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- Me, Myself, and I
- Finished Uni after 5 years. Been some places & done things, some exciting, others less so. Found I like coffee, learning about the natural world, birds, and that foreign countries really help you appreciate how amiable & nice Scotland is.
Starting a 3 year PhD at Edinburgh Uni in September, but will continue to reside in Glasgow when not doing fieldwork in the Orkneys. Its quite nice over here.
- Its probably easier to say who I don"t like - Keane, Snow Patrol, James Morrison. I"m working on finding some more. My Chemical Romance for instance.
- I thought The Thin Red Line was a masterpiece, but now it seems quite average compared to Letters from Iwo Jima. Also like Gladiator, Taxi (the french one, in french, with subtitles - none of that dubbed crap), Dodgeball, and Zoolander, are my favourites. I'll add Knights Tale to that too, its got everything - action, comedy, big hits, good british acting, a fair bit of bad American acting. I've developed a worrying affection for Owen Wilson over recent years. Liam Neeson"s starting to grow on me too.
- I tend to get a bit carried away with football and support Arsenal (for better or worse). Like I recently explained to mum & dad...
"Supporting Arsenal can be frustrating, as they really like their foreplay: it's sexy stuff, but often comes without a climax (or a goal, if you will), which most people find disappointing. Fortunately I quite like foreplay."
I also like Tennis and pretending to play golf with my old man, much to the dismay of the greenkeepers/ people on the opposite fairway.
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- How well do you know Guill? 23 Taken
Greetings from the glorious land where it never gets warm, and where its always windy, every day, without fail. It'd be great if I had a peregrine to fly, but it doesn't half make having to cycle every where a pain in the, well, legs. There was the small matter of a blizzard a few days ago as well. At least i've learned my lesson about reading smallprint.
I'm delighted to say that today, I was overjoyed to witness my first ever Red-necked phalarope! An incredible bird, not least because they somehow seem to walk on water, but also because they spend all their time spinning round and round and round in circles. They were so preoccupied with their broomstick game endeavours that we were able to sit only 12 yards from the charming little blighters. Hopefully I'll be able to get some photos tomorrow. I'd be very interested to see what they'd do if they had to scarper quickly - my guess is that it'd be carnage. Birds flying into rocks, each other, upside down... I think I'm studying the wrong thing for my honours project.
1 Comment 312 weeks
In Sangerði, Iceland. Attempting to find out if Eider duck down and the preening waxes it contains has magical properties that keep the eggs safe from infection. Yep, this is serious work right enough, and could potentially change the course of 21st century politics. Its not just on a glorified holiday, you have my word.
Living in the towns research institute with my Mexican colleague Liliana is going great. Our quarters are just off the museum, and we have the run of the entire place at night. Truly epic games of hide and seek could most definately be had if old Lil´ wasn´t so damn mature and responsible.
Our work takes place on a farm 10 minutes away, and we spend alot of time with the family. Their kindness is quite something, given that we come round every day, but I think people visiting is the natural order of things (family is certainly very important). Hanna Sigga gave us a good feed on our first night, brews enough coffee for us every day that my head swims, and even drove me a 90km round trip to Rekjavik to buy some decent waterproofs without so much as batting an eyelid. Amazingly, while we were having dinner on that first night, a 7m long Minke whale beached itself on the strand down from the house. It was incredible to watch it in its final hours. Interestingly, it became stuck on rocks some way out while the tide was still coming in, so it could have easily made it to safety. Instead it worked its way closer and closer to shore, until it was on the high tide line. I don´t know if the whales beach deliberately when they know their numbers up (it certainly wasn´t a very peaceful way to go), or if its the effect of a parasite on the brain - such things being quite common in the natural world. In any case, it was a spectacular sight to behold.
Things have settled into a steady routine since then, but its still very much the lull before the storm with the fieldwork. We only have 14 active nests on the entire farm, and there´ll be a couple of thousand before the season is out!
The local wildlife is a constant source of wonder. Birds like Ptarmigan and Snow Buntings that would be a real treat back home - the type of bird you´d have to climb to the top of the Cairngorms to see - pop up regularly in the back garden. Golden Plovers are ten a penny too. We had the first of the Arctic terns arrive from the Antarctic today too. They´ll be nesting amoungst the Eiders within a week, and then the fun will really start. They´re wee savages, and unlike most birds that are all bark and no bite, terns are out for blood, and go for the head with a vengence. It should keep things interesting at any rate!
0 Comments 314 weeks
I'm sorry to let you all down, but its time to come clean - i'm an addict. I've been kidding myself on for a long time that i just like a custard cream every now and then, but the truth is I'd eat them all day if i could, so its time to seek help before I do any further damage to my family or waistline. I tried pouring the biscuits down the sink, but only succeeded in getting half of them down before the pipes blocked (its safe to say I didnt really think it through). As a result i've had to head south to seek help while the plumbers get to work, and as I write I'm sat back home in good old Gala.
Headed into Glasgow on the way back looking for trouble and a night out, but it seems all my friends are on expedition or have had their phones stolen, as it was all quiet on the Western front. It was quite surprising how i'd 'gone back' (to throw in a falconry term) during the mere 5 weeks i'd been away. All that time to myself in the peace and calm of rural life, upon coming back to the city with its constant buzz coupled with the absense of the old friendly faces i felt quite out of place. Its surprising how much it was possible to change in such a short time.
I have to admit I wound up in the biscuit aisle of the supermarket, but a timely phonecall from Amy McK stayed my hand and rescued me from a night of beer + biscuits (had a night of beer, wine, soup, popcorn, cashew nuts and popcorn instead - Amy's some hostess!). Hopefully I can continue to go straight over the coming weeks.
1 Comment 359 weeks