an impressionist collection (think Monet), both of which were definitely worth the money we paid. I learnt that Van Gough’s Iris painting was actually painted in purple (as iris’ are) but the red paint degraded, so only the blue was left. I wouldn’t recommend the Medieval Torture Museum, you could run around the museum in 5 minutes flat, definitely not worth the €7 they charge. Our best find was Cafe Alto by far. It was a discreet jazz cafe (as they always are) which charged a €5 for live music from 10pm, but get there when they open at 9pm to grab a table! Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten the name of the band that played but the drummer was amazing, as was the double bassist, in fact they all were pretty darn good- you can probably source out who played there on 19/12/2012 easily online somewhere. If you only stay in Amsterdam for an evening, definitely check out Cafe Alto and take a stroll around Amsterdam at night- you find all sorts of things.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Dear Diary, facilitating and demonstrating

Dear Diary, work has been busy. I've started writing up my literature review, but I think largely due to the amount of reading I've done over the past two months it's not making sense or maybe it's because I'm just finding it hard to sort out everything I've read. I feel like I'm swimming in papers, metaphorically of course. 
A couple of weeks ago I did a bit of volunteering and did some facilitating for ESRC's Great Environmental Debate helping college students get down with what can be done about climate change. I was in charge of a group of seven students, who were all rather bright and had some great ideas but suffered a little in stage fright so presenting our ideas was a little challenging. I loved it though, it reminded me of when I was a PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) leader at the University of Manchester. Together I managed to get them to draw up a plan to make their schools less wasteful and conserve energy (see photo). I was rather surprised at how environmentally conscious a few of their schools were, as some had 'woolly jumper days' which involved all central heating turned off at the school- I remember being sent home when the heating wasn't working in secondary school! I've also signed a contract with the university so now I do a bit of demonstrating/teaching/marking for the undergraduates and earn myself a little money,  it also gives me a good excuse to leave my office and get away from the computer. My first demonstrating was really straight forward Excel spreadsheet calculations, it was scary how many didn't know how to perform basic functions, but I guess in their defence a few of them wouldn't have used it since secondary school. At times during the three hour session, I thought about how easily I could blend in and pretend to be one of them... I still could, couldn't I?

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Dear Diary, Happy birthday mum!

Dear Diary, I went back to London over the weekend for my mum's birthday. I won't disclose how old she is because I'm a sweet daughter like that. She didn't want a fancy do for her birthday, something quite relaxed so somehow we ended up at T.G.I. Friday's in Leicester Square (not my previous branch). We had big filling meals with big cocktails followed by more than indulgent chocolate desserts. My mum's a big Jamie Oliver fan girl, so Jesse and I put our money together to treat her and my dad to a romantic meal out at Jamie's Italian in Covent Garden later in the week. She promised that she'd send me photos of their meal and sticking true to her words she did... at least for the starters, then her stomach got the better of her and she gobbled down the main and dessert before realising she'd forgotten to take a photo for me! At least I know she enjoyed it.
Happy birthday mum, you're the best, I couldn't love you any more if I tried!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Dear Diary, tea hoarder

Dear Diary, today I went in early into the office though quickly regretted my choice and ended up heading down to Sainsbury's for a walk. I was admittedly thirsty but couldn't justify buying a bottle considering my office was less than a minute walk away, instead I ended up leaving with a variety of tea. As you can now see I have a lovely assortment to amuse my taste buds throughout the day. I've also been putting my eco-cup into good use, using it to transfer my secret nectar from the house to the office, pretty isn't it?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Dear Diary, a weekend of omnoms

Dear Diary, on Friday I went out for a big shop and managed to slice my finger without realising it and ended up leaving lots of bloody prints across the inside of my cotton bag- boo. The weekend improved from Jesse's arrival though, we went out to the local ale pub, Eldon House, and had a quiet drink together over some Bath Ales- I recommend, very smooth. The weekend involved lots of eating, we attempted a mille-feuille from Patisserie Valerie though we were both horribly defeated- far too much custard! We went on a walk around Bristol Harbourside towards Windmill Hill City Farm though they were closing when we arrived so we zipped around at top speed; it's rather small though they have a large allotment area for the local community. On our way back through Harbourside we caught sight of the Bristol Harbourside Railway steam train, it even 'tooted'! I didn't actually realise they had working steam trains along that line connecting the M Shed with Brunel's SS Great Britain- that's something I can add to my 'to do' list whilst here. We ended the weekend on a high with a meal at the family run 'Mamma Mia' Italian restaurant on Park Row, we were the only people dining there and it was wonderful- food, décor and ambiance. I had a risotto whilst Jesse went for a pizza, both were huge and delectable, I'll definitely be visiting this quaint restaurant again.