Monday 28 October 2013


Well, this is annoying. Blogger won't let you mark posts as "private" on a post-by-post basis. Its all or nothing. So is for the private stuff.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Old CV and job application, 1994

More tidying finds an old CV and some job application forms. They come from a period that I remember vaguely - I was coming to the end of my first 5-year stint with BAS, and it wasn't clear if my post would be renewed. I have a feeling that doesn't happen now - once you've been in for a bit, you're permanent. But that wasn't true then. In the end, I was renewed, and ended up there for ages. Somehow that seems inevitable, now, but it wasn't then.

The other interesting thing to be reminded of, was what I was applying for - not climate modelling, but ecosystem modelling. Later on, I wouldn't even have considered that. I was a climate modeller, and proud of it, with no truck with the soft squishy ecosystem types. But then (four years after my doctorate) I wasn't so set in my ways. We were living in Stevenage and I was considering moving to, oh, Bangor and Scotland were on the agenda. I was more "into" ecology and keen to work in the area. Well, somewhat keen.

Here's the CV (should only work for "family" on Flickr). It looks very young to my ancient eyes. I had a "WWW" address even in those far-off 1994 days, but it was an "ftp:" one; and I had email, but to "vc." which was vax-c; ah, I remember VAX.

Sunday 6 October 2013

Book review: Jack Vance: City of the Chasch / Servants of the Wankh / Dirdir / Pnume

DSC_3221-chasch-wankh-dirdir-pnume I've read these before you know, many times.

They are, in many ways, Jack Vance standards: a hero and his journey across strange lands, told in a language I find sympa. In some ways they are isomorphic to, say, Lyonesse. Or Araminta. But that doesn't matter, because I enjoy them anyway. There is a little that is genuinely new here, but that's not why you'd read them.

Read again: certainly.

The books, collectively, form the Planet of Adventure series. If you want to know the plots, well, wiki will tell you.

And I'm not really going to review them here: this post is merely my note to myself that I've read them.

The bees, the bees / Wimpole half

DSC_3222 Perhaps it was a mistake, in retrospect, to just leave the honey I'd be working on outside. But it seemed like a good idea at the time.

This was honey that I'd taken off, oh, more than a month ago. Perhaps longer, I forget. Probably in the middle of the rowing season. And so it sat there, with me hoping that it wasn't too much rape and could be extracted later. Alas, I was wrong: it is largely rape and mostly solid. So having tried to spin off a few bits of liquid in a few frames I gave in to reality, returned the spinner to Nikola (via a talk about 6th forms: Nelson went to Hills Road, which is very good, but), and put about 2/3 of a super that really did have liquid in it back onto the hive to make sure they would survive the winter. Or at least to give them a fair chance.

I also put in some Apistan that I'd belatedly ordered. Really its too late for this, and I'm very unlikely to be able to take it out again after 6-8 weeks. But I decided it was better than not putting it in at all. The hive had, well, a fairly full brood box that I didn't look at (I put the Apistan in through the queen excluder) and perhaps 5 frames moderately well full in the super. So I put the new ~2/3 full super on top of that, and left them to reorganise it as they saw fit.

The rest I just left for a little while, on the grounds that it hardly mattered: it was mostly rape, and therefore of little interest to the Bee World. But I was wrong, as you see. Should I move it down the garden now? Perhaps I ought to really. Though with luck they'll just go back to the hive come the end of the day. [2 hours pass. I pick up Daniel from the Perse where he's been returned at the end of a climbing trip to Gardoms and Burbage North, top-roping and bouldering, which he enjoyed.] No sign of them getting bored and going home yet.

Wimpole half marathon

That was this morning. It was a lovely day; still, cool, sunny: perfect weather. I've never run at Wimpole before (they have a parkrun). Turn up, park, find the race start (in front of the house, not far from the stables). Paul and Sarah are around, and later Amelie with Russ as spectator. Talk, wait, watch, get numbers, get ready. Its a fairly small event - a few hundred or so, no bigger than some Milton parkruns. My track is here - I went off unwisely fast, even for me, fooled into joining the leading pack. But after 500m at less than 4/k I toned it down. By the standards I'm used to, it was a hilly course, and by ~10k I was feeling that, and beginning to feel drained. I did notice that I got overtaken more on the hills upwards, so I was relatively slower on the ups. Also not just hilly but also off-road. Delightfully so - field edges, woods, and so on - but that kind of ground takes it out of me. And so, overall, I managed 1:46:44 - tolerable for the course, probably.

Paul came in somewhat later at 1:56 I think - I went 100 m forward of the finish line and sat down, splashing self with water and feeling tired, then cheered him to the finish. Rather later - ?2:20? - Sarah came in, and later still Amelie just beyond 2:30.